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Old 07-02-2015, 11:32 PM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 60
Freedom Express 310BHDS - New Coupler & Tongue jack

So a while back the latch broke on the coupler on our new 2016. This is going to be a bit long winded but wanted to share out experience with getting it fixed.

Option 1 - Taking it back to the selling dealer and letting them deal with it. Unfortunately our dealer is about 3 hours away so spending the time and gas to take it back, leave it there, drive home, drive back when its ready, and then drive it home again was not really a suitable option.

In the future when we purchase an RV, it will be from a local dealer even if the price is more just for the sake of convenience when it comes to service.

We went with them (to save about 5-6 thousand compared to the local dealer that would not negotiate) not understanding the warranty process for RV's is nothing like we've been exposed to for some time in the auto industry. We assumed we could get service from any Coachmen dealer which is not the case. The local Coachmen dealer wouldn't even give us the time of day when they found out the unit was not purchased from them.

Option 2 - I tried contacting Steve & Simon (the Freedom Express Sales & Service contacts listed on the Coachmen website) multiple times via email to get Coachmen's stance on repairing the coupler and possible reimbursement and never got any response. Their listed phone numbers were also never answered and went straight to voicemail. Unfortunately I gave up on trying to contact them and it seems like Coachmen customer service is not to the level we expected either.

Option 3 - Our dealer is part of a service network that has a partner dealership nearby, but they would not help as they did not have a certified welder on staff to replace the coupler.

Option 4 - I researched replacement couplers online and found a local hitch shop that would supply and install the new coupler which is what we ended up doing.

The original coupler was an Atwood:
Atwood A-Frame Trailer Coupler - Thumb Latch - 2-5/16" Ball - Weld On - 13,000 lbs Atwood Trailer Coupler AT81912

The coupler we decided to replace it with was this one from Demco:
21,000 lb. G.V.W.R 50° Mount | Demco Products

Received a quote of 1-2 hours of labour to cut off the old coupler and weld on the new one, so made an appointment with the shop and dropped off the truck & trailer the night before.

There was a bit of a delay with the shop which was not a problem as we didn't need the unit right away and when they were finished a couple days later they asked if I would like them to repair the tongue jack as well as it was bent. I told them there had been nothing wrong with the jack and they said they would call me back.
When they called back they owned up to bottoming it out in their parking lot entrance (small incline) and were replacing it also.

The original jack was an LCI jack which has a storied failure history online in these forums and others.
Power Tongue Jack

The new jack is from Bulldog:
Bulldog Powered-Drive Trailer Jack - Drop Leg - A-Frame - 14" Lift - 3,500 lbs - Black Bulldog Trailer Jack BD500187

It is a bit deeper (the back of the head touches the propane cover now) but we're happy with the replacement given some of the history on the LCI failing.

The only other problem after they bottomed it out were the U bolts on the WDH bars (where the chains attach) were bent after scraping the pavement as well which they also repaired for me.

Overall happy with the work the shop did and them owning up to (any paying for fixing) the problem and we're now fully repaired and good to go!
2015/05/04 - 2016 Coachmen Freedom Express 310BHDS Maple Leaf Edition
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