Unbelieveable Story - Super Slide Glide Rite Meets Fifth Wheel....

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Colorado
Shock and Dismay are the only words that describe our feelings at this moment.  For all of you who bolstered us thru the purchase of our new "used" 5er I've opened a new topic in hopes that other new comers will read this and take heed.

Here we are, 5am on Friday morning, perched at the top of an isolated campground on the Western slope of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.  As the snow falls outside and the ice beneath us thickens it feels as though we will end up here until the Spring thaw, and Quartzite is a million miles away...

Yesterday around 1:00 we joyfully packed the last box into the basement our 5er and rode off into the sunset singing "on the road again" and ruminating about Willy....not more than 20 minutes down the road, at the first right turn we had to make to enter the highway we heard a loud crashing sound and felt a big thump that shook the entire truck.  Quickly glancing at the rear window we see the right front corner of the fifth is INSIDE the back passenger side window and our pet, who was lying quietly on her bed in the back seat of the truck, is covered in broken glass!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Shriek!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Stopping immediately to survey what has just happened David realized that the super glide hitch in our NEW Dodge 3500 did not stay in the far back position and only AFTER it came thru the window did it slide into  position.  What's happening here and WHAT are we to do?  We did not know what was going on...

After taping cardboard to the broken window we decided to head to the next town for help and to spend the night.  Each time David had to step on the breaks coming down a very narrow steep mountain pass, the trailer would SLAM into the front of the hitch, causing the truck to sway wildly.  We were speculating that the trailer brakes weren't working?  Honestly, we didn't know what was going on...this is our FIRST fifth wheel, and our FIRST trip!!!  As soon as we hit the outskirts of town we pulled into a vacated campground where fortunately- the owners live and agreed to give us electric for the night.  We didn't feel safe continuing to drive and we couldn't get a local RV tech to have a look at the situation.

So, reaching for straws, we called the fellow from whom we had bought our truck with the super glide already installed and he reminded us that his 5er had a disk attached to the hitch that was a critical part of the towing process and asked us to look for that disk....YOU DON"T HAVE TO GUESS...it was MISSING !!!!!!!!!!  AND WHO attached the fifth wheel to the truck as part of our PDI and Educational experience....AFTER we asked on three seperate occassions if we needed to purchase a disk....we asked the salesman, (who recommended the super glide), the RV tech, and the Tech Manager if we needed a disk for the trailer???  and each one of them said NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.....

YOU GOT IT...We phoned the Tech Manager at the dealership.  He said, (and I quote), "well you can't blame us we don't work with those kinds of hitches on a regular basis".....OH MY GAWD!!!  No responsibility what so ever, and we didn't undo the hitch after they put it on. He told us he could order us a disk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When they were hooking us up on Tuesday David, again, asked several times if there should be a disk on the 5er side hitch...and they reassured him it was just as it should be...I AM COMPLETELY INCREDULOUS!!!  I sensed as we slammed down the mountain pass that we were in danger and we were endangering other drivers around us.... IS THIS SO???  Could the fifth wheel have disengaged from the pickup?  That's what it felt like.

Well, we'll take today and decide what to do next. 

We'll most likely be snowed in here for a day or two any way and we need to find help.

So Sad...

David, Katy and the "Sparkly" Big Poo

 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Scary story, but I'm unclear about what this disk is or how it could cause the trailer to move around on the hitch.  The "disk" I'm familiar with on a fiver is a 1/4" thick pad intended to provide a slippery surface for the pivot point. Lack of the disk might mean the  king pin is not as tight to the hitch plate as it should be, but should not let the trailer move for and back.  Is this "disk" a unique part of the Superglide hitch? We have other Superglide owners here, so maybe somebody could tell us more...

Nor should the trailer be able to strike the back of the truck when the hitch is in the most forward position - that's the normal tow position anyway. The rearward position is for backing the trailer only.  I'm thinking the problem is more than this "disk"????

You have legal recourse against the dealer who hooked it up. They are in the position of "experts" consultants, whether they actually had any expertise or not. When you have an RV dealer provide services, you have a right to expect that they will perform professionally. In legalese, they "knew, or should have known" the proper procedure for hitching up a fifth wheel to a widely used type of hitch.
 

N Smock

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RV Roamer said:
Scary story, but I'm unclear about what this disk is or how it could cause the trailer to move around on the hitch.  The "disk" I'm familiar with on a fiver is a 1/4" thick pad intended to provide a slippery surface for the pivot point. Lack of the disk might mean the  king pin is not as tight to the hitch plate as it should be, but should not let the trailer move for and back.  Is this "disk" a unique part of the Superglide hitch? We have other Superglide owners here, so maybe somebody could tell us more...

