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Old 10-15-2019, 01:39 PM   #1
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Salem Hemisphere 266RLBS self destructing

In June we traveled to Kentucky from Florida to camp with our children. We own a 2015 Salem Hemisphere 266RLBS. After our first stop in Georgia we noticed that a gap had developed on the underbelly. Also notice a crack in the fiberglass side and a big bulge at the top of the bedroom slide. By the time we got to Kentucky the gap had become larger. At that time I contacted Forest River customer service and sent them pictures. I emphasized with them that I thought it was being caused by a structural failure. There answer was that it appeared to them to being caused by water damage. This being the case, I tightened all the screws holding the molding in place, and re caulked the molding. Didn't make a difference as soon as I hooked up again the crack reappeared. Upon our return to Florida, the gap had gotten bigger, the propane door molding had pulled away from the side by 1/4 inch and the door was dragging on the bottom. Gaps between the moldings and the fiberglass sides were opening up everywhere. Went to a local RV dealer an explained the situation and he suggested that I turn it into my insurance company. Progressive sent out an adjuster and he told be that the under belly cover would have to be removed so that he could inspect the hitch/pin box. He felt the problem was being caused in this area. I removed the covering only to find multiple cracks in the main frame of the hitch. The adjuster returned and denied my claim stating that it was caused by a manufacturers defect. At this time, I wrote to Peter Leigi, The president and founding father of Forest River. He did reply and stated that they take these types of issues seriously. A company man was then sent out from Lippert Components, the manufacturer of the 5th wheel trailer. He notated that there were several cracks in the frame (one as big as 4 1/2 inches) and took measurements both loaded and unloaded. These measurements changed by 1/2 inch when the weight was applied. One can only imagine how much they change going down the road at speed. After completing his inspection, he told me that he would turn in his report right away. After several weeks of not hearing from FR. I contacted Doug Gaeddert, Head of the Salem division whom it had been referred to. He had no recollection and I had to refresh his memory. A couple of weeks later, I received a copy of the report. The report stated LCI axles installed, Springs are flat, cracks in front crossover tube above the risers, Roadside 1/2" horizontal crack, Curbside 4 1/2" horizontal crack, both appear to be material failure, Crack 1/4" next to weld in gusset,Tube beside gusset has some porosity and cracked along the bottom only, Vertical welds on tube do not appear to have any cracks, Cracked welds, aluminum wall structure, Loose screws. Then he lists the upper deck flex measurements Road side varies by 7/16 " Curbside 1/4" Final conclusion, lack of seal maintenance has led to water intrusion and appears to be the cause of all the welds breaking. No assistance to be rendered. Again I wrote to Peter Liegl pleading my case that the weld failures are the cause not the result of water damage. To date, no response. I had several welders look at it and they are not willing to weld it up due to the potential liability down the road. I now own a 5th wheel that I am afraid to tow, can't get fixed and won't sell to anyone else. Folks, this thing isn't safe to tow down the road. It is flexing badly and causing all of the caulking joints to fail. The cracks keep getting bigger. I am telling everyone to beware of the Junk that Forest River and Lippert components is producing and getting away with. It is only a matter of time until some one experiences a catastrophic failure and suffers damage and or injury. My next letter will be to the NHSTB, attorney general of the USA and the attorney general of Indiana asking for an immediate investigation and recall of every hyper lite/ ultra light RV utilizing Lippert Component trailers which I understand to be about 95% of the industry. In the mean time, carry your caulking gun on your hip.
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Old 10-15-2019, 01:48 PM   #2
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Lippert components Frame damage

Frame failure pictures I forgot to include
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Old 10-18-2019, 01:25 PM   #3
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I have never heard of water intrusion causing a weld to break. Sounds to me like it is a standard "go to" excuse. If water is the problem,ask them to explain why the pin box itself didn't fall apart when it is exposed to the elements. Or why all the open decked trailers hold together. Can you get a WRITTEN statement from a local weld shop that you trust?
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Old 10-19-2019, 08:29 AM   #4
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In my letter to The President of Forest River I said the same thing. If water damage or water intrusion is causing steel welds to break the entire RV industry is in dire straights. I have had two different welders look at the damaged areas and probably could get them to write me a letter but at this point don't feel it would do much good. You are correct when you say it is their go to excuse. They just will not accept any responsibility for the failure of their products. If water damage can cause a severe result as cracking welds, then they should take a whole lot more preventative care when building these time bombs so that they won't leak. Problem is they know they have a problem and as long as they can get away with it they will continue to dump this crap on us. All about the bottom line. Glad to here someone else agrees with me. The RV industry is supposed to be self regulating but as we know it isn't. I hate government regulation, but we RV'rs need to rise up and demand that they begin to build a better product. This can only be accomplished by informing the State Attorneys, NHSTB, US attorney generals etc. and demand that safety standards be imposed on the industry. I for one am tired of having to repair everything that breaks after every trip. I am going to do my part, Hope others will join my fight.
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Old 10-19-2019, 09:35 AM   #5
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I wonder if sending pictures and descriptions to the NTSB would be helpfull? There is absolutely NO reason for the frame to fail like that UNLESS there deficiencies in the assembly process allowing an unsafe product to be produced. Maybe also send copies to your State's Attorney General?
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Old 10-19-2019, 10:11 AM   #6
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I am in the process of writing to all of them and definitely will include pictures. Thanks for your support.
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Old 10-19-2019, 02:03 PM   #7
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I am highly surprised they didnít go with.....
You overloaded it.
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Old 10-19-2019, 10:23 PM   #8
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I wouldn’t write anything more, I would have a lawyer write the letter for me.

Your going to get nowhere. Same thing happened to friends of mine- frame catastrophically failed on their Heartland. Lippert blamed an accident and ultimately, that rig is in storage and the owners have bought a new rig.
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Old 10-20-2019, 05:36 PM   #9
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Contact your local news outlet or the one in the town the dealership is located. I'd bet they would absolutely love to run a consumer Safety alert type story. You'd be gobsmacked how quick that will get a dealer off their butt to fix the problem.
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