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 > poor frame design on travel trailer

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myredracer

Langley B.C.

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Posted: 01/09/18 10:09am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lippert TT frames. I hear fingernails screeching on a blackboard... [emoticon]

We're one of the rare owners that have had a complete TT replaced under warranty due to a bad frame. Only a day old when we found the issues. When we took it to a gov't certified inspection facility, one of the things they found was bad welds which the owner said were really poor quality and not done correctly. It looked like welding was done by a one-eyed monkey with one arm tied behind it's back. As I have mentioned before, the owner of the frame & axle shop said it was the worst frame he'd ever seen. Until you've experienced your own frame issues, you can't appreciate how bad they can be. If we were ever to get another TT, it'd be a brand with a BAL frame or a Northwoods product because they build their own frames and get them tested by an independent co. Never a Lippert frame again.

From Lippert's website: We start with strong, durable materials to withstand extreme travel conditions, and every step of our manufacturing process focuses on efficiency and quality. Our products are built and tested to go the extra mile Typical employee comment and this one from this past Dec.: Its one of the dirtiest jobs in the northern Indiana area and the pay sucks. powder coat management is a joke. you have no home life working for this company they literally tell you friday before you leave you gotta work saturday then they tell you that you gotta work 12 from 5 am to 5 pm when you normal work schedule is 7 to 330. not to mention you only get 1 break Who ya gonna believe?

IMO what's needed is regulations covering the design and fabrication of TT frames like say by SAE. The way it is now, TT manufacturers and Lippert can build frames however they want and put whatever weight and length of superstructure they want on a frame and never have to answer to anyone. If it breaks, it's entirely your fault because you loaded too much into it, traveled with something in the holding tanks and/or hit too many potholes.

As to OP's issue, sounds like the answer is simply an axle flip to get more ground clearance as his problem is not uncommon.


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Huntindog

Phoenix AZ

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Posted: 01/09/18 03:38pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ralph Cramden wrote:

Huntindog wrote:

mountainkowboy wrote:

SidecarFlip wrote:

Old-Biscuit wrote:

With that type of A-frame/trailer frame I would be more concerned with 'failure'

[image]


Saw that and tight away thought of Lippert components.


Lippert builds ****, I've seen 12 year olds that can weld better than them.
I have had 3 different TTs with 3 different frame makers. My present one is Lippert. It is by far the best.
Very heavy duty and top notch welds. I am a welder, so I know a little about the subject.

Having said that, I think a lot of the credit goes to the TT builder as to what they spec in a frame... As for the welds... Why is everyone buying these TTs that have bad welds?
They are usually pretty easy to spot on a TT. Even when new.

A good weld, generally looks good, even to the untrained eye. Bad welds, (like my first well used TT) are just the opposite. That first of mine had terrible welds. It never caused any trouble, probably because it was way heavier than needed. I guess in 1973, using very heavy metal was the solution.

Today, like everything else, most builders buy JUST ENOUGH to barely do the job.




You must have recieved a fluke from Lippert. From what I have seen on every Lippert frame I have owned (3), or have seen that were owned by others or at dealers and shows, the welding looks like donkey dung. I have a little experience with welding from 30+ years in commercial and Industrial construction management.

We bought a 2013 Keystone based on seeing a friend's 2012 which was the same model. His 2012 was on a frame made by Dexter. Our 2013 had a Lippert frame as Lippert had acquired Dexters axle division. What a difference.

What brand and model trailer has this great Lippert frame? I am seriously curious.

An RV manufacturer specs the frame as to overall dimensions, weight of trailer, and other design considerations but Lippert does the actual design and engineering and are the ones backing the frame from a warranty perspective. Good luck with that fight if you ever need that warranty. The RV manufacturer is looking for the cheapest price and Lippert will provide. What they save on the frame is used on the cheap eye candy which helps sales (also mostly supplied by Lippert) without affecting bottom line.

Some of the welding and more importantly reinforcement were so questionable on our 2017 Rockwood, within the first month of ownership I was adding additional reinforcement as well as fabricating water tank supports.
My TT is a Palomino Sabre 30BHDS.

It has a real I beam frame. 10" tall and 1/4" thick. It is more stout than most TTs of it's size.

