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Broken welds and broken rollers


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Hello friends! Well the hits keep rolling in! Here’s the back story:

Last fall, I had a local mechanic check out the underside of our new-to-us ‘05 Signature. He found cracks in the welds at the top of the vertical supports for the right and left side drive axle trailing arms (see pics).

I posted the issue with the pics and learned that the cracked welds were a common problem with the Roadmaster chassis. Many folks responded saying the correct fix was to use gusset plates to reinforce the new weld. So, I told that to my mechanic who assured me that was not necessary and that his welds “would last forever”. Ok, make it happen.

Fast forward to last Saturday. My wife and I are driving from NC to Brooksville FL, to have slide toppers and Guardian Plates installed at Chris T Talin’s Talin RV. Four miles from Talin RV, we get flagged down by a motorist (never a good thing), shouting that we are dragging something and throwing sparks!

I pull over and find the whole PS trailing arm laying on the pavement (see pics)! Further examination revealed that my mechanic’s weld failed, which caused the diagonal support weld to fail, which caused it all to fall onto the spinning driveshaft and rest there until the trailing arm bent and the whole assembly fell to the pavement.

I was able to raise the assembly a couple of inches off the ground and secure it with coat hanger wire long enough to get us limping along to Talin’s.

Oh...two days before we left on our trip, I joined Coach-Net.

Once at Talin’s, I spoke to Chris about what happened and he suggested I have the coach towed an hour and a half to Orlando, to have Josam Truck Frame & Alignment work on our rig. I subsequently learned Josam is regarded as the best Roadmaster shop on the east coast.

I then called Josam who said they’d be glad to help but not until their first opening on 6/8!

I then called Coach-Net, explained the situation and they agreed, without hesitation, to arrange a low-boy transport of our rig to Orlando on 6/7. Wow, now that’s pretty impressive! We’ll see how that goes.

So, the folks at Talin did an awesome job on our rig this week and now that their work is complete, I’ll be limping our rig to a nearby campground this weekend where I’ll stay until the 7th. My wife will be driving a rental car back to NC tomorrow because she has to be back at work. While the rig is at Josam’s I’ll be staying at a hotel. 

I’ve already made my mechanic back home aware of what happened. I’ll be presenting him a handful of bills when I get home.

Pretty crazy right? Oh wait...there’s more!

For months I’d been hearing a series of popping sounds when retracting our DS kitchen slide so I asked the folks at Talin to check that out while we were there. What they found was that three rollers on the chain drive that moves the slide, are broken completely off (see pics), causing metal on metal contact and creating a risk of the slide getting jammed and locked in the out position! Holy cow!

I’ve since learned that the rollers can’t be replaced but instead the whole chain drive must be replaced. I’m currently awaiting a reply from HWH as to the cost of the chain and how soon it can be shipped. My guess is this will be another very expensive repair!

So, here I am, stuck in Florida for the next week and a half or so, with nothing but an eBike or Uber to get around (we haven’t set up a tow vehicle yet)...and my pockets about to be turned inside out. 

It looks like we’ll be eating beans and crackers for a while. 

Lol. Somebody please tell me it will get better!

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Good luck getting your welder to chip in $$ on the repair. If the original item broke, the welded repair will too without adding something... in this case gussets. Fortunately my 08 has them.

There is some good news... you made it, barely, to your destination and you are now closer to Josam’s than NC.

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56 minutes ago, Ivylog said:

Good luck getting your welder to chip in $$ on the repair. If the original item broke, the welded repair will too without adding something... in this case gussets. Fortunately my 08 has them.

Ditto.  You might get your money back from the welder, but it would be a fight. 

His weld looks like it held but the surrounding metal cracked.  The square tube at the top looks like it's been cracked a long time . . . and that weld doesn't look to good. 

I wonder if the pins on the chain could be drilled and replacement rollers installed?  You'll need to match them up with a bearing supply house.  Of course once you drill one of the pins the tension on the chain gets released.

- bob

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2 hours ago, Ivylog said:

Good luck getting your welder to chip in $$ on the repair. If the original item broke, the welded repair will too without adding something... in this case gussets. Fortunately my 08 has them.

There is some good news... you made it, barely, to your destination and you are now closer to Josam’s than NC.

Yes indeed there are many blessings to be appreciated in all of this!

1 hour ago, cbr046 said:

Ditto.  You might get your money back from the welder, but it would be a fight. 

