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Old 11-11-2009, 09:15 AM   #1
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really bad day.....trailer totaled(maybe,hopefully)

Well, it started out really nice, but ended horribly bad. I decided last week after getting my new truck that i wanted to see how it was really going to tow over a good long trip so i planned a trip to Nashville then Lynchburg then Chattanooga. The weather in Nashville was absolutly beautiful for the first four days and we(me, my mom and dad) got to see the opry, andrew jacksons home, ate some really good bbq, and just had a really good time overall. We packed up on Monday and drove to Lynchburg. Pulled into Tims Ford state park which was really nice and had the whole place to ourselves. Went over to the Jack daniels distillary and did the tour which was great and i highly recommend. Spent the rest of the day walking around the old town square and just had a really good time. Went back to the camper around 4 or so , grilled up some burgers and had dinner and built a fire. Terrific trip up to this point and then this is where it all goes south. Our next stop was Chattanooga for 3 days. I packed up in the rain yesterday and figured it was going to be a washout all day but thursday and friday was supposed to be good. we left lynchburg around 9am and headed towards chattanooga. Mostly in the rain, but nothing major.
We made it as far as the georgia/tennessee state line when i came up on a small overpass over just a small stream or something. I was doing MAYBE 50mph and when i got to the overpass the road was grooved like they do when they are tearing uup a road for resurfacing, but i was told by the state police that they do that for ice purposes. So anyway, i hit the beginning of that bridge and i felt the trailer sway to the left. I corrected and thought i had it back under control but then it slid the opposite was and i just couldnt get it back. The trailer came completly around me and had the truck facing into traffic. The trailer worked it's way to the left shoulder of the road and when it hit the grass and mud it rolled. The only thing that saved me from the truck rolling also, was my weight distribution bars came detached and just one of the safety chains grabbed onto it and kept the truck from following the trailer. Oh, and also the ball on the hitch came completly out of the receiver on the trailer. I'm not sure this should have happened ,, but i'm kinda glad it did because i'm thinking that if it would have stayed together as one unit between the truck, the weight dist. hitch and the trailer, they also would have rolled together. So , that was my weekend. I'm pretty sure the trailer is a total loss. my truck however is pretty much fine. The only thing visibly wrong is the bar from the dist. hitch poked a hole right thru the bumper and dented the left side of it, and my tailgate seems to be a little twisted to the left. it still opens but the groove on the left side is almost touching the bottom while the right side of the tailgate at the bottom has a bigger gap.
Anyway, if you'd like to see some pictures of what happened, go to my winkflash page and click on the folder that says Flagstaff wreck.
Honestly, i have to say, for the force that it hit the ground with, it stayed together really well. The inside looked worse then anything with everything flying around inside. but take a look for yourself.

got to : www. eandsphotography.winkflash.com
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Old 11-11-2009, 10:41 AM   #2
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Really hate to hear about stories like that....THANK GOD you're OK!! It just goes to show how easily stuff can happen in the blink of an eye. Hopefully your insurance is good, and will replace your unit without any problems. Again, sorry to hear of your loss. Randy
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Old 11-11-2009, 11:38 AM   #3
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So sorry to hear of your accidents...accidents happen so quickly. But thankful that you and your parents are okay. Mildred & Derrill
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Old 11-11-2009, 11:42 AM   #4
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Sorry to hear of your accident. Thankfully everyone is alright. I hate those grooves whether they're resurfacing or being used for help in icy situations. It doesn't matter what you drive, the road just seems to move you all over the place. Hopefully your insurance company will work this out for you in a timely manner. Best wishes, Charlie
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Old 11-11-2009, 11:51 AM   #5
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So sorry to hear of your misfortune, but I'm glad to hear your alright. Things can be replaced but people can't. So was there black ice on the road or standing water? I am surprised to see the trailer is in one piece as from your description I was expecting nothing but pieces everywhere.

Again, glad to know you and your family are o.k. if not a bit shaken up.

Take care..
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Old 11-11-2009, 03:49 PM   #6
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Glad to hear you and your family are OK. When I was a kid we were pulling a 25' Prowler with a full size Ford van in North Carolina. A passing motorist blew a tire and hit us between the TV & Trailer. This forced the trailer off the road in to the shoulder. The trailer dug into the dirt just as you had described. Be happy your hitch came undone as ours did not. The trailer flipped applying torque to the hitch which flipped the van 1&1/2 times down the highway. Needless to say we only had 1 broken bone and a few stitches. On the flip side we met some great folks who helped us and my parents still speak to them till this day. After that the old man bought a F350 Crew Cab Dually with a fith. He figured you could only get that on its side. Some times good things come out of bad things. Hope the same holds true for you and you are back on the road soon.
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Old 11-11-2009, 04:31 PM   #7
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I am surprised to see the trailer is in one piece as from your description I was expecting nothing but pieces everywhere.
Let's hear it for Forest River! That bonded wall process is a wonderful thing. If that had been a wood framed aluminum skinned trailer you'd still be picking up the pieces.

