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Old 08-31-2014, 10:30 AM   #1
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Made 1st payment and time to rebuild trailer.

After 5 weeks of ownership its time to rebuild the fifth wheel frame. When I pick up my new to me trailer (2006 Forest River 385 All American Sport) I noticed that when they lowered it to my truck that the pin box moved a few inches before the landing gear came off the ground, I questioned this and the dealer told me "they all do that". I have used the trailer 1 time for a 1500 mile trip and I noticed that each time I set it up it seamed to move more. I knew from the start there was a "repair" to the lower corner of the side in front of the bedroom slide out. I took a look at the frame in that area using a remote camera with the pin box lifted by a hi-lo and found a big crack. After removing the front siding and cosmetic framework I found I have a poorly engineered/built front frame area, not a big deal for me as I have a boat business and also do a lot of trailer repairs and rigging. I will make it better than new because thats what I do.
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Old 09-08-2014, 05:54 PM   #2
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Making some headway on the project
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Old 09-14-2014, 11:03 AM   #3
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From pin box area back is now done, now its time to take the front cap off and strengthen the front frame area. Since I will now own this for the rest of my life I have a new Tri-Glide pin box and 6 point Ground Control auto level system coming this week.
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Old 09-14-2014, 11:19 AM   #4
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Very nice repair/improvements to your 5'er. It certainly is disappointing that a dealer would sell a unit with a defective frame. If someone other than you had purchased this unit the "picture" may not have been so pretty!
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Old 09-14-2014, 11:55 AM   #5
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Thanks RSchleder, Like everybody else that has had or currently has frame trouble I am not shocked that the dealers avoid this problem like the plague when trying to sell their troubled units. Being new to RV'ing I guess I should have looked deeper before the purchase but its to late now. I have about 60 hours into it this past week and decided to take the weekend off because its less than 60 degrees out and windy which makes MIG welding tough without shelter. My building only has 12' doors and RV is just over 13'. Tomorrow I will lower the front down enough to get the first 8' or so in the building to remove cap and finish front frame area.
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Old 09-14-2014, 12:04 PM   #6
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Here are before and after pics of the reinforced front main frame area.
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Old 09-14-2014, 12:18 PM   #7
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I added (3) 2"x1" solid bar stock from main frame area to pin box area to try to help with the pin box flex itself. So far the flex has gone from 2 3/4" down to 1" measured at the front tip of the pin lifting it with a Hi-Lo. At this point all the flex is in the main front cross beam which will be my next area to modify.

The second pic also shows a 3rd cross beam added above generator area tying both sides together with another angled vertical welded to the original front down leg. From the factory this unit came with 4 down legs to the frame and now it has 10.
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Old 09-14-2014, 01:18 PM   #8
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This appears to be a similar problem to what several Pilgrim owners experienced with the pinbox and a Lippert frame. The pinbox was secured by inadequate welds and supports. I think somewhere I have a drawing of what was necessary to reinforce it. I could possibly post it if you are interested.

Steve
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Old 09-14-2014, 01:43 PM   #9
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Steve,
Over the past few weeks I have read and seen just about everything about this issue with 5th wheel trailers available on the net. I am no engineer (sure hate working for them) but I took all the info I could get and added my usual times 10 to it. Most just add 2 forward braces and corner gussets. Mine already had those from the factory but the material used was way to thin. I am doing X bracing in all the forward boxed areas and 3/16 thick corner gussets with the addition of another front main beam that is 1/4 inch thick. With all the steel I will be add about 350 lbs to the front of the trailer and looking for pin box flex of 1/2" or less but no up and down at the pin box mount.
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Old 09-20-2014, 05:07 PM   #10
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This weeks progress was to install the Ground Control automatic landing gear. Waited 2 weeks for it and of coarse it was the wrong unit, they delivered a 4 point system instead of the 6 point I ordered. The 6 point system would have taken another 2 -3 weeks to get so they discounted the system to a reasonable price that was more inline with the online prices.
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