His weld looks like it held but the surrounding metal cracked.  The square tube at the top looks like it's been cracked a long time . . . and that weld doesn't look to good. 

I wonder if the pins on the chain could be drilled and replacement rollers installed?  You'll need to match them up with a bearing supply house.  Of course once you drill one of the pins the tension on the chain gets released.

- bob

Thanks Bob. Yes, Talin did consider that but managing the tension and getting the correct parts in before I left was problematic. I’ll have to research that option when I get home. 

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I owned a 2004 Signature for 4 years. Repairs came to 40K over those years. It does get better. That is, it does get better when you purchase a Foretravel. I did and now I have new challenges. Too many miles to drive and not enough time to be everywhere. Josams is a one of a kind sensational repair shop. I had cross bars and a watts link installed a month before selling my Signature to Camping World. Then we went to Olympia Luxury Coaches in Nashville. They lightened my pocket in exchange for a very nice 2015 iH-45 Foretravel. Try it, you will like it.

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Fortunately your all safe. 

And you are very savy concerning selecting good establishment s for your repairs. 

 

The rear swing arm assembly carries tremendous pressure and torque, 

Weight.

Just watch a 45 ft coach pass you on the interstates??? Tons and tons of sway and torque 

JoSams is First class and will have you back safely on the road.

Semi tractors, Prevost or mci busses 

Are manufactured to run the interstates 80 mph for a million miles.

 

Our Signatures cary a very heavy, very  high house.

And do it better than any other . But

At 60 to 65, in my opinion 

Not 75 to 80 

Our back axle assembly carries the engine and transmission,  fluids and electronics plus personal items. Pushing the single front axle twisting and turning down the uneven pavement. 

 

You do have a beautiful 😍 Coach.

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6 minutes ago, bpperk said:

I owned a 2004 Signature for 4 years. Repairs came to 40K over those years. It does get better. That is, it does get better when you purchase a Foretravel. I did and now I have new challenges. Too many miles to drive and not enough time to be everywhere. Josams is a one of a kind sensational repair shop. I had cross bars and a watts link installed a month before selling my Signature to Camping World. Then we went to Olympia Luxury Coaches in Nashville. They lightened my pocket in exchange for a very nice 2015 iH-45 Foretravel. Try it, you will like it.

Thanks Brad! I hope I don’t get anywhere near the $40k mark though! I do all of the smaller maintenance and repair work myself so that is definitely mitigating my costs. This job, however, is well beyond my skill set. 🙂

 

I’ve heard nothing but good about Josam’s so I’m looking forward to getting the repair done correctly!

11 minutes ago, John Haggard said:

Fortunately your all safe. 

And you are very savy concerning selecting good establishment s for your repairs. 

 

The rear swing arm assembly carries tremendous pressure and torque, 

Weight.

Just watch a 45 ft coach pass you on the interstates??? Tons and tons of sway and torque 

JoSams is First class and will have you back safely on the road.

Semi tractors, Prevost or mci busses 

Are manufactured to run the interstates 80 mph for a million miles.

 

Our Signatures cary a very heavy, very  high house.

And do it better than any other . But

At 60 to 65, in my opinion 

Not 75 to 80 

Our back axle assembly carries the engine and transmission,  fluids and electronics plus personal items. Pushing the single front axle twisting and turning down the uneven pavement. 

 

You do have a beautiful 😍 Coach.

Thank you John! I agree about the speed. I set my cruise at 65 and pretty much let VORAD do the rest! I don’t mind a bit about getting passed by traffic. My precious cargo (wife) is safer and my mileage is better!

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I believe the problem with lack of gussets in those critical areas on some Sig's has been discussed on this forum in depth specifically by our forum owner, Dave Pratt, who is VERY knowledgeable with the Roadmaster Chassis.

Unfortunately, that will be a very expensive lesson to learn. However, Josam's is THE VERY BEST and it will NOT leave the shop until it is completely fixed and you can be guaranteed that it WILL be done right.

I am lucky in that I live so close to Josam's and have used them many times for tires, welding cracks on the rear of my chassis, steering box swap, new drag link, air leveling system, etc.

