daperera@juno.com

Serious Problem: Some Monaco, Holiday Rambler & Safari Chassis

49 posts in this topic

I have a 2003 HR Ambassador that had 2 recall for suspension concerns done in 2005. The recall included 2002, 2003 and some 2004 Monaco Knight, Cayman, HR Ambassador, Neptune, Safari Cheetah, Sahara and Zanzibar.

A few days ago I was driving my RV on I80 near Sacramento and it started to get very "squirrely" on me. I pulled into an RV dealer and ask they inspect it. Tech found right rear wheel was several inches back of the left one. Further inspection revealed a broken rear trailing arm that was part of the 2005 recall.

Monaco doesn't supply the parts any more but referred me to a "Source Manufacturing" in Portland who is now making the parts. They only ship both arms because they are hearing from quite a few HR 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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Thank goodness for this FMCA forum and the posts about this problem. In September we were on the freeway near Atlanta when our 2006 Holiday Rambler Neptune started rocking from side to side and made sounds like something underneath up front was loose. We slowed down and made it to our campground and when I looked underneath I could find nothing loose up front. I went online and did a Google search and found this post. I went underneath again and found the left rear trailing arm was completely broken with a 1 inch gap between the U-bolts, and the left wheel was no longer centered in the wheelwell.

The FMCA post not only alerted me to the problem but gave me the source for stronger replacement arms. I called Scott Zimmer at Source Manufacturing and validated the information, so when I got to the repair shop I knew what needed to be done.

We had the trailing arms replaced at Apalachee RV Center in Auburn, GA, just outside Atlanta. I cannot say enough about how well we were treated there from the moment we arrived to the final delivery of the repaired coach. They are strictly an RV repair facility and they know what they're doing. This was the first time Apalachee had seen this particular problem on the Monaco RR4R chassis. I provided them with the information I had found and they contacted Scott Zimmer and found that the fastest way to get a pair of replacement arms was through Scott's POC in Melbourne, FL. Dan Kinard, the service manager, did all the coordination with Easy Care under our extended warranty. When the arms arrived their technician did a meticulous job of making the installation correct, and explained to me exactly what steps he was taking. I was very pleased with the whole experience at Apalachee RV Center. Dan Kinard even called me several days later to be sure I wasn't having any problems with the repair. That's first class service.

The coach is now handling better than it did when it was new as it rides over bumps much smoother.

Thanks again to FMCA for providing such a valuable service on their forums.

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To bring everyone up to speed on this, here is my post on this SAFETY RECALL over on the FMCA Forum-- Class A: http://community.fmca.com/index.php?showtopic=569

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 2002 -2005

2002, 2003 and some 2004 Monaco Knight, Cayman, HR Ambassador, Neptune, Safari Cheetah, Sahara and Zanzibar.

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.

Brett Wolfe

Updated 10/14/09

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Thank God I take the family Motor Coaching mag. I would not have known that my recalled trailing arms were also defective. I went out and checked my trailing arms for cracks and found none.

I have a 04 40 foot sahara which was on the recall list. After reading all the fourms I made lots of calls to find out if anyone would help pay for the cost of replacing the defective ones. But didn't have much luck.

The price for the new arms from Source Manufacturing LLC with shipping and labor runs about 3,000.00 dollars. I don't plan on taking the coach out for several months so mabe the new Monico or Roadmaster will step up and pay for the repair.

Thanks again for the information in the mag and on your forums.

Boyd Addison

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I just heard from someone with a coach that falls within the list having the defective design trailing arms. He said he was OK-- that he had had them checked. I then asked if he had it check for the presence of the defective trailing arms design (to confirm that they need to be replaced with the upgraded design) or just verified that the defective design had not yet failed. BIG DIFFERENCE............... Please be careful out there-- having a rear axle "running around" back there is NOT a good option. Source Manufacturing's Website is: http://www.rv-chassis.com/index.html

Brett Wolfe

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Just March 6, 2010 I'm sitting in the coach in Newport Beach CA on a rainy day----on vacation from Indiana. I read an article in this post ref. trailing arm breakage. I own a 2005 Cheetah---bought new---have not received recall notice. Rainy day so I tought I'll look at it tomorrow. March 9 we're on our way to Palm Springs--just east of Riverside on I10 coach starts diving when I touch the brakes, really loose feeling. Pulled over at 60 exit---set on the ground & kicked the arms, one on road side is broken. Coach is in the shop & we're in a motel.

FMCA is worth the money------------Thank you nitnub007

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I'm Paul Sauerland and have a 2008 Neptune 39+ ft Coach that appears to have the defective trailing arms.

Currently having it evaluated at a truck repair place.

When I bought the Coach end of 2007 I also bought an extended warranty. I suspect that in order to make a claim I will need some official documentation. Where and how can I get some kind of official documentation. Previous information has been excellent but may not be sufficient. Contacted an Holiday Rambler dealer and they couldn't find anything on it. Called Monaco and though they seemed aware of concerns they couldn't or wouldn't provide anything concrete. Any suggestions other than letting them break and then making a claim which seems kind of stupid.

