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Important Safety Problem: Monaco, Holiday Rambler & Safari Chassis


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#1 daperera

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 08:59 AM

I have a 2003 Holiday Rambler Ambassador that had two recalls for suspension concerns in 2005. The recall included 2002, 2003 and some 2004 Monaco Knight, Cayman, HR Ambassador, Neptune, Safari Cheetah, Sahara and Zanzibar models.

A few days ago I was driving my RV on Interstate 80 near Sacramento and it started to get very "squirrely" on me. I pulled into an RV dealer and asked them to inspect it. The tech found that the right rear wheel was several inches in back of the left one. Further inspection revealed a broken rear trailing arm that was part of a 2005 recall.

Monaco doesn't supply the parts anymore but referred me to a Source Manufacturing in Portland, which is now making the parts. They only ship both arms because they are hearing from quite a few Holiday Rambler and Monaco owners who are having this same problem.

NHSTA didn't think they could do anything because Monaco is out of business. Monaco wasn't much help. FMCA may put something in their magazine.

I don't know if there are any other Monaco chassis that have the same rear suspension, but it would be wise to have somebody inspect the rear trailing arms and U-bolts. I'm lucky I didn't make the 6 o'clock news.
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#2 wolfe10

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 04:15 PM

Here is some information that I have pieced together after combing multiple sources. I will update this post as additional information becomes available and post updated date at the bottom.

DISCLAIMER: Though I have spent a couple of hours researching this, I by no means hold myself out to be an expert on this. If you have one of the following chassis, it behooves you to follow up! Look forward to more information being posted on this subject!

According to my information, there are THREE different suspensions under the R4R and RR4R chassis over the years. ONLY ONE IS AFFECTED.

The recall affects Rear Suspension Trailing Arms ONLY ON THE R4R and RR4R CHASSIS with the "Monaco Gold" or sometimes referred to as "R-Way" suspension. It is an in-house copy of the Neway suspension. It does NOT include any suspension systems made by Neway or Reyco.

The recalled R-Way arm goes UNDER the rear axle and is made of 3" square tubing. They are on either side in the rear. The rear air bag is bolted to the rear/back end of the trailing arm. The center of the trailing arm is bolted to the rear axle with a large u-bolt and plates and the front is bolted to the frame. The cracks happen on the upper or lower portion of the center of the trailing arm where the u-bolt holds it to the axle.

You can identify the Reyco rear suspension (NOT AFFECTED BY THE RECALL) by the trailing arms that go over the axle rather than under.

If you have the FOUR air bag suspension and your trailing arm goes OVER the AXLE= Reyco= no problem.

If you have the FOUR air bag suspension and your trailing arm goes UNDER the AXLE= Neway OR R-Way= MAY, repeat MAY. BE SUBJECT TO THE RECALL/problem.

If the trailing arm is 3" square tubing, it is R-Way and is part of the recall. The Neway was used basically from 2000 thru 2002 and those arms are identified by the fabricated weldments using multiple pieces of plate welded into a box assembly (Not tube) and is NOT part of the recall-- there are no problems with this design


Monaco had a previous recall on the trailing arms because of bad welds. IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT THE ARMS REPLACED UNDER THIS EARLIER CAMPAIGN ARE STILL THE OLD DESIGN THAT ARE SUBJECT TO BREAKING-- I.E. THEY ARE THE 3" SQUARE TUBE DESIGN. They need to be upgraded just like the original trailing arms.

The trailing arm allows the rear axle to move up and down using the air bag to cushion and limit the movement. A lot of stress is placed on the pivot point at the arm on the axle.

The recall essentially includes any R4R or RR4R Monaco Roadmaster chassis produced after the 2002 model year. This change was made as a running change and it is possible that some very late 2002 models could be effected.

Monaco Knight 2002 - 2004
Monaco Cayman 2002 - 2009
Holiday Rambler Ambassador 2002 - 2004
Holiday Rambler Neptune 2002 - 2009
Safari Cheetah 2002 - 2007
Safari Simba RD All Years
Safari Zanzibar/Sahara 2002 -2005
Beaver Baron All Years

NHSTA didn't think they could do anything because Monaco is out of business and the "new" Monaco appears to be under no legal obligation to accept responsibility.

