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Old 02-23-2021, 07:51 PM   #1
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Real Lite 1604 Roof actuator/lift issues

I purchased a Real-Lite 1604 SS Palomino truck camper built by Forest River on 1/28/2021, the right-hand and left-hand side roof lifts have failed a few weeks after purchase and we have only used the camper twice. This renders the unit inoperable and a potential danger to users as the roof could collapse or fail on to an occupant of the camper. Moisture has caused the actuator failure as there is rust dripping out of all the units and the lift actuators don’t appear to be rated for the amount of lift needed and do not provide adequate protection from the elements. The manual cranks have failed as well and are stripped out. In addition, and most concerning, is there are no secondary safety roof supports should these lift arms fail causing a dangerous scenario in wind or the elements for any occupants.

There is ample evidence to indicate a design flaw in the unit or at the very least a manufacturing issue regarding weatherproofing the unit(s) actuator arms and motors. If one of the actuator motors fails, the others continue to push the roof up which causes stress on the non-functioning unit(s) and the base and connector point to crack. This could allow the arms to come free and the roof could come crashing down. I believe this to be a serious design flaw and we do not feel safe in the camper.

What is concerning is that not a single location given to me by Forest River will do warranty work for them in my area. They sent me a list (I'm in the San Diego area) and then said I was on my own. After reporting back to them that the entire list refused the work, and they said I need to “find a mobile RV tech”. I have yet to find a mobile tech to work on the unit or accept parts.

The warranty manager Jerald Summey <JSummey@forestriverinc.com> and the customer relations manager Michael Locke <mlocke@forestriverinc.com> have not been helpful beyond sending the list of places that don't do warranty work for Forest River. Either they have not been paid for past warranty issues or they said if we did not purchase the unit there, they do not do the warranty work.

I am now making payments on a camper that I cannot use because of Forest Rivers' failure to back up their warranty and a design flaw. A quick review of the Forest River forums shows this issue seems far-reaching and across the board for Forest River products that utilize linear actuators.

Has anyone else had issues with roof lift apparatus??
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Old 03-01-2021, 07:53 AM   #2
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Hi Magnus- I just purchased a Rogue EB-1 last week and had the same issue with the actuators. My left actuator went and then my right. They would lift but when they got stuck and required manual help with a 7mm socket, they didn't work. We were in tricky freezing/not freezing conditions so there might have been ice or frozen water that got in there. Good thing I had my tools with me.

Contacting dealership right now... will see how it goes.

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Old 03-04-2021, 07:27 PM   #3
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This is funny because J.R Summey was over on the Palomino Facebook group less than a week ago helping people with this very issue. Apparently they are now sourcing these actuators from another manufacturer with hopes of fixing the problem. Have you spoken to him by phone or via email? I am surprised he didn't help you, he seemed like willing to help everyone. I have his phone number if you want to try again.
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Old 03-04-2021, 07:37 PM   #4
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Thanks- for me the dealer helped me out and is theoretically shipping new actuators to me. Hopefully this works.
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Old 03-05-2021, 01:15 PM   #5
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Initially, Summey was responsive but dismissive and not helpful. He provided a list of places that don't do the work and then said I was on my own. He forced me to find a mobile tech to receive the parts (still not happened by the way). I found a tech finally with zero help from Summey or his team. So I'm still waiting on anything to materialize. A simple vinyl cap on the motor would probably do the trick. All I know is I have a new camper that does not function properly and is sitting in my driveway awaiting FR to get their s%*! together.
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Old 03-07-2021, 03:03 PM   #6
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I ordered some vinyl caps 2 inch from amazon that slide over the motor housing to keep water out.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

They fit perfectly and should prevent water from entering the top of the motor.
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Old 03-07-2021, 03:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnus View Post
I ordered some vinyl caps 2 inch from amazon that slide over the motor housing to keep water out.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

They fit perfectly and should prevent water from entering the top of the motor.