Sabre is a FR company, but they let it run as a seperate entity.
It is noticeable in the floor plans and features. They are different from the other FR brands.

As for Lippert, I had an axle problem out of warranty.
Lippert could have easily weasled on me. But they stood up and treated me right. I wrote about that here on this forum at the time.

I consider Lippert a stand up company That tries to do the right thing.



Huntindog
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SoundGuy

S Ontario

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Posted: 01/09/18 04:47pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Huntindog wrote:

I consider Lippert a stand up company That tries to do the right thing.


Ralph Cramden wrote:

There is no love lost between Lippert Components and I.


And so it goes. [emoticon]

trailernovice

Mission TX

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Posted: 01/12/18 11:27am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Just curious...is there some advantage to this design that I'm missing? Having a trailer coupler sit lower to the ground wouldn't seem to have any benefit at all, especially since the height of the trailer itself doesn't change...I'm trying to understand why a trailer frame/coupler would be designed this way in the first place


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goducks10

There

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Posted: 01/12/18 12:37pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

trailernovice wrote:

Just curious...is there some advantage to this design that I'm missing? Having a trailer coupler sit lower to the ground wouldn't seem to have any benefit at all, especially since the height of the trailer itself doesn't change...I'm trying to understand why a trailer frame/coupler would be designed this way in the first place


My guess is it's faster to build. No cutting out of the front cross piece. Less welding as well. You only have 2 small weld points when you run the A frame under the frame.
Running it through the from cross piece you need to weld more in the contact points. Plus no time to cut out the slots for the A frame to run through the cross piece.

Huntindog

Phoenix AZ

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Posted: 01/12/18 07:07pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

trailernovice wrote:

Just curious...is there some advantage to this design that I'm missing? Having a trailer coupler sit lower to the ground wouldn't seem to have any benefit at all, especially since the height of the trailer itself doesn't change...I'm trying to understand why a trailer frame/coupler would be designed this way in the first place
TTs that use this design generally sit higher, which gives more ground clearance. FWIW, If my TT had the other design, I would have to turn the drop hitch over to make it a rise. The disadvantage of that is it would likely interfere with opening the tailgate

SidecarFlip

SE Michigan

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Posted: 01/13/18 02:33pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Huntindog wrote:

Ralph Cramden wrote:

Huntindog wrote:

mountainkowboy wrote:

SidecarFlip wrote:

Old-Biscuit wrote:

With that type of A-frame/trailer frame I would be more concerned with 'failure'

[image]


Saw that and tight away thought of Lippert components.


Lippert builds ****, I've seen 12 year olds that can weld better than them.
I have had 3 different TTs with 3 different frame makers. My present one is Lippert. It is by far the best.
Very heavy duty and top notch welds. I am a welder, so I know a little about the subject.

Having said that, I think a lot of the credit goes to the TT builder as to what they spec in a frame... As for the welds... Why is everyone buying these TTs that have bad welds?
They are usually pretty easy to spot on a TT. Even when new.

A good weld, generally looks good, even to the untrained eye. Bad welds, (like my first well used TT) are just the opposite. That first of mine had terrible welds. It never caused any trouble, probably because it was way heavier than needed. I guess in 1973, using very heavy metal was the solution.

Today, like everything else, most builders buy JUST ENOUGH to barely do the job.




You must have recieved a fluke from Lippert. From what I have seen on every Lippert frame I have owned (3), or have seen that were owned by others or at dealers and shows, the welding looks like donkey dung. I have a little experience with welding from 30+ years in commercial and Industrial construction management.

We bought a 2013 Keystone based on seeing a friend's 2012 which was the same model. His 2012 was on a frame made by Dexter. Our 2013 had a Lippert frame as Lippert had acquired Dexters axle division. What a difference.

What brand and model trailer has this great Lippert frame? I am seriously curious.

An RV manufacturer specs the frame as to overall dimensions, weight of trailer, and other design considerations but Lippert does the actual design and engineering and are the ones backing the frame from a warranty perspective. Good luck with that fight if you ever need that warranty. The RV manufacturer is looking for the cheapest price and Lippert will provide. What they save on the frame is used on the cheap eye candy which helps sales (also mostly supplied by Lippert) without affecting bottom line.

