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Fiamma Bike Rack Failure

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Post by John McHale Thu Jul 04, 2024 9:01 pm

As per manual. Rack load limit is 60kg. Not Been told anything different. Asked the question and was told the original limit applies. No new sticker or advisory came with the modification.

For AS to retrospectively introduce a lower weight limit on a product previously sold under the higher limit and provide a product enhancement that still does not meet the original criteria, would open them to a legal challenge of misleading and unsafe sales practice.
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Post by CC Sat Jul 06, 2024 1:26 pm

So to be clear… Are motorhomes going back to Auto-Sleeper to have their Fiamma bike racks modified, are AS fitting those toggles as well as reinforcing the void between the inner wall & GRP outer shell?

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Post by Caraman Sat Jul 06, 2024 4:36 pm

CC wrote:So to be clear… Are motorhomes going back to Auto-Sleeper to have their Fiamma bike racks modified, are AS fitting those toggles as well as reinforcing the void between the inner wall & GRP outer shell?
Yes, yes and no.  They are not reinforcing the void between the inner wall & GRP outer shell.  The battens behind the Fiamma mounting bars are secured to the inner wall by the metal bracket that runs the length of each batten.  The inner wall & GRP outer shell are also secured to each other in other places e.g. the batten shown in my photo that runs under the kitchen window.  If you get under your van and poke a mobile phone as far up the void as you can, you should see something similar even though you don't have a rear kitchen window.  The point of failure has been between the outer face of the GRP outer shell and the inner face of the upper Fiamma mounting bar.  The modification only seeks to reinforce this area with two through bolts that sandwich the upper mounting bar batten.
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Post by CC Sat Jul 06, 2024 4:55 pm

Thanks Caraman… Yes I must get under ours & have a good look so I can get a better idea, think I might look to get the ‘Product Enhancer’ hugegrins fitted by AutoSleeper…. are those toggles the actual ‘Product Enhancer’ sorry to keep going round & round in circles but it’s not obviously clear to me?

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Post by Caraman Sat Jul 06, 2024 5:08 pm

From everything I have read and heard the 'toggle' is a steel nut into which is screwed a steel coach bolt that passes through the upper Fiamma mounting bar, the GRP outer shell, the batten and the metal bracket attached to the bracket.  The coach bolt has a washer at the Fiamma mounting bar end and at the other end the steel nut is attached to a short bar that spreads its load onto the metal bracket and batten as the coach bolt is tightened.
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Post by marconi Sun Jul 07, 2024 8:07 pm

John McHale wrote:
For AS to retrospectively introduce a lower weight limit on a product previously sold under the higher limit and provide a product enhancement that still does not meet the original criteria, would open them to a legal challenge of misleading and unsafe sales practice.

See if they care. They have already shrugged off all the other violations and examples of bad workmanship and systems unfit for purpose.
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Post by marconi Tue Jul 09, 2024 3:55 pm

marconi wrote:
See if they care. They have already shrugged off all the other violations and examples of bad workmanship and systems unfit for purpose.

The lives of people behind you on the road depend on these two wood screws. The one on the left has already had water ingress past any intended sealant and is rusting, the timber is no doubt deteriorating, there is now less than 15mm of thread into the timber.

PLEASE PLEASE get the "product enhancement" done as soon as possible.

Auto Sleeper won't be letting you know about the problem. Most A/S staff won't know, I was told they do not look at any A/S Goups or Social Media. Marquis told me that they are strictly banned from looking at any Auto Sleeper Groups or Social Media posts. Caraman's van is of the same period as mine and Marquis say there is no re-call for it.

Personally I won't even ask Marquis as I won't go near the place again, neither wii I trust A/S with the "product improvement" due to the incompetence I have experienced, or go near Willersey.

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Post by CC Tue Jul 09, 2024 3:59 pm

I managed to get a response from Auto-Sleepers regarding their “Product Enhancer” not sure why that that title makes me smile every time I read it  hugegrins

It is just for the toggle according to their response, & as previously said it takes an hour to fit at a cost of £126 which I’ll pay, but I do think it’s rather cheeky of AS to charge their customers to rectify something to make it safe because the way they’ve originally fitted it is unsafe, but it is what it is I guess, it really would have been nice if it was like a safety recall & corrected or upgraded at their cost, if it’s only an hours work they could get several through their workshop in a day, they are giving the toggle kits out free of charge to people so to me it seems a bit mean to charge for fitting.

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Post by CC Tue Jul 09, 2024 4:03 pm

They may say they never look at the forum, but everyone I’ve spoken to in person ie Dealers, or AutoSleepers staff they all know about the forum which tells me they must look…

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Post by Paulmold Tue Jul 09, 2024 4:34 pm

We did have a member who worked there. Unfortunately I can't remember her username. I don't know if she still works there, I know her real name and she is a member of at least 2 FB groups for AS owners but hasn't posted on them since 2022 , so she may have left AS.

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Post by CC Tue Jul 09, 2024 6:14 pm

Spent over an hour on the phone to Auto-Sleepers trying to get booked in for the “Product Enhancer” 

Despite the automated queuing system telling me there was only one person a head of me in the queue, it then went onto to tell me due to the volume of calls they are dealing with they are unable to help me & to call back another time, followed by termination of the call! 

Oh well back to good old emails, what a way to run a business  shrugg 
I really miss Mark Burdett  so_sad

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Post by CC Wed Jul 10, 2024 12:45 pm

Finally managed to get booked in for the product enhancer for the 23rd July, not convinced how much security it will add to the rack but has to hopefully help, will see what I can find out on the day of fitting.

