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Old 02-23-2021, 05:00 AM   #1
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How common are trailer frame failures?

I've just read dozens of posts on the subject of mounting a hitch or carrier on a travel trailer rear bumper. In general it looks to me like I'm going to need to review my options for mounting something directly to the frame of my 22RBHL.

One point of concern though is the common mention of "it will void the frame warranty". So I'm wondering just how often the frames fail, especially the hyper lite's which are supposed to be weaker frames to start with?

I have close to zero regard for Forest River warranty. But now I'm wondering is my frame going to fail and if so in what way? Might the wheels drop off? Will the cross members fail at their weld joints? What are the chances of the drawbar tearing from the frame? Do the frames really fail or is it mythical?

Why do Forest River warranty the frame and highlight the warranty will be voided if anything is added to the rear bumper?

Right now I'm thinking about extending the I beams on both sides and installing a new bar (maybe an I beam) from side to side with the objective of safely supporting 300 lbs approximately 18" from the rear of the trailer. If I go ahead with that idea, I think I may as well remove the 4" bumper bar unless that would be best left intact for insurance or any regulatory requirements.

Does anyone have experience of frame failure or warranty issues and/or knowledge of any legal aspect relating to the factory bumper bar?
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Old 02-23-2021, 06:06 AM   #2
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Forest River doesn’t warrant the frame — Lippert does.

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Old 02-23-2021, 06:44 AM   #3
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Two issues. The frame is not designed to carry such a load and 300# on the tail end is going to screw up weight distribution and affect stability of the rig while operating. Don't screw around.
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Old 02-23-2021, 07:05 AM   #4
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X2 - that kind of overload cantilevered off the back is a recipe for severe sway. Don't do it.
Watch as this guy goes by the truck - exactly what you are thinking of doing.
https://youtu.be/siVH_cr5ZnE

https://www.doityourselfrv.com/speed...r-wreck-video/
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Old 02-23-2021, 08:02 AM   #5
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Just because there is weight at the rear of the TT does not mean that you will have sway. If you load the trailer to compensate for the weight at the rear you will be fine assuming you stay within your TT's numbers. So, bikes on the back do not cause sway. A lack of understanding physics does.

You are correct about being concerned about modifying the frame. The additional weight cantilevered off the rear end could exceed what the frame can handle. A poor job welding on the frame can also cause trouble.
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Old 02-23-2021, 11:49 AM   #6
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Assuming the load is always correctly loaded which is a very big IFF. You are changing the characteristics of the trailer with the overhang/cantilever behind the axles and it will take more weight than you're loading out at that point to get back to a minimum of 10% of max. weight capacity on the hitch all without going over max. payload. How many people do you know that actually run pin weights and trailer axle balance calculations.

Bicycles I agree are light. It's the platform and the option to load a LOT more that are the risk.
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Old 02-23-2021, 12:17 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by dedobias View Post
Assuming the load is always correctly loaded which is a very big IFF. You are changing the characteristics of the trailer with the overhang/cantilever behind the axles and it will take more weight than you're loading out at that point to get back to a minimum of 10% of max. weight capacity on the hitch all without going over max. payload. How many people do you know that actually run pin weights and trailer axle balance calculations.

Bicycles I agree are light. It's the platform and the option to load a LOT more that are the risk.
It does not necessarily take more weight up front than what is put on the rear. It depends on where the rear weight is and where the extra weight is put up front.

Instead of telling everyone that it cannot be done, wouldn't it be better to tell them how it can be done and let them decide if they want to do it? You are correct, some thought is required.

This is similar to telling everyone they cannot have any cell phones in their cars without explaining that some people text which distracts them and that causes accidents. It's not the cell phones it's the people that cause the problem.
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Old 02-23-2021, 12:32 PM   #8
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You have a higher degree of confidence in peoples ability to do the design work then remember to self police trailer loading than I do. I think more common are people who load a generator, fuel and a weeks worth of firewood with NO comprehension of the effects.
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Old 02-23-2021, 04:09 PM   #9
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What is the Lippert warranty? I couldn.t find any specifics in dealer provided paperwork.
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Old 02-23-2021, 04:16 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by hobienick View Post
Just because there is weight at the rear of the TT does not mean that you will have sway.
I completely agree with hobienick's comment.

I also agree with the concept that if you don't know what you are doing it may be best not to try it.

I'll probably give LCI a call and see what they have to say because I don't buy into the idea that a trailer frame would fail with 300 lbs at 18" off the back.