Some of the welding and more importantly reinforcement were so questionable on our 2017 Rockwood, within the first month of ownership I was adding additional reinforcement as well as fabricating water tank supports.
My TT is a Palomino Sabre 30BHDS.

It has a real I beam frame. 10" tall and 1/4" thick. It is more stout than most TTs of it's size.

Sabre is a FR company, but they let it run as a seperate entity.
It is noticeable in the floor plans and features. They are different from the other FR brands.

As for Lippert, I had an axle problem out of warranty.
Lippert could have easily weasled on me. But they stood up and treated me right. I wrote about that here on this forum at the time.

I consider Lippert a stand up company That tries to do the right thing.


In as much as I live 60 miles from the factory (Palomino), I've been there numerous time and I've never seen a 'I' beam anywhere on the property except as part of the building structure.

No one that I know of, not even shanty builders use I' beams. They are all fabricated (welded) hot rolled steel, usually the cheapest stuff they can get.

I've never said they screw everybody. They do however screw a fair number.

There is a huge labor issue in north central Indiana so in a dried up labor pool, if it has a pulse and can pass a pee test, you hire it.... and that shows in spades in RV's and not just FR products either.

I always get a chuckle out of the 'Amish Craftsmen' line. Having dealt with the Amish for many years, I'm here to tell you they don't give a darn about craftsmanship, they are just there to collect a paycheck. Having said that, I'm sure there are some good ones who do care but, for the most part, they are just a clock number.

Until supply outpaces demand nothing will change. When that happens (and it will), the overall build quality will improve. Until then, it will always be a crapshoot.


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SidecarFlip

SE Michigan

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Posted: 01/13/18 02:37pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

...and, the picture of the trailer with the bent frame... It's obvious that it's extremely overloaded you can tell that by looking in the storage compartment. Another one of those RV'ers that 'take the house along'....

Something my wife and I never do. We only take essentials for a trip and nothing more.

Huntindog

Phoenix AZ

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Joined: 04/08/2002

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Posted: 01/13/18 05:46pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

SidecarFlip wrote:

Huntindog wrote:

Ralph Cramden wrote:

Huntindog wrote:

mountainkowboy wrote:

SidecarFlip wrote:

Old-Biscuit wrote:

With that type of A-frame/trailer frame I would be more concerned with 'failure'

[image]


Saw that and tight away thought of Lippert components.


Lippert builds ****, I've seen 12 year olds that can weld better than them.
I have had 3 different TTs with 3 different frame makers. My present one is Lippert. It is by far the best.
Very heavy duty and top notch welds. I am a welder, so I know a little about the subject.

Having said that, I think a lot of the credit goes to the TT builder as to what they spec in a frame... As for the welds... Why is everyone buying these TTs that have bad welds?
They are usually pretty easy to spot on a TT. Even when new.

A good weld, generally looks good, even to the untrained eye. Bad welds, (like my first well used TT) are just the opposite. That first of mine had terrible welds. It never caused any trouble, probably because it was way heavier than needed. I guess in 1973, using very heavy metal was the solution.

Today, like everything else, most builders buy JUST ENOUGH to barely do the job.




You must have recieved a fluke from Lippert. From what I have seen on every Lippert frame I have owned (3), or have seen that were owned by others or at dealers and shows, the welding looks like donkey dung. I have a little experience with welding from 30+ years in commercial and Industrial construction management.

We bought a 2013 Keystone based on seeing a friend's 2012 which was the same model. His 2012 was on a frame made by Dexter. Our 2013 had a Lippert frame as Lippert had acquired Dexters axle division. What a difference.

What brand and model trailer has this great Lippert frame? I am seriously curious.

An RV manufacturer specs the frame as to overall dimensions, weight of trailer, and other design considerations but Lippert does the actual design and engineering and are the ones backing the frame from a warranty perspective. Good luck with that fight if you ever need that warranty. The RV manufacturer is looking for the cheapest price and Lippert will provide. What they save on the frame is used on the cheap eye candy which helps sales (also mostly supplied by Lippert) without affecting bottom line.

Some of the welding and more importantly reinforcement were so questionable on our 2017 Rockwood, within the first month of ownership I was adding additional reinforcement as well as fabricating water tank supports.
My TT is a Palomino Sabre 30BHDS.

