Could have been serious - manufacturers are no help

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dhshaw

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Jan 8, 2010
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46
Location
Westminster, MD
After returning from our last camping trip of the year I parked our trailer in the drive way to winterize. Got out of mu truck and noticed it was sitting at a strange angle. Chocked the tires and disconnected from my truck. Finally after looking around to see why the trailer was no where near level I found that the bolts in one of the rear shackles had both either snapped or had the nuts back off(picture below).
I went to my dealer and had someone come out and repair the problem at which time he found the single bolt holding the arm that had lost the other two bolts was also close to having the nut back off of it. He did the repair and checked all the othe nuts to ensure they were tight so I would be able to tow the trailer to the shop if I wanted to have all of the nuts and bots replaced, which I will be doing.

I have contacted both Coachmen and Lippert, of course to no avail as the trailer is a 2010 and as both have stated it is out of warranty. Coachmen was the first company I contacted as it is their product. They balked and said to contact Lippert. Lippert said they just ship the stuff to Coachmen and they then do all the assembly.

Do you think I should chase both of these companies any further to get reimbursed for any or all of the cost? Would reporting the issue to the NHTSA or BBB be of any help?

At a loss as I feel something like this should not occur. 

The after repair pic is actually the other side of the trailer and was taken to show what it should look like.

Thanks in advance.

Dave

 

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eliallen

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Oct 19, 2010
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Lucky for you , you didn't kill yourself. It would  depend on the cost.  Sometime it's less stressful just pay and forget.
 

SeilerBird

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Feb 25, 2012
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St Cloud Florida USA
I don't think you would have much of a case. Driving an RV down the road at 60 mph subjects everything to a lot of strain. Things are eventually going to break. Can you prove you did not abuse the RV by taking it off road or towing it at 80 mph? Manufacturers can't warranty an RV forever. That is why many people buy extended warranties. I think you should just forget about revenge and just enjoy the RV. It will only cause you a lot of heartache trying to find someone sympathetic to your cause. It would not be worth the worry and the ulcers.
 

John From Detroit

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Apr 12, 2005
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Davison Michigan
Check with the consumer protection agency in your state (Often a division of the Attorney General) Your state (Hopefully the state in which you purchased the trailer) may have a thing or two to say about a 2 year old trailer with that kind of problem

So might the department of motor vehicles.

That said: I have never bought a trailer new enough to actually have an owner's manual with it... I have, however, had nuts come loose.

I know on the tow bar/base plate systems used for towing, ON trailer hitches (Ball type) and such the manual DOES say to check the nuts to make sure they do not come loose.  I do not know if this advice is included in the trailer suspension. I would hope it's not needed.

I also have had the nuts (on the base plate for my towed when I had one) Work loose, they were "Discovered" during other maintenance and re-tightened.  (no loss).

Bit there is a little known provision of a little invoked law (Fairly new one too, meaning within my life) that might apply to cases like this. EPICALLY if the book does not mention re-checking those bolts and you have records showing you have done all scheduled maintenance.. But I'm not the expert on law in any state.  Which is why you need to call your lawoer.. That is, the attorney general.
 

coal

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Feb 26, 2011
Posts
10
It is good advice to inspect the suspension couple times per year.  Service wheel bearings once a year and do a full brake inspection at the same time.  Tires too, pressures and condition.  The unit being a 2010, on the road for two years, am not surprised you got the reaction you did from the manufacturers. 
 

warsw

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Feb 27, 2012
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357
Location
Central Oregon
I would just be thankful that nothing more serious happened and get it repaired. I would also do as you are doing here and inform others as to what had happened and give them a heads-up. Hopefully they will learn from your experience and check their RVs and no one else will have the same problem with maybe a more disastrous result.
 

gwcowgill

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Feb 6, 2011
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Homestead, Fl when not traveling
I believe I would file a complaint ith the NHTSA just inn case someone else may have filed a complaint. Maybe your complaint could b e the one to trigger a recall and save injury to someone else.
 

Foto-n-T

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Jan 1, 2012
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Cody, Wyoming - Sometimes
I've considered for some time installing a "wet bolt" kit in ours.  It's unfortunate that the manufacturers really don't design the suspension systems on mid-priced units to actually withstand the rigors of heavy road use and high mileage.

I'd recommend you just make this a "note to self" lesson on pre/post trip inspections and maintenance.  Ask any truck driver how they learned to pre-trip a truck and most will tell you "the hard way".
 

Alfa38User

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Oct 4, 2007
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6,678
I would be very tempted to replace all the nuts with those having the nylon locking feature on them. It may not prevent the problem but would certainly slow it down so it could be caught on inspection before reaching the danger point.
 

dhshaw

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Jan 8, 2010
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46
Location
Westminster, MD
Thanks for all the input.

