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 > Cracked frame Heartland/Lippert - Warranty but no help!

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fj12ryder

Platte City, MO

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Posted: 08/29/20 11:16am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

DownTheAvenue wrote:

I am sorry you have this problem and with all due respect, you are part of the problem. Lippert asked you to find a qualified shop willing to repair the frame, and apparently offered to assist with if nothing else, the knowledge on how to repair. You in turn, said not my problem its under warranty you find someone to fix it. Why don't you become involved, work with Lippert to get it fixed, and move on with your life?

It seems that Lippert's dealer network in the area is not qualified to make the repairs, and they want you to help in finding a shop to do the repairs. Seems very reasonable on their part.

Just a note: The OP hasn't talked to Lippert yet.

* This post was edited 08/30/20 07:19pm by an administrator/moderator *


Howard and Peggy

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Chum lee

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Posted: 08/29/20 11:51am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

JaxDad wrote:

Those cracks are from insufficient strength of the structure itself, welding them back up without a LOT of additional metal will result in the same cracks developing in the future, likely out of warranty.

Before any changes are made I would recommend you have a licensed engineer have a look at it, if the design is inadequate you will need a lot more than just some welding.


Yep! It looks pretty flimsy to me. It would be interesting to see/review Lippert's authorized repair specifications/drawings. In my mind, it's no surprise those "factory" welds cracked. I agree with some additional structural steel reinforcing, otherwise, IMO, those joints will just crack again. Who's going to perform/pay for them is now the question. Good luck!

Chum lee

bedpan

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Posted: 08/29/20 01:22pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lots of replies. Thanks to everyone for taking the time and providing their opinion. I will try and reply to each of the suggestions here...

In the end my plan is as follows. Monday I will touch base with Lippert and see if they can provide any clear direction and if they are willing to take ownership of the problem. I will also follow up with the dealer and get there suggestions as to how to proceed.

I guess one place I am unclear is on the Warranty... Heartland provides 1 bumper to bumper coverage. We are now at just under 18 months since I purchased. They also however have a three year structural warranty. Trying to read the T&C's of the 3 year it seems to be targeting more the structure of the trailer box and does not specify the frame. I cannot find specifics of the frame warranty.


Bert the Welder wrote:

Sorry this has happened. Highly recommend no phone calls. Email. Then there is written accounts of all correspondence. Pretty gross customer service requesting YOU deliver the unit to them in the States. But poor customer service from some US companies is par for the course for Canadians.
There's no reason they shouldn't be doing 100% of the leg work. Picking up your unit, finding a certified (this is important) welding shop, giving them the repair specs, and returning your unit with an apology for the trouble. Be thankful your local RV shop didn't do the repair. Likely they don't have a certified welder on payroll and would hose any warranty you had left.
As a metal worker and weldor, that, to my eye, looks like a pretty pathetic piece of metal for what it's job is.
You should also read carefully your warranty fine print for your unit as sold in Canada. And also look into rules regarding warranty on products sold in your Prov.
Email the parent company. Shoot for the top. Include previous correspondence. If still no joy, then inform them your lawyer will be in touch.
And post pic's and your story on every relevant social media outlet you can. Bad PR can be deadly and the only thing that gets some results sometimes. Sadly.
Keep us posted.


Hey Bert.. I have logged every phone call and the general nature of the discussion since it started. Saying that I know it only goes so far. As I start digging into the issue even more I am not entirely sure where the warranty lies and who has warranty on the frame at this point. After the next round of phone calls if there is not a drastic improvement in the ownership of the problem I will be sure to start recording calls and sending emails. In Canada I able to legal record the calls.


MEXICOWANDERER wrote:

You may find it more cost efficient and less stressful to do the job on your own.

Measure from outside axle center to exact hitch center. FOUR measurements. Then exles centers left then right. Axle to axle. This will orient your axles correctly.

I like the low heat needed for ?" ALL STATE 275, also known as SUPER MISSILE WELD DC REVERSE POLARITY ARC WELDING ROD. Drill crack ends with an ?" drill to blind the crack stress end. Run the rod at 110 amps. One pass. This will pass minimum heat into the channel.

Recheck your measurement alignment on the frame orientation points. Cover the weld points after you are satisfied the repair is permanent.

I have run cracked in two Jeep frames through the Rubicon, after such repairs and found the work satisfactory
The low heat of the weld avoids a lot of enbritlement issues.
.


Hey MEXICOWANDERER. Thanks for the direction. Although I am very handy welding does not land in the world of things I can say I am proficient at. I appreciate that it is not rocket science but it is major structural component and could have a major repercussions if(when) I screw it up. I will leave this to the experts and do my best to have the manufacturers pay for it!