The arm's crack, allowing excessive rear suspension movement AND CAN BE DANGEROUS, as the arm holds the axle in place front to rear.

Monaco doesn't supply the parts any more. The new supplier is: Source Manufacturing in Portland: 541-935-0308 . They say their arms are 3 to 4 times stronger than the original.

trailing_arm.jpg

(Click on photo to view full size) This photo shows the replacement arm from Source Manufacturing and the recalled R-Way arm that is the subject of the recall.

trailing_arm_b.jpg

(Click on photo to view full size) This photo shows a broken R-Way arm. You do NOT want that piece holding your rear axle in place!

Brett Wolfe

Updated 10/14/09
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Dianne and Brett Wolfe
1997 Safari Sahara 3540
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#3 jobert

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Posted 09 August 2009 - 09:56 PM

Actually, I have a 2001 Ambassador on the rr4r and it rides like the rest. It does not however have the other related suspension problems of the 2002 and up. There are several posts on this topic on the IRV2 site under both roadmaster and Monaco owners. Many are not happy at all with what they are finding out.

The Neway suspension ended during the 2001 model year. That is what I have under mine, both front and back. In later 2001, they went to building there own inhouse version. This lasted into the 2005 model year and they redesigned it again and kept making it inhouse. Various years have the problem all the way up to 2008 and with the replacement arms also. 2002 - 2005 uses one method to measure ride height and 2005 up uses a different method so measure ride height and the neway uses a different method also. My understanding is that a call to Monaco Tech with your serial number is required to get the ride height information accurately.

There are pictures on one of the threads on IRV2 showing the defect on a set of arms and some experiences of others.

The Neway arms look like they came off a tank compared the arms built inhouse.

The years that Brett Wolfe refers to are correct, those are the years of the inhouse built arms and are scattered around to different years on different models. Brett has a vast knowledge base and offers very sound and valuable advise.

Best of Luck. I had Monroes on and took them off and put the Koni FSD in front. It did make it roll better on the small road cracks but there are some situations where it feels like you hit a curb head on. On a bridge transistion, either up or down, sometimes it is extremely rough. I start out in the morning usually about 3-4 lbs light on the tires and as they warm up while traveling, they began to ride rougher also. It seems to be a combination of several things on this chassis. When I replaced tires 2 years ago, I went from the g159 to the 670RV and that helped some, I also went up one size. Most days are acceptable, but there are some stretches of pavement scattered around that the rr4r does not care for at all.

The other info from Brett regarding Monaco's position is pretty much correct. The Source engineering firm is the place to go for parts and it appears they are geting lots of business lately.

Best of luck and happy trails Bert
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#4 gbrinck

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Posted 10 August 2009 - 09:35 AM

The Roadmaster RV chassis is built by an separate company, Custom Chassis, which is jointly owned by the old Monaco and Navistar (which also owns Workhorse Custom Chassis). Unfortunately, Custom Chassis also filed for bankruptcy when their best and only customer, Monaco, ceased production. They should make a comeback when Monaco LLC gets going and starts buying chassis again. Whether Roadmaster Custom Chassis would honor a warranty on the chassis is perhaps another question, but maybe the NHTSA could look into it.
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Gary Brinck aka "RV Roamer"
2004 American Tradition
2007 GMC Acadia

#5 luv2trav

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Posted 10 August 2009 - 11:35 PM

I have a 07 Monaco Cayman that was not part of the recall. Shortly after purchase, we noted the coach didn't handle right. Back and forth it went to the dealer for service-they thought it was alignment, ride height etc. My husband finally took it to a truck suspension/alignment shop and to our surprise they called us an hour later and said that the rear trailing arm was broken and the coach was not safe to drive. There was evidence that it had been broken for a while. I was very upset because we owned the coach for about 5 weeks and how did it pass inspection??? The dealer would not take responsibility for it...Monaco shipped the part and our serice contract picked up the labor. Still feel let down by the dealer... have to wonder because ours was not part of the recall????
I notified NHTSB and others but nobody seemed to care
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#6 wolfe10

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 10:00 AM

I was just talking with the Chief Designer for Roadmaster Suspension Solutions yesterday to answer another suspension-related question.