Thanks

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I HAVE A 2008 SAFARI 36FT REAR CAT DIESEL & HAD MY TRAILING ARMS REPLACED AT TAMPA SPRING RT. 40 OCALA FL. REPLACEMENT LABOR WAS ALMOST AS MUCH AS INSPECTION COSTS.THEY DO NOT STOCK THE PARTS AS THEY ARE MOSTLY A HEAVY DUTY OVER THE ROAD TRUCK SUSPENSION CHASSIS & FRAME SHOP. HOWEVER THE PARTS ARE AVALABLE LOCALLY AND THEY HAD ME IN AND OUT IN ONE DAY.REASONABLE PRICES, COURTESY AND A NO NONSENSE WORKMAN LIKE MANNER FROM HIS EMPLOYEES.

THE REAR IS NOW TIGHTER & DOES NOT SWAY AS BEFORE.COMBINED WITH NEW OFF THE SHELF BILSTEIN SHOCKS THE COACH NO LONGER BOTTOMS OUT OR BOUNCES 5-6 TIMES AFTER HITTING A BUMP.

CAMP MONACO WILDWOOD KNEW ABOUT THE PROBLEM IN JULY 2008 WHEN THEY WERE STILL SOLVENT AND ONLY RAISED THE FRONT RIDE HIGHT OUT OF SPECIFICATION WHICH CAUSED THE REAR HICH TO BOTTOM OUT AND THE FRONT TO CHANGE LANES ON THE INTERSTATE WHEN PASSED BY THE BOW WAVE OF CARS AS SMALL AS A HONDA.

I RECENTLY GOT A POSTCARD FROM NAVASTAR/MONACO ASKING FOR MY LOYALTY WHEN I PURCHASE A NEW COACH-----GOOD LUCK-----NEXT TIME IT WILL BE A TIFFIN .BOB TIFFIN STANDS BEHIND HIS COACHES EVEN IF IT COSTS HIM A FEW BUCKS OUT OF HIS POCKET AND MOST IMPORTANT KNOWS THE REAL VALUE OF A REPEAT CUSTOMER TO HIS BOTTOM LINE AND REPUTATION.

G.MILLER F402804

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Any help on documentation? Or how to get extended warranty provider to accept

responsibility?

I purchased a 2008 Cayman new in July of last year and found out not long after about the trailing arms. I had purchased an extended warranty with the dealer that was suppose to work just like it being a factory warranty. Well long story short they would not even meet me half way to pay a dime on the replacement of the trailing arms. I bit the bullet and changed them because I could not see 2800 dollars being more important than my wife and my life. I feel much more comfortable now going on a trip that it will not break and cause an accident. Heard too many bad stories of other breakages. Oh, I did get mine from Source and really satisfied with the product.

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Has any one seen the after market 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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Weekendcamper,

I have written several e-mails and made several phone calls trying to get information on the Navistar/Monaco replacement trailing arms and on their "ride enhancement" kit.

So far, no details.

Would sure appreciate photos and details on their new arms vs the original (poor design) and vs the Source Engineering trailing arms.

Brett

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JUST GOT OFF THE PHONE WITH MONACO PARTS $1950.00 PLUS FREIGHT FOR RIDE ENHANCEMENT KIT FOR RR4R 4 BAG CHASSIS.

WON'T DISCUSS THE ORIGIN OF THE PARTS OR WHAT THE KIT CONTAINS. "

MONACO PART #S01807200 MUST BUY ENTIRE KIT NOT JUST SOME PARTS.

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I have a 2005 holiday rambler Neptune. This is my first motor home. I purchased the extended warranty. My coach is in the shop and the drivers side trailing arm is cracked. My insurance advise they will cover it but not the passenger side because nothing is wrong with it. The repair place states it is not safe to replace one side only and they come in kits. Can anyone advise on this?

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Think you could get a letter from manufacturer or maybe the service center has a service bulletin covering the repair. A copy should be faxed to your service plan provider, mentioning the fact that doing one side is unsafe.

One would think that the insurance underwriter would not want to take a stand that could put them in a position that could expose them to legal action should further damage or injury occur.

Rich.

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Since this is a well known manufacturing defect, I am surprised that the insurance company will participate at all.

But to answer the more important question, YES, you do need to replace both rear trailing arms NOW.

Brett

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I own a 1998 Monaco Diplomat, and full-timed it for 6-1/2 years. It has been stored outdoors for the past 6 years, and we have driven it monthly 35 miles to assure continuity of operation. Today it did something unexpected - the steering wheel had a bias towards the right, and it demonstrated unexpected occasional steering shifts during our ride. In our development we have rather deep rain gutters at road edges which have always been traversed smoothly by the bus at low turning speeds as we turned into our normal parking area. But today we experienced only a jarring sensation (the rear end) without the smoothness which we had always experienced before. After reading these experiences by others, I suspect training arms. How can I inspect to confirm? Is the rig safe to drive? What is recommended action?

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Joelebo,

Welcome to the FMCA Forum.

First confirm that you have the 4 air bag suspension NOT the 8 outboard air bag suspension. The trailing arm high failure rate applies only to the 4 bag suspension.

