New Member Intros Say Hello! Tell us a little about yourself and your camper; we're fairly friendly :)
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Old 06-14-2018, 09:39 AM   #1
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Default First trip with my hi-lo

Hello all. I just signed up because I bought a 2008 hi-lo a few months ago. I finally got around to using it on a semi-local camping trip (only about 60 miles from home). I was so proud pulling into the camp ground. Even the state park ranger asked “how do you like your hi-lo”, I said “I’ll let you know, this is my first trip”. I was the last to arrive. All my family gathered around as I parked and leveled it. The moment of truth -time to see the magic of the hi-lo. I hit the button and heard a “pop” so I stopped, looked around and thought “maybe it’s normal”. I pushed the button again and heard it again.... one corner was not going up. I had a busted pully and broken cable on my FIRST trip. With the help of some hydraulic jacks and family-3 hrs later the hi-lo was up. Pretty embarrassing as my smart alic brother in law says “I’ll stick to my Casita”.
I own a body shop so I can fix it but I must say it was quite a disappointing first outing. I just wonder how common is it for the nylon pulleys to break on these campers? I really don’t want to experience that again.
The camper is very clean and doesn’t appear to have been used much. Evidently the pully had been broken for awhile and no one knew it. The cable was riding in the bolt and rubbing through. I had no idea. I am much more familiar with how the cable system works now but am wondering if I should invest in all new cables and pulleys. Also wondering “what’s next- hydraulic cylinder failure? Electrical system?...” I’m a little nervous. Is this an unusual occurrence?
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Old 06-14-2018, 10:27 AM   #2
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Frankie:

Sorry about your first trip problem, but welcome to the group.

Others smarter than myself will chime in, but just to start off I'm on my 2nd Hi-Lo and have never had a problem with the pulleys and cables. I have had electrical issues and have rigged up a set of battery cables (these are about 12" long and were made for something like a lawnmower) that hang out of the battery box so I can "jump" off my lift motor if I end up with a dead battery (and that's not an uncommon problem, especially for new owners). I also carry a trickle charger that I plug in when I get to the campsite so I can keep the battery topped off, especially if I'm out for several nights.

On this forum, we see people with problems with cables, pulleys and guides on a fairly regular basis, but as I said, I'm on my second Hi-Lo and have never had an issue (except dead battery). Just recently someone had a new-to-them Hi-Lo and had been told by the seller that everything worked perfectly. When he got home, one end wouldn't lift. Next thing you know, that Hi-Lo was repaired but the owner had lost confidence in the brand and it was For Sale.

It seems that folks sometimes buy a Hi-Lo without understanding how the lift mechanism works, and without even asking the seller to "let's raise 'er up". Some unscrupulous sellers will say, "Oh heck, the battery's dead and we haven't had it up in a couple of years. But, everything worked perfect last time we used it." Unfortunately, we hear about these problems after-the-fact. And, I understand. Folks, including myself, get all excited about the novelty of a Hi-Lo and just go get one without a little up-front education and a thorough pre-purchase inspection.

But, to your question. Like a lot in life, preventive maintenance will go a long way to avoiding problems. Many experienced Hi-Lo owners will lube the cables twice a year. You'll find everything recommended, from WD-40 to Jet-Lube wire cable lube to sewing machine oil. I'm guessing that the product doesn't matter so much as the regularity. Lube those cables with the top in the raised position. Inside the RV, you can remove the little plate over each cable. Get that lube on there and let it run down the cable slowly until you see a few drops hitting the ground. Crawl underneath and lube all the cables & pulleys you can get to. Then let the top down and crawl underneath and lube everything again. Lube the hydraulic cylinder rod. Lube the guides on the RV exterior. I have a non-sticking teflon spray that I use for those.

You'll read on here about folks having to replace the cables. That is not a job for the faint of heart, just from what I have read, so I will continue to lube everything regularly and hope for the best, and know that there are a lot of experienced and friendly folks here on this forum to help out if needed.

Other areas you mention, hydraulic cylinder and electrical are occasional problems. In my experience, the hydraulic system is pretty much bulletproof, but don't be afraid to maintain it like it needs. I changed hydraulic fluid after buying my current Hi-Lo. I didn't get real fancy, just used a turkey baster to empty the reservoir as much as I could and refilled with fresh fluid.

If you haven't found the great series of operational videos, look on YouTube for a series that a very knowledgeable Hi-Lo owner put together. Here's the first one.....you can link to the rest from here:



Once you get that lift system repaired, give it some TLC and you will get a lot of trouble-free miles. Any problem I've had has almost always been due to my own ignorance! Like most things in life, we learn as we go along.