Nor should the trailer be able to strike the back of the truck when the hitch is in the most forward position - that's the normal tow position anyway. The rearward position is for backing the trailer only.  I'm thinking the problem is more than this "disk"????

Gary

It is not a disk that you are familiar with. The PullRite design uses a plate mounted to the trailer pin plate. The plate has two strips in the form of an angle, the strips are designed to engage the flair of the pin receiver plate. With the rails engaged any movement off center plus or minus 15 degrees begins to engage the sliider of the hitch moving to the rear the more off axis the trailer gets.

The plate means that a Reese  hitch can not tow the trailer, unless the plate is pulled. Conversely as described a PullRite can not pull a standard hitch.

When I had mine installed by a dealer, done to assure the dealer was liable, I had to recheck the install. They cut up the bed liner like they were mounting Reese rails, only need four round holes in the bed. After the install and home I used a torgue wrench to certify the bolts on the frame were tight, they were not correct. One bolt, the one that would take the largest load,  was the wrong size and not the proper grade bolt. So just cause a dealer does the work it is not a certification that it was done right. Before I let them do it I was assured that they were a certified dealer for PullRite and had done previous installs. I did not repair their poor work but made them do it, liability  issues you know. On subsequent return visits to that  dealer I have noticed that the tech which did the work was missing.


Nelson




 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Thanks, Nelson. I've seen how the Pullrite functions on the truck side but did not realize the trailer/kingpin side was modified to make it do its thing. After reading your description, I realize it should have been obvious that something is needed on the kingpin to engage the sliding/pivoting mechanism.

It's still seems odd that the lack of this could let the trailer come far enough forward that it actually hit the cab. Scary!!!
 

Ron

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I talked to a Pullrite dealer about your experience and he was amazed that this happened.  He indicated the dealer should have installed it correctly an went over the operation of the hitch fully with you.  He recommended you contact Pullrite directly at 1-877-7855 and tell them of your experience and who the dealer was.  Do not touch anything or let anybody touch the hitch or truck or trailer until you talk to Pullrite.  He indicated that it is impossible for this to happen if the system is installed correctly.  Even gave me a short demo how it works and why it shouldn't happen.  He also indicated that Pullrite will probably make it right with you.
 

N Smock

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Gary

RV Roamer said:
It's still seems odd that the lack of this could let the trailer come far enough forward that it actually hit the cab. Scary!!!

It's not that the trailer came forward, it just did not move back to clear the cab. This was a short bed truck so depending on the type of pin extension there may not (was not) enough clearance for the nose of the trailer on even a moderate turn. On a sharp turn I was at first startled by the clunk in the back ( quietly saying OH $%^&) till I realized that it was the cam passing the 15 degree point and the hitch beginning it's movement to the rear. Now it does not bother me, just a normal sound.

Nelson
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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This was a short bed truck so depending on the type of pin extension there may not (was not) enough clearance for the nose of the trailer on even a moderate turn.

Understand, but if I read the original post correctly, the strikes continued to happen when moving straight ahead on a downhill, every time they used the brakes. That would have to be an awfully short bed! Or the hitch was simply mounted very far forward, which seems a more likely explanation. Since the Superglide auto-adjusts for turns and backing, I can see where the installer would be inclined to mount it further forward than the norm for fixed position hitches. Or that the Pullrite instructions would say to do that.  A more forward position would yield have an advantage in weight distribution and possibly in maneuverability in certain situations.
 

N Smock

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Gary

The proper mounting for the hitch is over the axle, in fact a hole in the frame is one of the mounting holes for the brackets.

<Each time David had to step on the breaks coming down a very narrow steep mountain pass, the trailer would SLAM into the front of the hitch, causing the truck to sway wildly.>

The only thing I can think of here is the sensation that it was slamming the hitch but if fact with the plate missing the the depth of the pin was too deep on the hitch and during a stop the pin skipped upward causing the feeling of slamming.

Nelson
 

John From Detroit

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One of the posts mentioned the differences between REESE and PULLRITE hitches.

