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Just Bad Luck?

spiker44
Explorer III
Explorer III

02/06/2023 we bought a 2019 Forest River Salem Hemisphere GLX. Paid extra for a presale inspection. Our first trip was a short 2 hour drive and 2 hours back. Loved it with no problems. Second trip 4 hours each way. No problems except noticed I had to increase the gain a few times from 4.5 to 7. Third trip was crazy. About an hour into the drive we had a blow out on the pass side rear tire. Got it to the side of the rd very quickly thank goodness. It Took out the plumbing for the slide out rear sink. Changed it with spare. Now running without spare, decided to got to tire shop and get a new tire and put spare back on rack. Mechanic came to me to show other tires were oblong and not round. Also that there were two different brands of tire on it only being 4 years old. The tire had delaminated and he said it was going to happen again. I bought 4 new tires, had him check over what he could like while up on jack wiggle tires to see if loose or bearings were tight. Rv pulled better then ever we noticed as I guess we were driving on not true round tires. Arrived at out site and stayed for 2 weeks. Everything was great. Everything worked as it should in the couples trailer. On our way back we drove 4 hours and stopped for 2 days then continued on our way home. . 4 more hours and we were at our driveway. While backing up I had to turn in on an angle to back into our drive. I felt a bump and then another. I stopped and got out to find the rear drive side tire, rim and hub had broke off the axle. I found the ring and little bearings around where it cam off. After looking at it further there were no brake parts in the hub or left on the axle. No shoes or housings, no springs. no magnet . Nothing. Completely bear. I had an insurance inspector come out and he was amazed that nothing was left and that the hub came off in the drive, there should of been something. I called the dealer and they told me in no way did they sell it like that With no brakes or old used different tires. I told them I had pictures of everything. I was told to bring it in so they could look at it. It is 3 hours away and how do I drive it there on 3 wheels. I dont have trust in them now. I am going to take it to a closer repair shop. So it turns out it will be two separate claims and I will have to pay 2 deductibles. I dont see how brake parts could just disintegrate or fall off before the tire broke off. ??? Yikes What do I do know? I know blowouts happen and bearings fail butt what was overlooked on the before sale. No confidence so I will now pay again for a full inspection as I did presale !!!   Any thoughts?

19 REPLIES 19

So True. As you can see I am angry... Mostly because I have my children and grandchildren  on my camping trips. I am over it now and thank you for your thoughts. I will now have the rv that we love on the inside and all new moving parts under it. Its only money !!! LOL Now we have the camper we love but to broke to go anywhere...  Yikes !! 

Unless it had a warranty, you bought it “as is”, is what I was trying to say. 
Similarly, if I was unable to or didn’t know how to do a decent inspection myself, I wouldn’t trust the place selling it to “inspect” it. 
Fox watching the hen house rarely is a good outcome. Not just in the camper sales business. 
That said, I’m sorry, I cannot offer any advice on next steps to not “let it go”. 
Maybe you have more time to pursue this issue, on principle, than I do. And I wish you the best possible outcome. Most dealers are slimy. And in the end, if you prevail, it will likely be mostly just in principle as your expenses and time (=$ too) will likely be greater than your recovery. 
That said, if you can stick it to the dealer, everyone else who has been duped by (any) dealer will thank you for it. Because we’ve all been there in some form or fashion. 

2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29 - Sold.
Couple of Arctic Fox TCs - Sold

I didn't buy as is... I said I wanted it gone over everything and had no problems paying for it. They agreed to do this. I would agree If I bought it from a private owner and didn't have it inspected. I bought it from a so called respected dealer. Paid for a presale inspection and then a state inspection. If you ever read the reviews of these dealers it is insane on the complaints. And "just moving on" is the exact reason they still get away with it. I'm not moving on. I didn't buy this from some guys yard with a hope and poke. It was used, yes. But I paid good money to have this RV safe for my family. To find no brakes and 4 oblong tires is totally unacceptable. 

Not to sound mean but you bought a used, no warranty as is where is camper. 
The only thing to do is move forward from here and quit trusting dealers. They’re as or more shady than private party sellers on average imo. 

2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29 - Sold.
Couple of Arctic Fox TCs - Sold

Hi,

Is there somewhere or a course of action to take for this selling a RV without brakes in one of the wheels. The only thing I found was RV Lemon laws and PA doesnt have them.

Grit_dog
Traveler III
Traveler III

Unfortunate for sure. 
sounds like equal helpings of unaware buyer, getting ripped off by dealer and inspector, a mystery, previous or new damage and quite importantly, a trailer equipped with marginal or too light of axles. 
One of the reasons I was set on a toyhauler when we had a trailer for a few years. Over built chassis for the weight (wasn’t carrying a ton or 2 of toys in it). 

