Hydraulic lift system Hydraulic, mechanical and electrical components of the lift system
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Old 05-16-2018, 06:22 PM   #1
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Default Lift mechanism adjustment question - 2307C

Posted this in the general repairs forum, then realized it should probably be here.......

Just back from our second short trip (windy and cold at the coast) - second night in, we realized that most of the drafts we were getting inside were caused by the door side of the top not lifting far enough for the bulb seals on that side to meet the top rail on the body. Street side lifts about a half inch higher and seals fine, so it appears that only the door side of the top needs to be adjusted up.

Question is, with the top up, can I put a pair of hydraulic jacks on the front and rear side supports, carefully lift that side of the top to the proper position front and rear and adjust the slack out of the lifting cables, or are the side supports not strong enough to take that load?
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Old 05-16-2018, 11:55 PM   #2
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I THINK you are asking if you could jack the top up with your hydraulic jacks sitting on the the front and rear "outriggers" (the steel supports the top rests on when it's down for travel)?

If so, since they support the top's weight when the top is down. I don't see why you couldn't do this. I will say though, you'll still find quite a bit of tension in those cables when that side is raised the extra half inch. They will probably NOT be "slack".

I've cut 4 2x4s to exact identical lengths and if I need to adjust my cables, I raise the top, place the 2x4s on the outriggers and tape them to the lower half with duct tape so they don't fall off, then lower the top till it fully rests on them (removing ALL tension in the cables). This makes the top level too, since the outriggers are at the same height on the lower frame. The 2x4s are about 4" shorter than the fully raised distance of the top.

If I had to raise the curb side 1/2", I'd then turn the appropriate adjustment screws out that 1/2", which would shorten those cables by that much.

- Jack
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Old 05-17-2018, 04:43 PM   #3
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Hadn't thought of it in those terms, but makes sense that there'd still be tension on the cables with that short an increase in lift.

I need to make a Lowes/Home Depot run anyhow, so I'll pick up a couple of studs, cut support pieces and proceed with your suggested adjustment procedure.

Thanks very much - appreciate the suggestion.
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Old 05-18-2018, 04:39 PM   #4
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Update:

Prior to starting cable adjustments, I took another look at the area and discovered that the guide block next to the door (on the rear side) was off its guide track - fixed that first, which (obviously) pulled the top in closer to the lower section's wall.

From there, proceeded to the cable adjustment - rather than go to the trouble of cutting 2x4's and bracing the top in the up position, I dropped the top all the way down and started taking up on the adjusting studs a bit at a time, running the top up every time I took up another 1/8 - 1/4 inch on the adjustment.

With the front cable adjustment taken up about 3/8" and and the rear about 1/2", the door side inner surface rails adjacent to the cable's mounting points are almost flush; at the forward side of the door, there's a vertical gap of about 1/2 inch and the bulb seal barely touches the upper sealing rail; on the rear side of the door the vertical gap is at least 3/4 inch and the bulb seal is at least 3/8" below the sealing rail.

With the adjustment in this position, a port-a-power hydraulic ram placed between the ground and a 4x4 block placed under the top's bottom edge will lift the top just aft of the door up to where the bulb seal contacts the rail (without making much change in the orientation of the rest of the top to the inner decorative rail) but I'm hesitant to attempt to force the top to lift any further with the cables - the remaining gap between the bulb seal and the sealing rail is small enough that a 2-3' strip of self-adhesive foam sealing material just below the sealing rail should stop the drafts.

My first thought was that perhaps the top has sagged a bit across the door opening (although the woman we bought the trailer from took good care of it - as evidenced by the excellent cosmetic and mechanical condition - she was on the road in it for at least 6 months a year over a 4 year period) but the gaps between the door and door frame are consistent, which they shouldn't be if the opening was spread open from sagging.

In the course of doing the adjustments, I also looked at the cables and their mounting points on the top's bottom rails - the lifting cable forward of the door has distorted the lower inner edge of the top's bottom rail significantly, to the degree that I'm wondering if fabricating a replacement reinforcement block from a longer, thicker piece of aluminum 90 degree bar stock might be advisable.
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Old 05-19-2018, 08:59 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldcarguy View Post
...<snip>...
In the course of doing the adjustments, I also looked at the cables and their mounting points on the top's bottom rails - the lifting cable forward of the door has distorted the lower inner edge of the top's bottom rail significantly, to the degree that I'm wondering if fabricating a replacement reinforcement block from a longer, thicker piece of aluminum 90 degree bar stock might be advisable.
I had the exact same problem in my trailer sir. I'm pretty sure it was caused by me trying to raise the top too much there causing the cable to "cut into" that section of the the top when it was stopped by the bulb seal at that point.