I was there for service one day and saw this beautiful not too old Monaco Camelot sitting in the parking lot. I asked Barry what's the story with that coach and was shocked at what he told me. The new owner shortly after purchasing it brought it to Josam's for major chassis problems and welding. Barry said that the coach was too far gone and that and there was nothing he could do to salvage it with his guarantee and approval that it would be completely safe and road worthy. The owner was working with his insurance company at the time but I never found out what the outcome was. I will ask him the next time I am having work done there.

Have you thought about talking with your insurance company in regards to covering the repairs?

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23 minutes ago, Dr4Film said:

I believe the problem with lack of gussets in those critical areas on some Sig's has been discussed on this forum in depth specifically by our forum owner, Dave Pratt, who is VERY knowledgeable with the Roadmaster Chassis.

Unfortunately, that will be a very expensive lesson to learn. However, Josam's is THE VERY BEST and it will NOT leave the shop until it is completely fixed and you can be guaranteed that it WILL be done right.

I am lucky in that I live so close to Josam's and have used them many times for tires, welding cracks on the rear of my chassis, steering box swap, new drag link, air leveling system, etc.

I was there for service one day and saw this beautiful not too old Monaco Camelot sitting in the parking lot. I asked Barry what's the story with that coach and was shocked at what he told me. The new owner shortly after purchasing it brought it to Josam's for major chassis problems and welding. Barry said that the coach was too far gone and that and there was nothing he could do to salvage it with his guarantee and approval that it would be completely safe and road worthy. The owner was working with his insurance company at the time but I never found out what the outcome was. I will ask him the next time I am having work done there.

Have you thought about talking with your insurance company in regards to covering the repairs?

Thanks! That’s great to know about Josam’s!

No, I haven’t talked to them about mechanical repairs. I didn’t know that some policies cover that.

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Moe, your coach is one that has us frustrated. We are always looking for a way to save customers money versus hammering them with outrageous parts bills like this HWH assembly. The cost for that replacement is crazy expensive. We just did this dance in January on a Dynasty and if memory serves me correctly that HWH chain assembly is around $ 2,500. They make you buy the entire thing and wont sell individual parts. Worse yet each one has to be special ordered and custom built and the lead time is around 2 to 3 months. As a kicker, we are an HWH dealer and still cannot motivate them to expedite the process.

I am sure Dustin told you not to use the slide. Our Dynasty customer had to call a mobile tech to get his slide closed for him after his rollers broke. They WILL get jammed in the extended position.

I am going to call a meeting of the minds among my staff ( Dustin and Jason ) and a close friend of mine Bobby who is one of the best parts designers I have ever met. Jason is an engineer and Bobby designed and manufactured prototype parts for the F-35 fighter jet so hopefully he can find a work around with this chain. There has to be a way to replace these rollers individually without having to buy an entire assembly. Thankfully we have the old HWH assembly from the Dynasty to guide us and experiment with. I would be happier then a pig in mud to hand you a $ 500 parts bill versus a $ 2,500 one. It looks stupid simple to just drill out the carrier pin and replace a roller but it isn't that easy. Give us some time to explore this. The fat lady hasn't sang yet. 🙂

In regards to Josam's, I have full confidence in Barry and his crew. They are the Nations leading experts on Roadmaster chassis' and know our rigs well. I have sent scores of our customers to them and have never had one complain. You are in good hands.

 

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Sorry to hear about your issues  

That is a weak point in this chassis.  

Some attribute the stress cracks to using the Jake brake.  It reverse loads the assembly.

Monaco recognized the problem and added bracing to the 2007 models.

Please post pictures of the Josam's repair.

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1 hour ago, throgmartin said:

Moe, your coach is one that has us frustrated. We are always looking for a way to save customers money versus hammering them with outrageous parts bills like this HWH assembly. The cost for that replacement is crazy expensive. We just did this dance in January on a Dynasty and if memory serves me correctly that HWH chain assembly is around $ 2,500. They make you buy the entire thing and wont sell individual parts. Worse yet each one has to be special ordered and custom built and the lead time is around 2 to 3 months. As a kicker, we are an HWH dealer and still cannot motivate them to expedite the process.

I am sure Dustin told you not to use the slide. Our Dynasty customer had to call a mobile tech to get his slide closed for him after his rollers broke. They WILL get jammed in the extended position.