Seems the Pull-Rite is designed to move back when turning, then move backforward when you straighten out to give the driver better control I suspect (If I recall my engineering properly)

His super slider is sliding all over the place.... I'm thinking a lock pin is missing somewhere but till I get to actually SEE one of these I do not know if they use said pins (many 5th wheels can be set more forward or back on the rails and locked in position with a pin to allow for differences in trucks/trailers)

However, I suspect that one of the differences between Pull-Rite and Reese is that where REESE uses a round king-pin or standard ball hitch (if gooseneck) which is also round, the Slide Rite uses some kind key or spline or some other way of transfering rotation from the trailer to the hitch so as to move it back.  This is, of course, a guess. 

But if this is the case it may be the dealer put a Pull-Rite hitch on the truck, with a REESE trailer, and as the earlier post said, that don't work.

I do agree with whomever suggested having your lawyer call the dealer's lawyer (Dealer has liability) if it is not done right it is not only costing you money (Windows and possible damage to the trailer) it can well cost you your life.  (or worse, somene else their life and you have to live with it)
 
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We're back...

In yet another "amazing feat of incompetence" I had taken my computer to a computer shop for a tune up, and to make sure we had enough virus protection,  in the likely event we would be using WIFI.  The tech took Norton anti-virus off my system and replaced it with a little known compamy AVG with no Firewall.  We are using WIFI at the campground here and I encountered untold numbers of Trojan viruses.  My computer stopped in its tracks.  After a lenghty visit to another computer shop we are up and running again!!

I want to thank all of you heartily for your valuable input.  Ron, thank you for contacting Pull-Rite...we will contact them tomorrow. 

I have spoken to the dealership who would have liked to blame the man we bought the truck from for not giving us the disk that goes on the kingpin.  I reminded them that we asked repeatedly if we needed this disk and each person we spoke to at the dealership told us "no".  That aside, the pivotal moment was when the techs proceeded to attach the 5er to the pull-rite only to realize that they were confused and uncertain about what they were doing, (but trying not to be obvious in front of us), and they never stopped to find out why it wasn't attaching properly.  EVEN THEN David asked if they were certain that another part wasn't needed...they weren't even listening to him.

We got in touch with a local truck and trailer service who are certified pull-rite installers.  A fellow came out to the campground to assess the situation, confirming that the missing piece was CRUCIAL to the function of the hitch...in fact he was incredulous that we were even able to tow the trailer at all.  And, when he attempted to disengage the truck from the RV he nearly couldn't get them apart!!    It appears that the hitch is damaged beyond repair...but we won't know the full extent of the damage until they can pull the trailer and truck into their shop.

Meanwhile, back at the very snowy, cold ranch, the dealership conceeded in so much as they told us to contact OUR insurance company who will contact THEIR insurance company.  Now....we think this seems just a little shady.  So, tomorrow morning, when the dealership opens we are going to call and tell them that we've thought it over during the long week-end and we want them to contact their insurance company directly, there's no reason for our insurance to be involved and we want them to expidite the remedy to our predicament.  Otherwise, we have heard that regardless of who pays for the damage, the process will drag on and on and our premiums will be increased regardless of who's fault it is.

The "ACE in the hole" is the fact that we have stopped payment on the check for the RV and we've sent the dealer a certified letter stating that we have done so and what we will need from them before we are willing to write them another check....

We'll keep you up to date, (provided my computer is now safe from Trojan viruses).  Thank you all very much!!

David, Katy and the BIG POOOOOOO
 

John From Detroit

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AVG is not a little known anti-virus product, it's one of the top three (norton is not)  However I do agree you need a firewall.  I prefer Zone Alarm to Norton's.

AVG is Girsoft Anti-Virus,  Very highly recommended

(I may have mispelled Girsoft)
 

Ron

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I did not talk to Pullrite directly I talked to a authorized Pullrite dealer.  He is the one that suggested you contact Pullrite.  I am pretty certain that Pullrite will stand behind their product and make sure you are taken care of.

Additionally IMHO the computer guy was on the right track removing Norton products  and installing AVG.  I use AVG but AVG is only a anti virus software,  The guy just didn't finish the job by installing a firewall.
 

Ned

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AVG is from grisoft.com and is a leading anti-virus product.  Windows XP contains a firewall that should be left enabled at a minimum as it will protect you from external attacks.  Most viruses and trojans are acquired by opening unexpected email attachments and visiting questionable web sites.  They require some action on the part of the user to become active.  I suspect you suffered some other problem and not viruses just because you used a wireless network.
 

Shayne

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I agree with all you gents on Norton  PHewy  I run Zone Alarm Securtiy. Love it.
 
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Sorry to offend anyone of the satisfied AVG users....I really have no opinion on anti virus software. I just want my computer to work flawlessly without viruses and I don't really care how that happens. 