I did precisely what you are suggesting. After straightening the original little 90 degree metal piece that was there, and filling the wood "dent" underneath with epoxy, I cut an additional, longer and wider 90 degree plate that I installed under the OEM reinforcement. Painted everything white and you can hardly see the repair. It has held up well and has no distortion.

I posted a picture of this in another thread about 8-10 years ago, which you may be able to find if you search for it.

- Jack
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Old 05-20-2018, 12:20 AM   #6
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Thanks for that input - somewhere along the line this summer I'll go ahead and reinforce that area and readjust the cable on that corner accordingly.

Before taking the trailer back to storage today, I dropped the top part way and installed a strip of self-adhesive weatherstrip (MD Auto & Marine Rubber Weatherseal, 5/16 x 19/32" - about $7.50 @ Lowes) immediately below the sealing rail in the area aft of the side door - now when the top is up, the bulb seal contacts that strip of weatherstrip, so that should largely eliminate the drafts.

Also took some careful measurements across the upper door opening, and found that it does appear that the side as sagged a bit in that area, as the opening is about 1/4" wider at the bottom than it is at the top - that would account for at least some of the misalignment between the bulb seal and the sealing rail. If it's ever necessary to have any repair work done on the frame, I may have a 3rd outrigger support added just aft of the door to eliminate any flexing and sagging across the door opening in the top.
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Old 06-21-2018, 03:30 PM   #7
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Default Bulb Seal vs. side rails and interior trim

I understand when aligning how the bulb seal is supposed to line up, but I am curious if one can also use the tracks on the sides or, more interested to know if the wood trim on the inside of top and bottom will line up at full extension... Mine seems to have a long way to go, but I have no real baseline because all the cables were totally slack...
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Old 07-12-2018, 08:23 PM   #8
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oldcarguy, check my fix for the sag at the door. It is a weak point for sure being so narrow.
I had to have the wall out anyway, so this made my fix easier.

thread of my saggy door fix
I put in a 5 inch flat steel plate, about 5-6 feet long, over the door and pre-loaded the wall, bending it up slightly, and bolted the plate in. This helped enough that the dead bolt would work again. I had a lot of rust on the HILO steel frame, so there was not a lot to work with.

The HILO wall is mostly strong from the siding glued to the foam glued to the interior wall siding. It is like a surf board. The steel framing adds a little, but at the top of the door there is just not enough strength to last the years.

I found a pic, and uploaded it to the thread, where a guy bolted a steel plate on the outside, presumably for the same fix. I am not sure if he bolted it to the actual steel frame or just into the siding. He never answered my email (craigslist).

good luck
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Old 07-12-2018, 08:38 PM   #9
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DenaliDon, There probably should not be a lot of slack when lowered. More important is where the top is when raised.
The hydraulic pump should move 1 inch for every 2 inches it moves the top.
If you tighten the cable at the frame 1 inch, then that will result in 2 more inches when lifted. BUT keep in mind the slack, so this formula is not perfect.

There should be two nuts on the end of the cable that protrudes on the outside of the frame, inbetween the tires, you can see from standing next to the camper.

Loosen the two nuts from each other.

If there is slack you should be able to pull the cable more away from the frame and just turn the inside nut by hand. Clockwise will tighten the tension.
If necessary, use a small (maybe 7mm) wrench to hold the cable on the inside of the frame as the nut and bolt might be dirty and hard to turn.

If there is not slack, then hold the cable with the small wrench and turn the nut with another.

Crawl under and trace where the cables go so you tighten the corner you want.
On mine (4 cables) it is routed like this:
top left bolt end is front right of camper.
top right is rear right of camper.
bottom left is front left of camper.
bottom right is rear left of camper.

So, left cables go to front, right cables go to back.
top cables go to right, bottom cables go to left.

Yours could be different, but probably not.

The outer (top) shell should be a little lower than the inner (lower) shell. There should be 1-1.5 inch drop from inside ledge to the outside ledge.
More importantly, the bulb should just touch the trim on the top outer edge of the lower shell. You can see this at the door when door is open.

Adjust incrementally. Raising it too high could cause damage, so when raising watch at the door looking at both halves from inside the door frame area and stop before the roof raises too high.

Cables will stretch a little over time, but these are way over-rated for the load they are lifting, so there should be minimal stretch.

Check the cable for any damage, like broken strands, or rust while you are poking around.
Grease or oil the cable everywhere also, this will prolong life.
Clean then Grease the pole that the hydraulic ram slides on.
Grease anything else you think might need it.
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Old 07-17-2018, 08:07 PM   #10
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In the process of adjusting the top myself. I really appreciate the clear insights and facts. At one time I was intimidated about tackling this task. But I found that thinking this through it is actually very doable. Now for the frustration....
I have a dang nut that is frozen. Just one lousy nut! Soaking it currently in pb-blaster. Hope it will bust loose tomorrow.
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