Lippert Components has announced that Forest River is adopting LCI’s Next Generation Upper Deck chassis design and Rhino Box pin box on certain 2020 fifth wheel brands, which include Sierra, Sandpiper, and Cedar Creek.
LCI’s patent-pending Next Generation Upper Deck was developed to give the fifth wheel additional floor space and to minimize the large step commonly seen in front of cabinetry or inside of walk-in closets in today’s fifth wheels. This new chassis design utilizes a much larger and more robust front beam, so the rear beam behind the pin box is no longer needed.
LCI’s chassis R&D team was able to minimize localized areas of stress and tension and create a design which distributes the stress throughout a much larger area of the pin box side plate and front tube, according to the company.
As part of this Next Generation Upper Deck development, LCI’s engineering team created a new pin box with the kingpin in the same position as it was with legacy chassis designs. Developed over the past two years, the new Rhino Box pin box utilizes high-strength low-alloy (HSLA) steel and features a load rating of 21,000 pounds (GVWR).
HSLA steels, or microalloyed steels, are designed to provide better mechanical properties as well as greater resistance to atmospheric corrosion than conventional carbon steels. The HSLA steel used in the Rhino Box is twice as strong as the commercial steel commonly used in other pin box models, making the Rhino Box pin box stronger and more durable than other competing pin boxes available on the market.
“This project brings together so many important aspects for the consumer,” said Curtis Gunter, general manager at Forest River. “The Next Generation Upper Deck on these 2020 models has allowed us to create several new and innovative floorplans which we believe will really appeal to the consumer. It’s a win-win, both for the RV industry and for the consumers.”
“The consumer demand for new and innovative fifth wheel features has been immense. Over the last two years, our R&D and engineering teams have been working hard to continue to innovate the chassis to satisfy the needs of consumers,” said Andy Murray, LCI’s chief sales officer. “We’re excited to partner with Forest River to provide RVers with this innovative concept that will allow end users much more freedom and flexibility for their towing and lifestyle needs.”
“I’m particularly proud of our Chassis R&D team. It’s always exciting to be able to bring new features to market but when you can combine that with improved performance and durability, that is an especially significant win,” said Tim Schultz, director of chassis engineering at LCI.
Both the Rhino Box and Next Generation Upper Deck have been extensively tested and exceed the performance requirements of SAE J2638-17.