I'd have the frame on the truck looked at. It's probably gonna need a trip to the frame shop.

It's great though that you walked away from it. I'd say God likes you.
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Old 11-11-2009, 04:35 PM   #8
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WOW! So sorry to hear of this. It is never a good thing but as many others have stated, you are ok and that's what really matters. Being originally from PA I know all to well about ice conditions and how they can get you. I would assume, as it seems you already have, that the rig is a loss. Sure wouldn't want it back after all that.

Hope you had ample insurance.

Once again, glad to hear you are all ok!
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Old 11-11-2009, 05:08 PM   #9
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I talked to the insurance adjuster today and they had the trailer brought up to the dealer i bought it from. He took one look at it and said , No way can it be fixed. total loss. They were bringing it right to a salvage yard and said i should have a check by monday.

Radio: the tow truck driver said the same thing and expected it to just fall apart when he flipped it back over. he was even surprised to say the least that it stayed in as good condition as it did. I brought my truck to the chevy dealership today and they came back with a $2000 dollar repair bill and i got a rental car now in the mean time. A beautiful new hyundai accent. Wow, you talk about luxury here now!!!(sarcasm)
Anyway, the guy at chevy told me that of course they will check the frame but since it's a 2500 he said most likely everything is fine with it. He did say that if it would have been a 1/2 ton then the force of the trailer flipping probably would have twisted the frame like a pretzel. So to that other discussion that had been going on in here last week about comparing a 1/2 ton to 3/4 ton, here's one more reason why bigger is better. you CANNOT have too much truck , EVER. period.
The back bumper was messed up pretty bad and so was the hitch so that willl be replaced and other then that just some minor paint work on each side of the bed.

kegstealer: I've been thinking the same thing about the fifth wheel. I'd like to get everyone's opinion on that subject. Do you think a fifth wheel rides better with no sway as compared to a TT. If i'd have had a 5'er instead do you think this would have turned out different?


Here's another question i'm pondering... I used an equalizer brand hitch for my weight dist. set-up. While i'm thankful that it did come undone from the ball, should this have really happened? Also the bars came completly out of the brackets mounted to the trailer. How this happened is completly beyond me because the lock-in pins were still in place with the cotter pin atttached. I believe that if it would have stayed together as one unit like it actually should have then i would have tumbled right along with the trailer, but in reality I just dont know if the hitch did what it was supposed to or if the failure to do what it was supposed to saved my life..
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Old 11-11-2009, 05:43 PM   #10
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stuff can be replaced. people can't

happy you are all ok
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Old 11-11-2009, 06:18 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by eandsphotography View Post
I'd like to get everyone's opinion on that subject. Do you think a fifth wheel rides better with no sway as compared to a TT. If i'd have had a 5'er instead do you think this would have turned out different?
I had read somewhere in the past of a study of RV safety. While NO RV is completely safe from a handling or crash worthiness standpoint they did rate them from best to worst by class (relatively speaking). I remember that 5th wheel trailers came out better than normal trailers. I would guess that the point where the weight is carried has a lot to do with it. Focusing the weight and leverage behind the rear bumper with a normal trailer proved to be less desirable than putting it above or ahead of the rear axle such as in a 5th wheel. Consider that you don't see semi trucks pulling their weight from behind the tractor but always over the axles just as with a 5th wheel.

I myself have never been a "trailer" type of person preferring a Class A or Class C for personal reasons experienced when I was a kid (I'd go into the story but it is a bit long) over trailers or truck campers. However if I was to go the trailer route I wouldn't personally consider anything but a 5er, for many (again personal) reasons. Others may have a different viewpoint and valid reasons for choosing the RV they do.

Look on the bright side though, now you get to shop for and buy a new rig, that's always fun.
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Old 11-11-2009, 07:15 PM   #12
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1st of all I'm very happy that you & your family came through without any serious injuries. Miracles happen every day!

Regarding RV safety I did a bunch of research before I bought mine. I highly recommend two sites:

1) http://rv.org/index.html

These folks are RV safety experts and they rate RVs for safety. I bought a full membership and received the RV ratings CDs.

A quote from their site regarding 5ers:
"The fifth wheel type of trailer has been used in the trucking industry for almost 100 years because it is a safe way of carrying heavy loads. It's safe because the hitch configuration allows the trailer to be attached over the truck's rear wheels, and typically up to 20 percent of its hitch weight to be exerted on the front suspension of the towing vehicle. Because of its forgiving nature to road and driving conditions, commercial truckers use the fifth wheel hitch configuration to carry extremely heavy loads. A fifth wheel trailer will stick to the tow vehicle through thick and thin. In many adverse handling situations, a fifth wheel trailer will actually enhance the ability of the tow vehicle to stick to the road. Whether in tractor-trailer rigs or in travel trailers, the fifth wheel configuration is popular because of its safety and handling capabilities."