This forum is a great resource and folks are very friendly and helpful.

Welcome again!
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Old 06-17-2018, 09:09 PM   #3
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Default Welcome to the forum

Piper jam has given you some good advice on preventive maintenance. This document explains how to replace your cables. I would replace all of them in one session. 3-3-2010. Cable replacement in my 1998 HiLo 24TD. Keep us posted. We are hear to cheer you on and give you advice. Sorry your first maiden voyage was with problems. It is all repairable.
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Old 06-17-2018, 09:29 PM   #4
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Default Cable replacement

Thanks for the encouragement. I really love the “idea” of the Hi-lo and I am not ready to give up on it. I have the new cable and a couple of new pulleys. The other cables appear to be in good shape. Even the broken one looks ok except of course where it is broken. The reason the cable broke was due to a broken pully so the cable was riding on the bolt itself and just eventually rubbed in two. I will keep an eye on the rest of the pulleys. I have not found and instructions on replacing the cables but it seems pretty straightforward. I actually thought of making a “how to” video myself to help others facing a broken cable. I have been repairing cars for 40 years so it seems pretty uncomplicated. I will be taking it on another trip in a couple of weeks and I’m hoping for a much better experience. I will update.
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Old 06-18-2018, 09:02 AM   #5
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Best to find the correct procedure for cable change or call J & R for the measurement. Over the years, those cables have stretched and if you remove the old and make the new the same size it ends up being tooooo looong, and maybe un-ajustable. I remember the new adjustment bolt when 1st installed, is only showing about 10 threads. This allows the shortening of the cable. You don't want to swedge the loop only for it to be to long and if you cut that one off, then it will be too short. I'm pretty sure J & R can help with those lengths. You'll need to tell them year, model and which cable it is. Research! (my 2 cents)
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Old 06-18-2018, 09:41 AM   #6
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Default No instructions?

I did ask J&R and they are very friendly but do not have that data. I bought the cable from them and asked why they don’t just sent the correct, ready to install cable. I was told 2 reasons: (1) They don’t have that information (which I don’t understand since they work on them) and (2) the cable wouldn’t fit through the pulleys with the end already sweged on. They told me they don’t provide written instructions because they make their living fixing them and would rather have people pay them to do it instead of doing it themselves. Most people won’t drag their camper to Ohio to have them replaced anyway IMO.
I’m not planning on making the new one the same length as the existing one. I’m going to install the new one leaving just a couple of threads on the adjustment end, pull it as tight as I can, mark it, and swege it. I can not find ANY directions on this forum or anywhere else so I’m just having to guess at the best proceedure. But I’m sure I can fit it out.
BUT.. if anyone has a link to some instructions I would appreciate it.
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Old 06-18-2018, 10:14 AM   #7
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We changed all four cables on a neglected 22' unit just for peace of mind, a couple of years ago and the owner brought them with him to my shop (when I had one) and J & R had given him the info then. But, I guess not now, Shame. J & R said they (and we) had no idea how many times the top had been raised nor if the top sat in the up position without the safety bar in place. In other words, how stretched the cables were. So their lengths were estimates, but for us they worked out great. I just don't remember, and they probably wouldn't apply to your unit. Please let us know what you find to be proper. I've also searched this forum to no avail for those numbers. Best of luck.
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Old 06-18-2018, 12:42 PM   #8
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Frankie:

See if this link helps:

Cable replacement and adjustment

You should see a link to a document re: cable replacement/adjustment.

Good luck. A video or photos of your cable replacement would add to our knowledge pool, too.
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Old Yesterday, 05:27 PM   #9
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Treeclimber, so when trailer setup is finished, is the top suppose to rest on the safety bar?
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2007 Silverado C-1500 LT, regular cab, standard box, 5.3L flex fuel, 3.73 GR, 13k lbs GCWR
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Old Yesterday, 06:07 PM   #10
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seseeley, That is the SAFETY in safety bar. This may sound strange, but it's an eyeopener if you lay under your trailer mid section and have another person raise and lower the trailer. Keep your hands on the ground and wear eye protection (falling dirt). The bar actually has a block welded on it above the master plate (the master plate is threaded on the end of the hydraulic piston). When the top is fully raised (piston fully extended) the safety bar drops an inch or so and that welded block falls behind the master plate, preventing retraction.
Good question. That bar is a forgotten necessity, it should be dead on straight.
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