2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29 - Sold.
Couple of Arctic Fox TCs - Sold

JBarca
Traveler II
Traveler II

Hi Spiker,

First off, you are very welcome.  I'm glad to help as much as I can for a fellow RV'er. 

Yes, I feel your pain in thinking you hired a good inspection.  You did the right thing by having the unit inspected; the issue was that whoever did it fell short of doing a good one.   Even good shops have a mess up, but what can define the shop is what happens after the mess up happens.

We all learn from these things. While some of us are more mechanically inclined than others, how does the average RV'er even know what to ask or assume is done when the shop says they inspected it? Your situation may have been the perfect storm on the running gear.  That does not give the shop a get-out-of-jail-free card, though; these issues should have been caught.  Having dealt with enough used campers and how they can fail, my opinion is that any used camper needs a complete running gear and tire inspection, including a bearing grease repack, detail tire inspection, frame crack check, and brake inspection/adjustment before the new owner takes it down the road.   A dealer can charge for this or use it as a selling incentive.  But at least address it. 

To sum this up, for those following along, the learning is to have something in writing, ideally or at least verbally; what exactly does the shop do when they call it an inspection?   It is a red flag if they do not give you any details.  Many shops have a checklist at least they give to the tech when a used camper comes in and is prepped for sale; that list is a starting place to talk to.     A used camper can have many areas with issues, such as roof caulking, siding caulking, roof or siding leaks, LP gas system checks, appliances, slide drive systems if the camper has a slide, running gear & RV main trailer frame inspection, holding tank leaks, power converter operation, battery health, and so on.  It takes "time" and experience to spot all these things.  

Find a shop or person you can trust if you cannot do this inspection yourself.  Sometimes, this is easier said than done, but our RV forum/community is an excellent place to start. Your post alone is a prime example of what to watch out for.  Ask questions and become as educated as you can going into this. 

You are on the get-well track now; good for you.   Have fun camping.

John

 

2005 Ford F350 Super Duty, 4x4; 6.8L V10 with 4.10 RA, 21,000 GCWR, 11,000 GVWR, upgraded 2 1/2" Towbeast Receiver. Hitched with a 1,700# Reese HP WD, HP Dual Cam to a 2004 Sunline Solaris T310R travel trailer.

Yes, I wish I knew all of this. When I asked for the presale inspection, I thought it would include all if not most of what you stated. I did personally check the undercarriage and looked and seen all the brake wires looked connected. I only wish I had taken the tires off and checked the bearings and brakes. As stated above, i depended on them selling me it in the best condition and trusting they did a thorough inspection of mentioned possible problems. Well with all new tires, upgraded axles with larger hubs/brakes, springs etc., etc. We will feel safer compared to how I feel now on buying anything from this dealer again. I know now for a fact that the empty brake drum and no parts, that it never did have brakes in that wheel. I am also paying again for a full inspection of everything. Like you said it is a learning experience and even new things are subject to let you down. Thanks for all the responses.  

Sorry click not cling LOL

if you cling on the links above those that dont work it will show the pics. I dont know why but the bold links send you to zoinks ?? Let me know if it works. Thanks

Carl_n_Susan
Traveler II
Traveler II

So what happened to the pictures? There are links in several responses to the Imgur web hosting sites, but Imgur says  "Zoinks! You've taken a wrong turn." which I assume is a 404 error.

Temp Signature1
Second Line
Third line
Fourth Line

Hi Spiker,

Your axle misfortune is a perfect learning topic.  My technical brain is always curious about these kinds of failures.  Was it an axle location overload, a bad casting, prior maintenance not done, etc? 

The grease in the hub pic with the tire you posted is too far away to see much detail inside the hub. Ideally, a pic of the top shaft length of the axle spindle showing detail, might show some clues too.   On the hub, a close up of the cracked metal, ideally with it not covered in grease, in the casting may turn up some clues also.   Metal fatigue and cracks leave tracks in the crack profile.  Did this fail due to one large instantaneous overload, or did the crack start, and over time rip itself until it let go?  

This is all muddied up with the missing brake parts.  If the brake parts where on the brake plate when the wheel come off,  they should be somewhere near the point where the wheel came off, and they are not.  The odds are extremely low they vaporized during the wheel flying off event.   Speculation now comes into play,  did the camper have an event in the past where the brake assembly had a failure?  And if it did, did someone remove the  brake shoes put the drum back on and tow it home. They got fed up and traded it in.   Every time I go into a camper electric brake setup for maintenance, a surprise may be inside.  And sadly, this can happen on new brakes and more so on older campers. 

