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Old 07-07-2014, 10:38 AM   #1
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Sidewall crack!

I have a 13 Wildcat 312 BHX-OK that has a crack in the rounded transition part of the front overhang! When the fifth wheel pin is in the hitch and the landing legs are up the crack opens up, and when all weight is on landing legs and unhooked the crack closes up!
Anyone else have this problem?
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Old 07-07-2014, 11:05 AM   #2
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Sure sounds like flex in the frame in the pinbox/chin area. Some small amount is common...how much is it flexing? Photos?

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Old 07-07-2014, 11:22 AM   #3
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Not sure how to upload pictures! I believe there is excessive frame flexing to cause this, but Forest River assures me its not a structural issue!! Don't believe it myself and their proposed fix is to reshape that area, essentially cutting out the cracked area!!
I you look at that rounded transition area from under the overhang from the opposite side you will see a triangulated area and the crack is on the other side of that and that is what they want to cut out and reshape!
Not to keen on proposed fix!
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Old 07-07-2014, 01:06 PM   #4
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Try this for posting a picture from your computer's hard drive to the post ...

Go Advanced.
  • Click on the Attachments icon above (paper clip) or scroll down to the Manage Attachments button below your message screen

  • Click "Browse" and find your picture.
Be sure that the photo is appropriately sized. 620 x 620 pixels (or smaller) and no more than 50K. Forums software will automatically reduce the size, but smaller size photos will upload much faster. You may select several photos to upload at the same time by repeating the last step.
  • Click "Upload"
  • Click "submit reply" to mount the text of your message - photos will automatically appear at the bottom of your post.
You've already had discussions with Wildcat but don't like their recommendations...I don't know what recourse you have other then following their advice. They build them and should know how to fix them too.

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Old 07-07-2014, 01:14 PM   #5
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Hope this worked!
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Old 07-07-2014, 04:13 PM   #6
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We have a similar problem on a Columbus. The factory has started to cut verticle cuts in the sidewalls then insert a cover piece to allow the wall to flex. They are doing this on the new units now before they leave the factory. Ours is going to be looked at at Goshen.
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Old 07-07-2014, 04:24 PM   #7
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My Columbus came back from the factory and had two cuts placed under bedroom slide out, which is near this area. The damaged area was not cracked, but de-laminated. Two relief cuts were made and was re-glued, and installed were some trim pieces. I am happy they did not remove the entire sidewall for a small deal. Some flexing is the nature of 5th wheel designs. Probably most all brands I have seen have at least one relief joint to prevent cracks, delams and bulges in this area. Hope they make it right. You got to trust, they are the experts.
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Old 07-07-2014, 05:42 PM   #8
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Pretty much stems from frame flex, or IMO, crappy frame. There are / were manufactures that didn't have to put relief cuts or expansion joints there, and never had issues, but they were NOT on a lippert or BAL frame. Most affordable fifth wheels have the relief cuts now. Its a bandaid fix opposed to building a very strong heavy frame.


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Old 07-07-2014, 05:56 PM   #9
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Oh great. Have to keep a eye out on my 13 312 BHX-OK!
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Old 07-08-2014, 12:23 AM   #10
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Exclamation More information needed...

Quote:
Originally Posted by wildcat66 View Post
I believe there is excessive frame flexing to cause this, but Forest River assures me its not a structural issue!! Don't believe it myself and their proposed fix is to reshape that area, essentially cutting out the cracked area!!
I you look at that rounded transition area from under the overhang from the opposite side you will see a triangulated area and the crack is on the other side of that and that is what they want to cut out and reshape!
Not to keen on proposed fix!
It's unfortunate that even after working with and talking to my very experienced service staff, you're not satisfied with their explanation. I'll be sure they understand you're not happy with their "proposed fix." Please feel free to send me a private message with more details so I can be sure they understand your stance completely.

In the interest of dispelling any widespread panic about cracking, I'll provide further information on this particular unit's isolated issue after discussing it in more detail with my service team again tomorrow. I've been assured this is NOT a structural or frame issue, especially not like those issues described by other posts in this same thread. To my knowledge, Wildcat has never used "relief cuts" on our sidewalls in any location. This is not an instance of "frame flex" or a "crappy frame."

The photo posted doesn't show well where this crack is located. See the attached pic for better location info.

