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Old 08-25-2014, 08:46 AM   #1
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Wildcat 5th wheel pin box

We had a 2007 Forest River Wildcat 5th Wheel 28 ft. WE were completing our cross country trip that we started in Florida. we were in California and as we were coming off the highway, we heard a strange clanging sound. There happened to be a Camping World near where we were and so we pulled in. When the mechanic looked at the fifth wheel, he noticed that the hitch was only an inch or two from the bed of the truck. Upon further investigation, the frame of the the pin hitch was cracked in a number of spots and that was what you could actually see without taking off the front of the unit. The insurance company came out and totaled it. We then had to pack all of our things in a u-haul and tow that back to Florida. When we got everything out, we could see that our closet was completely buckled and pushed up from the pin hitch. We were lucky that this did not happen when we were going 60-65 mph.
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Old 08-25-2014, 09:17 AM   #2
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We had a 2007 Forest River Wildcat 5th Wheel 28 ft. WE were completing our cross country trip that we started in Florida. we were in California and as we were coming off the highway, we heard a strange clanging sound. There happened to be a Camping World near where we were and so we pulled in. When the mechanic looked at the fifth wheel, he noticed that the hitch was only an inch or two from the bed of the truck. Upon further investigation, the frame of the the pin hitch was cracked in a number of spots and that was what you could actually see without taking off the front of the unit. The insurance company came out and totaled it. We then had to pack all of our things in a u-haul and tow that back to Florida. When we got everything out, we could see that our closet was completely buckled and pushed up from the pin hitch. We were lucky that this did not happen when we were going 60-65 mph.
Sounds like you escaped a big bullet. Now you are the 4th person that has happened to. All of them Wildcat 2007. Hope they didn't beat you up to bad when they totaled it. Wildcat has now switched frames, so the new one per Chris will not happen again. They should have a recall on that year IMO. Glad your safe...
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Old 08-25-2014, 06:12 PM   #3
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I emailed forest River....hopefully I will get a reply. Insurance company was good. satisfied but now we have to try and find something else.
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Old 08-25-2014, 06:36 PM   #4
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It does seem to be the 07's that were the problem.

Hope everyone is ok.
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Old 08-25-2014, 08:27 PM   #5
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Sounds like National Highway Safety should take these off the road and force FR to recall all of them.


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Old 08-26-2014, 11:01 AM   #6
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Sounds like you escaped a big bullet. Now you are the 4th person that has happened to. All of them Wildcat 2007. Hope they didn't beat you up to bad when they totaled it. Wildcat has now switched frames, so the new one per Chris will not happen again. They should have a recall on that year IMO. Glad your safe...
This has happened to far more than the 4 you heard of. I've been reading posts about this occurring as far back as 2008. The frames were built with material way too thin to support the weights and stress.
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Old 08-26-2014, 11:05 AM   #7
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Sounds like National Highway Safety should take these off the road and force FR to recall all of them.


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If Lippert were manufacturers of omnibus or a commercial grade passenger vehicle they would be all over it I'm sure. Thank goodness they are not. But a trailer for pleasure use, good luck. Just my thoughts.
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Old 08-26-2014, 12:14 PM   #8
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This has happened to far more than the 4 you heard of. I've been reading posts about this occurring as far back as 2008. The frames were built with material way too thin to support the weights and stress.
I do understand that, but this is the 4th one that I remember on this forum alone. 3 in the last year or so. Sorry it happened to them and you are right the frame speck. by FR for lippert to build was way to light. They are lucky that no one has been killed or injured yet. The real fault lays on FR they are the ones who specked that frame to use. Lippert is just the middle man. As far as I see they have been pretty good about helping out.
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Old 08-26-2014, 07:33 PM   #9
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FR specked out the frame and ordered them from Lippert. Once the frames were delivered, the TT specs changed (plans and as builts). FR now added changes to the TT which overloaded the frame. Seems when FR builds a TT, everything from the frame up (axles & tires) are right at manufactures limits. For example. Our 27RLWS GVWR is 7,500. Dexter axles are 3,500 lbs x 2 = 7,000 lbs. 600 pound tongue weight. Load "C" rated tires (1,750 lbs max x 4 = 7,000 lbs). Everything is right at the maximum stress factor. There is little built in for error. So...it's no wonder these pin boxes fail as they were never designed for that much weight. One more note...some folks LOAD up their basements with a ton of stuff and never stop to get their chariots weighed. I must say it takes a constant eye to keep the DW from over loading with superfluous stuffage.
Note: look at TT / 5ers that have a huge difference between GVWR and dry/shipping weight. Then don't use it all up thus keeping your weights down..


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Old 08-26-2014, 11:53 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Slympicins View Post
FR specked out the frame and ordered them from Lippert. Once the frames were delivered, the TT specs changed (plans and as builts). FR now added changes to the TT which overloaded the frame. Seems when FR builds a TT, everything from the frame up (axles & tires) are right at manufactures limits. For example. Our 27RLWS GVWR is 7,500. Dexter axles are 3,500 lbs x 2 = 7,000 lbs. 600 pound tongue weight. Load "C" rated tires (1,750 lbs max x 4 = 7,000 lbs). Everything is right at the maximum stress factor. There is little built in for error. So...it's no wonder these pin boxes fail as they were never designed for that much weight. One more note...some folks LOAD up their basements with a ton of stuff and never stop to get their chariots weighed. I must say it takes a constant eye to keep the DW from over loading with superfluous stuffage.
Note: look at TT / 5ers that have a huge difference between GVWR and dry/shipping weight. Then don't use it all up thus keeping your weights down..