Lynnmor wrote:

Take the trailer to a heavy duty truck-trailer shop and have it done right. Show them the X-Factor crossmember product. Providing lateral support with the purchased product or simply adding steel will help greatly. You can play around with RV dealers, frame manufacturers or the RV builder, but it will only be fixed right when you make it happen. Yes, I was thru this but gave up when Lippert showed me a scrap of paper with an incredibly poor sketch of the proposed repair. I made crossmembers and did 100% of the work myself.


Hey Lynnmor. This in the end sounds like what I will need to happen. I am hoping that Lippert/Heartland will pay for the bulk of the repair through. I guess tracking down one of these shops is the next hurdle to figure out. Thoughts on what to look for and how to find a competent shop?
Regarding the X-Factor crossmembers... The little reading I did on them seem to be positive for re-enforcing the shackles. It sounds though like they may in fact put more stress on the frame. This is where it would be nice to have a good shop to provide some direction.


wa8yxm wrote:

It may be possible to get it to the USA but it will cost.
Basically you take it to the border and drop it
Then a Towing service picks it up.
You do not actually enter the USA.. And the towing service only enters canada a few feet (not past customs) .... but of course they are gonna want to get paid for the delivery.


I would have to either have some welding done before transport or pay for towing to the border as well. When I talk to Lippert I will ask if they are willing to do this maybe....



JaxDad wrote:

Those cracks are from insufficient strength of the structure itself, welding them back up without a LOT of additional metal will result in the same cracks developing in the future, likely out of warranty.

Before any changes are made I would recommend you have a licensed engineer have a look at it, if the design is inadequate you will need a lot more than just some welding.


Hey JaxDad. This is really my major concern is making the structure safe for the life of the trailer. In the end I will only own it for another 3-5 years then I will be selling it. Saying that I want to be sure I can sell it in good faith. What would one look for to find a licenced engineer specializing in trailer structure? I don't even know where to begin looking!



T18skyguy wrote:

It seems to be an inordinate amount of rust on the frame. Do they salt the roads up there? Do you do any off roading with this rig? I read an article by an RV chassis engineer who said they are not designed for off road use; can't handle the stress. You got free advice from an attorney here, I would take it. Sorry you have to deal with this. Find out how Lippert would repair it, have it done, then seek reimbursment from Lippert.


T18skyguy, Ontario uses lots of salt. The trailer has traveled for 2 March Breaks down to Florida. After the first trip I washed the trailer as soon as I was home and by mid summer this is how rusted it was. I talked to the dealer and showed him and was told its just the way it is. My plan was to wire brush the entire exposed frame, paint and then get it undercoated this fall to try and slow things down.
Absolutely no off roading. We have drove a few dirt roads but nothing nasty. No modifications to the trailer or frame and nothing heavy in the rear of the trailer. All questions the dealer asked me when I dropped it off.




pianotuna wrote:

In Saskatchewan, to weld on a vehicle frame requires a special license. I would imagine the same would be true in Ontario. I would suggest that without the licensed welder, if a repair is done--you have made the unit uninsureable.

Do things by snail mail. Any correspondence you send--keep a copy--and mail a copy to yourself. Do not open the copy letters to yourself. The post mark makes them a legal document.


pianotuna, good point on it needing to be a licensed welder. This does make sense!

* This post was last edited 08/30/20 07:53pm by an administrator/moderator *   View edit history

bedpan

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Posted: 08/29/20 01:30pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

For those interested here are some documents from Lippert that I believe apply to the repair needed. Saying that as I was looking for links to post for them they appear dated..

Heartland Document - Lippert Repair

and here is one from the NHTSA but the document date is 2009
https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/rcl/2011/RCRIT-11V486-1111.pdf

* This post was edited 08/29/20 02:15pm by bedpan *

Lynnmor

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Posted: 08/29/20 02:12pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

bedpan wrote:

For those interested here are some documents from Lippert that I believe apply to the repair needed. Saying that as I was looking for links to post for them they appear dated..

Heartland Document - Lippert Repair
and here is one from the NHTSA but the document date is 2009
https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/rcl/2011/RCRIT-11V486-1111.pdf


That is basically what is needed. The break next to the bottom flange will need some additional attention. The cross pieces do the same job as the X-Factor. I made my own and bolted them in to allow removal for service above.





Lynnmor

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Posted: 08/29/20 03:20pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

bedpan wrote:



Hey Lynnmor. This in the end sounds like what I will need to happen. I am hoping that Lippert/Heartland will pay for the bulk of the repair through. I guess tracking down one of these shops is the next hurdle to figure out. Thoughts on what to look for and how to find a competent shop?
Regarding the X-Factor crossmembers... The little reading I did on them seem to be positive for re-enforcing the shackles. It sounds though like they may in fact put more stress on the frame. This is where it would be nice to have a good shop to provide some direction.