He related a story of one of these trailing arms that broke as an owner was driving up to to his home. The rear axle skewed so much when the trailing arm broke that it broke an air bag and could have lead to his total loss of control.

PLEASE, if your coach has these defective REAR TRAILING ARMS-- REPLACE THEM N O W!

Brett Wolfe
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#7 mikev

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 10:27 AM

Brett, I have a 2003 Ambassador and sure enough it looks like I have the affected trailing arms. I'm just putting my coach away for the winter and will order new arms for the spring. In your research/discussions have you heard of any cost estimates for the two arms and installation?

Cheers

Mike Visentin
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Mike and Heather Visentin
Parry Sound, Ontario
2003 HR Ambassador 32PBD
Cummins ISC 315, Allison 3000MH
2003 Ford Explorer XLT Toad, Roadmaster Sterling Tow Bar, Evenbrake 9400.
FMCA410271
I've seen most of our two countries from the air, now I'm looking forward to seeing them from the ground!

#8 wolfe10

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 12:15 PM

Brett, I have a 2003 Ambassador and sure enough it looks like I have the affected trailing arms. I'm just putting my coach away for the winter and will order new arms for the spring. In your research/discussions have you heard of any cost estimates for the two arms and installation?

Cheers

Mike Visentin

No, Mike. I have only researched the technical end of this.

The company that makes the "strong" style replacement arms (see my post above) would certainly have a price on the parts and what amount of labor is involved. They may also have the name of shops in your area that have already done the replacements.

Brett Wolfe
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#9 mikev

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 02:16 PM

Thanks Brett. I did call Source Mfg and spoke to Jim Walls. (Very helpful gentleman). The trailing arms are approximately $1,800 for the pair plus shipping if necessary. I live north of Toronto, Ontario and there are no suppliers in Canada at the moment. Jim just sent me a reply to an email and he included a flyer and a list of locations for purchase and installation of the trailing arms. I will include them with this note. As well there is a note on the flyer talking about a "Ride Enhancement Kit" that will soon be available for the affected coaches. He described the kit as new trailing arms, air bags, shocks and a "Ping Tank." I googled Ping Tank and found this explanation.

http://www.landlinem...retirement.html

These kits are not ready yet, but Jim should be sending me the info later which I will add to this thread later, hopefully others find this useful.

I read this item last night and went straight out and crawled around inspecting my trailing arms. Unfortunately I'm on the hook like I think so many others will be. I am struggling with the concept Monaco and Navistar may/will not assist all their prior customers when this is their own manufactured product which could be potentially dangerous. It seems to me the folks who had the failures so far were pretty lucky not to have had a serious accident-forget the expense and time ....

I am new to the FMCA and my motorhome , my wife (Heather) and I purchased our 03 HR Ambassador in June, it is our first so I have been reading as much as possible to get up to speed on all aspects of our new hobby/lifestyle. A short time after our purchase we happened to meet Paul Du Bois, the FMCA Northeast Area vice president, at a park near Rochester, N.Y. Paul and his wife were very helpful and enthusiastic so we ended up joining the FMCA. These forums are terrific, I have been learning much over the last while.

Enough for now. I hope this info helps. Thanks to you, Brett, and everyone who adds to these forums.

Cheers,

Mike Visentin

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Mike and Heather Visentin
Parry Sound, Ontario
2003 HR Ambassador 32PBD
Cummins ISC 315, Allison 3000MH
2003 Ford Explorer XLT Toad, Roadmaster Sterling Tow Bar, Evenbrake 9400.
FMCA410271
I've seen most of our two countries from the air, now I'm looking forward to seeing them from the ground!

#10 jamorton

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Posted 28 October 2009 - 09:42 PM

Source Engineering now has a website up at RV-Chassis Website. The repair kit for the trailing arm is in the product section listed as TRA-1003. Near the botom of the page on the trailing arm kit is a link to R-Mechanic Website which has a nice photo essay of the replacement process on a 2004 Holiday Rambler Neptune.

