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  1. #1
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    SAFETY WARNING - 2021 Solitude 380fl

    Model: Grand Design Solitude 380fl

    This narrative is to serve as documentary evidence of our (Darrin and Amy Odell) experience purchasing and taking out for the first time, a Grand Design Solitude 380fl 5th wheel travel trailer. This is meant to act as documentation for insurance, federal agencies, current and prospective Grand Design consumers.

    On Monday, June 7th, 2021, we picked up our new Solitude trailer from Mike Thompson RV in Colton, CA. We were given a 30-minute walkthrough of our new trailer, with demonstrations on how to operate all electric and mechanical features, provided with some advice and best practices and then we were off. We drove the trailer back to our bed and breakfast business in Big Bear City, CA, about a 60-mile, one hour drive. Taking the trailer back home was a piece of cake – it handled nicely on the road and our truck was able to pull it safely. We were excited new owners.
    We parked the trailer in the driveway of our bed and breakfast. We purchased the trailer as overflow accommodations for our business and also for family and friends get away weekends. The trailer remained parked there for the next 3 weeks as we stocked it up with supplies, learned how to use the slide outs, etc. On Sunday, June 27th, we headed out on our first trip to Lake Elsinore, CA. Again, the trip was easy – about 80 miles and two hours with traffic. We arrived about 9 PM, backed the trailer into our space for our 3-night mini vacation. This is where the “fun” begins.

    After placing the trailer exactly where we wanted it, we disconnected it from the hitch and unplugged the 7-pin electrical socket on our truck. We pulled our truck forward and then returned to the trailer to start the leveling sequence on our automated hydraulic system. That is when we noticed small wisps of smoke coming from the hitch housing on the trailer. We were immediately alarmed and started looking for the source of the smoke. We started opening compartments on the front-side of the trailer (both left and right) and immediately noticed smoke coming from both sides. Eventually, we noticed flame in the propane compartment on the right side of the trailer, though it seemed to be up high and deeper in the structure of the trailer. We emptied a full extinguisher into the compartment, but the fire was still evident. We then opened the front electrical/hydraulic compartment and flames poured out, prompting us to empty a second extinguisher into that compartment. This seemed to put out the flames, though there was still a significant amount of smoke.

    The Lake Elsinore fire department arrived about 8-10 minutes later and they immediately went to work assessing the situation. They used heat monitors to evaluate the amount of heat coming from the trailer and over the course of 30 minutes or so, were able to determine that the fire had been fully extinguished. They did a full inspection of all compartments and the inside of the trailer (which was full of smoke) to ensure there was no further danger. By this time, it was 10:30 PM, we were exhausted, frustrated and instructed that it was not safe for us to stay in the trailer as the hydraulic system had failed and was leaking. We left the trailer at the RV resort and drove 2 hours back home to Big Bear.

    On Monday, June 28th, we called Mike Thomson RV’s service center and explained what happened. We were immediately met with skepticism and made to feel as though this was a huge hassle for them. How lovely from a service department where I had just spent over $100,000 on a brand-new trailer. It wasn’t until Friday, July 2nd, that the trailer was picked up and towed back to Mike Thompson RV in Colton, CA. We were told that Mike Thompson would not touch the trailer until Grand Design was able to send out an inspector to determine the cause of the fire. We attempted to stop by to retrieve some personal items and were able to grab a few things, but full access to the trailer still has not been provided.

    On Monday June 28th, we also called Grand Design customer service, however, after waiting on hold for 20 minutes with no answer, we resorted to sending an email detailing the events of the fire. On Wednesday June 30th, we received a call from Morgan at Grand Design and was told that we were going to be taken care of and that an inspector had been scheduled to go through the trailer, but that could not be taken care of until after the July 4th holiday. This is the time when we moved forward in opening a claim with our insurance company, even though Grand Design assured us that we would be taken care of.

    The inspector finally came out on the morning of July 8th. On July 9th, I checked in with Morgan at Grand Design via email, as I had not heard any news. I was told that the inspectors report would not be shared with me or with Mike Thompson RV and that the inspector was on his way back to company HQ where they would discuss his/her findings. Finally, on Friday July 16th, I received the following communication from Morgan at Grand Design:
    “…Our inspection from 7/12/2021 determined that the 7-way cord had been pulled from its fixed position. While connected to your tow vehicle, the 7-way pulled away from your unit allowing the Romex wiring to chafe, causing a short and allowing the event that you experienced to occur. The inspector found no defect present in our product causing this event to occur. We would recommend filing a claim with your insurance company. Your insurance company may choose to subrogate against Grand Design RV based on their own findings.”

    We are amazed at this finding and Grand Design’s stance on the issue. Not only is this factually inaccurate, it seems to state that Grand Design holds no responsibility for the trailer catching fire. We, Darrin and Amy Odell, were both present and both took part in disconnecting the power cord correctly from our truck. It seems this “chafe” they describe could have occurred at any point in time, maybe even before our ownership of the trailer, as there is not damage to the cord itself and no damage to the 7-pin connection on our truck. Further, the design of the trailer allows for this to happen – apply too much force to the electrical cord and the unit catches fire.

