Fifth Wheel Tailgate Problem

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by buckbs, Dec 9, 2003.

  1. buckbs

    buckbs New Member

    Just thought that I would relate my recent experience to possibly save some one from the bad experience that I had with a Better Built product. They are made in Pensacola, FL, and the manufacturer will not stand behind their product. I bought a new fith wheel tailgate made by them that was supposed to be "powder coated steel" to resist rust and be "built for durability". It started rusting in less than three months and the first time that I had it on the road with my fifth wheel, the latch failed causing the tailgate to drop tearing up the front of my fifth wheel, and then ruining the axles that secure
    the tailgate to the truck. The damage amounted to over $3,000. I then took a look at the product and realized that they use an inferior latch on that tailgate. Instead of using a "C type latch like the original Ford tailgate has or like other fifth wheel tail gate manufacturers use, they use a narrow depth square latch that does not secure itself to the round striker. It's like the old axiom, of a "round peg trying to be secure in a square hole". It does not work when the bed flexes under any type of load causing the tailgate to come unloose and drop. When I contacted Better Built of Pensacola, they sent out their insurance adjuster and the adjuster from my own insurance company came also. They both criticized the design of this tailgate, the local Ford dealer criticized its design, and a local truck accessory shop also criticized the design. The result was that Better Built refused to pay for my $3,000 worth of damage to my truck and fifth wheel so I had to use my own insurance company paying my $1,000 deductible for the fifth wheel and another deductible for the truck. My insurance company is now planning to use legal action to force Better Built to take responsibility, but I'm afraid that it is a losing cause, and I am out a lot of money for something that I should not have to pay for. Just wanted to let you know the name of a manufacturer that will not back up its product and who will put the screws to you if you have any problems with their product. I speak from a learned experience and hope that you do not have the same thing happen to you. My advice is to stay away from Better Built products.

    F-350 Ford PSD dually
    Newmar Kountry Star fifth wheel

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