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Fiamma Bike Rack Failure

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frederic
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Post by The Bargee Mon Apr 29, 2024 7:46 pm

Paulmold wrote:I'm horrified at the thought of a bike rack with bikes being held in place by glue, and I'm pretty sure I'm not alone . Next they'll be securing overhead lockers by glue - or are they already?


It would be interesting to know more about the exact quality of the bonding job. Did the adhesive cover all available contact surfaces? Is there any evidence that the surfaces were properly cleaned and prepared for bonding, e.g evidence of light abrasion to the GRP to provide an enhanced mechanical bond?
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Post by Bowlertilt Thu May 02, 2024 12:02 am

Thanks to all those who contributed to this thread, much appreciated !
 For anyone curious about how this has panned out, the word from Autosleepers who currently have the van at their service centre, they say the adhesive had failed to cure ! (Perhaps this should be checked in future before signing off !).
They are using a different bonding compound now, but NOT for reasons of reliability. 
They are going to install a new rack with adhesive, but in my case to give me piece of mind they are inserting 2 toggle bolts on the top rail which will go through some aluminium strengthening struts within the vehicles body. These will open up behind the back wall, and then will be unable to pull free if the adhesive were to fail again.
I've accepted this proposal. I have also spoken to Fiamma who say they are aware of the practice of using adhesive by some manufacturers, but haven't been made aware of the process used by Autosleepers.
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Post by grumps81 Thu May 02, 2024 4:13 am

Thishappened to me with my Malvern 
The rack was fitted by the factory, They admitted responsibility as they had not used bolts for the fixing as specified by the rack manufacturers,
AS paid for everything , new rack, new bike cover , damage to the bikes and repairs to the van bodywork,
Not the best of experiences,to have I must admit ,just pleased we were not on motorway at the time it fell off,
however I did change my rack to a tow ball type rack
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Post by Cymro Thu May 02, 2024 4:22 am

Interesting!  So that 2 instances.

Grumps81: when was your original rack fitted ( glued)? 
I ask to try to establish how long ago AS introduced that system. And do they in that way, I wonder?

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Post by Arron Thu May 02, 2024 4:52 am

Anyone who uses adhesive alone for a significant load bearing application is a clown.
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Post by Caraman Thu May 02, 2024 5:43 am

This has certainly made me think more about how much load I put on my rack.  I often only take one bike and in lieu of the other bike I carry the bag with our chairs and clothes line in which is about the same weight as my bike.  The bag will stow just as well in the shower which is where I think I will stow it in the future when driving.  When we get to a site it can sit on the rack under the bike cover.  A-S obviously know there is a problem with their fixings which is probably why they have downrated its maximum load from 60 kg to 50 kg.  This should be a concern to those who carry a storage box on their rack.
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Post by Jarjar Thu May 02, 2024 9:04 am

I had a Thule rack fitted recently on our Symbol and the fixing process includes glue. I was unsure of this so got my friendly local van man to do it as he has the same rack glued on the back of his van.
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Post by Cymro Thu May 02, 2024 9:15 am

What else does it include? Does it, for example, also include bolts or screws through to something solid? Or is the fixing only by glue?

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Post by Dbvwt Thu May 02, 2024 4:31 pm

Jarjar wrote:I had a Thule rack fitted recently on our Symbol and the fixing process includes glue. I was unsure of this so got my friendly local van man to do it as he has the same rack glued on the back of his van.

I fitted the same rack to my Symbol, I used Sika 252 as recommended by Thule but there are also mechanical fixings at each end of the 2 horizontal bars and I’ve absolutely no concerns about it coming off.
This is a door mounted rack on a van conversion though, I believe this thread is regarding the coach build vans with the factory fitted mounting bars on the back.
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Post by Paulmold Sun May 05, 2024 4:58 am

Another rack coming away has just been posted on the FB group and according to a poster there, a recall on recent vans has been made, no idea is that is true.