If you look at the frame rails from the end, imagine what happens on a curve. The two upright I-beams will tilt forming a sort of parallelogram, continued flexing like this will fatigue the metal and cause the failure you see.

Here is my crude example to illustrate the problem:

I------I I------I

bedpan

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Posted: 08/29/20 03:34pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I had never thought of the flex going all the way up into the frame but I guess that makes sense... The amount of flex you can see in the tires during a sharp parking lot turn is scary. To be honest I never thought of it as an issue. I turn the wheel as much as I need to to compelete my turn. I never put thought into the flex wear and tear on the axle hangers, frame etc.. It makes me want to re-think how I approach some parking lots, getting gas etc.

Lets hope Monday see's me back in action. I missed last week of holidays in the trailer and I have another week coming up late September that I am not holding my breath on.

Lynnmor wrote:



If you look at the frame rails from the end, imagine what happens on a curve. The two upright I-beams will tilt forming a sort of parallelogram, continued flexing like this will fatigue the metal and cause the failure you see.

Here is my crude example to illustrate the problem:

I------I I------I


CaLBaR

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Posted: 08/29/20 04:22pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

bedpan wrote:



T18skyguy, Ontario uses lots of salt. The trailer has traveled for 2 March Breaks down to Florida. After the first trip I washed the trailer as soon as I was home and by mid summer this is how rusted it was. I talked to the dealer and showed him and was told its just the way it is. My plan was to wire brush the entire exposed frame, paint and then get it undercoated this fall to try and slow things down.
Absolutely no off roading. We have drove a few dirt roads but nothing nasty. No modifications to the trailer or frame and nothing heavy in the rear of the trailer. All questions the dealer asked me when I dropped it off.


Hi Bedpan,

I had surface rust on my frame too. I sanded and painted the tongue but the ordered Corrosion Free kit with sprayer. No need to wire bush and paint it the solution dissolves the rust and penetrates to the metal protecting it from further rust. Works great and been using on my vehicles for the last 11 years.


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Lynnmor

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Posted: 08/29/20 06:19pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

bedpan wrote:

I had never thought of the flex going all the way up into the frame but I guess that makes sense... The amount of flex you can see in the tires during a sharp parking lot turn is scary. To be honest I never thought of it as an issue. I turn the wheel as much as I need to to compelete my turn. I never put thought into the flex wear and tear on the axle hangers, frame etc.. It makes me want to re-think how I approach some parking lots, getting gas etc.

Lets hope Monday see's me back in action. I missed last week of holidays in the trailer and I have another week coming up late September that I am not holding my breath on.

Lynnmor wrote:



If you look at the frame rails from the end, imagine what happens on a curve. The two upright I-beams will tilt forming a sort of parallelogram, continued flexing like this will fatigue the metal and cause the failure you see.

Here is my crude example to illustrate the problem:

I------I I------I


Keep in mind the dynamic forces as you drive at highway speeds. That large and high trailer has a center of gravity far above the spring hangers and puts considerable force into the frame and suspension as you round a curve. A fellow poster on here, that I got to know because of these of problems, actually attached a camera to record the action. The frame flex was unbelievable and if you saw it you would wonder how they last a day.

You can play games with the folks already mentioned or you can build up the trailer to a point that it can actually be used. Had I not beefed up mine, I have no doubt that it would have never made it all over the USA, not even close. In addition to the frame improvements, I added shocks and replaced 100% of the items below the frame with better stuff.

Bert the Welder

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Posted: 08/29/20 11:59pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

GDS-3950BH wrote:

Bert the Welder wrote:

Yeah, no, don't do the DIY welding thing. Not only could void your warranty but also could void your insurance as well as make the failure worse.
Drives me nuts we people suggest someone just fire up a buzz box and start blazing away like they're using a glue gun on a Christmas ornament.
This work should be done by a professional weldor and one chosen by the manufacturer, not you.



You do not have to be a "professional welder" to lean how to weld.

The OP's warranty was essentially worthless the day he purchased the trailer as stated in his posting. Lippert will use every play in their playbook to get out of warranty claims as will a lot of the RV manufacturers, the OP is not the only person to learn that the hard way.

Could void your insurance? Come on man. By that logic you should not change brake pads on your car nor put new shingles on the roof of your home yourself.


Considering you have to learn to weld before becoming a professional weldor, you seem to be confused.
Anyone can get a couple of pieces of metal to stick together. It's the morons that think this qualifies them to do anything more then weld garden ornaments that are my issue when it comes to making proper repairs on something just slightly more critical. Like a couple thousands pounds, hurtling down the road with other people around.
And if you don't know how to properly change your brake pads or shingle a roof, then no, you shouldn't do it and yes, if you do it incorrectly, it can void your insurance coverage.


"> 1998 GMC 2500, 10.5 Okanagan, My better/smarter half, George and Finnegan(APBT), all I need.


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