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Old 10-24-2013, 12:16 PM   #1
roy
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Default Frame problems?

I've been reading some online stories of the Forest River XLR frames cracking by the axles. Googled the cruiser brand on that and came up empty. The XLR looks very similar in design to the xt276 cruiser. I have looked in the past at my frame and came up empty. I plan to look again today as I've become aware of this potential problem again today.

Is this a broad spread problem with toy haulers?
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Old 10-24-2013, 12:25 PM   #2
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When I winterized mine several weeks ago before putting it into inside storage for the winter, laying on my creeper, I checked the entire underneath for any 'issues' that may be evident as I opened the low point drains.

I found no issues.






Is the Fun Finder frame made by the same company that makes those for Forest River
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Old 10-24-2013, 01:28 PM   #3
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Yes both use Lippert who has an exetensive history of Frame problems most notably with Forest River and Crossroads.

I'm hoping mine still looks ok this afternoon. Been a while since I looked back around the axles. I do note that their welding looks like crap or something I would have done. Had one screw left out on the fresh water tank cross bracing. I drilled a fresh hole and tapped a screw in. So yea they did miss things on my Monday built unit.
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Old 10-24-2013, 06:37 PM   #4
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Must be a Forest River and Crossroads problem. I inspected the 276 today and no signs of frame cracks. Will keep an eye on this.
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Old 10-25-2013, 11:08 AM   #5
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I think a great deal is made of "frame failures" that isn't necessarily warranted. It is a good idea to inspect the frame at least annually or any time handling or tire wear would lead you to suspect a change in alignments and rigidity, but, I wouldn't worry a great deal about the frame. Lippert, unjustly IMHO, takes a lot of hits on their frames. When you make 98% of the frames on the road, 98% of the failures will be yours...just simple math and all else being equal. The frames, and this is the biggest thing, are built to the ordering company's specifications. So, yes, you may find that a particular brand's frames are failing more than normal, but, that would lead me to believe that the frames were under specified; Lippert has no idea what the final deployment of their frames are intended for.

As for toy haulers being more susceptible? I suspect they are, and they are susceptible to a whole host of problems not encountered with regular bumper pull trailers; light tongue weights, excessive loading, inadequate frame strength for the drastically unbalanced loads that people put in them, poor handling, insufficient strength of the suspension, etc. They are a rather new direction in travel trailer design and it will take some time to get the kinks ironed out, but, IMHO, a lot of the problems are owner induced. Because the rear end of these things are so cavernous, people load them up...not one ATV, but, 2,3 and I saw one with 4 in it, not just a single motorcycle, but, multiple motorcycles of the heaviest touring type and then since there is space left over, lets put in a big generator, maybe a week's worth of wood or more, cases of your favorite beverage, a big household style grill with several spare propane tanks, a small refrigerator so that the "cold ones" are more accessible, etc. All of this weight is in addition to the regular load that folks put in it for personal use; clothes, food, pots and pans, etc. However, most of the heavy stuff winds up in the "garage" and that is the worst place for it...concentrated in one area and behind the trailer's axles. This leads to unequal dynamic forces on the frame, unstable light tongue weights and unequal load carrying of the axles and suspension components. Realize the extra flexing that goes on with that weight behind the axles...the most unstable area on any trailer since it is only supported on one side (the axle side). This leads to a great deal more flexing of the frame of the frame at the axle location (like a hinge point).

So, yes, there are inherent issues with toy haulers that you won't find with regular travel trailers and there are "growing pain" issues that a lot of manufacturers will encounter with trying to develop adequate strength for their units and still maintain a profit margin. If you have a toy hauler, keep the above in mind when loading, check your tongue weights (some even have to carry a full fresh water tank to keep the trailer tongue heavy with the load distributed so that the suspension is loaded per design specifications. Also bear in mind the frames are delivered as specified by the ordering manufacturer and what one company specifies is not necessarily what others specify and "problems" are probably not "cross manufacturer" applicable. FunFinder has its quality control issues, as does every manufacturer, but, in my experience, frame strength and reliability hasn't been an issue on any of their products to date, but, that, too, can change. As always, at least annual inspection of all components (spring and fall is even better) and any time you suspect something may have happened (hit a curb recently? Check the suspension) and that inspection should include everything on the trailer from the ground to the roof. Load carefully (for any trailer, more important for toy haulers) and respect tongue weight, load location and the GVWR of the trailer.