Clearly, it sounds like you have a steering/suspension/brake issue that needs to be diagnosed before you drive further. Start with checking tire pressure. If you have safety stands, see/have someone qualified determine the cause of the malady.

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Thanks Wolfe10 for your response. I did some investigating on my own to better understand what you told me. First, I have one airbag in front and one in rear of each rear wheel for total of 4 air bags in the rear suspension. Second, I looked carefully at the bags, and found the rear one on the right side is tilted on its axis outward, not vertical like the others. Unusual?

Also, when my wife followed me driving the car behind RV the other day she noted the rear end of the RV tracked slightly off to one side - not tracking true. And in a test, when I backed up, I had to keep the steering wheel off to the right to keep from going to the left.

Does that help to separate the variables?

Thanks again.

Joe

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Joe,

Kind of difficult to diagnose suspension issues over the internet.

But, leaning, particularly in the rear could mean a failed RIDE HEIGHT VALVE or a RIDE HEIGHT CONTROL ARM that is out of adjustment.

While that is a quick and easy fix (with jack stands in place) by anyone who works on air suspensions (OTR trucks, buses, etc have basically the same valves), you will need to get the "Ride Height Specs" for your coach from Monaco/Monaco owners tech website.

But, leaning would not cause dog tracking-- that sounds like a more complicated issue. A good truck alignment shop (4 wheel alignment) can address that. And, any good alignment starts with a ride height check/adjustment.

No way for us to be able to "arm chair" whether it is safe to drive to the shop or not. If in doubt, ask the alignment shop if one of their guys lives anywhere near where you are and can stop by for a quick look. Another alternative is a mobile service-- but it would need to be one familiar with suspensions, not just RV systems.

Tell us where you are and perhaps someone can recommend a shop near you.

Brett

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I live in south Leesburg, FL, about 12 miles east of the Monaco facility in Wildwood. Is there someone closer that might be helpful?

Thanks again,

Joe

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Joe,

I have no first hand experience (we live in Texas), but Josam in Orlando has a good reputation: http://josamusa.com/

Might see of one of their guys lives anywhere near you or can recommend someone in Leesburg to take a quick look to deem it drivable to Josam.

Brett

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Brett,

A update on my steering issue. Yesterday when I fired up the motorhome to move it to a truck alignment shop, the vehicle WOULD NOT MOVE - the brakes would not release (Since the road run when we saw the steering issue the vehicle had been parked - not started since then til yesterday). By the way, the vehicle has never leaned - only tracked with the right rear wheels running right of the front tires. So no ride height issue, I think. Also on the road, I had to hold the steering wheel about 30 degrees right of center - for straight ahead tracking on the highway.

With normal dash gauge pressure indicated, could the air failure be in one wheel only?

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Joe,

From your description (engine started, transmission went into gear, but unable to move the coach even when slightly reving the engine), it sounds like the parking brake may not be releasing. This can happen, particularly if the coach is parked with brake shoes wet or in very humid climates and the coach sits for a long time.

Was the description I wrote the procedure you followed and the results?

Was air pressure on both gauges over 110 PSI? Had you pushed in the parking brake valve and did you hear the "hiss" of air going to the rear brakes (there is a much louder hiss when you pull on the parking brake valve, as air is let out of the rear parking brake can)?

Again, I would have someone recommended by the alignment shop stop by and take a look before you more it. It is pretty hard to identify and diagnosis over the internet.

If the coach has always "dog tracked", steering wheel at 30 degrees off center, etc I would be less concerned that you have a potential safety issue. But, that much change indicates that something just isn't right.

Brett

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Brett - thanks for your patience. I'll try to answer your questions and comments - and add some clarity about my experience with the issue.

Tire pressures are good. Yesterday I was trying to go to someone knowledgeable to look my coach over so I might be able to drive it to obtain repair. Now I need mobile service (or tow), since the parking brake prevented my attempts to move the coach. Air pressures were over 110 PSI; engine started OK, transmission into gear OK (forward and reverse); unable to move vehicle. When I pushed the parking brake, I heard the hiss I usually expect; it became much louder when I pulled up on the valve (we full-timed in the coach for its first 6-1/2 years, so I was not surprised at any of these parking brake valve responses, except that the coach would not budge.).

The "dog-tracked" steering was never experienced on our monthly 25-mile test runs of the coach; the steering offset is brand-new along with the steering shifts problem. Currently I'll seek help among truck/RV road services, as I cannot move the coach. My guess is that all my 4 symptoms are attributable to one sticking or frozen rear wheel brake - (1) the offset steering wheel to maintain straight-ahead tracking, (2) the unexpected steering changes required to maintain track while driving on highway, (3) the knock heard in the right rear end on slow cornering over sharp bump as opposed to smooth cushioning of wheel, (4) tracking of rear wheels to the right of the front wheels when on straight road. Note: Florida is noted for high humidity; my coach was parked for less than a week between our last monthly road run (when we experienced the shifts), and the onset of the inability to make the coach move yesterday.

Joe

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