    We are now taking action through our insurance company, and we are also in the process of hiring an attorney who can represent us in a Lemon Law suit against Grand Design. This information is being provided to the NTSB, the Consumer Product Protection Commission, the State of California’s Attorney General’s office and as many user groups and press outlets who will accept our story. If you are an owner of a Grand Design Trailer or are thinking about buying one, please do your research carefully. You are not buying a quality product, nor are you dealing with a company that stands by the quality of it’s products.

  2. #2
    Site Sponsor bertschb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by darrinodell View Post
    If you are an owner of a Grand Design Trailer or are thinking about buying one, please do your research carefully. You are not buying a quality product, nor are you dealing with a company that stands by the quality of it’s products.
    Sorry to hear about your troubles in your first post here on the forum. I can't imagine having a brand new RV catch fire.

    We are currently living full time in our third Grand Design 5th wheel and all three of them have been virtually trouble free. The few small issues we've had (e.g. failed ceiling lights) were dealt with quickly by excellent customer service reps at Grand Design.

    I hope your insurance covers your full loss and you can move on to another brand of RV that has the quality and factory support that you expect.
    Brian & Kellie
    2020 Solitude 310GK-R, FBP, 1,460w solar, 540ah BBGC3, MORryde IS w/disc brakes
    2020 F-350 Platinum SRW Powerstroke Tremor, 60g TF fuel tank, Hensley BD3-F air bag hitch

    Previous setups:
    2019 Solitude 373FB-R, 2019 F-350 Platinum DRW Powerstroke, Hensley BD5 air bag hitch
    2016 Reflection 318RST, 2016 GMC 3500 Denali SRW Duramax, Hensley BD3 air bag hitch

  3. #3
    Paid my dues 😁 FT4NOW's Avatar
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    Glad no one was hurt, sorry about your situation. If you're attempting to use this as a legal description of the event, you may wish to reconsider. Posts can be deleted, I would recommend copying all that into a word document and have it notarized and you'll have a hard copy for your records.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
    2021 Reflection 311BHS
    2018 F350 CC/LB/Firestone bags/Reese Goose Box

    SOLD - 2017 Momentum 399TH
    SOLD - 2016 F350 CC/LB/DRW/Curt Q24/Air Lift Load Lifter 5000

  4. #4
    Site Team Redapple63's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FT4NOW View Post
    Glad no one was hurt, sorry about your situation. If you're attempting to use this as a legal description of the event, you may wish to reconsider. Posts can be deleted, I would recommend copying all that into a word document and have it notarized and you'll have a hard copy for your records.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
    Agree with this. Good advice. Get it down while the details are fresh in your head.

    Glad your are all safe, remember stuff can be replaced people can’t.

    Good luck and keep us posted on progress as you can.
    2019 GMC 3500 SRW Sierra Denali Duramax
    2020 Reflection 315RLTS

  5. #5
    Long Hauler geotex1's Avatar
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    I do feel for you both in the circumstances. Truly. However, I have to say if you've hired a lawyer, fire them and delete this post before it become part of internet cache, and hire a real one. Unfortunately, truth be told, the trailer umbilical could have been overextended by yourselves during a maneuver in tow. Every individual is responsible for their vehicle, inclusive of combinations (i.e., towed items) to be in proper condition, state of repair, and inspection. That is the way it is, and that means for a trailer owner you need to know how the combination works together under all articulation. Moreover, your 5er was towed from Indiana to the dealer by hired transporters who don't really care condition delivered. It's widely known they're rough handlers in a general way. So if you didn't inspect it as part of PDI, issue could have been there and your signing on the dotted line is you attesting to unit being in satisfactory condition, less any documented items owed, releasing any obligation beforehand (except some States) at time of delivery. You attesting has little merit as you do not hold verifiable subject matter expertise or unbiased opinion. Further, the rig is yours and you have the right for access with limits being 1) within posted business hours of facility where it is and 2) not deemed by any authoritative entity as unsafe. You also control right to access, and you effectively granted that access to the GD tech who provided an opinion you disagree with. As it stands,, you have no way to prove the contrary. The right first call in such unfortunate events is always to your insurer as they then hire the independent, unbiased expert inspection (if they don't have one in-house) and they then work to resolve. The key is you manage your insurer, not the basis of claim. Insurance should have you covered either way, but I suspect your issue is that you have an uncovered gap in coverage. By posting such publicly, you pretty much put yourself in a situation of having no good will offered by any party to help with that gap. Should you hire the finest suit and he or she actually have any traction, you still are out their cost and who knows the countersuit if you posted this around the net... NTSB won't even look at this because of the circumstances you yourself document here.

    I'm not a lawyer, don't play one on TV, and don't stay at Holiday Inn Expresses. However, I am the final line in decisions for product performance claims in a global manufacturing company...

    Good luck to you, and the greatest importance is that all are unharmed! The situation is stressful, miserable even, but everything can be rebuilt or replaced.
    Rob & Nikki + Cloverfield
    2020 Grand Design Solitude S-Class 3350RL
    2015 RAM 3500 Longhorn Laramie Crew Cab, Long Bed, 4x4 Dually Cummins/AISIN

    Mountains of Pennsylvania

  6. #6
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    Not an attorney, but as I understand it, the Lemon Law does not cover RV's. I am not sure what an attorney can do, if your insurance company covers you fully, other than recover any deductible, and maybe expenses.

