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daperera@juno.com

Important Safety Issue: Monaco, HR & Safari Chassis

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Have an 08 Cayman XL with 29000 mi. On April 26th the control arms failed after a swerve to avoid an on coming car and hitting a pot hole or hard bump in the road. After a tow and repair (bill was $3500), I have been attempting to get GMAC to cover the cost less the deductable. Should this not be an insurable loss? I was not notified by the selling dealer(Lazy Days - Fla. ), Monaco, or Roadmaster of any concerns of this problem. What else should I be aware of??? We are truly frustrated!!!

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Ed,

Disclaimer-- I am not an attorney, so don't take my advice as gospel.

Monaco Corp that build your Roadmaster chassis and coach filed for bankruptcy. The company that bought Monaco assets is a different company and has no responsibility (legally anyway) to work with you on this.

And, as it is a known manufacturer's defect, it would surprise me if an insurance company would cover it. But you loose nothing by asking.

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Wolfe10,

We never had this problem with our Fleetwood product(95 Pace Arrow). Up graded to our Cayman in 2010 and have been happy(except for this control arm issue) so far. I guess the old adage "buyer beware" is still something to consider when purchasing anything. You think Lazy Days would have atleast checked and notified us. Thanks for your input and assistance.

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I just determined that the rear trailing arms on my 2004 Monaco Knight are cracked and need to be replaced. Has anyone dealt with the Good Sam Extended Warranty related to this problem? If so what were the results?

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Won't spend but a moment regarding the ethical vacuum that must have existed at Monaco to allow this to happen ... too bad a class action would only further the frustration on the part of those impacted by this travesty. That said, our 2003 Holiday Rambler 34PST suffered a trailing arm failure and we were fortunate to notice as we were pulling out of Kitty Hawk, NC for our next destination along the Eastern seaboard this past Fall. Can't say for sure when the actual failure occurred but it sends a chill up my spine to contemplate the possible outcome from a loss of control as we previously navigated the gauntlet of construction in the DC area on our way down.

Like so many of the other posts, I just happened to notice that the rear axle had shifted and announced to the family that 'we weren't moving another inch' until we had a mechanic out to inspect the cause, which, predictably, was a complete failure of one of the trailing arms.

Having a vague recollection of an article in the FMCA magazine, I went online, did some research and ended up ordering the arms as well as the ride enhancement kit from Source Mfg. We were fortunate to connect with a great shop on Kitty Hawk -- ABC Towing http://abctowing.biz/ -- that did a great job at a VERY fair price. Upon inspecting the work I thought they'd salvaged those trailing arms off a Sherman tank -- talk about incredibly substantial vs. the OEM crap -- and then the drive back from the shop ... nothing short of incredible. Really pleased I went ahead and opted for the ride pkg ... although the wife probably misses the theme park ride she experienced previously ;-)

A side story to all this was a friend [and fellow FMCA member] has a 2004 Monaco Knight. I alerted him to our adventure, suggesting his rig may very well be implicated. He just happened to have his coach at the shop for tires and requested they check it out ... turns out both arms were cracked so bad the shop opted for jacks instead of the lift for safety reasons!

**Given what's happened, I'd really shy away from ANYTHING that Monaco would offer on this front -- other than a CASH SETTLEMENT!

Thanks to all for the research and sharing on this forum ... Best wishes for SAFE and pleasurable travels!

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We had exactly this problem, the trailing arm breaking, on April 26 of this year on our 2008 Cayman XL. Thank God we were off the 65 mph highway, or the consequences could have been severe. We purchased the RV used from LazyDays in Florida. They never notified us that we might have this issue.

After $3700 bill, we are still trying to get some of the money from our insurance company. Probably not happening. Is there anything we can do, or must we swallow the bill? If anyone has any ideas on how we should approach this, would you let us know. We are thoroughly disgusted.

