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Old 06-18-2024, 12:40 PM   #1
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Fire in battery compartment.

First post here and thanks for having me.
I'm not sure if this is the correct forum for this, so forgive me if I have posted in the wrong one.

We purchased a new 2022 Forest River RLF2891BH in August of 2023 and used it twice before the 12v system failed. The converter was replaced and I picked up the 5th wheel and parked it for the winter.

The first week of April we needed the camper for my son to stay in and I brought it home to prep it for camping. The following morning is where everything went haywire. I noticed I had no lights on the camper so I returned home to grab a volt meter and could smell an electrical fire. I found the wiring harness in the battery area burned to a crisp.

Fast forward to last week (June 10th), the camper is still at the dealership. I spoke with a representative sent from Indiana to look at it. He stated the problem started with the emergency brake system and that it would be an insurance claim. And speaking with the service advisor, its quoted to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $10k to repair.

I disagree with the repair process here and believe this is unacceptable when this unit is still under warranty. Reading the warranty statement, it should be covered.

It appears they're not going to budge on this and I am just about to my wits end

Does anyone here have a good contact number I could call at Forest River that won't run me around in circles?

Because at this point my wife and I haven't had much of an opportunity to utilize this camper and I'm just about ready to walk away from it.

I would certainly like to give them an opportunity to make this right rather than my other options.

Thanks for the time.

Pat
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Old 06-18-2024, 01:48 PM   #2
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First question what is a Forest River RLF2891BH ? That's like say you have a General Motors. Then you need to contact that division.

If the pin was pulled and left out of the brake away system, and the system overheated you are probably not looking at a warranty issue. It would be operator error.

But it would be a good idea to contact your division.....

Did the dealer (hoping it is not camping world) tell you what exactly caused your issues?? Hard for us to say without more information.
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Old 06-18-2024, 02:41 PM   #3
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I would try to get the dealer's rejection in writing. Something does not make sense. The emergency brake system is a switch. That's it and it should be protected by a fuse. There should be no fuse in an RV that is big enough to allow that kind of damage. I would get it to an independent RV mechanic. immediately to have a documented second professional opinion.
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Old 06-18-2024, 02:53 PM   #4
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I would try to get the dealer's rejection in writing. Something does not make sense. The emergency brake system is a switch. That's it and it should be protected by a fuse. There should be no fuse in an RV that is big enough to allow that kind of damage. I would get it to an independent RV mechanic. immediately to have a documented second professional opinion.
There was no factory installed inline fuse on my emergency braking system.
The switch got activated accidently once and it melted the wires and switch.
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Old 06-18-2024, 03:33 PM   #5
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I am surprised there is no fuse. What is even more surprising is if in fact it was the breakaway system the design and wire size should be able to handle it.
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Old 06-18-2024, 04:15 PM   #6
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Mine had a 10A inline fuse and I measured 7A when activated. Seems like that could run all day until your battery died.

If the unfused section of the wire were to be shorted, that would be a different result and certainly an installation fault at the factory.
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Old 06-18-2024, 05:02 PM   #7
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gotta be a damn good eagle eye fire marshal
to work out which of those wires was the start of the fire?
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Old 06-18-2024, 05:18 PM   #8
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I am surprised there is no fuse. What is even more surprising is if in fact it was the breakaway system the design and wire size should be able to handle it.
If the emergency break-away brake can burn out your battery wiring harness it is a major design flaw. The EBA uses around 3 amps per brake-that would be somewhere around 12 amps total?

What am I missing here? I find it impossible to believe. Firstly, the emergency brake was not engaged when you brought the TT home because you would have noticed it. So somehow sitting in your driveway, the brake got released and burned up the battery harness?

I don't know the layout of your battery setup, but theoretically the whole trailer could have caught fire with someone sleeping in it all because of a break-away brake?

IMO, either the story is more complex than you understand it to be, or, the manufacturer is trying to pull a fast one.