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Post by marconi Wed Jul 10, 2024 3:53 pm

Well I feel much better now I have carried out the "enhancement". Hopefully AS will put more than "enough" sealant on the washer (and bolt) so that the water doesn't get in and start to rust the bolts like it did one of my woodcrews. I used enough to sink a ship, I think I am still under 3.5t. smile!

Obviously 4 bolts as the maunfacturer recommends would be better but Its a pretty good Toggle and bolt arrangement.

To add to the AS picture of "what it would look like if you could see it," this photo is my offside fixing, it rotated a little off horizontal on tightening whereas the nearside one didn't. No problem there though.



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Post by Caraman Wed Jul 10, 2024 3:57 pm

CC wrote:..... they are giving the toggle kits out free of charge to people so to me it seems a bit mean to charge for fitting.
....
Not so.  The kit can be ordered from the A-S Spares Department at Willersey for £10.75 which includes VAT, p&p, fitting instructions and a guide for the drill bit.  As soon as I get home I'll be ordering one.  Installation appears straight forward.  Even if I have to buy the right size drill bit it will be cheaper and easier to do it myself and I will know then that its done properly.  And like Marconi I'll add a load of sealant.  Welcome back to the forum Marconi!
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Post by Caraman Wed Jul 10, 2024 4:15 pm

CC wrote:Finally managed to get booked in for the product enhancer for the 23rd July, not convinced how much security it will add to the rack but has to hopefully help, will see what I can find out on the day of fitting.
...
I'll be interested if they tell you the same as John MacHale which is that after the toggle kit has been fitted the rack can take the full 60 kg as per the Fiamma instructions, including if e-bikes are carried on an e-bike rack.  The technician I spoke to on the phone at the A-S Service Centre said it would but the lady in reception said it wouldn't.
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Post by CC Wed Jul 10, 2024 4:32 pm

Caraman wrote:
CC wrote:..... they are giving the toggle kits out free of charge to people so to me it seems a bit mean to charge for fitting.
....
Not so.  The kit can be ordered from the A-S Spares Department at Willersey for £10.75 which includes VAT, p&p, fitting instructions and a guide for the drill bit.  As soon as I get home I'll be ordering one.  Installation appears straight forward.  Even if I have to buy the right size drill bit it will be cheaper and easier to do it myself and I will know then that its done properly.  And like Marconi I'll add a load of sealant.  Welcome back to the forum Marconi!

My mistake I thought I read earlier in the thread they were giving them to people free  up!

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Post by CC Wed Jul 10, 2024 4:36 pm

marconi wrote:Well I feel much better now I have carried out the "enhancement". Hopefully AS will put more than "enough" sealant on the washer (and bolt) so that the water doesn't get in and start to rust the bolts like it did one of my woodcrews. I used enough to sink a ship, I think I am still under 3.5t. smile!

Obviously 4 bolts as the maunfacturer recommends would be better but Its a pretty good Toggle and bolt arrangement.

To add to the AS picture of "what it would look like if you could see it," this photo is my offside fixing, it rotated a little off horizontal on tightening whereas the nearside one didn't. No problem there though.



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I’m curious to know what the other end looks like when it’s fitted, still don’t understand fully how this system actually functions… I get that the toggle strengthens the fixing by spreading some of the weight but just not sure how the other end terminates & functions?

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Post by Caraman Wed Jul 10, 2024 4:56 pm

As marconi has just done it I'll let him explain.
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Post by marconi Wed Jul 10, 2024 5:46 pm

CC wrote:
I’m curious to know what the other end looks like when it’s fitted, still don’t understand fully how this system actually functions… I get that the toggle strengthens the fixing by spreading some of the weight but just not sure how the other end terminates & functions?

The pictures in the thread from FB show the rail end.

Basically instead of a couple of short wood screws in the rail which may well pull out of the reinforcing timber we now have a couple of 6mm bolts threaded into the captive nuts in the toggles at the inaccessible end. The bolts pass through the rail, fibreglass panel, reinforcing timber and steel mounting bracket, a large washer is needed under the bolt head so that doesn't pull through the access hole you have to drill for the toggle.
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Post by John McHale Wed Jul 10, 2024 5:50 pm

Caraman wrote:
CC wrote:Finally managed to get booked in for the product enhancer for the 23rd July, not convinced how much security it will add to the rack but has to hopefully help, will see what I can find out on the day of fitting.
...
I'll be interested if they tell you the same as John MacHale which is that after the toggle kit has been fitted the rack can take the full 60 kg as per the Fiamma instructions, including if e-bikes are carried on an e-bike rack.  The technician I spoke to on the phone at the A-S Service Centre said it would but the lady in reception said it wouldn't.
Didn't go to AS, got it done at the dealer I bought the van off.
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Post by marconi Wed Jul 10, 2024 6:51 pm

John McHale wrote:
Caraman wrote:
CC wrote:Finally managed to get booked in for the product enhancer for the 23rd July, not convinced how much security it will add to the rack but has to hopefully help, will see what I can find out on the day of fitting.
...
I'll be interested if they tell you the same as John MacHale which is that after the toggle kit has been fitted the rack can take the full 60 kg as per the Fiamma instructions, including if e-bikes are carried on an e-bike rack.  The technician I spoke to on the phone at the A-S Service Centre said it would but the lady in reception said it wouldn't.
Didn't go to AS, got it done at the dealer I bought the van off.

I would say the actual safe load after AS have been at it is only guesswork. Fiamma's figure will be tested, and for a rack fitted as their instructions. AS dare not state the full figure as their bit of glue and a woodscrew, or the "product enhancement" have most likely never been tested and approved.
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