By chance, did you look to see if the brake wiring behind the brake plate was unhooked? If an event happened that someone had to gut out the parts in the brake to get home from being stuck on the road, they may have unhooked the wiring so that wheel would not short out the brake system.  I know this sound a bit far fetched,  but maybe not.  The missing parts had to go somewhere?

Two different brand tires, that points to the camper had a tire failure before.  Tires on the camper that are out of round, that points to tires coming apart inside from either under inflation, overload, or not enough reserve capacity and inter-ply shear started ripping the tire apart.  All this happened before you ever owned the camper.  It takes time for this slow disaster to build and then come apart.   

 Next steps, you have made a wise choice upgrading to 5,200# axles and 12" brakes.  My personal opinion, they should of been there from day one.  This is an RV industry issue. I'm assuming you are also upgrading the leaf springs to 5,200# per pair to match the new axle tubes?  The 4,400# axles would only have springs to match the axle tube. 

As to the dealer who inspected the camper before you acquired it,  I can see how these areas could of been missed.  I'm not defending them, just stating how this may have come down.   They had the shop do a look over "without" doing checks or taking anything apart.  While a quick visual by a trained eye can see many things, in order to find out of round tires, missing brake parts, possible overloaded axles, it will take shop time to dig into this. 

The brakes, did they put a clamp on DC amp meter on the emergency breakaway switch, pull the pin and measure the current? The should get close to 12 amps, this at least tells all 4 magnets are hooked up and holding to the brake drum.   It's a quick check, that can find wiring issues or the E breakaway switch fast, and did not take a lot of time.

The camper being as old as it is, should of had a brake inspection, bearing re-pack done and a brake adjustment.  They could of even charged you for it, or told you it was included as a selling point.  This would of given a good bill of health to the brake system. 

While the camper is up on 4 jacks doing a bearing re-pack, you can check the camber in the axle tubes when the axle is unloaded.  If the bend in the middle of the axle is not in the league of when it was new, the axle was subjected to an overload somewhere along the way.   This check does not take a lot of time when the camper is up on jack stands for brake work, but it does take understanding on how to do it, and then to do it. 

And, when the tires are off, do a good visual on the suspension for worn spring bushings, the equalizer and the shackles.  This check gets a little more involved, but knowing where to look, you can see play in the bushings and wear when it starts getting excessive.   There is a reason Dexter recommends a suspension check every 6,000 miles.  By the time 8,000 to 10,000 miles comes, nylon bushings can be worn through and metal to metal grinding going on.  

The tires,  being past the 3 years age mark, did they did a tire spin test?  Jack the camper up to get the wheel off the ground, place a wood block etc by the tread, spin the wheel and look for out of round tires.   Doing this spin test as part of a brake maintenance, does not take a lot of time.  

Internal damage going on inside the tire. This one, is hard to get a true answer.  While broken cords in the tire could be found by visual and the spin test, if the cords have not yet separated,  it is complicated to almost not doable to detect tire abuse due to under inflation, overloading or lack of enough reserve capacity, but the damage is in the tire.   Experience can show, in these cases, tire age, seeing attributes miss-matched tires,   the only course of a fix, replace the tires and start out with a known setup. 

What I said above, I have come to learn through failures on dealing with restoring older campers and helping friends with new campers.  I doubt the above may be standard practice, it costs time and money to do it.    If all the above was done, and if the new owner knew to even ask if they could do it, even if they charged labor, it could of helped you not have your failures. 

We all learn from each other in these cases, where we can show and discuss things in a positive way.

Hope this helps and have fun camping with the new camper. 

John

2005 Ford F350 Super Duty, 4x4; 6.8L V10 with 4.10 RA, 21,000 GCWR, 11,000 GVWR, upgraded 2 1/2" Towbeast Receiver. Hitched with a 1,700# Reese HP WD, HP Dual Cam to a 2004 Sunline Solaris T310R travel trailer.

We found it hard to find info on the 272RL and that it is the same as the 273. I did post a pic of inside the hub . There was grease all over the inside. Being that the tire fell off in my driveway, i searched everywhere for brake parts. Even took my 4x4 slowly back tracked for miles to see if there were any parts on the rd. Nothing. I am have both axles upgraded to 5,200# axle with 12" drums. They were only going to replace the broken one. I said to change both. My biggest fault was not having a independent inspector do the presale inspection. You want to trust a dealer that is selling you an expensive RV even more so being used. The layout is exactly what we wanted so once all the upgrades are done we will have all new axles, brakes etc., etc..  Thanks so much again for your insight. We had a 2009 Kingsport before this and never had any problems. we upgraded for more room and luxury. I hope we will be good in the future. I will still be asking the dealer a lot of questions on what they sold me. [IMG]https://i.imgur.com/BkcGQQkl.jpg[/IMG] [IMG]https://i.imgur.com/0wQGmqql.jpg[/IMG]

JBarca
Traveler II
Traveler II

Hi Spiker,

I will think some more about this and maybe add more tomorrow, but I wanted to confirm a few things after seeing your pics and now know the model number and leave you with these thoughts.