Thanks, Marja Stauffer, Conifer, CO

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Hello,

I understand the issue with the trailing arms. I have a 2003 Cayman 30' diesel pusher with no arm issues.

My rigs weight is 21,000lbs.

My questions is:

Are we looking at a problem with all coach's or certain wts. and sizes of coaches???

Also, if you have not a problem so far can the existing arms be beefed up to proact possible problem.

Your feed back is greatly appreciated.

Steve

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Steve,

Welcome to the FMCA Forum.

Please go to the second post in this thread to determine if you have the defective design rear trailing arms. If so, they need to be replaced.

Failures have been among all size/weight coaches.

There is no reasonable way to beef up the defective design, hence the replacement arm availability.

With the extremely high failure rate and extensive damage, or worse catastrophic accident that a broken trailing arm can cause, this is NOT something to put on the back burner.

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Hello Folks,

I just returned from a family vacation to Whistler, BC from Southern California and had the unfortunate experience of trailing arm failure on my 2008 Holiday Rambler 39 PBT. The coach has the RR4R chassis and had about 25,000 miles when the right trailing arm failed (completely broke near the U bolts where the trailing arm is attached to the rear axel).

We were driving near Seattle, WA and I can't remember if it was the pothole or a section in Seattle (I-5) that caused us to brake hard, but we started to sway violently from side to side. It seemed to get worse as I braked and so I coasted off the freeway. I could not find any broken suspension part and was a bit confused about what could be the problem. It was the afternoon of the 3rd of July, so many RV repair shops had closed for the long weekend and some said the earliest they could take a look at it was about two weeks. We had just started our vacation and had reservations at Whistler, BC (non-refundable), so we felt like our vacation was over. We made our way to Arlington, WA to Jim Creek Recreation Area where we were camping for the next few nights. In the meanwhile, my wife researched the internet for possible reasons for this uncontrollable sway (and found this forum and topic on FMCA). The coach seemed to drive fine when we were driving below 50-55 MPH, but noticed that the coach would sway whenever I used the brakes. Luckily, the I-5 was congested and we limped along at around 45 MPH to our destination.

After reading this forum, I inspected the trailing arms and found the right side to be broken. We were fortunate that the trailing arm stayed on the rear axel; it was caught on the plates that sandwiched the rear axel and attached the trailing arm. If it had bronken 1 inch forward, the arm could have damaged the air suspencion bags, axel, wheel, etc. We found a local mobile welder that was willing to come out and weld it, but upon further inspection, I decided that the band-aid fix was too much risk and looked for another solution...

I contacted Source Engineering (rv-chassis.com) via their "about us" link and sent an email to Jim Walls to tell him of our predicament. To our surprise, Jim called me on the 4th of July and said he was trying to gather the necessary parts and a volunteer team to come out to our site to repair/replace the trailing arms. We were blown away!! Wayne Wells and his assistant drove out to our campsite from Vancouver, WA, with all the necessary replacement parts and tools and had us on the road next day. When Wayne removed the other trailing arm, he showed me the hairline fracture on the left trailing arm. It was doomed to fail and had it failed when we were on the road, I don't think we would have a coach to speak of.

These guys were very sympathetic to our family vacation and predicament and provided the ultimate customer service. They saved our vacation and provided a superior product that is backed by a lifetime warranty (for the life of the vehicle). In addition, the new trailing arms provide a marked improvement in ride quality and stability, so we plan to purchase the ride enhancement kit in the near future. If you have the Roadmaster Chassis that is mentioned in this forum, for the sake of you and your family's safety, please have them replaced! Contact Source Engineering immediately!!!

Sincerely,

David and Rhonda Han

P.S. I can send you photos of the broken trailing arms...

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Hi David, Welcome to FMCA !

The Real good thing is you an Rhonda did not get hurt and the coach did not suffer some major damage. Things could have turned nasty real fast.

Good to know that you where able to find the information you needed and that Source Eng. was able to keep you moving along.