Hopefully this fix gets you through until you can source better quality actuators. I kind of cringed at the experience you were having mainly since we love our 1604 so much. Keep us posted.


PS - How about a pic of your rig
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Old 03-08-2021, 05:44 PM   #8
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I'm seeing rust coming out of mine too. Mines a 2021 SS-1251. I know the dealer swapped one of the lifters out before I picked it up because it wasn't working. Not sure which one it was though. One of the others is showing an wear along the length of the actuator rod. Not sure what that's about either. Now you've got me wondering if my clock is ticking too.
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Old 03-17-2021, 08:49 AM   #9
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Hey there! I have a 2021 Rogue EA1 I purchased February 1st. Right motor on mine died the other day after being slower than the left. Left motor makes a ton of racket and both have been leaking rust. Hopefully my dealer is sending me two jacks to remedy this issue. Those covers look like a good idea, I think I may get some for the new actuators.
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Old 03-17-2021, 11:42 AM   #10
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We went on a short trip this weekend and got back with rusty water stains form the jacks on the side of the camper again. How long can this last before they give up the ghost?

I'm open to fixes but I don't think the water is entering through the top of the motor so I'm not so sure those rubber boots will do the trick.
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Old 03-28-2021, 01:14 PM   #11
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Update: I decided to investigate further. As soon as I removed one of the three screws from the bottom of the gear housing, rusty water started pouring out! See Pics. This is not just one jack but all four. Yikes!

These things are an engineering disaster! I'm also convinced that the water is not entering through the top of the motor assembly so the rubber cap idea is not likely to help. From what I can tell, it that its most likely entering from the top of the shaft near the roof where there is no significant sealing. Also possibly at the base of the shaft/gearbox housing.

From my arm-chair engineering perspective, these jacks were never designed to be installed in this orientation. If they were installed the other way up, there would most likely have not water intrusion whatsoever. But that would pose a whole other problem regarding the electrical cords etc. It seems like we need some involvement from Forrest River and the Jack manufacturer for a long term fix or this will continue to happen.

Please note: Reassembly is a bit fiddly and you'll probably need a friend to hold the brushes in place while you re-insert the motor/winding assembly. Then you can re-install the housing and bolts (which like to cling to the magnets instead of traveling straight down to their threaded holes...) However, this may be the best way to get some fresh grease into the assembly. Sigh... Nuts!
Did I mention that I purchased this new last fall. And I'm already seeing this amount of degradation?!
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Old 05-04-2021, 08:53 PM   #12
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I know this is an old thread but same actuator issue happened on my 2021 Palomino SS1609.

Contacted Forest River who sent me a list of authorized dealers in my state (Massachusetts) called all 7 and no one would fix it. Ended up calling the dealer I bought it from (Scott’s Recreation in Maine) 2 months prior and they ordered me 4 new motors and swapped them out. Hoping not to have an issue again but just wanted to update this that even the new units are having an issue. My rear right motor seized after 5 lifts.
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Old 05-25-2021, 05:36 AM   #13
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Having these same problems. I just got my ss1251 back from dealer where they supposedly replaced all 4 lifts with the new style lift arms. I took plastic cover off where you can manually lift them and water came dripping out. I would say if these are there new and improved arms it didn’t work. The have a build date of 10/20 on them and they look exactly the same.
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Old 05-30-2021, 10:10 AM   #14
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Update to mine- Scott's in Maine sent me new actuators and have not had issues. While they still allow water I think my failure was related to the freeze/thaw cycle and when water entered when it was below freezing, it locked up the gearbox. What about taking the opposite tack of drilling drain holes in the bottom? Tempted to in order to solve it- doesn't seem to be the water that is the huge issue its the lack of draining? May be totally wrong.
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Old 06-02-2021, 09:32 AM   #15
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Roof actuator failures

I have a 2020 Palomino SS1240 with 4 outside mounted roof actuators, 3 have failed, does anyone know where these can be purchased besides a dealer? The part number is LEA20-252-450M, thanks for any information.
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