Jim
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#11 ls1103

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 05:32 PM

3-5-10
FYI
I recently had the trailing arms replaced on my 2002 Monaco Caymen. The replacements, by Source Manufacturing, seemed to make me feel like I had better control over the RV and the ride was definetly improved. The new trailing arms dwarf the original arms and I feel much safer than before.The cost was around $2400.00, but I think it was worth it.
DSS
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#12 RJMASON

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 01:05 AM

I HAD THIS PROBLEM ON MY 2005 SAFARI CHEETAH. THE RIGHT SIDE CRACKED ALL THE WAY THRU AND THE LEFT SIDE WAS JUST BEGINNING TO CRACK. I CONTACTED MY DEALER AND HE KNEW NOTHING ON THIS. AFTER DOING SOME RESEARCH I DISCOVERED THE RECALL NOTICE THAT I DID NOT GET. MY DEALER COULD NOT EXPLAIN THIS TO ME, I HAD NOT MOVED SO IT COULD NOT HAVE BEEN AN ADDRESS PROBLEM.

ANYWAY I CONTACTED MONACO AND THEY SHIPPED THE 2 NEW ARMS OUT VERY QUICKLY AND EVEN PAID THE REPAIR SHOP DIRECTLY. VERY GOOD SERVICE!! ALL COVERED UNDER WARRANTY. VERY LUCKY THIS WAS BEFORE THE BANKRUPTCY. THE REPAIR SHOP OWNER WAS A FRIEND AND I HELPED HIM WITH THE REPAIRS.

FYI.. IF YOU REMOVE ONE SIDE AND TAKE IT TO A WELDING SHOP THEY CAN MAKE THESE ARMS. THE NEW ARMS ARE IDENTICAL TO THE OLD ARMS. THE ORIGINAL ARMS HAVE A SUPPORT BRACKET WELDED TO IT AND IN THIS PROCESS THE WELD WAS ALLOWED TO GET TO HOT AND WEAKENED THIS AREA AS PER MONACO. I THINK THE ARMS WOULD BE MUCH LESS THAN BUYING THEM FROM THE SUPPLIER. THE NEW ARMS WERE JUST THICKER METAL BUT SAME O.D. SIZE.

THE BRCKETS WERE NOT HARD TO REPLACE. THE RIGHT SIDE WAS MORE DIFFICULT BECAUSE THE REAR WHEEL/AXEL HAD TO BE PULLED BACK IN LINE. THIS WAS ACCOMPLISHED USING A CHAIN WRAPPED AROUND THE AXEL AND THEN PULLED WITH A TRUCK HITCH. ALL YOU NEED TOOL WISE IS AN AIR WRENCH. HOPE THIS WAS HELPFUL.
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#13 wolfe10

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 09:44 AM

RJMASON,

Welcome to the FMCA Forum.

As has been posted before, please verify that you have the NEW STYLE trailing arms, not just replacement old/bad design arms.

There have been numerous posts by people who had the original trailing arms replaced under the campaign with new old-style arms and those failed as well.

Be safe out there.

Brett
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#14 boydaddison

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 12:34 PM

Just had the traling arms replaced with the new heavy duty type from Source Mfg. I am really pleased with the installation. My 40ft Saraha really does handle better now, plus I have a piece of mind that the rear end wont fall off. I live in southern Calif and had the installation done at Colton Truck Terminal. They did a good job and are a profesional bunch of guys. I can highly recomend them for the job.

Boyd Addison
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#15 GUNTHER

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Posted 24 April 2010 - 08:08 AM

HAD MY DEFECTIVE TRAILING ARMS REPLACED MARCH 2010@ TAMPA SPRING-A HEAVY DUTY OVER THE ROAD ALIGNMENT-FRAME-SUSPENSION-AIR BRAKE SHOP JUST WEST OF I75-ROUTE 40 OCALA FLORIDA. A NO NONSENSE REASONABLY PRICED,KNOWLEDGEABLE SHOP WITH A WORKMAN LIKE MANNER AND COURTESY TO MATCH THEY DON'T STOCK THE PARTS BUT CAN GET THEM LOCALLY.

