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May 11, 2013

Good Sam to the Rescue –

Since its inception 32 years ago, Good Sam’s consumer-resolution program has helped clear up thousands of misunderstandings between members and businesses. With 1.2 million members, the Good Sam Club has the clout to cut through red tape so refunds can be expedited, claims approved or apologies offered. After you’ve done your best to settle your consumer dispute, contact Good Sam Action Line, and we’ll take it from there.

We own a 2011 Heartland North Trail 28-foot trailer. In September 2012 I replaced the tires because there was excessive wear on the inside near the rear axle. I asked the tire dealer what could have caused the problem, and he replied that I should check with the selling dealer. I talked to RV America, and they said that type of wear can indicate either overloading or an axle alignment problem.

This can’t be overloading, as we stay in campgrounds and have full hookups and dump our holding tanks before moving on. We also limit our freshwater tank level to about half full in case we need water during our journey. The next trip I had the trailer weighed, and sure enough the weight slip showed we were approximately 850 pounds less than the rated maximum by the trailer manufacturer.

I again contacted RV America and shared my findings. They gave me the name of a local alignment shop they use. They said I should have this checked out, as they have had some cases of axles made by Lippert Components bending. Also, the axles were not covered by the warranty on the trailer.

I borrowed levels and a protractor, and with the trailer Ievel I crawled under and checked out the axles. I thought the rear axle was the problem, as the protractor indicated negative camber, and the level showed the axle tube to be bowed downward at the center of the axle.

I contacted Lippert Components and talked to a person named Connie. She was very nice, but after I emailed pictures and did everything requested, I got a different set of instructions in response.

I got tired of the runaround and took the trailer to Stan’s Alignment and Brake Service in Aurora, Colorado, for alignment. When I picked up the trailer, the manager said the shop had to reset the camber and toe in on both axles. The manager at Stan’s thought the axle tube seemed to be very thin and that the axles may need realignment in the future.

This says to me there is a quality issue with the axle construction.

The axles are rated at 3,500 pounds each, but I’m not sure how this rating was reached. I feel I need new axles installed before a failure occurs. I would hope North Trail or Lippert would stand behind their product. Can you help us with this?

-Mike Maxwell
Parker, Colorado

ACTION LINE: After submitting a petition to Heartland RV and Lippert Components on behalf of Good Sam members Mikeand Donna Maxwell, Action Line received the following replyfrom Lippert’s customer service department:

We would like to extend our most sincere apology for any difficulties or frustration Mr. and Mrs. Maxwell may have experienced during their involvement with Lippert. It is always our goal to provide the quality of service our valued customers deserve and expect from us.

In an effort to achieve resolution to the Maxwells’ specific concerns, we asked one of our customer service technical advisers to contact them. Although an alignment was previously performed, as a goodwill gesture we have offered to provide the axles, leaf springs and necessary hardware to properly repair their coach.

We certainly appreciate the Maxwells’ allowing us the opportunity to readdress their concerns to reach an amicable resolution.

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