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Old 03-12-2012, 10:10 AM   #1
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Default Questions about Hi Lo campers

I am new to the group. I have been researching a variety of light weight campers and have narrowed it down to the Hi Lo or the A frame type. I have a couple questions about Hi Lo's that I can not seem to find addressed in the forum. How well does the hydraulic lift system work? How long (how many years) will it last and how difficult is it to replace? If you buy a used camper from an individual, where do you service the camper? Is there any type of 'buyers checklist' with the forum? Any feedback appreciated. C. Johnson, Louisville, KY
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Old 03-12-2012, 03:05 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum! The lift systems in Hilo trailers are quite reliable if properly maintained. The lift system consists of a hydraulic pump, hydraulic cylinder, cables, and pulleys. If they are checked regularly, cleaned, and lubed at least once a year the system should be good for many years. There is a steel rod, the guide rod, that parallels the cylinder that needs to be cleaned and greased also.

Most systems and appliances, outside of the lift system, on HiLo trailers are generic to most other travel trailers, so servicing is usually not an issue. Even the lift system is not that much different from those on popup campers.

One of the forum members, NDgent, made up a checklist to follow when shopping for a trailer but I can't seem to find it at the moment. Maybe someone will add it here.
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Old 03-12-2012, 03:09 PM   #3
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This was taken from NDgent's post here on the forum. It is a great go-by list. You can do a search of thinking about buying and find his post to read it first hand.

Basically, start with the visual items
1. Exterior
Look for water stains and discoloration on inside walls and around ceiling anywhere vents, skylights, windows, etc. exist.
Push and prod with your hand on the inside walls for soft spots (which could indicate a water leak and a damaged or rotten interior wall).
Check for bubbles in the wallpaper (a sign of delimitation or water intrusion)
2. Interior cleanliness of the unit-
Look for water stains and discoloration on inside walls and around ceiling anywhere vents, skylights, windows, etc. exist.
Push and prod with your hand on the inside walls for soft spots (which could indicate a water leak and a damaged or rotten interior wall).
Check for bubbles in the wallpaper (a sign of delimitation or water intrusion)
3. Test appliance functions
lights
fans
refrigerator
air conditioner
heater
water pump
range hood
stovetop
oven (if equipped)
microwave (if equipped)
stereo (if equipped)
4. Lift System-
Does the unit raise and lower properly
Check the lift system for hydraulic leaks (puddle under the trailer)
Check the lift cables to see if they are in good shape and not frayed
Check the seal between the upper and lower body halves for tears or damage
5. fill the tanks to the top and check for leaks
6. Battery
7. Solar Panel (if equipped)
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Old 03-12-2012, 04:10 PM   #4
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Default Researching lt. wt trailers

Welcome to the forum. A good place for you to start is to look at your vehicle/manual. How much wt. can you tow? Hi lo made a lite model called Towlite and a heavier model Classic. The lift systems are good for the life of the trailer. Take some time and look at back posts.
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Old 03-14-2012, 07:01 PM   #5
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My parents have owned a Hi-Lo since 1984. They have never had an issue with the lift system, and the trailer is still going strong!
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Old 04-12-2012, 11:14 PM   #6
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Smile Hydraulic System Reliability

I have an '84 that I bought in '94. Never had a problem with the system untill 2010. Even then, it was related to improper maintenance, not related to wear issues. I loaned my rig to a friend for a weekend and it came back without the pump/battery compartment lid. I couldn't find a used one anywhere, and HiLo wanted several hundred for a replacement and I never got around to ordering one from them. HiLo never designed the unit to be uncovered for long periods of time, so they made no provisions for drainage of the pan. Long story short, over time water enters motor housings and rusts 20-30 pinholes in tank. Replaced tank and O Ring for around $60. Motor was harder to find under $300, but I finally found a automotive low-rider shop in Albuquerque that had a brand new exact replacment chrome one for $100 including shaft adapter. Had I snapped and drilled drainage holes(or replaced the cover) before I did, it would probably be OK today. All in all, a very reliable system. CAMP ON!
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