Any Cardinal Frame Problems

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Any Cardinal Frame Problems

Postby bilmorvn » Tue Dec 18, 2007 11:16 am

:?: Thought that I'd posted this yesterday, but it didn't show up on the forum---strange! Anyway, we have a '04 Montana which is experiencing its fourth frame problem. Hope they fix it well enough to trade it in on a cardinal 35 SB. Have major concerns since Cardinal uses a Lippert frame, too. Any input would be welcome. We don't want to buy another set of problems.
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Postby gmarker » Tue Dec 18, 2007 1:33 pm

Sorry to hear about your frame problems with the Montana. I am not aware of any particular problems with the Cardinal frames, but that doesn't mean there haven't been any. I'm sure if they were an issue, we would be seeing a lot of discussion about it on this forum. One thing you need to keep in mind about frames is that they are built to the 5th wheel manufacturer's specs. If the manufacturer's engineers don't do their job, there are going to be problems regardless of who builds the frame. In any case, the vast majority of this forum's members seem to be happy with their units and are very up front about any problems they have. You might do a search in this forum on frames and see what you come up with. I personally would not hesitate to recommend the Cardinal to anyone who asks.
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Postby campswithcritters » Wed Dec 19, 2007 12:49 am

Mine has near 40K mi and been fulltiming for a year at near max weight with no problems. As the others said I have not heard of problems.
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Postby Don Wilson » Wed Dec 19, 2007 3:13 am

I have not had any problems with my 04 Cardinal but one of our Canadian members of this website has reported an incident with frame problems.

If you look in the fifth wheel section under frame failure posted Feb 4 2007 by garyandbarb!

This is the only one that I know of that has been reported on the Cardinal!

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Postby Olbird » Wed Dec 19, 2007 8:14 pm

I spent a lot of time researching the one frame problem that I have heard of which is the same one Don is talking about. I have my own ideas of what I think caused the failure but I do know that Forest River did make some changes to reduce the stress in that area by removing the tubing spacers and mounting the axles closer to the frame and then mounting the axles under the springs to maintain the same trailer height without the tubing spacers.

I have a habit of climbing under every new Cardinal fifth wheel I see at the dealers to review and keep up with any frame changes. I also always monitor my own frame condition in the stress areas.
I don't care what type or brand frame you have the key is to reduce the amount of " tight " tight " turns to a minimum (that is STOP dragging the tires and axles sideways on hard pavement when ever you can!) How fast do you think your cars wheel alignment and axles would last if you had someone hook onto the back of the car on the right side and pull it sideways and then hook onto the front of the car on the left side and sideways at the same time to turn the car in the street ( CAN YOU PICTURE THAT IN YOU MIND) well that is what you doing in a tight turn with your trailer.
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Postby Chief409 » Wed Dec 19, 2007 9:20 pm

Olbird wrote:I spent a lot of time researching the one frame problem that I have heard of which is the same one Don is talking about. I have my own ideas of what I think caused the failure but I do know that Forest River did make some changes to reduce the stress in that area by removing the tubing spacers and mounting the axles closer to the frame and then mounting the axles under the springs to maintain the same trailer height without the tubing spacers.

I have a habit of climbing under every new Cardinal fifth wheel I see at the dealers to review and keep up with any frame changes. I also always monitor my own frame condition in the stress areas.
I don't care what type or brand frame you have the key is to reduce the amount of " tight " tight " turns to a minimum (that is STOP dragging the tires and axles sideways on hard pavement when ever you can!) How fast do you think your cars wheel alignment and axles would last if you had someone hook onto the back of the car on the right side and pull it sideways and then hook onto the front of the car on the left side and sideways at the same time to turn the car in the street ( CAN YOU PICTURE THAT IN YOU MIND) well that is what you doing in a tight turn with your trailer.


This is fine logic for a car. However a trailer frame, springs, axles should be stressed for this as a trailer which has two or three axles, without pivioting wheels, will be subject to this in everyday use. Just look at the "Big Rig" trailers, espescially the spread axle ones. I haven't heard of any Walbash (or any other) trailers suffering failures caused by this. And the commerical trailers built in the last 10 years or so don't go down the road sideways as much as I was used to seeing. RVer's should expect the same quality.

I do agree with trying to avoid this kind of manauver, mainly becuase it is stressfull on the tires. But having a frame or suspension failure caused by this would have me howling. And most likley the NTSB.
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Postby Rob & Cathy » Thu Dec 20, 2007 2:01 pm

Olbird wrote:STOP dragging the tires and axles sideways on hard pavement when ever you can.


That's an interesting point George. At the risk of changing the subject I've wondered if that was one of the differences between light truck (LT) and special trailer (ST) tires. I can not imagine those same lateral stresses you described to be an issue in the design of a LT tire where it would be in the design of the ST tire. That's a concern I just can't get passed when thinking about new trailer tires.

What do you think George am I off base on this???

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Postby Olbird » Thu Dec 20, 2007 9:42 pm

By no means am I saying we should accept or expect frame failure, I am only stating that the frame manufacturers do build to certain standards that must meet the industry regulations. However the trailer builder such as Forest River, Montana, etc. has engineers that can and do request frame changes to meet their specs.
I supervise designers engineer a lot of structural steel for building frames and equipment supports with the commercial industry on a daily basis and they are steel plates that are called gussets that can be welded between the I-Beam flanges against the beam web section to prevent flexing of the flange within the web to eliminate fatigue cracking. If you look at large truck trailers as you stated you would see these gussets are welded into place along the I-Beams also the flange thickness is six times the thicker then our trailer frames.

Now why do they not add these additional supports (the answer is added cost of building the frame)?

The day I see any sign of frame cracking in the stress areas of the beam flanges above the axle areas is the day I will weld in the gussets, but I try to never stress the frame with very tight turns. Three axles are worst than two axles in tight turns and apply more stress on the frames.

Rob you are correct the tire industry says ST tires are design with thicker sidewalls to withstand greater side stress than LT but it all goes back reducing tight turning whenever you can.
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Postby bilmorvn » Sat Dec 22, 2007 8:17 pm

Just got our 5W back from being repaired. The pinbox and the cross beam were replaced. Looked at the cross beam and it was cracked 80% of the way across the beam---total failure was very near indeed. The tech who did the work and has been a tech for 27 years felt that the frame had been underbuilt to save weight and money.

Agree with the side stress in backing, but am careful. Our old 5W had 12 inch frame and no problems.
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Postby bilmorvn » Sat Dec 22, 2007 8:32 pm

Don, thanks for the reference on the Cardinal frame problem. Ours was mostly in the hitchpin area, but we did have the brackets supporting the equalizers starting to peel off the frame. After looking at the pictures, I am almost convienced that Lippert had some type of metal problems with their frames, especially the '04.
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Postby mork » Wed Dec 26, 2007 9:37 am

I have a 2005 TS33 Cardinal Fifth Wheel to which I had a receiver hitch welded to the frame at the rear. I carried a 300 pound motorcycle on a motorcycle carrier all summer without any frame problems, so I am thinking that the Cardinal frames must be fairly strong.
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Postby campswithcritters » Wed Dec 26, 2007 11:19 pm

mork wrote:I have a 2005 TS33 Cardinal Fifth Wheel to which I had a receiver hitch welded to the frame at the rear. I carried a 300 pound motorcycle on a motorcycle carrier all summer without any frame problems, so I am thinking that the Cardinal frames must be fairly strong.


Glad to hear that as I just had a hitch welded on and will be carrying a 350lb bike with me from now on.
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