I do plan on  having all the nuts and bolts in the suspension replaced. I do plan to add those items to my check list from now on when I am getting ready to hit the road.

I guess I must be living in the past when companies would actually stand behind their products. A 2 year old vehicle/trailer should not have a problem like that. May be about 7,000 miles total on the trailer.

Oh well, live and learn.

Again. thanks for all the replies.

Dave
 

catblaster

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Jan 11, 2010
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Kissimmee, Floriduh
I hate to be beating up the chinese again but avoid their bolts, there have been problems, cheating on the grade, thread sizing, etc. Loctite, nylocks, or beat the threads over with a hammer as last resort.
 

Half Dimes

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Feb 6, 2012
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42
Sadly, suspension is a very neglected aspect on an RV.  First, the manufacturer installs the minimally acceptable equipment, opting to put the few extra bucks in something that can be seen and attractive to a buyer.  Then the buyer doesn't pay much attention to it (out of sight, out of mind).  Then it sneaks up on the owner the way it did on you and the way it did on me (too much space between the wheels revealed a missing shackle bolt).  About a year later, I had become more proactive and still almost missed a broken spring leaf (it's dark under there).  Frequent checks by crawling around with a flashlight and knowing what to look for is the only solution.  That's how I found hydraulic brake lines partially worn through from rubbing against a bracket.  It's a jungle under there.
 

ironrat

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May 11, 2011
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358
Location
Loma Rica, Ca
I would remove all those bolts for sure. Most of the under carrage looks good but the bolts and something else there that I can't make out is rusted pretty good. These bolts are at a moving point and if rusted and bidding could and will have a problem at some point. Check it out well!!
 

Irover

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Nov 13, 2010
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Where the Good Lord wills!!!/Music City; TN
:( It usually happens when you have to make a really tight turn. If you watch closely while it is done one of the tires will try to roll opposite direction of the other. Try it in the dirt and you will notice by the ruts the tire makes, this puts a lot of stress on the suspension components.

    I also think being two years old this is pre-mature, but depends on how much towing you do.
 

John From Detroit

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Davison Michigan
catblaster said:
I hate to be beating up the chinese again but avoid their bolts, there have been problems, cheating on the grade, thread sizing, etc. Loctite, nylocks, or beat the threads over with a hammer as last resort.

Don't be afraid of blasting the Chinese.. They have studied American business and learned well (For many years many american companies, if they had a sub-standard product, simply sold it on the export market,, A few have gotten slammed for it, but not many).

Go right ahead and slam them.

Oh, regarding your user name......

Person next to me had a nice motor home, A DP, Cat powered.. The fuel door said "CAT FOOD" on it...  I told him I really liked his sense of humor and a few other things too,, Great guy He and I clearly see a few things the same way.
 

thomasamski

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Dec 21, 2010
Posts
438
I ran into a similar problem earlier this year with Lazydays of Seffner, FL. My 2011 Fleetwood Southwind had more than a few issues, including a leaking shower, buckled floor, faulty generator, hot water heater problems, etc. The rig was tied up roughly 30 days supposedly waiting for parts. Then they claimed that the floor problem was my fault. Huh? I found an honest Fleetwood dealer in Clearwater, FL and then wrote a letter to the president and CEO of Lazydays. That got action. They refunded the money I had to lay out and were all apologetic. My salesman apparently was miffed because I went over everyone's head and I never heard from him again. Write a letter to the president of Coachmen and your dealership, citing the dangers of a potential accident due to the loose parts in your trailer. Mention a lawsuit and I can almost guarantee that they'll respond.
 

Seajay

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Nov 7, 2011
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448
I have a class A pace arrow and I do a lot of my own maintenance.  My rule is ''if I can reach it I fix it and if I can lift it, I fix it''  That being said, when I change my oil I do a lot of ''sliding and looking'' around under the coach.  I twist, wiggle, and shake everything I can reach and I give a hard look at about everything using a big flashlight even if it day time when I am under there.  I change my oil every three thousand miles and I inspect at the same time.  My biggest thing is putting distilled water in the house batteries.  I keep them topped out all the time.  The second thing is ''frayed wires'' that are not properly secured.  I always give the trailer hitch a really good ''looking over'' also because I  like my pickup and I do not want to lose it.
My rule of thumb is ''Preventative Maintence is the cheapest maintenance you can buy''.
Mind you this is just my ideas and I could be wrong so my best advise to you is dont take my advise........cj
 

s2kskibum

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Feb 19, 2010
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220
I would make sure to get high quality bolts - hardened, quality steel with the rating stamped on the head. Those look ard reacted like el cheapo bolts.
 

eliallen

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Oct 19, 2010
Posts
542
You should use shackle bolts & nuts like this ...      http://abctrailerparts.com/shackle-bolts.html
 
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