I am going to call a meeting of the minds among my staff ( Dustin and Jason ) and a close friend of mine Bobby who is one of the best parts designers I have ever met. Jason is an engineer and Bobby designed and manufactured prototype parts for the F-35 fighter jet so hopefully he can find a work around with this chain. There has to be a way to replace these rollers individually without having to buy an entire assembly. Thankfully we have the old HWH assembly from the Dynasty to guide us and experiment with. I would be happier then a pig in mud to hand you a $ 500 parts bill versus a $ 2,500 one. It looks stupid simple to just drill out the carrier pin and replace a roller but it isn't that easy. Give us some time to explore this. The fat lady hasn't sang yet. 🙂

In regards to Josam's, I have full confidence in Barry and his crew. They are the Nations leading experts on Roadmaster chassis' and know our rigs well. I have sent scores of our customers to them and have never had one complain. You are in good hands.

 

Thanks Chris, yes I know not to use the slide. I also really appreciate that you guys are still on it, trying to find the best and most economical solution. Your whole team was awesome and I have full confidence that y’all will find the best solution! Thanks again for a great experience at Talin RV!!

7 minutes ago, vito.a said:

Sorry to hear about your issues  

That is a weak point in this chassis.  

Some attribute the stress cracks to using the Jake brake.  It reverse loads the assembly.

Monaco recognized the problem and added bracing to the 2007 models.

Please post pictures of the Josam's repair.

Thanks for the info Vito. I’ve heard that some leave their Jake on all the time but I only use mine when on mountain downhills. Hopefully doing that will lessen the stressors on that assembly. I’ll be sure to post photos of the fix!

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1 hour ago, vito.a said:

What engine does your Signature have?

DD60

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Look up source engineering. I forget all the models that had this problem but one of them is the cayman. They have the best solution for this problem.

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I have a 2006 Navigator.  I have the same kitchen slide mechanism, although my kitchen is on the passenger side.

On my motorhome the slide was never properly adjusted.  There are 2 rollers under the floor, one at the front end, one in the bay where the fuel tank is.   The rollers at the rear of the slide are cheezy, as they are under the cabinets under the sink and have no capacity to carry the some of the weight of the slide.  My slide at the rear end dragged on the bottom of the slide opening and failed to touch the gasket at the top.  My painted stripes matched up perfectly.  
I had a local rv shop replace the slide mechanism but they set the slide so the paint matched, which put extra pressure on that arm to push and pull.  At home I loosened the attachment screws ,which are a real disappointment when you realize they are carrying the weight, jacked up the slide so it fit the hole like the front and the reattached  the mechanism to the wall.  My stripes are now about a 1/4 to 3/8 off, bu my slide works beautifully smooth.  I would like to add one of those heavy rollers under the slide at the rear the same as the front.  There is no good reason these things should have left the factory without that slide having rollers underneath all the way across.  All the other slides have them!

 

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58 minutes ago, BobSchmeck said:

Look up source engineering. I forget all the models that had this problem but one of them is the cayman. They have the best solution for this problem.

Thanks Bob, I sure will. 

46 minutes ago, gandg@valornet.com said:

I have a 2006 Navigator.  I have the same kitchen slide mechanism, although my kitchen is on the passenger side.

On my motorhome the slide was never properly adjusted.  There are 2 rollers under the floor, one at the front end, one in the bay where the fuel tank is.   The rollers at the rear of the slide are cheezy, as they are under the cabinets under the sink and have no capacity to carry the some of the weight of the slide.  My slide at the rear end dragged on the bottom of the slide opening and failed to touch the gasket at the top.  My painted stripes matched up perfectly.  
I had a local rv shop replace the slide mechanism but they set the slide so the paint matched, which put extra pressure on that arm to push and pull.  At home I loosened the attachment screws ,which are a real disappointment when you realize they are carrying the weight, jacked up the slide so it fit the hole like the front and the reattached  the mechanism to the wall.  My stripes are now about a 1/4 to 3/8 off, bu my slide works beautifully smooth.  I would like to add one of those heavy rollers under the slide at the rear the same as the front.  There is no good reason these things should have left the factory without that slide having rollers underneath all the way across.  All the other slides have them!

 

Thanks Greg, while I was at Talin RV last week they checked all of my slides, and especially the one with the bad chain. Only the one with the bad chain needed adjustment.

You are right, it doesn’t make sense that there aren’t more rollers on that big kitchen slide! Sadly, I bet it came down to $$.

 

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1 hour ago, BobSchmeck said:

Look up source engineering. I forget all the models that had this problem but one of them is the cayman. They have the best solution for this problem.

