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Old 06-05-2010, 05:58 PM   #1
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Default What keeps it up?

Hi All,

Ive had several popup campers, but am starting to think about a Hilo. Just seems like it should be easier to set up that a regular popup. I have read that if one of the cables break, the top would come crashing down, possibly on anyones head that was inside? Is this true? Really doesn't sound right, thought I'd ask those who might know.

Thanks

Dennis
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Old 06-05-2010, 07:34 PM   #2
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I have never heard any stories about any Hi-Lo tops that came crashing down on anyone, but it may have happened. With proper maintenance that shouldn't be anything to worry about. I know of two that have come crashing down due to leaving them set up during the winter with ice and snow buildup on them, but even then not all of the cables broke, the top dropped down on one corner only. If you properly inspect and lube the cable lift system it should be good for many years. Additionally, there is a safety catch that holds the top up if the hydraulics fail.

Just go buy a Hi-Lo and enjoy.

If you can push and hold a button down for about twelve seconds you can set it up. It's that simple.
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Old 06-05-2010, 09:12 PM   #3
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That makes more sense! It seems unlikely that all the cables would fail at once & I kinda figured there must be a safety mech in there somewhere. I've had several Apache popups and they got to be too much assembling/disassembling. Seems like the Hilo's are a bit heavy though. Maybe I should look for an early shorter one, say maybe around 15 foot? The thought of pushing a button to set up and tear down is quite appealing. What seals the upper and lower units? With a practical tow limit of 1500 pounds with my transport, I imagine I'll need to look at something else as a tow vehicle?

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Dennis
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Old 06-05-2010, 11:42 PM   #4
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Hi Dennis,
Anything is possible when it involves gravity. However, based on 43 years of personal experience with Hi-Lo trailers, I believe the likelyhood of all four lift cables failing simultaneously is incalculably small. The lift system, essentially unchanged over the decades, has more than proven itself to be well designed, and extremely reliable. Fear not!

About a seal between the upper and lower halves, there is a soft "gasket," that fills the gap and forms a weather seal. Eventually that gasket will deteriorate and will have to be replaced if you want to keep out drafts and bugs. The gasket in my 1969 19 footer lasted over 30 years. Hah, took me another six years to get it back to Butler (OH), to the old factory, for a repair. I continued using the trailer during that time, so its not a necessity. Jim
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Old 06-06-2010, 06:26 AM   #5
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Thanks for the emotional reassurance. Now that I am convinced that the roof won't fall on my grandson's head, LoL. I might take a look at a 65 in my area. I wouldn't mind a bit of restoration as a winter project. Is the roof strong enough to support anything like an air conditioner? I appreciate all the help, great site by the way

Dennis
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Old 06-06-2010, 08:03 AM   #6
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Default What keeps it up

Yes the roof is very strong. On the roof of my HiLo I have a 13000 btu a/c, A self seaking satalite disk, crank up tv antna and a solar panel. A friend has installed a rack system to carry a boat on his, with all of the above also. I have also seen a picture made by the HiLo Co. that showed a suv placed on the roof of a HiLo with a crain.
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Old 06-06-2010, 10:28 AM   #7
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If it was me looking for a used Hi-Lo I would be looking for a later model year for two reasons. First, look for a model that has the aluminum internal frame rather than the wood frame. That will eliminate the chances of soft sides due to wood rot. Second, avoid getting a trailer with a rubber roof, go for the metal roof. Sam will have to supply the information as to when the frames went to aluminum, and what years had the rubber roof. It wasn't that many years ago, say ten or twelve.
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Old 06-06-2010, 08:38 PM   #8
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Default What keeps it up

The Hilo never had wood frames they were steal until about 2005 then they went to alum. The first with wood frames were Towlites they were wood until about 2003 then they went to the alum. The Hilo's have used metal roof's with the exception of mid 90's to early 2000 they came eather way. sorry I could not be more specific on roof's but they went back and forth on rubber to metal roofs.
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Old 06-07-2010, 09:04 AM   #9
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What frame would I have on a 1993 Towlite 19' please?

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Old 06-07-2010, 09:51 AM   #10
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Based on Sam's post above I assume that it has a wood frame in the walls. If you are looking at a model with a wood frame take a look along the outside upper half wall to see if there is any bowing out or any sign of the bottom edge curling under. This is an indication that the wood is rotting and loosing its strength. Also, look under the edge of the top half, especially where the cables attach to the bottom rail, and see if there is any deterioration. Press on the bottom rail with a screwdriver to see if the wood is soft or solid. Wood rot is most times an indication that there is or was a leaky roof. Water stains inside on the ceiling or walls would be a good indicator of a leak.
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Old 06-07-2010, 02:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve F View Post
What frame would I have on a 1993 Towlite 19' please?

Thanks,Steve
You have a wood frame, It is framed with 2x2's.
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Old 06-07-2010, 03:07 PM   #12
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Thanks Sam. I'm a little disappointed, thought it was alum when we purchased it. If the overall condition is 7 out of 10 and we paid $4800, how did we do? It has an awning and AC too. It is what it is, and I can tow it with our Landcruiser and that was important


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Old 06-07-2010, 05:26 PM   #13
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All good points that I'll try to remember. I saw a craigslist recently that mentioned a cracked wall. I know now that it probably had a rotting wood frame. Appreciate the tips.

Dennis
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Old 06-10-2010, 05:58 PM   #14
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Quote:
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You have a wood frame, It is framed with 2x2's.
Sam
Good info. How about a 1994 21FL FunLite?
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Old 06-10-2010, 06:20 PM   #15
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Not all wood frame Towlites suffer from wood rot. Just those that got wet inside from leaks and how they were stored during the off season, etc.

This brings up a new discussion, winter storage. The use of the famous blue tarps and similar items can be one of the worst things that can be used to cover your trailer. They trap moisture inside and guess where that moisture has to go. You guessed it, inside to penetrate into every little crack and be absorbed into the wood. Next comes rot. You are better off to not cover the trailer at all during the winter and maximize air flow outside. If you can store the trailer in a dry place that would be best.

Many well cared for travel trailers have been ruined by blue tarps.
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Old 07-22-2010, 10:47 AM   #16
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I am gooing to look at a 2001 Classic this afternoon, from this topic I gather it has a steel frame. Is this correct?

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