Ask for a written technical explanation. Get a lawyer to send a letter to the dealer and manufacturer. Hopefully you live in a consumer friendly State.
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Old 06-18-2024, 05:24 PM   #9
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The Emergency brake switch should have only killed the battery, not start a fire, your being hosed! They just do not want to cover it, defiantly talk to corporate.
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Old 06-18-2024, 05:45 PM   #10
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Anymore details? What exactly burned up? At 10,000 dollars I would think all the DC wires burned up? That is a lot of money?


If you are insured, I would think the insurance company would evaluate the damage and do the fighting with the manufacturer and (or) dealer?
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Old 06-18-2024, 06:14 PM   #11
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Hopefully the OP will come back and fill in the blanks. So far they have only 1 post and are off line.

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Old 06-18-2024, 08:42 PM   #12
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I know exactly where that fire happened. This is the rat's nest that I found in that location in my 2021 Forest River Salem Hemisphere 290RL 5er. The ebrake actuator is the orange/white wire in this photo (can you spot it?). It is not fused. There are so many opportunities for catastrophic failure in this mess. I redid it all and pulled out a LOT of wire that was unnecessary.
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Old 06-18-2024, 10:30 PM   #13
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He has a Rockwood Ultra Lite. He needs to contact the Rockwood division.
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Old 06-19-2024, 07:42 AM   #14
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I know exactly where that fire happened. This is the rat's nest that I found in that location in my 2021 Forest River Salem Hemisphere 290RL 5er. The ebrake actuator is the orange/white wire in this photo (can you spot it?). It is not fused. There are so many opportunities for catastrophic failure in this mess. I redid it all and pulled out a LOT of wire that was unnecessary.
I am no neat freak, but I don't think I could be that disorganized even if I tried very hard. That is beyond sloppy.

I have thought many times that the purpose of a chloroplast was probably to obscure the disorganized mess of wires hidden under my TT, not to protect the underbelly and limit wind resistance.
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Old 06-19-2024, 07:49 AM   #15
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I know exactly where that fire happened. This is the rat's nest that I found in that location in my 2021 Forest River Salem Hemisphere 290RL 5er. The ebrake actuator is the orange/white wire in this photo (can you spot it?). It is not fused. There are so many opportunities for catastrophic failure in this mess. I redid it all and pulled out a LOT of wire that was unnecessary.
There is an argument for not fusing that wire. However if you are not going to fuse it, you need to make it large enough so that it can't burn up. Does that wire run directly from the battery uninterrupted?
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Old 06-19-2024, 08:16 AM   #16
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There is an argument for not fusing that wire. However if you are not going to fuse it, you need to make it large enough so that it can't burn up. Does that wire run directly from the battery uninterrupted?
It does not. They ran a 4 ga wire to the input on a 50A auto reset breaker. They hooked the 12 ga wire to the ebrake switch to the same input post. Not a terrible way to do it, but not the best. FWIW, I would not want a fuse in my ebrake wire. But I also don't want a short burning my trailer down. Using a bigger wire doesn't help that, maybe makes it worse. I solved the issue by installing a dedicated battery for the ebrakes, the small kind that is used for trailers that don't have their own battery. I fused the charge wire for the ebrake battery and installed the ebrake battery right next to the ebrake switch. Very safe now.
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Old 06-19-2024, 09:22 AM   #17
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real dumb question here: is the battery installed correctly? my neighbor installed one backwards and everything "worked" until he plugged it in to shore power and the battery and wiring got HOT in a hurry.

i could see the dealer removing the battery to change out the converter and when re-installing the battery, getting it backwards.
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Old 06-19-2024, 12:51 PM   #18
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I have made the point or tried to many times that undersized wire can burn without blowing the fuse or breaker.

The brakes are a magnet that from what I read maxes out at 7 amps. With a 10 amp fuse why would it burn the wire? The field of a magnet is an induction coil and are not intended for 100% duty cycle. More like 20% if I had to guess and no I didn’t research that. I’m just guessing drawing upon a very distant education. Where something like a motor used the electrical energy to create motion a magnet is more or less a dead short and creates heat.

If the wire were energized 20% of the time then no problem

I do agree that most wiring in rvs are a mess and it’s a wonder more fires don’t start. To that point some on this forum and others will say builders conform to strict standards so they can display a conformity label on the outside. To say work like that is within any standard or code is laughable
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