That Sig coaches missing the gusset is an entirely different problem than the one you are referring to with Source Engineering which is the "Trailing Arm Failure"

Source Eng. is a great vendor for coaches on that list. Here is a link to a Monacoers post which includes a list of those coaches involved with trailing arm failures.

 

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Fred, I would view the included video in that thread first then go look at your trailing arms to see what they look like. If they look similar to the failing ones then YES call Source but if not then you are good to go.

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3 hours ago, gandg@valornet.com said:

I have a 2006 Navigator.  I have the same kitchen slide mechanism, although my kitchen is on the passenger side.

On my motorhome the slide was never properly adjusted.  There are 2 rollers under the floor, one at the front end, one in the bay where the fuel tank is.   The rollers at the rear of the slide are cheezy, as they are under the cabinets under the sink and have no capacity to carry the some of the weight of the slide.  My slide at the rear end dragged on the bottom of the slide opening and failed to touch the gasket at the top.  My painted stripes matched up perfectly.  
I had a local rv shop replace the slide mechanism but they set the slide so the paint matched, which put extra pressure on that arm to push and pull.  At home I loosened the attachment screws ,which are a real disappointment when you realize they are carrying the weight, jacked up the slide so it fit the hole like the front and the reattached  the mechanism to the wall.  My stripes are now about a 1/4 to 3/8 off, bu my slide works beautifully smooth.  I would like to add one of those heavy rollers under the slide at the rear the same as the front.  There is no good reason these things should have left the factory without that slide having rollers underneath all the way across.  All the other slides have them!

 

Greg:

This is one of the biggest mistakes when adjusting slides - Adjusting them so the stripes match. If I have seen this advice given once I have seen it given a hundred times on all various forums. Worse yet, many techs still prescribe to this wives tale. Those slides may have ran great and the stripes matched when it was new but over time things settle, floors settle, structures flex and bend. This throws the theory of alignment of a slide according to paint stripes out the window. It is a great way to screw a slide up.

I can tell you that the proper way to do it is by making small adjustments and then watching and listening to the slide. My Tech, Dustin is one of the best slide guys I have ever come across. Watching him adjust a slide will drive you crazy as he is making small adjustments, listening to the load on the motor, checking the amp draw, watching the mechanism operate, checking clearances, measuring and keeps going until he gets it perfect. This is why I am gun shy on handing out advice on how to adjust slides. To make matters worse, many Monaco coaches came with 3 different slide mechanism types and setups.

I am not even going to get into the stupidity of Monaco and how they built their slides and placed their rollers. If you seen some of the slide setups I have seen with roller placements in goofy places that made no sense you would end up doing what I do - shake your head and wonder what Einstein thought of that. The upshot of it all is about money. They did stupid stuff to save a buck.

Moe, if you think you have problems be glad you don't have a schwintek slide. They have gotten very popular on RV's and many manufacturers have gone to them. In reality they are the biggest POS you could ever have for a slide mechanism. I lost track of the amount of money our shop has made repairing them.

There are 2 kinds of schwintek slide owners - 1.) Those who have had problems 2.) Those whom will have problems. Limit switch issues, out of sync motors, jumping gears and the list goes on. This is a great photo of just how much of a headache they are. Guess the limit switches didn't work.

 

Slide Failure.jpg

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10 minutes ago, throgmartin said:

My Tech, Dustin is one of the best slide guys I have ever come across. Watching him adjust a slide will drive you crazy as he is making small adjustments, listening to the load on the motor, checking the amp draw, watching the mechanism operate, checking clearances, measuring and keeps going until he gets it perfect.

I can personally attest to Dustin's ability and expertise with slide adjustments. He and Mike tracked down two hidden problems with my main drop-down roadside slide that had plagued me for over 10 years. My slide now works and seals tightly against the side of the coach when stored. It now travels out and in straight and evenly.

Dustin is also one of the best Awning, topper and Omega I & II techs I have ever known that has worked on my coach. I am fortunate to be living in Florida and have easy access to Dustin whenever needed.

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Posted (edited)

@Mocephus  Thanks for the pictures.  I'm going under the coach at first opportunity and takin a look at mine.  I will try get gussets installed here, as I suspect they're not on my coach either.  Otherwise may need to go to Josams too.   If anyone with a newer Sig (06? 07?) has them (gussets, that is)  a picture will be appreciated.

Edited by rpasetto
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