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Old 06-16-2011, 08:51 AM   #1
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Default Can you manually crank the camper up and down if the hydraulics malfunction?

Looking to buy a hi-lo camper. What happens if the hydraulics malfunction? Can you manually crank it up like you do a traditional pop-up camper?
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Old 06-16-2011, 08:58 AM   #2
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Yes.....if it is equipped with the manual lift. That consists of a manual pump that works like a bottle jack. That was an option on many Hi-Lo trailers and standard on some, it depended on the model and year. If you should happen to have a dead battery it is possible to jump from another battery, but it can sometimes be difficult to access the battery. If it would be a problem with a broken cable or other lift part that is another story.
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Old 06-16-2011, 09:28 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by sdf1jbh View Post
Looking to buy a hi-lo camper. What happens if the hydraulics malfunction? Can you manually crank it up like you do a traditional pop-up camper?
The hydraulics, IMHO should be the least of the worries about a hilo, it is a simple system, a motor runs off battery, which turns a pump that expands a hydraulic cylinder. YOU MUST have a good battery in it, that is the only truely important thing about a hilo, IMHO over other campers you could do without a battery if you had to.

In reality, you wont use the hand pump {if the hilo you buy has one)... think about how many pumps that would take, you would be completely exhausted, I mean completely. The pump really is a backup solution to help get the top down, or to lift a little ways so you can get to the battery box. Most of us here have figured out a way to be able to hookup jumper cables if camper comes out of storage with a dead battery...

I'm sure you are snicker-ing about me saying get the top down... Well when top is raised, it should or will, settles down on a safety BAR for keeping the hydraulic cylinder from slowly going back down all the way, much like most lifts for autos and stuff do. Anyway, when the weight is resting on that, it is pretty hard to unlock that. so you would pump a few times to get weight off, then you could use the manual release on the pump are to let it down.

Only UNIQUE problem I can see usually have to do with maybe cables, which are adjustable and need care & maint sometimes, then there is a pair of rubber like seals that go around the top of the bottom half, and bottom of the top half... When top is up these 2 seals touch and seal the inside from outside "better" than when down.

Other than the fact the roof goes up and down for easier pulling; the rest of the camper has same issues to be wary of, as any other camper can have, like can your car tow it, and possible leaks and damage, or appliance malfunctions, since Hilo uses the same appliances everyone else does or did.
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:02 AM   #4
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I'm going to disagree slightly with Sting here, since I HAVE manually pumped my top up. This occurred before I found the constant current draw on my battery from the installed radio/TV/CD/DVD player and the trailer was at an RV repair place getting a new axle (another long story I've posted about). The battery was dead when I went to pick it up and I needed to briefly get into the trailer to look for something.

Anyway, I found the top was VERY easy to raise using the manual pump handle, which I keep in the battery box right up in front where I can get it with the top down. It just slips in and then you move it back and forth - very little effort really. And, I think the manual says it will take maybe 110 pumps?

I had my truck plugged in to the trailer while this was going on, and the engine was running. I found, once I had the top up, that the battery had taken enough of a charge to lower electrically. It takes much less current to go down than up.

In short, if the trailer you buy has a manual raise feature, you should not be afraid to use it.

- Jack
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Old 06-16-2011, 08:25 PM   #5
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Thanks for the responses
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Old 06-17-2011, 04:04 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by JackandJanet View Post
I'm going to disagree slightly with Sting here, since I HAVE manually pumped my top up. This occurred before I found the constant current draw on my battery from the installed radio/TV/CD/DVD player and the trailer was at an RV repair place getting a new axle (another long story I've posted about). The battery was dead when I went to pick it up and I needed to briefly get into the trailer to look for something.

Anyway, I found the top was VERY easy to raise using the manual pump handle, which I keep in the battery box right up in front where I can get it with the top down. It just slips in and then you move it back and forth - very little effort really. And, I think the manual says it will take maybe 110 pumps?

I had my truck plugged in to the trailer while this was going on, and the engine was running. I found, once I had the top up, that the battery had taken enough of a charge to lower electrically. It takes much less current to go down than up.

In short, if the trailer you buy has a manual raise feature, you should not be afraid to use it.

- Jack
No problem Jack, I just know I would be tired, jacking a 30ft roof, IMHO. but yeah, I didn't mean to be stating you couldnt do it, I was trying to say you probably wont want to do it all the time, I would bet.

I needed to proof read a little better I guess, LOL
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Old 06-17-2011, 05:38 PM   #7
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No problem Jack, I just know I would be tired, jacking a 30ft roof, IMHO. but yeah, I didn't mean to be stating you couldnt do it, I was trying to say you probably wont want to do it all the time, I would bet.

I needed to proof read a little better I guess, LOL
I know you wouldn't be offended, my friend. I just wanted to keep people from thinking this was some kind of "last ditch, you're gonna die if you try it" procedure.

- Jack
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Old 06-19-2011, 10:29 AM   #8
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HI Both Jack and Sting are right Regarding their own trailers. The difference in the weight of the top of a 17' and a 28 to 33' top is about double so the strength it takes to pump the longer top up is also about double. I think my manual says it takes about 160 strokes to raise my top. You do need to activate the manual pump occasionally to lubricate the pump seal. When I bought my Hi-Lo the manual pump was stuck from never having been activated and I had to smack it hard to get it to move the first time. The exposed part of the manual pump shaft also needs to be kept clean and lubed with a few drops of hydraulic fluid. It is exposed to the outside elements and will rust. This rust will damage the manual pump seal when activated. I have added a plug-in for jumper cables on the outside of the battery box. This works great if needed. Will post pictures here as soon as I figure out how. Will also tell you where to get the setup used and or new.
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