I found this online, could not find older specs on the FR web site, but found this on a 2019 Salem Hemisphere GXL 272RL https://www.woldsrvsales.com/product/new-2019-forest-river-rv-salem-hemisphere-glx-272rl-1040760-29  

There was a link on that seller website to a 2019 brochure and I downloaded a copy.  They did not list a 272RL but do list a 273RL with a floor plan very similar to what appears to be the 272RL.  It may be, the 272RL was put in after the brochure was made, a brochure typo or it is a west coast/east coast thing where models change.  Look at the specs on the web site and see if they line up with your camper. 

This much I do see,  you have what appears to be a 9,500# GVWR on the camper that is 34' 4" lg.  The empty weight is not really known which spec sheet is right, but I won't think it will matter for what I'm going to say.   By the brake plate on the axle that in your pics, it appears you have 4,400# axles with 10" x 2 1/4" wide brakes.    I'm not a fan of using those small of axles on a camper that heavy, but by the fine print, they do line up.   Years ago before the onset of the 4,400# axle with 10" brakes, you would have to get a 5,200# axle with 12" brakes.  A much better setup to allow for uneven loading of the camper.  Both FR and Keystone are doing the 4,400# setup on a close to 10,000# GVWR camper on many models, not all, but many.   The truck is used then by the book specs to hold the weight above the 8,800# of axle ratings before you reach the 9,500# GVWR.   What may not be realized by the owners, and not spoke much about at the dealers, is how the camper loads weight. The owner has to load the camper in such a way to not overload either side and the entire GVW not exceed the 9,500#.

The right side of the camper, where you had your blow out, has the kitchen slide, the inside fridge, storage, storage in the island partly goes to the right side,. the outside kitchen has cargo areas also.  It is possible the prior owner had overloaded axle rating of the right side of the camper even if entire camper was still under GVWR. And or the entire camper, 34' 4" long is a lot of camper to put cargo in, so the entire camper could be overweight.  

I'm bringing this up for a few reasons,  back to tire sizing and the inter-ply shear issues.  What are the tire and load range of the tires that where on it?  The spare may still have the sizing left on the side wall.   From you pic, it looks like ST225R15's was the tire size.  But I cannot see the load range in the pic.   They offer that size in a C, D and E load range. 

Next up is the exploded brake drum hub.  You only posted one pic looking straight on.  Being able to see the top of the axle spindle closer and the inside of the brake drum could help add more to this.  One thing sticks out, where is all the grease that should be all over the place?  When the bearing hub blew apart, one would think grease would fly all over, it seems dry and maybe even crispy?  Please confirm this.

New axles as shipped from the factory often have very little grease packed in the bearings.  If the prior owner never had the bearings repacked, then the system may have burnt up the bearings due to lack of lube on your last trip home.   Between possible overloading of axle and brake drum, lack of lube, and maybe a defect in the casting, the bearing cavity blew apart.  

That helps give some insight to what "might" have happened.  But there is the missing brake shoes and magnet arms.  While I can see the bearing casting blowing up, and when the wheel came off, it stripped the shoes and magnet along with it. The brake shoes are not held to the brake plate other then 2 small pins that can tear apart in those kind of forces and the shoes unhook from the top center holding pin.   It is hard for me to fathom that the brake shoes, and magnets, arm and all would disintegrate into dust. You need mega heat for that to happen.  I can see them flying off a long ways from the camper, but not into thin air.    This does leave an open question if the brake shoes were ever there. That is an unknown.

I would recommend before you go camping again, that all brake drums gets pulled off,  the bearings inspected and repacked by hand.  Also have your inspection shop check for loss a camber in the axle tubes . If a prior owner overloaded the axle, the bend in the middle of the axle would be more straight and the camber would not be correct. It is supposed to be bent up in the middle of the tube by the  correct amount for the weight on axle.  Placing a 4 ft level centered on the bottom of the axle tube will show a gap at the center, measure the gap with feller gauges and compare front and rear axle to compare it to the Dexter specs.   And, once you get the camper back to usable, go get the camper weight axle by axle and see where your weights with full camping gear loaded inside come out. 

Hope this helps,

John

 

2005 Ford F350 Super Duty, 4x4; 6.8L V10 with 4.10 RA, 21,000 GCWR, 11,000 GVWR, upgraded 2 1/2" Towbeast Receiver. Hitched with a 1,700# Reese HP WD, HP Dual Cam to a 2004 Sunline Solaris T310R travel trailer.

if you click on the text in the upper box the pics will work  Yikes