It has a real I beam frame. 10" tall and 1/4" thick. It is more stout than most TTs of it's size.

Sabre is a FR company, but they let it run as a seperate entity.
It is noticeable in the floor plans and features. They are different from the other FR brands.

As for Lippert, I had an axle problem out of warranty.
Lippert could have easily weasled on me. But they stood up and treated me right. I wrote about that here on this forum at the time.

I consider Lippert a stand up company That tries to do the right thing.


In as much as I live 60 miles from the factory (Palomino), I've been there numerous time and I've never seen a 'I' beam anywhere on the property except as part of the building structure.

No one that I know of, not even shanty builders use I' beams. They are all fabricated (welded) hot rolled steel, usually the cheapest stuff they can get.

You really hang out at the Palomino Sabre factory?
I have been there once. When I toured the factory after picking up my new Sabre. I have pics of my models frame on the production line. I have shared them with Jbarca in email conversations. He can vouch for them. I am not setup to post them here on this forum.... But yes my frame is a TRUE I beam frame. 1/4" thick as I measured it with a dial caliper.
Lippert can produce a HD quality frame, IF the manufacturer is willing to pay for it.


JBarca

Radnor, Ohio, USA

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Posted: 01/13/18 09:36pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

SidecarFlip wrote:



In as much as I live 60 miles from the factory (Palomino), I've been there numerous time and I've never seen a 'I' beam anywhere on the property except as part of the building structure.

No one that I know of, not even shanty builders use I' beams. They are all fabricated (welded) hot rolled steel, usually the cheapest stuff they can get.



Huntindog wrote:

You really hang out at the Palomino Sabre factory?
I have been there once. When I toured the factory after picking up my new Sabre. I have pics of my models frame on the production line. I have shared them with Jbarca in email conversations. He can vouch for them. I am not setup to post them here on this forum.... But yes my frame is a TRUE I beam frame. 1/4" thick as I measured it with a dial caliper.
Lippert can produce a HD quality frame, IF the manufacturer is willing to pay for it.


Since I was mentioned and I have been following this post, I'll comment. Huntindogs Sabre 10" frame is one of the so called RV I beam frames and his has 1/4" flanges and web which is heavier than most I have seen on a TT. Many are more commonly 3/16".

He has a special one that at the time it was made, Palomino was putting them under the Sabre campers of his weight range. Remember Forest River bought Palomino and things may have changed in recent years verses when his camper was made. I do not know the current day Palomino practices if they are the same, but his vintage was a heavier 10" beam. His is not welded, the frame rails are rolled you can tell by the fillets between the web and flanges.

As far as the RV industry I beam, I myself do not consider them I beams. A true I beam has very thick and wide tapered flanges. These beams we have in our campers are called MH beams at some of the steel mills. MH standing for "Manufacture Housing" beam. They are made just for them. The RV industry jumped on the MH wagon as it is a way to get a higher section modulus (A size/shape/strength calculation) of a beam due to the shape at less weight. Many are made from high strength low carbon steel to get higher strength from the shape. They are not A36 steel but in the 50ksi yield range. A572-50 or A529-50 or other similar steel.

Mine camper and Hunting dog's are 10" tall beams on similar GVWR campers. His frame is heavier than mine in the thickness area. Looking at the RV lots on current day Forest River frames and even some Jayco's I have seen, the new craze seems to be downsizing the 10" to 8" on 10,000# to 11,000 GVWR campers. Each brand within the FR line does something different. You can see this in the Rockwood line and others. Some are 8" some are 10" but the GVWR is the same area. I have even seen larger 5er's with these 8" frames. Not for me. The 10" is not adequate for all conditions on a 10K GVWR camper and going to 8 must of been a cost cutting thing or something.

Hope this helps

John


John & Cindy

2005 Ford F350 Super Duty, 4x4; 6.8L V10 with 4.10
CC, SB, Lariat & FX4 package
21,000 GCWR, 11,000 GVWR
Ford Tow Command
1,700# Reese HP hitch & HP Dual Cam
2 1/2" Towbeast Receiver

2004 Sunline Solaris T310SR
(I wish we were camping!)


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