Travel smart and travel safe!



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Old 10-25-2013, 12:07 PM   #6
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I am well within my trailers gross weight loaded. I do have most everything we haul in the back. The tongue weight dry on the 276 is 870 lbs. I notice loaded it will tip the tongue upward even hooked to my truck. I discovered that once while I had the trailer hooked to truck with no hitch bars and tongue jack extended on a 4x4 block just to stabilize the trailer while I loaded it. Once loaded the tongue jack had risen good 1/2" off wood block. Add a tank of fresh water which is located in front of the rear axles toward the front and the jack foot returns to the wood block. No handling issues with my rig its rock steady at 60 or 80 mph. I am pretty sure I have it loaded properly. I also try to go easy on tight turning of any kind. My tightest turning is backing it down my long driveway. That twist it up pretty good until I can get it off the main road going barckwards until straight.
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Old 10-25-2013, 05:41 PM   #7
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Yep, you discovered the "light tongue weight" syndrome of toy haulers. That is one of the biggest causes with instability issues with that type of trailer. A full fresh water tank, as you discovered, is the usual cure for that problem, as long as the other loading rules are followed. The only way you can really verify that the full water tank is curing the problem is to measure your tongue weight (with a Sherline type scale) and then weighing the trailer on a CAT type scale to find what your true gross is. Once you have those weights, you can calculate what your tongue weight should be (12-16% of gross) versus what you actually weighed it at. Your tongue coming back down indicates that there is more weight in front, but, you could still be light; i.e., maybe only 6% weight on the tongue. That will be stable in most circumstances, but, may still leave you light in accident avoidance or emergency stop situations. It may be that you'll need to try and redistribute some of the loading from the back to the front (those things that can be moved), or, you may find that you need to put more in the back of your truck and less in the back of your trailer...but, you are on the right track.



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2011 Ram 2500 Longhorn CTD HO
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Old 10-27-2013, 05:33 PM   #8
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I have been careful and mindful of the weight issue and placement of items within my toy hauler.

On all except two trips, I have not carried any water in the water tank and when I did, only about 1/3 of a tank load.

Many times I have loaded/unloaded my Harley Davidson Ultra Classic when the toy hauler was just resting on the tongue jack. Never did the tongue become to light to firmly remain in place.

I've never check my tongue weight ... only weight of the pickup alone and weight of the toy hauler loaded for a weeks trip with the tow vehicle hooked up. I was within limits and room to spare.

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Old 10-28-2013, 09:24 AM   #9
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Yep, you should be fine with just the one Harley. What gets in the way with a lot of folks is "multiple" toys and the fact that nature abhors a vacuum (empty space), so, many with toy haulers will keep loading up the rear until that empty space is gone. Every driven through the neighborhood and noticed all the cars parked outside the garage because the garage is full of "stuff"? Same thing occurs with toy haulers and that, they weren't designed for... Bravo for you for realizing the limitations and staying within the design specifications.



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My 2 cents, your mileage may vary...

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2 Cats; J-Lo and Ragamuffin :R

2014 Thor Tuscany 40RX DP
2011 Ram 2500 Longhorn CTD HO
2011 Keystone Cougar 318SAB (now gone)
2008 FunFinder X 210WBS (Sadly gone)
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Old 10-28-2013, 09:41 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by webslave
Yep, you should be fine with just the one Harley. What gets in the way with a lot of folks is "multiple" toys and the fact that nature abhors a vacuum (empty space), so, many with toy haulers will keep loading up the rear until that empty space is gone. Every driven through the neighborhood and noticed all the cars parked outside the garage because the garage is full of "stuff"? Same thing occurs with toy haulers and that, they weren't designed for... Bravo for you for realizing the limitations and staying within the design specifications.
I loved your comment about the cars parked in the driveway because the garage is full of "stuff".

Neighbor just got a new ford 3/4 ton 4x4 pickup.......sits outside because his garage is full of "stuff" that probably, in total, wouldn't bring $300 at a garage sale while his new $54,000 pickup sits out in the weather. That seems to be a very common practice.

Same reason investors keep building/renting "storage building centers" for people to keep junk in for which they have no use for.
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Old 10-29-2013, 04:44 AM   #11
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No clutter at my house both our vehicles fit in the garage. As for the toys, 20x20 insulated shop houses all that stuff and doubles where I work on all the stuff. there are folks living within walking distance to me who all have a garage full of junk with a walking path to the house door.
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