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I hear what you're saying but it's irrelevant. But, these (including mine) 2007 Wildcat frames were built to fail regardless.
For comparison think about this. Take a cardboard box and replace the bottom of it with a sheet of paper. Anyone with sense knows it's not going to hold up. That's the only way I can try to get the point across of the negligence when Lippert built these frames. The side mounting plates for the pinbox look noble enough ( almost 1/4" )but it's welded to a material wall thickness less than 1/8".
I guess it's one of those things you just have to see.
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Old 08-27-2014, 04:37 AM   #11
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I hear what you're saying but it's irrelevant. But, these (including mine) 2007 Wildcat frames were built to fail regardless.
For comparison think about this. Take a cardboard box and replace the bottom of it with a sheet of paper. Anyone with sense knows it's not going to hold up. That's the only way I can try to get the point across of the negligence when Lippert built these frames. The side mounting plates for the pinbox look noble enough ( almost 1/4" )but it's welded to a material wall thickness less than 1/8".
I guess it's one of those things you just have to see.
FR really dropped the ball on that year frames. I have no doubt that is what is happening. I also agree that the units are about max out before you load anything. Really how much more per unit would it cost them to increase the load capacity with a 4000 lb axle compared to a 3500 lb axle. Not very much. Increase the tire load capacity, the things go on and on. What I have seen is the metal ripping like paper not the welds breaking. A Wildcat is a nice a unit and very popular. The new units frames are from Bal I think not that I even know who they are. But it comes down to the units that were specked to that. They now know that they have a problem and should recall them back in for repairs. Lippert has been sending their people out to do most of the repairs, and beefing them up. It's true they will not pull the area off and put that on the owner. That should be put on FR to do. They have a heavy hand in this problem also. If the metal is strong enough it wouldn't be ripping that tells you something and a 7 year old unit shouldn't be put in a category of metal fatigue.
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Old 08-27-2014, 05:54 PM   #12
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Oh I agree. With the money we pay ($40-50k) for these units FR should be forking out the cost of R & R of the front cap and Lippert fixing the frame. The new Wildcats are BAL frames but I know little of them. For the sake of safety, how much would it really cost to beef up a frame? The weight would be almost negligible but the safety factor goes up demonstrably.


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Old 08-27-2014, 08:27 PM   #13
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Oh I agree. With the money we pay ($40-50k) for these units FR should be forking out the cost of R & R of the front cap and Lippert fixing the frame. The new Wildcats are BAL frames but I know little of them. For the sake of safety, how much would it really cost to beef up a frame? The weight would be almost negligible but the safety factor goes up demonstrably.


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How much you ask? $80 in raw steel. About $100 in sealant, aluminum trim, stainless screws and trim cover. As a bonus, for about $50 I replaced the under fascia with 5' X 8' polished aluminum diamond plate. I had about 10 hours into it. That's a grand total of $1230 in parts and labor for replacing the existing with the adequate size crossmembers.
If they did it right the first time using atleast 3/16" wall thickness, probably $15-$20 total in price difference of materials. Maybe less because they buy in bulk.
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Old 08-27-2014, 08:45 PM   #14
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And you added; say 20 pounds in weight? If that? But you now have a very secure and good looking pin box and front under cover. Nice looking work.


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Old 08-27-2014, 08:54 PM   #15
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I'm going to say more, but it's pin weight which doesn't scare my dually one bit.
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Old 08-27-2014, 09:05 PM   #16
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Even though I'm running a Ram 2500, I would still rather have the extra weight than to have the pin box completely separate on a major interstate.


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Old 09-04-2014, 08:58 PM   #17
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Is there any way to check for cracking without removing anything?



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Old 09-04-2014, 10:02 PM   #18
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Is there any way to check for cracking without removing anything?



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Not really. Even with an inspection bore scope camera you it's to hard to tell the severity of it. If you see movement when you bring up the front jacks putting the pin weight on the tow vehicle, I'd suspect fatigued crossmembers. Drop the panel to know for sure before it's too late.
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Old 09-05-2014, 02:28 PM   #19
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Speaking of BAL frames. They're bolted together not welded. Hmm.
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Old 09-05-2014, 03:06 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by 05CrewDually View Post
How much you ask? $80 in raw steel. About $100 in sealant, aluminum trim, stainless screws and trim cover. As a bonus, for about $50 I replaced the under fascia with 5' X 8' polished aluminum diamond plate. I had about 10 hours into it. That's a grand total of $1230 in parts and labor for replacing the existing with the adequate size crossmembers.
If they did it right the first time using atleast 3/16" wall thickness, probably $15-$20 total in price difference of materials. Maybe less because they buy in bulk.
Had to chuckle at the "stainless screws" 05CrewDually. I've thought for years that "if I were building RVs", every exterior fastener would be aluminum or stainless. HA...I know that's a pipe dream. Bottom line, it is all about the RV industry's bottom line. The way they look at it is, and it is true to some degree, every penny they can save adds up to dollars. So, they make the shortcuts.

And speaking of pennies add up to dollars, do you think BAL might have the frame pieces fabricated in China and assembled over here? That's why they are bolted....just thinkin out loud.
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