It leads me back to my original question though of what will actually fail, where and how? I guess the key thing I am looking for is the definition of "Failure" when it comes to a travel trailer frame. A "fail" due to sway or bad loading is different to a structural frame failure. Tire inflation could be another "fail" due to overloading, but again that is not the same as frame failure.
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Old 02-23-2021, 04:31 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by dedobias View Post
X2 - that kind of overload cantilevered off the back is a recipe for severe sway. Don't do it.
Watch as this guy goes by the truck - exactly what you are thinking of doing.
https://youtu.be/siVH_cr5ZnE

https://www.doityourselfrv.com/speed...r-wreck-video/


Wow! That is one heck of a scary wreck.
Video certainly wakes you up. Thank you for sharing.
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Old 02-23-2021, 04:39 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by dedobias View Post
X2 - that kind of overload cantilevered off the back is a recipe for severe sway. Don't do it.
Watch as this guy goes by the truck - exactly what you are thinking of doing.
https://youtu.be/siVH_cr5ZnE

https://www.doityourselfrv.com/speed...r-wreck-video/
Without question SPEED had everything to do with that sway event. Watch how fast he noses past the semi I'd guess a good 15MPH difference. The semi looked to be going 60-65 based on the speed of the passing guardrails. He hits the bow wave and S*** hits the fan. As to the stuff hanging behind the TT doubtful it contributed.
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Old 02-23-2021, 04:58 PM   #13
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There are a lot of contributing factors. Not just speed. I'm betting the rear suspension on that SUV was maxed out with the tongue weight. Not to mention what was in the SUV. WDH could be set up wrong too.
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Old 02-23-2021, 05:01 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Mike134 View Post
Without question SPEED had everything to do with that sway event. Watch how fast he noses past the semi I'd guess a good 15MPH difference. The semi looked to be going 60-65 based on the speed of the passing guardrails. He hits the bow wave and S*** hits the fan. As to the stuff hanging behind the TT doubtful it contributed.
i agree, the amount of wind that the semi is pushing, add in the light tongue weight due to all the crap strapped to the back, and it is just a recipe for disaster... anyone ever wonder why semis pass eachother so slowly? so this doesnt happen due to the amount of air that gets pushed out around them...
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Old 02-23-2021, 07:24 PM   #15
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We've put about 30,000 miles on our 22. FR Wildwood, and the only problem is cracks in the frame at the attach points of the spring ends, and the added angle iron bracing. . . . Lots of folks have had problems from putting stress on the 4" sewer hose
holder.
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Old 02-23-2021, 07:57 PM   #16
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I beefed my rear bumper up and added two platforms to carry my Honda generators plus a metal milk crate for a gas can. It held up going up and back to Alaska so I guess it's OK.
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Old 02-23-2021, 10:59 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by CustomBuild View Post
Does anyone have experience of frame failure or warranty issues and/or knowledge of any legal aspect relating to the factory bumper bar?
Those bumpers are not rated to carry any weight so putting something on the bumper is not advised. They don't want you mounting something to it that might fall off as you travel down the road and cause an accident behind you. They are more of a protection for the rear of the trailer in case you back into something or someone hits you.

However, welding bars onto that frame and carrying 300 lbs. on the back will probably void any frame warranty. Not to mention the concerns voiced in previous posts.
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Old 02-24-2021, 12:26 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Stormy Dayton View Post
We've put about 30,000 miles on our 22. FR Wildwood, and the only problem is cracks in the frame at the attach points of the spring ends, and the added angle iron bracing. . . . Lots of folks have had problems from putting stress on the 4" sewer hose
holder.
How visible are the cracks and how did you first come across them?

Would periodic inspection of the frame and weld joints possibly be a good idea?

I'm just wondering what I should be looking for and the best way to go about it.
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Old 02-24-2021, 12:36 AM   #19
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I beefed my rear bumper up and added two platforms to carry my Honda generators plus a metal milk crate for a gas can. It held up going up and back to Alaska so I guess it's OK.
How did you beef it up? Did you use an off the shelf kit or get something fabricated in steel?

I was looking at my frame today and thinking about the possibility of extending it about 24" with bolt on or welded L bar or rectangular tubing then bolting on or welding a similar profile as a cross member. This would leave the existing 4" bumper unaffected and be relying on the integrity of the frame I beams.

After I've thought about it a bit more, I'll call the frame maker and see if they shoot my plan down in flames.
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Old 02-24-2021, 12:41 AM   #20
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......They are more of a protection for the rear of the trailer in case you back into something.......
That's a good point. I've occasionally had a run in with the campground table when backing in late at night in the dark. And I got a BBQ pit one time, although I recall that was with my tire.
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