Hydraulic lift system Hydraulic, mechanical and electrical components of the lift system
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Old 08-14-2018, 07:13 AM   #1
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Default Safety bar not engaging

I purchased this 1999 Hilo last year and have used it on 3 vacations so far. The safety bar has never worked. At any point I can crawl under the camper and move the bar up and down.
I never worried about it until recently. I always unplug the negative battery cable when in the up position. I noticed yesterday if I leave the battery plugged up, the camper creeps all the way down.
This got me thinking I would hate to accidently leave the negative cable connected and the camper creep down on my family overnight.
How can I replace the bar? I've looked through pages on this site and YouTube.
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Old 08-14-2018, 12:15 PM   #2
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does the bar engage when lifting past this point? Top may not raise high enough.
Bar bent so it doesn't engage?
Mine also creeps down, until it engages safety bar. So I always let mine down until it engages safety bar. If it engages s. bar it will stay, unless damaged.
It can't hurt your family but may frighten them. I have slept in mine on many occasions with the top down.

Raise top and get under trlr to observe action (keep hands away from moving parts) to see why it isn't engaging, while another person lowers trlr.
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Old 08-14-2018, 01:08 PM   #3
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Well I guess what I meant by the top coming down on the family is... After a few hours the top creeps all the way down. So if we were asleep we would wake up with the top on us.

The bar doesn't do anything. When moving the top up or down the bar just rest in the down position.

The bar does kind look bent to me. It looks like 2 sections welded together. I'll try to take a picture of it this afternoon.

Does anyone know how to remove the bar for inspection?
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Old 08-14-2018, 02:40 PM   #4
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Add this procedure to your routine maintenance.

How to fix top half creep in your Hilo Trailer
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Old 08-15-2018, 01:27 PM   #5
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RCREYES thanks for that information. I did find that through my search earlier.

So I do need to clarify some things that may help me in my current situation.

I have 2 things going on here:
1. Safety bar not engaging. Since I've had it, it has never worked.
2. Top is now creeping down, which now poses a problem if the safety bar isn't working.

Last weekend as we packed up to leave the campsite, I brought the top down as I normally would. I noticed something in the way, so I attempted to raise the top back up and it wouldn't work. It was only a few inches from being all the way down so I just went with that.
When I got home I connected battery cables (thinking the problem was the battery) and still nothing. I noticed the hydraulic fluid was low so I topped it and wiggled around both of the battery cables...then the top started raising again. I then replaced the battery terminals. The top goes up and down fine now.

So I will try the procedure to clean the hydraulic seals. That may address the creeping, although I would like to figure out how to fix the safety bar.

Update:
Went outside after work to find the manual valve on the pump was turned left. I'm feeling pretty sure this was the cause of my creeping down.

Does the safety bar lip supposed to sit behind the plate pictured and prevent the hydraulic from closing?
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Old 08-23-2018, 05:06 PM   #6
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Something is not right with that Safety Bar in that photo. It has been a number of years since I sold my Hilo, but my bar had a cut notch that engaged with a "thunk" when the top lifted to a certain point. It was a flat bar with a square notch cut in one side. Follow your safety bar release cable and see if you have something like that near where the cable connects to the bar.

The other thought is, it could be possible your cables are not properly adjusted and the top half is actually not fully raising high enough for the bar to engage. It does have to be at a certain height to work. Also follow those directions in the "How to cure top half creep" PDF posted earlier in this thread. A properly adjusted Hilo will not lower by itself. The safety bar is a backup to prevent it from lowering down on you while inside the trailer like you said. When mine was properly adjusted it never even lowered to rest on the notch on the safety bar (the notch was engaged, but the notch is actually a little wider than it needs to be).

I'm also a little curious as to why you are unplugging the negative battery terminal? Are you saying the creeping lower ONLY happens with power available? If that is the case try tapping on the electric release valve near the manual bypass knob and see if it is returning fully to the normal/off position (small electric device with thinner wires usually very close to the manual bypass knob on the side of the pump mechanism). Trash in the line may prevent the electric release hydraulic valve from fully closing and sealing, but power should not matter for that.

If you have a spade or other disconnect type fitting on either of the wires to that electric release valve, try pulling it to break the power circuit to the valve. If it was creeping down only with power on it and stops when you break that circuit, that electric valve solonoid is bad.
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Old 08-23-2018, 05:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dward51 View Post
Something is not right with that Safety Bar in that photo. It has been a number of years since I sold my Hilo, but my bar had a cut notch that engaged with a "thunk" when the top lifted to a certain point. It was a flat bar with a square notch cut in one side. Follow your safety bar release cable and see if you have something like that near where the cable connects to the bar.

The other thought is, it could be possible your cables are not properly adjusted and the top half is actually not fully raising high enough for the bar to engage. It does have to be at a certain height to work. Also follow those directions in the "How to cure top half creep" PDF posted earlier in this thread. A properly adjusted Hilo will not lower by itself. The safety bar is a backup to prevent it from lowering down on you while inside the trailer like you said. When mine was properly adjusted it never even lowered to rest on the notch on the safety bar (the notch was engaged, but the notch is actually a little wider than it needs to be).

