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  #51  
Old 05-17-2011, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by sting32 View Post
I hate to start scaring people, but the lift catch only prevents the Hydraulic system failure, if all 4 cables broke at once, the top will fall down to folded position immediately.
So the catch is for hydraulic only? Is that enough?

So - do you block it when you're camping? Or do you trust your cables enough?

I'm thinking that maybe I should just replace them, for the peace of mind if nothing else.

I did make the adjustments in small increments, and ran it up and down a few times in the process (maybe 8 - 10 times)...but I anticipate it will still need to shake itself out in the next few raisings/lowerings.

Also - regarding the adjustment - after I'd made my adjustments, I noticed that it took a bit longer to hear the safety bar "latch". Part of that I'm attributing to my hydraulic pump being low on fluid - but perhaps part of it is the top going too far up. According to my meager assessment, it's not going quite far enough up just yet, but it's really, really close.
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  #52  
Old 05-17-2011, 12:17 PM
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When I had my 17ft unit at Stahmann RV in New Braunfels a couple of weeks ago, they told me to raise my unit all the way up (little after you hear the safety bar catch) and then back it down onto the safety bar to take weight off the cables. Have any of you ever heard that recommendation? Made me think that the safety bar is holding the weight of the top.
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  #53  
Old 05-17-2011, 12:19 PM
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Great question, MEBradley. I'm wondering the same thing...

If that's the case, then to block the top while camping would be unnecessary overkill, right?
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  #54  
Old 05-17-2011, 12:19 PM
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Hi cptmoney
If you are sure that your cables are good for their entire lengths check the cable pulleys to make sure none are broken. These cables may have been replaced before, made up locally and the lengths were not correct. If these are hi-lo cables the stretch on the rear cables looks excessive. If the cables and pulleys are ok and the top close to level, its ok to saw the two adjustment bolts shorter. Check under the top bottom rails at the attachment points for the cables for any damage. Other ways to shorten the two rear cables is to cut the cables and replace the eyelets at the attachment point to the top. You could cut the cables and do a lap splice with swagged sleeves ONLY if there is enough free travel in the cable splice that the sleeves would not catch on a pulley or any other part of the trailer structure. This may work on some model trailers but not others. Another way to maybe take up some length, look at the pulley brackets on the rear cables and see if there is room to replace the pulleys with a larger diameter pulley. Pulleys can be found in unlimited diameters. If you decide to shorten the cables do not cut off the adjustment bolts. If you are not comfortable with doing any of the above, get a new set of cables from JR's. Their prices are reasonable. I am a aircraft mechanic and also worked in the skiing industry in lift maintenance so have knowledge in this area. Hope this helps.
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  #55  
Old 05-17-2011, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by MEBradley View Post
When I had my 17ft unit at Stahmann RV in New Braunfels a couple of weeks ago, they told me to raise my unit all the way up (little after you hear the safety bar catch) and then back it down onto the safety bar to take weight off the cables. Have any of you ever heard that recommendation? Made me think that the safety bar is holding the weight of the top.
They are wrong. When you back down onto the safety bar you take the weight off of the hydraulics not the cables.
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  #56  
Old 05-17-2011, 01:04 PM
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Getting new cables might not help, Hi-Lo did not keep records of the cable lengths. On older trailers JR Repair will ask you to measure the old cable as best you can, then they will supply a cable based on your measurement.
You could measure the one you have and tell them you want the new one 2 or 3 inches shorter.
The ones you have are fine, they are made with about 5 inches adjustment for variations.
You would only need new ones if there is no other problems that can't be fixed and you can't get the top up high enough for the seal to touch.

Last edited by PopRichie77; 05-17-2011 at 01:06 PM.
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  #57  
Old 05-17-2011, 02:27 PM
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I've inspected my cables from underneath; as far as I can see they're in really good condition. So are my pulleys.

I will try and take a few pics of them this evening and post them here. Would love to know what you all think of them.

On my '94, there seems to be a combination of steel pulleys on the sides, and plastic pulleys underneath, if I recall correctly. I need to confirm that to be 100% sure.
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  #58  
Old 05-17-2011, 03:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cptmoney View Post
So the catch is for hydraulic only? Is that enough?

So - do you block it when you're camping? Or do you trust your cables enough?

I'm thinking that maybe I should just replace them, for the peace of mind if nothing else.

I did make the adjustments in small increments, and ran it up and down a few times in the process (maybe 8 - 10 times)...but I anticipate it will still need to shake itself out in the next few raisings/lowerings.