Hey who was the guy that suggested  I would have to open strange email or visit questionable web-sites in order to get Trojan viruses?  Listen here buckaroo... I say this:  no, no, no, at my age a questionable website would be:  "Half Price Dentures Made While You Wait", or maybe "Learn How to Pick a Casket that Looks Great on You" ...oh oh oh I GOT IT... "Sexy Lingerie For the Seasoned Seductress...(with the secret built-in panel for your Depends).  And as for those icky emails with titles like:  Need A Couple Extra Inches?  I say...Inches of What?  couple extra inches on my electric blanket cord?

Ron, I did understand that you spoke to a dealer...not Pull-Rite.  You'll have to forgive my faux pas (s) that's plural...I'm certain that the sub-zero temperatures here are killing off brain cells ONE by ONE by ONE....

night-all 

katy



 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Let me say that I do not share the other's skepticism of the Norton AV & firewall products and have had fine results from them over many years of use. And the Windows XP Firewall is certainly adequate if not outstanding.  This in no way suggests that Norton is better than AVG, Zone alarm etc - I've installed those on my own and on friend's computers at various times and they are excellent products as well.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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the dealership conceeded in so much as they told us to contact OUR insurance company who will contact THEIR insurance company.  Now....we think this seems just a little shady.  So, tomorrow morning, when the dealership opens we are going to call and tell them that we've thought it over during the long week-end and we want them to contact their insurance company directly, there's no reason for our insurance to be involved and we want them to expidite the remedy to our predicament.  Otherwise, we have heard that regardless of who pays for the damage, the process will drag on and on and our premiums will be increased regardless of who's fault it is.

That's pretty common procedure, though the dealer should notify their own company directly as well. The dealer may be stalling or may simply be letting his own insurer represent him in the dispute. Your insurance includes your company representing you in any liability dispute and you should notify your company that you received damage as the result of an accident caused by someone else. You can tell them you are not at this time seeking payment under your own insurance if you wish, but usually your policy requires that you promptly notify them of any damages you receive.  And if you ultimately have to use your own insurance to get repairs done in a timely manner, you want everything to be done as per your own policy requirements.  Your premiums should not increase if you were not at fault, even if your company elects to pay itself rather than fight to get reimbursement from the other insurer. Discuss this with your agent and/or claims representative in advance.

Meanwhile, get an estimate of the cost to repair all damages, vehicle, trailer and hitch, and present a copy to the dealer whose negligence caused the problem. Do it via certified letter if they seem reluctant to act promptly. Ask them to contact the repair shops to authorize and pay for repairs. Also ask them for the name and claims dept address of their insurer. 
 
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Gary...thank you for your sage insight on the insurance companies.  We contacted our ins. co. this morning to advise them of the damages.  They confirmed that, under the circumstances, they needn't be involved.  We called the dealership who, just days ago said they would help expedite the repairs, have now proclaimed that they are not responsible.  They said that because they didn't install the hitch they are not liable and instructed US to call THEIR insurance company, which we declined to do.  We are looking for an attorney this afternoon, and we are very sad that it has come to this point.

The dealership is HOLIDAY RV in Poncha Springs, Colorado.  They have two other locations in Colorado, I'm not certain where they are located.  We send this "heads up" across the nation as they advertise on RV Trader Online and they sell their wares in every state.

Ron, I spoke with Pull-Rite today also.  They were indeed concerned about out experience.  They have had no contact with Holiday RV since 2003 when the dealership only inquired about carrying the Pull-Rite hitch but they never followed through.  Holiday RV never so much as made a phone call to determine if they were properly attaching the RV to our truck....and this dealership accepts NO RESPONSIBILITY??  We are dumbfounded.

The fear and panic that we felt that afternoon, while traveling a narrow two lane Colorado canyon road in the snow with a
broken truck and a 13,000 lb. out-of-control  Fifth Wheel behind us was a kind of fear that far exceeded anything that David, a retired airline captain, had ever felt in over 30 years in the air.  And there are two words that say it all:  "Neglegent Endangerment". 

Beware of Holiday RV...

David, Katy and the Sad Old Big Pooooooooooooooo

 

Ron

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If it were me I would prefer not to get a Lawyer involved but if it came to that I would sure go for everything including the fact that the endangered your lives.  I think I would contact their insurance company if I had the name of the company. I think in this case it might be best to seek a lawyer.  Hopefully Pullrite will back you too.
 
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