THEY REQUESTED I COME BACK IN A THOUSAND MILES TO MAKE SURE EVERYTHING IS OK AS THE ARM SUSPENSION PARTS ARE CRITICAL FOR SAFE OPERATION. I PLAN TO HAVE MY FRONT BEARINGS CONVERTED FROM GREASE TO OIL BATH AT THAT TIME BECAUSE OF THE EASE OF MAINTAINABLE AND THEIR REASONABLE LABOR RATE AND GREAT ATTITUDE AT TAMPA SPRING.

I NOTICED TODAY, 04/24/2010 THAT THE ROAMING TIMES WEB SITE HAD A PRESS RELEASE FROM NAVISTAR / MONACO STATING MONACO NOW OFFERS PROVING GROUND TESTED REPLACEMENT TRAILING ARMS & RIDE ENHANCEMENT KITS AT COMPETITIVE PRICES---CAN'T VERIFY AS TODAY IS SATURDAY---AND THE PHONE MESSAGE @ MONACO SAYS THEY ARE AVAILABLE ONLY MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY---877-466-6226.

I GUESS MOST ORPHANED MONACO- SAFARI-HOLIDAY RAMBLER ETC. OWNERS ARE NOT AT ALL HAPPY WITH THE NEW MONACO LLC. SINCE THE RECENTLY GOT A FANCY FOUR COLOR MAILING FROM THEIR SALES MANAGER (WHO ELSE) ASKING FOR THEIR LOYALTY WHEN THEY PURCHASE A NEW COACH.--- GOOD LUCK MONACO LLC.

SO FAR IT HAS COST ME OVER $8000.00 AND ALMOST 2 YEARS TO BRING MY NEW 08 SAFARI UP TO A ROADWORTHY CONDITION- ALL SHOULD HAVE BEEN COVERED BY THE ORIGINAL MONACO WARRANTY.

THANKS AGAIN MONACO LLC.!!!!!!
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#16 wolfe10

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Posted 24 April 2010 - 08:38 AM

I NOTICED TODAY, 04/24/2010 THAT THE ROAMING TIMES WEB SITE HAD A PRESS RELEASE FROM NAVISTAR / MONACO STATING MONACO NOW OFFERS PROVING GROUND TESTED REPLACEMENT TRAILING ARMS & RIDE ENHANCEMENT KITS AT COMPETITIVE PRICES.

Yes, I have seen the same News Release. I then contacted the name on the News Release. He had someone in parts call me. The kits are being prepared, as are installation instructions. The information will be forwarded to me as soon as available, and I will post the specifics here.

I also recommended that Monaco/Navistar put the information on their website so we can provide everyone a link.

STAY TUNED.

UPDATE: 5/9 no information yet-- I sent another e-mail requesting it to Monaco.

Brett
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#17 nitnub007

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 12:15 PM

Had Arms on my '05 Cheetah replaced at Luthers Truck Repair in Cherry Valley, CA (Very competent shop), however didn't have warranty in coach--called dealer where we purchased and got answering machine. So went ahead with repair. When I returned home to Indiana found where I had in fact purchased extended warranty. Company is refusing to honor because it was unauthorized repair. Have offered coach for inspection---so far no show. I'll run right out & buy a new Monaco from the same dealer.

Bill B.
Muncie, IN
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#18 dalltop

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 05:43 PM

Hello Bill B.

I am sorry to hear about your trouble with the unit. I just wanted give you a shout. I see you are from Muncie, IN. I was born there and lived around the area growing up. My parents graduated from South Side as well as my Wife. I graduated from Yorktown.

We live in Maryland now but good to see someone online from "home".

David Alltop
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#19 webhannet

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Posted 09 May 2010 - 09:37 AM

Wouldn't it be GREAT if all questions got such complete and well-researched answers?

Let me add a link that MAY have some more information:

http://www.irv2.com/forums/f115/cayman-ride-enhancement-kit-62956-5.html
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#20 weekendcamper

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 05:43 PM

Has any one seen the after market trailing arms from Monaco RV LLC, I just got of the phone with them the kit is $1650 they don't have any pictures of the arms. I don't want to get stuck with something that is just going to break down the road
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