Also - regarding the adjustment - after I'd made my adjustments, I noticed that it took a bit longer to hear the safety bar "latch". Part of that I'm attributing to my hydraulic pump being low on fluid - but perhaps part of it is the top going too far up. According to my meager assessment, it's not going quite far enough up just yet, but it's really, really close.
There are detailed instructions in how to area on how to adjust the cables. please note, the battery (I know MINE does) really gets used hard each time I go up. Like I have said, 30 foot long, 5th wheel. so even my brand new battery (just this past week) will run mine up and down about 4 (for this discussion sake maybe more times) before battery is dead. So, each time UP is slower than previous time, even if trickle charging while plugged in.

so, time it takes to take the cables to pull all 4 corners (about 14" inches of hydraulic cylinder travel on mine) changes anytime the battery hasnt had time to be fully recharged and ready to go up... BUT if your top is up before the catch is catching, you MIGHT HAVE adjusted the wrong cables, possibly. maybe the high side was too high, instead of the low side being too low and now your seals are hitting harder and pulling harder on the cables to reach the safety latch?

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Originally Posted by cptmoney View Post
Great question, MEBradley. I'm wondering the same thing...

If that's the case, then to block the top while camping would be unnecessary overkill, right?
you know the difference between a salesman and a politician? the politician knows damn well that he is lying to you. the salesman (unless educated hilo's about the lift process & parts) has no clue. the "safety catch is to keep the hydraulic system from slowly letting itself down, as most hydraulic systems do. this is why you dont work on a car without jack stands, at least 50% of why, the other is of course in case you knock car off jack.

FWIW: This is no different than a popup tent trailer, except my tent trailer used a hand cranking winch to pull on a block, with all 4 cables attached to it tight, where as Hilo uses a hydraulic cylinder to move a plate that moves the cables.

At any rate, there is/are 2 possible failures present at all times even on a popup, without the safety latch. One is hydraulic cylinder getting a leak, popping a line, or in the popup: the singe cable to winch breaks, & whole top comes down, or any one of the 4 cables on the plate that the winch pulled on, failes, meaning usually a corner might drop a little bit.

My coleman even has a safety like the hilo does, when you winched top all the way up, the plate with 4 cables caught just like our bar does at the hydraulic cylinder. you had to pull a lever to start lowering the top with the same winch.

Look under there while you are looking at the cables, you will see the rod that the little loop of cable lifts on when lowering, which hooks the cylinder's big plate with the pullys on it, when fully extended... It is on TOP above the cylinder. again, It ONLY takes pressure off the pump/cylinder, because Hydraulics, they "WILL" settle over time, they just do, more so when using a powered pump. Even well built "good" bottle jacks will settle in a day (camping is usually more than a day).

this means that the cables are holding everything when unit's roof is anything but all the way down at rest on the little supports.

that is reason #1 to check these cables (maintenance). I believe it is reason #1 to not store with the roof up without support. WHen I camp, I can put the same boards in to hold it up, I dont. I trust stuff, especially that I know the following:
*** Everything mechanical has a finite number of hours, or uses before it fails. So, you subtract hours each and every hour the top is held up with cables. there might be a thousands of hours by average of over thousands of our cables, assuming they are prisitinely maintained, but there is NOT an exception, at some point in time/life cycles! --> they will fail

So I LIKE TO SAVE UP all my hours until failure in a little mythical "bag", by using supports when stored at home. It is that simple but of truth & logic, is why I do it. why waste the cable's usefull life while storing my camper, where I want it up so I dont have to run batter down raising it up and down each time I need to get in it.
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Last edited by sting32; 05-17-2011 at 03:45 PM. Reason: punctuation, I got low grades in english class, now it haunts me... sorry Mr. Pierce...
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  #59  
Old 05-17-2011, 07:08 PM
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Hey Sting32 -

I've seen the safety latch, and you're right: it's holding the plate after it (the plate) has been pushed all the way out.

Makes sense that a broken cable would still allow the roof to drop. It's actually much different that I had envisioned in my mind. Initially, I had a "fishhook barb" kinda mental image, catching some sort of internal pole on each corner. That would be a true "keep the roof from crashing down" sort of safety latch. However, the way it's set up on my Funlite is more for catching/stopping the hydraulic "fade" that's bound to happen over time. You're exactly right.

I'm fairly confident that I've adjusted the cables correctly; I tried to follow the instructions in my manual closely. One thing I figured out is that the support 4X4s that I cut are now too short; I cut them while the trailer was at it's initial "too low" height, and now that I've drawn up the top, I'd like to have supports that are about 2" or 3" taller. That would make supporting it at it's true "top" position much easier. Didn't know that when I cut them, tho - so I've got that in my "learned something new today" bag.

Also, your comment on the battery really rings true with my camper. Even though my battery is just a few days old, it's not a deep cycle battery, and I've used it now to raise/lower the unit approximately 10-15 times, all without much of a recharge other than what it may have received while towing. It's not plugged in at the house, and probably should be to allow the battery to juice up. I'll bet that will really change how she lifts the top.

Great stuff - thanks for the ideas! I'm soaking it all up -
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  #60  
Old 05-18-2011, 08:03 AM
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Default safety catch on raising

Want to be clear that Stahmann RV maintenance didn't TELL ME that the weight of the top would be on the safety "BAR" when you back it down a bit to a stop position after raising. I cannot remember exactly what he said except he said it was a good idea to save on something. Don't want to give the idea they don't know what they are talking about, when in reality, it's me who doesn't listen well.
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