Fontaine says to beware of bogus parts
Jun 1, 2008 12:00 PM
Fontaine International has issued an advisory to warn customers about potential hazards from using non-genuine components, specifically the movable locking jaw and wedge, on its Fontaine No-Slack line of fifthwheels.
Multiple fleets have reported failures of non-genuine replacement parts installed in Fontaine No-Slack fifthwheels, resulting in dropped trailers. All of the failures were caused by the non-genuine part's locking wedge stud falling out.
While the Genuine Fontaine locking wedge and stud are forged as a single piece, studs on the failed non-genuine parts were just glued in. (See photos.) Tests performed by an independent laboratory found that the aftermarket parts were also 25 percent softer than genuine Fontaine parts, resulting in premature wear.
The cost difference between the genuine Fontaine kit (part number KIT-RPR-6000L) and the non-genuine version is about $20.
Fontaine advises that in addition to creating a potentially dangerous situation, using non-genuine components on its fifthwheels voids the manufacturer's warranty, transferring all liability to the component seller and end-user. The non-genuine locking jaw and wedge kits that caused the dropped trailers were imported from China and sold by a number of companies.
Genuine Fontaine No-Slack parts are easily identified. They have “Fontaine” and the model number forged into the jaw and wedge. They are sold in small brown boxes imprinted “Genuine Fontaine Parts.”
The “Fontaine No-Slack Non-Genuine Parts Advisory” is posted on www.fifthwheel.com, or call (800) 874-9780.
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