Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Travel Trailers: Help!!! Frame broke
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Open Roads Forum  >  Travel Trailers  >  General Q&A

 > Help!!! Frame broke

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Posted: 07/15/19 09:42am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My husband and I were hauling our trailer. It was loaded with water but not overloaded. As we were slowing to turn, the actual welds on the trailer broke,slamming the front end into the highway. Now the company is saying we were overloaded because we had water in the tank. If we didn't have extra weight from other supplies, what are the chances that we were overloaded? Shouldn't we have been able to haul water? Just looking for thoughts. The trailer is a 2017 and is just out of warranty.


ford truck guy


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Posted: 07/15/19 09:55am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You should be able to haul a trailer WITH ALL of the tanks full.. fresh - black - grey.

NOW, IF you were way overloaded elsewhere AND had 100% full fluids, that's an issue...

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Posted: 07/15/19 10:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

get your insurer involved . and do a google on your rv for broken welds .

BillyBob Jim


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Posted: 07/15/19 10:06am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ERnurse16 wrote:

As we were slowing to turn, the actual welds on the trailer broke,slamming the front end into the highway. Now the company is saying we were overloaded because we had water in the tank.

Brand and model of trailer?

I assume the "Company" is Lippert? Or did the RV manufacturer or dealer relay Lippert's overloaded claim. That's the typical Lippert M.O. by the way. And if it's just out of warranty they'll be dancing in the aisles at Lippert.

Pretty hard to dispute them when they pull that BS.

You could take everything out of the trailer and make a video / take pictures as you weigh everything down to the last spoon. Then deduct that weight and weight of the water from the GVWR. Even then they'll dispute it and make it your fault even if it wasn't.


San Diego Ca

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Posted: 07/15/19 10:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

when you say you were hauling water are you referring to the fresh water tank being full? Or were you using the trailer as a cargo trailer and hauling containers or a bladder of water inside? What is the year make and model of the trailer? There has been at least one report on here in the past of a trailer tongue breaking off during use. Do you have the owners manual or other documentation that states that the trailer is not designed to travel with the tanks full? Did somebody from the manufacturer or dealer inspect the damage? Or was this overloaded determination made via email or a phone call?

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Langley B.C.

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Posted: 07/15/19 11:11am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

So sorry to hear that. A photo or two might help. Hard to comment here without any. A frame failure can usually be repaired. If the A-frame separated from the main frame, it's a straightforward repair. This happened to someone on this forum and he welded it back together. Can't find his photos at the moment.

We had a brand new TT a number of years ago and discovered a frame problem the day after we owned it. At first, Lippert said "it was within spec.". I knew it was total BS so took it into a gov't certified frame & axle shop. After getting a report and submitting it, we ended up getting the whole TT replaced under warranty without a whimper from the TT manufacturer.

Telling someone that they overloaded their TT is a common tactic by Lippert. Before they even know what the problem is, you'll hear that. If you had taken the TT through a scale when fully loaded, that would have helped.

I HIGHLY recommend you get a reputable frame & axle shop inspect it. They will be able to tell you what it will take to do the repairs. It might even be that it's not as bad as you think.

What type of frame? There is one type that has I-beams made from 3 pieces of 1/8" mild steel welded together lengthwise. These look like a regular cold-rolled I-beam but you can feel the continuous welds and see them. These 3-piece I-beams flex a LOT more and are a poor design and are more susceptible to problems. If you have this type, that's a major factor to start with.

When we had our TT inspected, they also found a number of other issues with it that we hadn't expected. They ended up saying it was the worst frame they'd ever seen and that it could never be corrected to what it ought to have been like from the factory to start with. It had the 3-piece I-beam design.

If the TT manufacturer didn't say anywhere you can't tow with one or more full holding tanks, you shouldn't have a problem with doing that and folks do that all the time. If anything happens, it's normally just the tank supports that fail. However, note that some TTs have a low cargo carrying capacity and just one full holding tank could put you over the GVWR, which would happen with us. Depends on how much you load into the TT though.

Interestingly, frames do not have any ratings or specifications and there are no industry standards/codes they have to comply with. There are no specs on how heavy or long a TT "box" can be that sits on a frame. As a result, Lippert can build frames however they want and answer to no one. Axles on the other hand have ratings, specs and detailed info. available online. People have been having frame issues for years and Lippert continues to crank out the same frames with the same build quality.

Don't believe any of Lippert's BS. Despite what they or anyone else may say, their frame quality can leave a lot to be desired. Their welds can often be substandard. Some never have issues. Frame failures happen more often than people think. (One reason is that if a TT gets replaced, the owner has to sign an NDA agreement.)

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Posted: 07/15/19 11:15am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Typical RV manuf BS claim to get out of repairing something that should never fail! I would get your insurance involved. I would also put a call in to the NHTSA! They need to know what kind of failures are on our highways.

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South Louisiana

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Posted: 07/15/19 11:41am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

By golly what a bummer. The frames in these things are engineered on the light side. Hitting a R R track or bumps hard or over tight load distribution settings can lead to disaster. Loaded to the max but not overloaded should not be a problem.


SE Michigan

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Posted: 07/15/19 11:45am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sometime back I remember reading on here or some other RV forum that Lippert Industries advise that owners of their framed units to not travel with Fresh Water in the holding tank because it contributed to frame failure.

Though you have not listed the make,and model of the unit, I think you are screwed.. I'd be taking it to a local weld shop and having them go over everything. Lippert is known for substandard welding. When your 'welders' were slinging burgers the day before and are now welding with a glue gun (MIG) with little to no experience concerning weld penetration, proper grounding or things like wire speed and correct amperage, you get faulty welds. Fact of life and the labor market too.

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Eastern Missouri

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Posted: 07/15/19 11:49am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What kind of TT is it and does it really have a Lippert frame are is every body just guessing because of Lippert's previous reputation. I've got a Bal huck and buck type frame it's 11 years old and when I hook it up the tongue bends so the propane tanks almost touch the front wall actually the plastic cover does, but when I unhook it goes back to normal I'm still waiting for it too break. Lippert is not the only company that builds a frame that seems too leave a lot too be desired from customers.

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