    Like what was said above, NTSB may, at most document it, but you should really make a report to NHTSA. They are the ones to document the incident to, as they collect the info, and if they have enough documentation of incidents like yours, will pursue the issue.

    Most important, any pending or ongoing legal issue's should not be discussed on a public forum.
    2019 RAM 3500 SRW SB 6.7 HO
    2021 GD 320G

  7. #7
    Commercial Member
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    So, assuming you are going to post this on all forums and internet venues (as stated that you are documenting for future legal actions), I would suggest you use an external investigator to determine what caused the fire.

    If the 7 way umbilical did get pulled away (from the pinbox area, not your truck), then it is entirely possible to have the condition you described. There is always power through that cord, whether attached to the truck or not.

    Luckily, no one was injured, just physical damage to a replaceable item. Honestly, if it was chaffed before you towed it, it could/would start a fire long before you ever got to it. (again, power is always in that cord as long as the 12 volt battery in good)

    Good luck with your proceedings.
    Inventory Manager at Tom Schaeffer's RV, Shoemakersville, PA www.tomschaeffers.com
    [email protected]
    2011 RAM 3500 SRW Outdoorsman Edition 4X4, 6.7 Cummins--TWEAKED!
    2021 Reflection 310RLS

  8. #8
    Site Team traveldawg's Avatar
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    We'll have to see the OP keeps us up to date and returns. While it seems like a somewhat valid reason for posting here it hardly seems necessary or that this is the right place to save documentation; especially when one involves lawyers and insurance companies.

    However, I see some value in the experience. That being to check your 7 pin wiring connections from time to time, not to get the cord tangled and use caution connecting and disconnecting. And check to see that it is secured properly such that if you do drive off with it still plugged into the truck that it is fastened mechanically good enough to the RV so the plug is ripped from the truck's receptacle instead of the cord being ripped loose from the box on the RV.

    Personally I think GD is on the hook for failing to properly secure that cord to the RV. Shouldn't there be some RVIA build codes or something to prevent this. Oh - silly me.... next I'll expect proper securing of that mess of wires we can't see to prevent chaffing and such....

    It occurred to me that the cord could have been pulled loose by the delivery driver too.
    Larry
    2018 F350 SRW SB - AirLift 5000 w/Wireless One; ForScan; 37gal RDS Fuel Tank; Demco Hikacker
    2019 310GK-R - Sailuns; MorRyde SRE4000; Disc Brakes (StopYourTrailer.com); Electric Cord Reel


  9. #9
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    A few weeks ago when getting ready to hitch up, I was pulling the cord out of the pin box (everyone coils up the cord and places it in the pinbox, right?). Apparently I wasn't careful with the plug end and somehow it touched just right on the inside of the pinbox and POP and spark! Scared the heck out of me thinking I fried something. Fortunately all was OK however it was a subtle reminder the plug is always hot when the 12V trailer battery is connected.

    Seems if one simply stuffs the cord into the pinbox and the end of the plug touches just right on the metal parts inside, it could make for a bad day.

    I'll order one of these unless someone has a better suggestion:
    https://www.amazon.com/GR-Innovation...s%2C170&sr=8-7
    2021 Solitude 310GK: Linen/DP windows/gen prep/slide toppers/king bed/EOH disc brakes/Cooper-H tires
    2019 F-350: Lariat/CC/LB/Diesel/DRW/4x4/Bakflip MX4/B&W 20K/AirLift 5000
    Other stuff: TST 507 TPMS/Victron BMV-712/Champion 3500 dual fuel gen/Garmin 780 GPS/22" Blackstone

  10. #10
    Big Traveler Wicked ace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by orbsah View Post
    A few weeks ago when getting ready to hitch up, I was pulling the cord out of the pin box (everyone coils up the cord and places it in the pinbox, right?). Apparently I wasn't careful with the plug end and somehow it touched just right on the inside of the pinbox and POP and spark! Scared the heck out of me thinking I fried something. Fortunately all was OK however it was a subtle reminder the plug is always hot when the 12V trailer battery is connected.

    Seems if one simply stuffs the cord into the pinbox and the end of the plug touches just right on the metal parts inside, it could make for a bad day.

    I'll order one of these unless someone has a better suggestion:
    https://www.amazon.com/GR-Innovation...s%2C170&sr=8-7
    A suggestion to thoroughly check the pigtail of your umbilical. That end should be electrically insulated and as such there should be no POP and spark at all. The only way to make contact should be with the pins of the male socket that it plugs into.
    That cover or a piece of duct tape is a good idea to keep dirt and dawbers out of the female end. I use a bit of dielectric grease a couple times a season to keep the connection dry and prevent corrosion but it does attract dirt.
    2018 F150 XLT 301a, Screw, 4x4, HDPP, Max tow, Andersen Ultimate w/ Curt Double Lock hitch.
    2019 Grand Design Reflection 150 series 260RD.

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