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Post by MalMonty Sun May 05, 2024 5:40 am

Some manufacturing and construction adhesives are exceptional. I watched a video recently when they were using some under water on an oil rig. I suppose it's all about application and surface etc. Having recently watched videos on motorhome delamination, it wouldn't be me gluing a rack to any surface that is layered of could in fact separate from the frame.
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Post by Paulmold Sun May 05, 2024 5:54 am

Paulmold wrote:Another rack coming away has just been posted on the FB group and according to a poster there, a recall on recent vans has been made, no idea is that is true.
Further posts on FB show thus extract from the recall email....




'Fiamma Cycle Rack Carry Bars : Pro-active Safety Check 2023
Auto-Sleepers coachbuilt models in period July 2016 - April 2023'

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Post by Caraman Sun May 05, 2024 6:06 am

Paulmold wrote:
Further posts on FB show thus extract from the recall email....




'Fiamma Cycle Rack Carry Bars : Pro-active Safety Check 2023
Auto-Sleepers coachbuilt models in period July 2016 - April 2023'
Mine is a 2019 coachbuilt model owned from new and I haven't received a recall e-mail.
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Post by Paulmold Sun May 05, 2024 7:42 am

Caraman wrote:
Mine is a 2019 coachbuilt model owned from new and I haven't received a recall e-mail.
I'd follow that up, someone posted that they had their check done yesterday at Marquis Preston.

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Post by Caraman Sun May 05, 2024 7:45 am

Paulmold wrote:
I'd follow that up, someone posted that they had their check done yesterday at Marquis Preston.
will do
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Post by Caraman Wed May 08, 2024 2:00 am

Just had this response from Marquis:

"We have checked, and your vehicle is not subject to a recall regarding the cycle carrier bars.  Auto Sleeper do say that the vehicle should not be fitted with any e-bike carrier or carrier upgraded with e-bike upgrade kit, and that the weight limit imposed since July 2023 is 50kg."

Useful to be told about the 50kg limit on the fixings i.e. not the rack.  I never like loading something to its max so for me 50kg probably becomes 40kg.  I'm not quite in e-bike territory yet but after being in the saddle for 3 hours the other week on the IoW and still feeling the effect, I don't think it will be long!  so_sad
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Post by IanH Wed May 08, 2024 3:01 am

MalMonty wrote:Some manufacturing and construction adhesives are exceptional. I watched a video recently when they were using some under water on an oil rig. I suppose it's all about application and surface etc. Having recently watched videos on motorhome delamination, it wouldn't be me gluing a rack to any surface that is layered of could in fact separate from the frame.
Very true MM

I use an epoxy to glue granite to SS. Guys tell me its used to glue yacht keels to the hull, no more through drilling, just the glue, and, it is done with the hull afloat!!

I'd still stick a few M8's in tho!! up!
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Post by Caraman Sun May 12, 2024 9:29 am

Caraman wrote:Just had this response from Marquis:

"We have checked, and your vehicle is not subject to a recall regarding the cycle carrier bars.  Auto Sleeper do say that the vehicle should not be fitted with any e-bike carrier or carrier upgraded with e-bike upgrade kit, and that the weight limit imposed since July 2023 is 50kg."

Useful to be told about the 50kg limit on the fixings i.e. not the rack.  I never like loading something to its max so for me 50kg probably becomes 40kg.  I'm not quite in e-bike territory yet but after being in the saddle for 3 hours the other week on the IoW and still feeling the effect, I don't think it will be long!  so_sad
I've just noticed this on the Auto-Sleeper website for all the coachbuilts:

The installation of the Fiamma Cycle Carrier Mounting Rails on the backs of Auto-Sleeper coachbuilt ranges has been specifically designed for the standard Fiamma Pro C range of cycle carriers and under no circumstances should any E-Bike carrier, Fiamma or otherwise be fitted to these rails nor shall Existing Fiamma Pro C carriers be upgraded by fitting the Fiamma Kit Upgrade E Bike.

It seems that Auto-Sleepers are saying if you want to carry e-bikes you need a tow bar mounted bike rack with all that that entails for the user payload and rear axle mass.
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Post by Cymro Sun May 12, 2024 6:46 pm

Caraman wrote:Just had this response from Marquis:

"We have checked, and your vehicle is not subject to a recall regarding the cycle carrier bars.  Auto Sleeper do say that the vehicle should not be fitted with any e-bike carrier or carrier upgraded with e-bike upgrade kit, and that the weight limit imposed since July 2023 is 50kg."

