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Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

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

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bedpan

Canada

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Posted: 08/28/20 06:17pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hey folks.. asking for some advice and direction. We bought a Heartland Sundance 24bh brand new in March 2019. We have had a number of issues with it since we bought. All of which we have taken care of on our own. Mainly because we were travelling at the time and it would take to long to involve warranty.

The most recent issue is fairly major and Heartland is choosing not to help.

In July we drove on a 4000km, 2400mi road trip around northern Ontario. I am fairly attentive to wheels bearing and suspension issues checking things over on most stops and breaks. On our second last day I noticed some sever wear on the inner edge of the rear drivers side tire. I looked it over and my initial thought was bearing despite having been professionally repacked earlier in the summer.

When we got home I figured out what the real issue was. The frame is cracked above the rear spring shackle. I assume this is causing a change in alignment and causing the tire to wear.

I brought it the 40km up the road nice and slow and dropped it off at our trailer dealer. Initially I was told it's out of warranty but I pointed out the 3 year structural warranty. The service manager came out and looked at it and agreed it should be under warranty. He agreed to contact Heartland and get things started despite the fact they don't do welding at the shop. During further inspection he also notice the frame on the opposite side is also cracked!

Awhile later I got a call from Heartland asking if I could bring the trailer to the USA for repair. I kinda laughed and explained how this was not an option for a few major reasons. First Covid means I am not allowed to cross the border and second the trailer is in no condition to be towed. I tried asking questions about what would happen, concerns about how major this is and the fact it was wrecking our family holidays. They had no info but agreed to dig into it and call me back.

I informed our dealer about the call and he informed me that the repair is outside of the scope of what they are able to repair even bringing in a welder and that he has pushed back on Heartland saying he refuses to accept any liability from the repair. He has not said it but seems to be inferring this is beyond welding on a patch.

So another call from Heartland yesterday and they advise me I need to find my own company to repair it and have them contact Lippert for instructions on how to. I pushed back on them telling him that I should not be responsible to find ways to farm out there repairs for them. Heartlands solution? He sent me an email with 3 other trailer dealers in the area and lipperts phone number. I suggested that if they really want to see the trailer it would not be overly expensive to have it flatbedded down to Indiana. Based on the number of trucks I see coming up here with new trailers I would assume they are running back empty. No dice. Charlie says talk to Lippert. So Heartland is refusing to help at this point and when I tell Heartland this I get "Well I sent you an email..."

So we are camping this week. Sleeping in a tent instead of our brand new trailer. So calling anyone is tough with very limited signal on the park. Tomorrow we are heading home and I need to call everyone involved to try and find an action plan....

Lippert is aware of the issue. In fact they have a white paper on how to repair it. My dealer is of the mind that the shackles used were to small and putting to much stress on the frame. I understand the position he is in but as the end customer I feel very stuck right now.

In reading around it seems Lippert usually sends out there own welders flying them to sites to make the repairs when this comes up.

I am at a bit of a loss as to how and who to push to fix this.... For info sake we are in Canada on the east side of the GTA and the dealer is in Peterborough.

Your thoughts as appreciated!

Crack I noticed - [image]
Note the rust on the 18 month old frame. I am told its normal..

Crack the dealer noticed - [image]
I wire brushed and painted this side of the frame earlier in on the trip...

PamfromVA

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Posted: 08/28/20 06:34pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I don't know if this will help you but we had a cracked lippert frame on a coachman trailer that we noticed while on the road. I contacted lippert and they paid for spot welding to get us home. once there, they found a local metal shop and overnighted the specs and instructions for the shop to perform. sent us in the mail an official new three year warrenty on the welded frame. this was awhile ago, but they were really good to work with under that stressful situation.


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bedpan

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Posted: 08/28/20 06:54pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Very good information.. And to be fair I have not talked to Lippert.. How does this cracking compare to yours if you don't mind me asking?

Covid is throwing a wrench into things for sure. It just seems that no one is jumping up to help. In my mind I have warranty. I brought it to the dealer I bought it from. Things should be taken care of from there..



PamfromVA wrote:

I don't know if this will help you but we had a cracked lippert frame on a coachman trailer that we noticed while on the road. I contacted lippert and they paid for spot welding to get us home. once there, they found a local metal shop and overnighted the specs and instructions for the shop to perform. sent us in the mail an official new three year warrenty on the welded frame. this was awhile ago, but they were really good to work with under that stressful situation.


Bert the Welder

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Posted: 08/28/20 07:25pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

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.
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.

* This post was edited 08/30/20 07:10pm by an administrator/moderator *


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Bird Freak

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Posted: 08/28/20 07:31pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You need to be talking to lippert. They can send out a welder to repair.


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MEXICOWANDERER

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Posted: 08/28/20 07:44pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

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.
.

azrving

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Posted: 08/28/20 08:20pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Short cut and just find a good weldor and have him start welding all the cracks then start laying in reinforcement.

* This post was edited 09/04/20 03:20pm by azrving *

fj12ryder

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Posted: 08/28/20 09:33pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My 10 year old frame looks better than that one, as far as the rust is concerned. That looks awful.

Personally I wouldn't even begin to "do it yourself". It's under warranty and should be repaired under warranty so if there are more failures further down the line, there's a paper trail to work with. Fix it yourself and figure on fixing anything else that happens too. JMO of course.


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Bert the Welder

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Posted: 08/29/20 12:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

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.

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Posted: 08/29/20 02:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

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.

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