Rich.

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I have a 2006 Beaver Monterey and had a blowout on the right rear inside tire. After having it replaced and left the shop I have encountered a vibration while under load and my abs & atc lights come on. Can any of this be related to the trailing arms.

Ron Shelton

E-mail prshelton08@yahoo.com

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Ron,

Welcome to the FMCA Forum.

You might go back to the second post in this tread to identify if you have the faulty trailing arm design.

I believe (you need to verify) that you have the 8 air bag Monaco suspension, not the 4 bag that had the trailing arm issues.

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First of all thx to Brett Wolfe for giving me the heads up re the trailing arm problem and wouldn't you know it, I have the faulty trailing arms! I just bought the coach last week. It only has 8300 miles and the trailing arms "look" to be in good shape but.....hmmmmm

I just called Monaco parts Oregon. spoke to Ken. He said have a "trailing arm kit" for $1700 (no sales tax in Oregon). Service dept said 6-8 hours labor at $120/hour. Ken went on to tell me the "ride enhancement kit" and the "trailing arm kit" are 2 different items and that the trailing arms are not included in the ride enhancement kit.

There is also a co. called Source Engineering in Oregon: 541-935-0308 One of the other posts said they were in Portland. They are in Eugene Oregon which is where Monaco service ctr is. (actually just north of Eugene on the 5)

I live in Pinehurst NC, anybody know of a reputable service center near here that would do the trailing arm install?

I think I have buyers remorse.

Thx

Dave

2008 Monaco Cayman

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Dave,

I would ask Source Engineering for the name of a service facility near you. If they don't have anyone to recommend, I would ask Monaco the same question. Third choice (and still a very reasonable one) is any shop that works on truck suspensions.

There is nothing technical about replacing the trailing arms IF you have the right equipment-- everything is just BIG and HEAVY. This is a safety issue and I would not drive it except to a shop to get this work done. If you bought it from a dealer, I am really surprised that they did not know about this safety issue and fix it before selling it.

If you are not happy with the ride and handling after driving it for awhile, yes consider the ride enhancement kit.

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More info on the trailing arm kits and the ride enhancement kits. This from Source Engineering (ex Monaco employees). The trailing arm kit from Source is $1875 ($1700 from Monaco) and the ride enhancement kit from source is $2395 (not sure how much $ from Monaco parts). Source said it's cheaper to do both at once, they charge 8 hours labor to do both.

Dave

2008 Monaco Cayman

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Dave,

Your choice. But, you HAVE to do the trailing arms. Yes, the guys at Source are very good, and their trailing arms look more robust than the Monaco ones.

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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.

attachicon.giftrailing_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.

attachicon.giftrailing_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

I know this has been around quite some time but I hope somebody is interested. I'm considering purchasing a 2007 Safari Simba whose brochure advertises an RR4R chassis. I looked at this post and read that the Safari Simba RD (Rear Diesel, I assume, as opposed to their gas model) says: "Safari Simba RD All Years" I've been searching for a recall on a 2007 Safari Simba on the NHTSA web site by Vin No. and only fournd 3 recalls and 2 service bulletins applicable to this 2007 VIN. None of them relate to the trailing arms of that year and model.

My question is, did I misunderstand, other than having the trailing arms inspected am I safe in assuming that NHTSA's site is correct as it applies to my specific coach?

I hope the opinion is positive as without it I have no MH to take to Florida this winter brrrr

Thanks

Cesar

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Cesar,

Welcome to the FMCA Forum.

I have no information about NHTSA and recalls-- no idea of Monaco going out of business would still result in a recall or not. Remember, Navistar did not buy Monaco-- they only bought the ASSETS of Monaco, so there was no corporation for NHTSA to pursue.

Without question were I considering one of the above mentioned coaches, I would VERIFY that I had the new design rear trailing arms or subtract from my offer money to replace them. AND have it done before taking possession.

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