Useful to be told about the 50kg limit on the fixings i.e. not the rack.  I never like loading something to its max so for me 50kg probably becomes 40kg.  I'm not quite in e-bike territory yet but after being in the saddle for 3 hours the other week on the IoW and still feeling the effect, I don't think it will be long!  so_sad

It's a bit naughty of AS not to make it clear that, notwithstanding the maximum weight limit shown on the rack by Fiamma, the safe working limit is lower because of the fixing method. 

My rack is mechanically fixed; Fiamma stamp its limit as 60kg; like Caraman, I'd never load it to its theoretical limit, and would consider 50kg to be my safe working limit. In the event, our two e-bikes (without their detachable batteries which are carried inside the van) have a combined weight of 40kg. 

Neverthelsss, I feel the need to check the security of the rack's fixture, but don't know what to look for. I cannot look inside the van to see if the securing bolts are OK, without removing the white plastic concealing covers (no idea how) or removing a panel. From the outside it seems well. 

It's rather like checking the security of an underslung gas tank. Not really a DiY job, but many habitation services won't do it. 

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Post by Paulmold Sun May 12, 2024 7:37 pm

I've pinched these photos off FB  (admin please delete if necessary)... there's a post back in November showing 4 different Burfords where the racks have come away (how the poster got photos of 4 different vans I don't know), just one is shown here.....the first is this month, showing signs of coming away
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

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Post by Caraman Sun May 12, 2024 8:41 pm

Thanks Paul.  Those photos are worth a thousand words.  It's possible on earlier vans the rack was bolted through but on mine it only appears to have wood screws and adhesive.  I can't see what difference it makes whether the rack has e-bikes on it or not.  The important bit is surely the total weight on the mounting rails (max 50 kg) and its distance from the back wall which is fixed by the rack.
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Post by The Bargee Sun May 12, 2024 11:50 pm

It would be interesting to see a photo of the rear face (the bonding face) of the rack mounting rails. Just how much area is a flat bonding face? It would appear from the photos (but I could be wrong) that there are large areas where either adhesive had not been applied or where it has only bonded to the rail itself.

I was taught in woodwork classes at school that you never just applied a squiggle of adhesive in the expectation that it would spread across all the flat bonding area under pressure. You had to spread the adhesive carefully, a bit like buttering toast 100% (since polite people hold the toast by the edges!).

I have also learnt a bit more recently that you should not tighten the components too much, squeezing out the adhesive. Modern adhesives need a degree of thickness in the bond. Some sources suggest using 2mm thick tile spacers to prevent over tightening and maintain that thickness of glue.
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Post by Caraman Wed May 15, 2024 6:19 pm

I've just discovered that our two Dometic recliners fit perfectly in the cab in front of our reversed cab seats when they are not in use or in the shower compartment when moving from one site to the next.  So no more carrying them on the bike rack in lieu of a bike.  This allows my push bike to go on the inner rather than outer rail which lessens stress on the adhesive and pushes the weight forward a bit.  In due course I think I could safely replace my push bike with a light e-bike.
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Post by Paulmold Sat Jun 15, 2024 6:35 am

Just seen this follow-up on FB to the rack-coming-away problem ...

"We finally had the bike rack fix done today at Marquis Plymouth on our Nuevo. We were the first guinea pigs there but it is done. Two large bolts through the rack, back wall of motorhome, thick bit of wood and metal plate seemingly. £70. 
Fingers crossed that is now sorted."

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Post by Cymro Sat Jun 15, 2024 7:06 am

Sounds like reversion to good old mechanical fixing. I accept that adhesive can be fine - aerospace, for example - but as the Bargee pointed out, it must be properly applied. The squiggles shown in the photos suggest that it wasn’t.

That said, it’s not easy to check my fixings. I look at the bolts occasionally but beyond that I don’t know what I should do. 

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