Also I highly recommend this guy:

http://rveducation101.com/

I bought his RV Driving 101 DVD set. VERY informative. I have no doubt it will save my rig someday and probably my life. I plan to watch them every spring.
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Old 11-11-2009, 08:27 PM   #13
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We're very sorry to hear of your accident...thankfully no injuries.
Hopefully the insurance company will settle quickly and painlessly.
Take care,
Dave & Monica
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Old 11-11-2009, 09:23 PM   #14
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Glad to hear you are O.K. As far as safety aspect, I never had an issue with the TT's I pulled. Couple of years ago I was towing my 29' 5er with wife, Mom & Dad in a SB F250. Cruising down I495 in Mass, following a tractor trailer. Never saw the huge bump coming (road under const.) and when we hit it, the hitch picked the whole rear axle of the truck off the road. Started to pivot, but it came back down enough for me to straighten out. Probably biggest scare I ever had.
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Old 11-12-2009, 12:22 AM   #15
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Wow glad you`re all ok like the others said campers can be replaced your alive and no one was hurt or killed as far as the hitch coming undone maybe a little extra in the church collection is in order and i`m not a religious guy either
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Old 11-12-2009, 09:21 AM   #16
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kegstealer: I've been thinking the same thing about the fifth wheel. I'd like to get everyone's opinion on that subject. Do you think a fifth wheel rides better with no sway as compared to a TT. If i'd have had a 5'er instead do you think this would have turned out different?
The following opinion may be worth what you paid for it:

1. 5th wheels by their nature are less prone to sway than TT. If they do get a little squirrelly I have read that you get on the gas AND the trailer brakes and that, in theory, should straighten things up. If you can remember to do this as your life passes before your minds eye...

2. Once the 5th wheel has decided it's going over on it's side, there's good news and bad news: It is NOT EVER going to disconnect from the truck and the truck is going over, too. The good news is the truck IS NOT going over on the roof, just up on its side. Of all the nasty pics of RV wrecks people have posted on the 'net, I have never seen a fiver roll completely upside down. Many properly belted in fiver drivers have walked away from their ruined rigs laying over on its side.
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Old 11-13-2009, 07:32 AM   #17
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I would never go back to a pull behind after having a 5ver.
Much more stable while towing the passing trucks don't push it around and hooking up is a one man job.
But if the trailer rolls so will you due to the attachment point.
Glad you are all safe.
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Old 11-13-2009, 09:51 AM   #18
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Well, met with the adjuster yesterday and we went over what the trailer was worth. Let's say i made out better then if i would have sold it to a private party. I got MSRP on it, which was more then i paid for it so i'm very happy with my insurance company right now.
All in all, that bad day turned out to be a prett good one.

thanks to everyone who wished me well and for your comments.

Erik
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Old 11-13-2009, 10:05 AM   #19
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Well, met with the adjuster yesterday and we went over what the trailer was worth. Let's say i made out better then if i would have sold it to a private party. I got MSRP on it, which was more then i paid for it so i'm very happy with my insurance company right now.
All in all, that bad day turned out to be a prett good one.

thanks to everyone who wished me well and for your comments.

Erik
That's great to hear. Now you can start your homework for the replacement. I'm glad everything worked out for you. Have a great day!

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Old 11-13-2009, 04:33 PM   #20
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mightymike: Never saw the huge bump coming (road under const.) and when we hit it, the hitch picked the whole rear axle of the truck off the road. Started to pivot, but it came back down enough for me to straighten out. Probably biggest scare I ever had."

Hey mike. After reading this i'm beginning to think that this is what happened to me.
I was just going over a small bridge overpass but there was just a slight bump going onto the bridge and i'm wondering if maybe it was enough to just get the back tires on the truck to lose traction and it just went south from there. It's about the best explanation i've come up with so far.
This also goes along with my other theory of my weight dist hitch. Just 3 weeks ago i got rid of my dodge ram 1500 which i used to tow this trailer. My hitch was set-up by my trailer dealer when i bought it so when i bought the chevy 2500 a few weeks ago and i got it home and hooked it up to the trailer it seemed to squat the rearend more then what i wanted. I moved up the L brackets mounted to the trailer by one hole to take some weight off the back and move it to the front of the truck. I am now second guessing myself as if this and that bridge bump caused the weight on the front end to lift the rear of the truck just enough to lose traction and cause the skid. I dont know, but it's just a theory that i've come up with.
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