I'm also a little curious as to why you are unplugging the negative battery terminal? Are you saying the creeping lower ONLY happens with power available? If that is the case try tapping on the electric release valve near the manual bypass knob and see if it is returning fully to the normal/off position (small electric device with thinner wires usually very close to the manual bypass knob on the side of the pump mechanism). Trash in the line may prevent the electric release hydraulic valve from fully closing and sealing, but power should not matter for that.

If you have a spade or other disconnect type fitting on either of the wires to that electric release valve, try pulling it to break the power circuit to the valve. If it was creeping down only with power on it and stops when you break that circuit, that electric valve solonoid is bad.
Hi dward51,
You may have missed my update at the bottom of the post. The creeping down has been resolved. The problem was the manual release on the side of the pump was slightly turn to the left, thus allowing the pressure to escape. The battery terminal experiment had nothing to do with it.

My problem now is the safety is not engaging. It's never engaged and this is the 1st Hilo I've ever owned, so I don't know what looks and sounds "normal".

I think it is raising all the way up as the edges seem to be aligned on the bubble seals.

I can bend the bar down and make it touch the plate at the end of the hydraulic shaft. I then tried to lower the top using the switch. It made a pop (safety bar probably just flexed) and it lowered without stopping.
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Old 08-24-2018, 11:53 AM   #8
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Follow your safety bar release cable from inside the trailer to where it connects to the safety bar. It should be near the switch for raising & lowering the top half. The point where the bar engages to lock should be very near to where that cable connects to the bar. From your photo and description, yours appears to be very different from my 1998 Towlite 24TD, but the cable should be a good guide to where the locking portion is.

I thought I had a photo of my safety bar, but I can't find it and I no longer own the trailer so I can't run out and take a photo.
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Old 08-24-2018, 06:07 PM   #9
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Here is a video of it going up and down. Notice the hydraulic plate never comes close to the safety bar.

https://youtu.be/4kPLnkyXn78
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Old 08-25-2018, 11:21 AM   #10
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From that video, to me it looks like the bar is not even touching the cylinder plate and cannot drop to lock. And your bar is very different from what I had on mine.

The flat of the bar does not even seem to be riding on the top of that plate at the end of the lift. It appears the flat and notch created by the 2nd bar welded on have no way to drop and lock on the back of the plate as their normal position is just to high. Is the bar bent up?

With the top up, can you feel to see if the "notch" created by the 2 bars is behind the plate. What I'm asking is if the bar was lower could it drop into place and lock the cylinder. Ideal situation would be the back of the plate is 1/8"-1/4" past the notch on the bar if the bar could drop into a locking position.

You may just need to bend the bar in the area to the left (in that video to the left) near where your release is to make the notch drop a little more. But check the position of the notch as compared to the cylinder plate first. I would want to see that higher bar touching the top of the plate so that the locking surface of the lower bar is fully engaged on the back of the plate.

Edit - - - - - -

Actually your earlier photo answers part of my question and makes my point (and yours as well). The bar assembly is too high and not even touching the cylinder plate at any time.



I think the bar needs to be bent so that the "notch" will actually drop (again assuming it is past the back edge of the cylinder plate).

I know from the factory one of the lift cable adjustment rod holes in my Hilo was apparently drilled wrong. Factory had moved one of them, so it's not unheard of for a hole to be a little off when drilled. May be a similar situation for your safety bar, but that would mean it has never engaged to lock the top half up since day one.

This is a photo of my adjustment rods. I have no idea why they did not use that original hole and drilled another one.

[IMG][/IMG]
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Old 08-25-2018, 11:57 AM   #11
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Ok, I dug around a little further and found some images from when I converted the original MS Word owners manual to a PDF for Hilo Corporate back in 2004. Here are their images of the safety bar without the trailer on a frame so you can see it better.

PS - you also really need to lube those part of the lift cylinder on yours, see the white grease on the photos for indications of where (also the bottom of the safety bar).







And I must also state, I guess my memory of my bar design was off. That was not the way I recalled it, but these are "official" factory photos so I throw the "old guy" card and blame it on my grey hairs.

I think your bar is too high and cannot drop into locking position as is.
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Old 08-25-2018, 03:29 PM   #12
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It may not look like it in the picture, although I just put gear grease on the parts and that shaft a couple months ago. It was a darker color grease.

On the picture i circled, is that the portion thats supposed to drop behind the plate? If so I did bend the safety bar down a couple weeks ago to make it contact. It just popped back up when it got a load on it.