I'm also hoping that this thread doesn't become a lightning rod for anyone who has ever had an issue with a wall crack or lamination problem on any Wildcat, Forest River product, or RV in general. Obviously, I hate to see anyone with a problem on the RV they spent their hard-earned money on -- but not every surface problem points to a major structural issue or frame deficiency...
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Old 07-08-2014, 03:18 PM   #11
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If my experience with FR is any indication, at the end of this road there should be a "happy camper." If so, I hope he does return and say so.

Many do not and just leave the "vent" without the fix.
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Old 07-09-2014, 05:05 AM   #12
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I will certainly report back and give my honest opinions about the repair. We are hoping to get it done within a couple weeks.
I am hoping for a happy ending to this. It is just unfortunate when you pay good money for a product and you have issues.
I would like to thank Jared and Paul at Terrytown RV in Grand Rapids Mi. for all of there help in getting to this point!
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Old 07-09-2014, 07:32 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildcat66 View Post
I will certainly report back and give my honest opinions about the repair. We are hoping to get it done within a couple weeks.
I am hoping for a happy ending to this. It is just unfortunate when you pay good money for a product and you have issues.
I would like to thank Jared and Paul at Terrytown RV in Grand Rapids Mi. for all of there help in getting to this point!
I've been in contact with Jared (one of the best salesmen I work with), Paul, Paul's boss Rob, and my own service staff on your issues. My people have assured me they've got this covered.

I hope it goes without saying that I try to follow up on all the issues discussed here (and through other forums, social media, email, calls, and mail). It's not enough to simply build and sell RVs -- we need to actively be involved with making them better and standing behind the products we build. I hate to hear when people have issues, but I also know how complex the product is. We're constantly trying to improve, build a better RV and avoid problems but it's not a perfect process! Thank you for your business and willingness to let us make things right!
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Old 07-10-2014, 07:04 AM   #14
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Rest assured that if Wildcat Chris says his people are aware of the situation, the situation is under control.

I have had the opportunity to meet a couple of the Wildcat service management personnel, Top Notch people in my book who are very customer service focused.
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Old 07-10-2014, 07:48 AM   #15
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... I would like to thank Jared and Paul at Terrytown RV in Grand Rapids Mi. for all of there help in getting to this point!
Great people at Terry Town. We've purchased 3 trailers from them over the years. Too bad they don't handle PrimeTime.
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Old 07-29-2014, 07:01 AM   #16
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As promised, I am reporting back on the sidewall crack repair. Originally the arched area was supposed to be reshaped so that the cracked area would be eliminated. Unfortunately the triangular shaped arched pieces could not be saved so the body shop had to eliminate them.(they were only held in place with two screws on each side and when they tried to reshape the arch the heads of the screws were cut off and the pieces fell off)
As for why the crack started originally was because it was bondo! Why there was bondo there I guess will be a mystery. There was no bondo on the opposite side where there was no crack.
The body shop did a nice repair with what they had to work with and I will be going on a trip soon and I will report back on how the repair is holding up after some mileage.
Again thanks to Jared and Paul at Terrytown RV.
As you can see from the pictures it is no longer a gradual shaped curve!
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Old 08-12-2014, 11:31 AM   #17
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As promised reporting back on the sidewall crack issue! Just came back from a trip and when we stopped at our first rest area I took these pictures! As you can see there is movement at the corners and separation! Will this become an issue as we travel more? Not sure!
I will add that the gap mostly closes back up when the weight is on the landing legs and unhooked from the truck!
Am I happy with the outcome? No not really; but it appears as though I will have to deal with it for now!
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Old 08-12-2014, 11:42 AM   #18
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I have to say it is unusual for the frame to flex in the opposite direction of the force applied to it. You would think that with weight on the pin, the gap would close and with weigh off the pin it would open up.

No idea why yours is the opposite...
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Old 08-12-2014, 11:46 AM   #19
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I like that you gave thanks to your dealer for working with you, but why didn't you thank WildcatChris for his assistance? You *do* know don't you, that he comes here and assists customers without pay?
Obviously he also spent on-the-clock time on the phone with your dealers attempting to resolve your problem.
Why not acknowledge and thank him for that?
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Old 08-12-2014, 12:06 PM   #20
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The first I heard of WildcatChris was after I posted on this forum! To be honest I don't know how much involvement he had in this issue!
For the record I reached out to WildcatChris in 2 personal messages as he suggested to me in the thread, and never received any response back!
For the record I am not even mentioning the numerous other issues I have experienced with this particular unit. I realize that not all have problems, but when it happens to you it is very aggravating!
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