Forest River Fifth Wheel Camper Problems

by Dan Harkins

If your Forest River fifth-wheel recreational vehicle is giving you problems, whether it's a camper, travel-trailer or toy hauler, make sure your model doesn't have a factory defect first. Then, follow some troubleshooting steps before spending money on costly repairs.

Some Recalls

Between 2007 and 2010 alone, Forest River Inc. recalled hundreds of vehicles for a variety of defects. Most of the recalls concern serious malfunctions on a variety of models, from loss of steering on a total of 89 Tsunami RVs to hydraulic malfunctions on 38 Charleston models in 2006. The most widespread recall was for 1,003 Georgetown RVs that had faulty baggage doors. In all, defects were noted on about a dozen vehicles. Check the list in the Resources section; your problems may be construction-related.

General Maintenance

You should perform regular maintenance on your Forest River fifth-wheel RV to prevent rusting and damage. Check that your tires are inflated properly to manufacturer's specifications, which will prevent shimmying, and tighten all wheel nuts. If other problems with steering occur, add hydraulic oil (typically WP0011 or WP0012 types) at any hydraulic reservoirs throughout your chassis and check for leaks under the body of your vehicle.

Fifth Wheel Problems

Every month or two, check the hydraulic fluid level in your fifth wheel hitch, too, according to your particular model's instructions. If your Forest River travel-trailer or camper is not sliding properly to the rear when you activate the slider hitch, a quick adjustment of the rear jaw adjustment bolt may be necessary. Locate the rear facing bolt on the bottom of your hitch, with an exterior nut at the hitch. Loosen the nut that's snug with the hitch using an adjustable wrench until it just comes free of the hitch body. Tighten the jaw bolt until it's flush with the nut you just loosened, then loosen it 1/2 turn. Tighten the nut until it's flush with the hitch body again. Try engaging the switch on the side of your fifth wheel hitch to its "Rear" position. Once the RV slides to the rear, lock its position with your hitch's lock handle, then pull your vehicle forward and make your turn.

About the Author

Dan Harkins has been a full-time journalist since 1997. Prior to working in the alternative press, he served as a staff writer and editor for daily publications such as the "St. Petersburg Times" and "Elyria Chronicle-Telegram." Harkins holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of South Florida.