Update:
2nd picture shows the end of the bar Is that supposed to be straight?
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Old 08-25-2018, 07:39 PM   #13
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I have a 2002 24'. Your safety bar looks exactly like mine. (2 pieces of different thickness flat metal welded together.) However, the thicker bar is suppose to slide across the top of the cylinder plate as the top is being raised, until the plate is past the point where the two flat portions of the safety bar join. The safety bar should be unrestrained by the cable and just drop down behind the cylinder plate. The cable to disengage the safety bar may be too short for some reason. I don't think you should be bending the safety bar to make it work since that may weaken the weld. Perhaps lengthen the release cable or otherwise figure out why the cable is not allowing the safety bar to bottom out behind the cylinder plate. Good luck.
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Old 08-25-2018, 07:44 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beach Papa View Post
I have a 2002 24'. Your safety bar looks exactly like mine. (2 pieces of different thickness flat metal welded together.) However, the thicker bar is suppose to slide across the top of the cylinder plate as the top is being raised, until the plate is past the point where the two flat portions of the safety bar join. The safety bar should be unrestrained by the cable and just drop down behind the cylinder plate. The cable to disengage the safety bar may be too short for some reason. I don't think you should be bending the safety bar to make it work since that may weaken the weld. Perhaps lengthen the release cable or otherwise figure out why the cable is not allowing the safety bar to bottom out behind the cylinder plate. Good luck.
When you state your "safety bar looks like mine" does it also have a bend in it like pictured?

I'm pretty sure my cable isn't restraining the bar from dropping.

Does anyone know how to remove the safety bar?
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Old 08-25-2018, 08:38 PM   #15
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Hi Taterbug; My safety bar setup is like yours. NO you should not have that bend in your bar. That bend is holding your bar too high for it to work as designed. How it got bent is anyones guess. I got under my HiLo yesterday to refresh my aging brain on what it should look like. On my HiLo both ends of the bar float freely, on the end with the release cable it floats in a welded bracket and the other end over the Hyd cylinder it floats in a square tube. When the top is down both ends rest on the bottom of the bracket and square tube. The back half of bar over the Hyd cylinder has a slight curvature to it so that as you raise the top the bar is resting on the top of that end plate which is bolted or welded to the end of the Hyd ram. As that plate moves forward that curvature causes the safety bar to raise upward aprox 3/4 of an inch. When the top is all the way up and that plate passes the welded joint on the safety bar, the safety bar drops into place behind the plate. You need to straighten that bend. I have never had to remove mine but have read on the forum that it is a job. Another member may help you there. Hope I have not confused you. I also sent you a private message.
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Old 08-25-2018, 10:47 PM   #16
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Taterbug:

Check this thread out, I think it may be what Jim L is referring to....

How to remove and replace the hydraulic lift cylinder.

Oh a trick on searching this forum (or anything else).

In your browser's search window, type the topic of interest......i.e. "replacing safety bar" followed by this "site:.www.hilotrailerforum.com", and hit Enter. This puts the search function back on Google, not through the forum search function.....which leaves something to be desired. So, here it is in its entirety:

replacing safety bar site:.www.hiloforum.com

Copy and paste that in the top search bar on your page and be ready for a new search experience. Let me know if that is clear as mud and I'll try to be more clear.

Good luck
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Old 08-28-2018, 12:52 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by piperjim View Post
Taterbug:

Check this thread out, I think it may be what Jim L is referring to....

How to remove and replace the hydraulic lift cylinder.

Oh a trick on searching this forum (or anything else).

In your browser's search window, type the topic of interest......i.e. "replacing safety bar" followed by this "site:.www.hilotrailerforum.com", and hit Enter. This puts the search function back on Google, not through the forum search function.....which leaves something to be desired. So, here it is in its entirety:

replacing safety bar site:.hiloforum.com - Registered at Namecheap.com

Copy and paste that in the top search bar on your page and be ready for a new search experience. Let me know if that is clear as mud and I'll try to be more clear.

Good luck
Hmmm thanks for the suggestion, although when I try that I get

Your search - replacing safety bar site:.hiloforum.com - Registered at Namecheap.com - did not match any documents.

Suggestions:

Make sure all words are spelled correctly.
Try different keywords.
Try more general keywords.
Try fewer keywords.
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Old 08-28-2018, 01:11 PM   #18
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It's a "sticky" under hydraulic lift system on the forums first page.
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Old 06-26-2019, 07:43 AM   #19
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So I got the bar out last night. I was thinking of trying to straigthen out the bend on the right. Although once I do that I won't be able to get it back in the grooves in the camper (because it will be longer in linear length) So I was thinking I would cut the left side, put a small plate on it and bolt it down. I assume the left side doesn't see force and is just to reach the required length to locate in the channel. Once I make it adjustable... I can slide it in the channel as 2 pieces, then move out and bolt together.
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Old 07-05-2019, 04:42 PM   #20
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So at this point it seems like I'm chatting to myself... Lol. although I wanted to update this incase someone else stumbles across this with the same problem.
What I ended up doing was cutting the bar on the left (one of the section that doesn't see force). Once it was out I was able to bend the other section (the other section to the right) that also doesn't see force. It appears both these sections only purpose is to keep the safety bar in channels.

I then made a small plate and drilled holes for a couple SHCS. Once the bar was back in the channel I put the plate back on and screwed them together.

The other ways suggested with removing the cylinder may have been just as easy for some, although that seemed scary to me... Lol.
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