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Hydraulic lift system Hydraulic, mechanical and electrical components of the lift system
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Old 08-31-2022, 10:42 PM   #1
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Unhappy 68 Hi-Lo raises about 85% after one side dropped down with it in up position

Hi, thanks it advance for your thoughts on this. I did something by accident that I'm afraid could have affected the tracks that the trailer goes up and down on. One night I came back from camping late and left the camper up until morning. Then I accidentally bumped the hitch with truck and one short side of the camper came down, the other short side stayed up because it caught on something. I immediately brought the whole thing down right down but now it only goes up about 85%. My fear is that this wonky position bent the tracks it goes up and down on? I am not mechanically inclined but open to learning... This used to raise beautifully. I am sad for this old girl since I only used her twice.
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Old 09-01-2022, 03:33 PM   #2
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patti - I'm having trouble understanding your exact problem. What do you mean by "short side"? My trailer's sides are all the same height. If you bent the track(s), you would certainly see the bend with the top up. They are almost fully exposed.

I don't see how bumping the hitch would cause a corner of the top to fall, unless one of the cables (on the corner that fell) broke. Have you looked under that corner to see if the cable that attaches there is still under tension? I suspect if a cable broke, you would likely not be able to get the top fully up too, so that's my gut feeling about your problem.

So, if a cable broke, it was probably rusted and will have to be replaced. If you have not inspected and lubricated the cables, especially where they run over the upper pulleys, then you probably will find damage to the remaining cables too. If a cable DID break, I recommend you replace all of them.

You can make your own using cable you will find at Home Depot or Lowes. You will need swagging hardware and a swagging tool too. Other tools needed are simple wrenches and something that will cut the cable to proper length.

If you buy the cable parts from J&R or Midget RV in Ohio, it's pretty expensive and you will still need to cut it to length and will need the hardware and tools to secure each cable to the top lower edge.

- Jack
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Old 09-01-2022, 09:42 PM   #3
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Hi Jack, thanks! By the short side, I mean the side in back with the long horizontal window & the spare. The entire back side went down when the front side stayed up. Does that seem clearer? I did crawl underneath it and the cables are both tight. It goes up strong and comes down strong. The reason just the back end fell down is the front caught on some wood I had and made the front end stay up. Both would have fallen down had that not happened. I will crawl under again this weekend and make sure both are tight. I appreciate your insight on this. I can't really picture the mechanics on this and I thought the cables ran up and down a track on the sides and possible the tracks had bent.
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Old 09-01-2022, 11:01 PM   #4
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No, the cables simply go over and around about 4 pulleys each between the hydraulic ram and the edge of the top where they connect to raise it. If a cable hasn't broken, I wonder if a pulley has been broken or pulled loose? I'd think though, that this would interfere with the movement of the top.

I'm puzzled that bumping the hitch would cause the top to fall. There's no connection between the hitch and the lifting mechanism. How do the cables look where they attach to the lower rail of the top? If one pulled away there, it would cause that corner to not lift all the way.

I hope someone else has some better thoughts than me, because now, I'm all out of ideas.

- Jack
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Old 09-08-2022, 08:41 PM   #5
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I notice you only said "both cables are tight"...there are 4 cables...what about the other two?
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Old 09-08-2022, 11:41 PM   #6
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I was confused by the " short side" reference too, but a couple of posts farther down it sounds like you're probably talking about the front and back ends of the trailer body, rather than the sides.

It's at least possible that the locking bar wasn't complete engaged the last time the top section was raised and that bumping the hitch with the truck jogged it loose, but one end still shouldn't have dropped unless there was no tension on the cables.

About the only thing that should cause just one one end to drop would be for both cables on that end to break or somehow detach from either their mounting points on the trailer's upper section, or from the attaching points on the hydraulic ram under the trailer, and that's pretty unlikely. For the upper section to drop down evenly on just one end the cables on both sides of that end would both have to be affected, and if that happened that end wouldn't raise at all (if only one cable failed, the upper section should just drop on that corner).
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Old 09-09-2022, 06:40 AM   #7
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Yes, i thought 2 cables ran in 4 directions. All cables are tight
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Old 09-09-2022, 06:44 AM   #8
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The only reason it came down unevenly with the front end down and back end up is because the back end mechanically got stuck on something. The strange thing is it raises and lowers evenly and smoothly now— just only 85%
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Old 09-09-2022, 08:29 AM   #9
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I had a screw on the track that worked it's way out and it would not raise but just about an inch and it was on the back side . Not sure how they got it up or where it was on the track but I am thinking it may be possible that one of the screws on the track near the top is worked out on yours and catching when it gets to the 85 %.
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Old 09-09-2022, 08:47 AM   #10
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Patti - There are FOUR separate cables, not two.

I'm still puzzled about why bumping the hitch should cause anything to happen, even if the safety bare was not engaged. The top lowers when the lowering valve opens, or, when the cables break, and it sometimes creeps down slowly if there's a leak in the hydraulic system.

About the only thing that would cause an end to fall is if both cables on that end broke or possibly, a cable pulley failure of some kind along the cables at that end.

Patti - you should follow those cables visually from the ram to where they connect to the top half. You will have to take the interior trim strips off the inside of the upper half to see where they go over the upper pulleys to see that area. All the rest can be seen under the trailer.

- Jack
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Old 09-09-2022, 04:45 PM   #11
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that is a puzzle but I will say this.
on our older hilo we had I moved the camper in the up position maybe 75 feet and after that I had to push out on the wall at the door for it to lower proper.
After several raise and lower it seemed to get ok .
Also I know that when they was made and sold if they was moved at all in the upright position the warranty was void .
I have to wonder about hitting it as just how hard it hit as I did not see that explained anywhere and maybe it was hit so hard it moved it back some and caused this to happen.
I do agree with the first step is to check to see if the cables is on the pulleys.
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Old 09-09-2022, 05:38 PM   #12
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Patti - Maybe I'm still not understanding your situation correctly. When you said one end fell, but the other didn't, I somehow am seeing the top in this new crooked position when you raise it. So, I have some questions:
1. When you lowered the top after the end fell, did you do anything unusual to get the side that didn't fall to come down?
2. When you raise the top, does it go up level, or is one end (the end that fell), lower than the other one as it goes up?
3. With the top up now, is the top level or is the end that fell stopping at a lower position than the other end?
4. If you look under the bottom edge of the top where the cables attach to the top, have the cables "cut into" the lower edge of the top anywhere, especially at the end where the top dropped?
Possibly, I may have better advice once you answer these questions for me.

And, if you only found TWO cables underneath the trailer, you have two missing cables. Possibly broken, and out of sight, but I find it hard to believe the top would go up at all if this is the case.

- Jack
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Old 09-11-2022, 01:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackandJanet View Post
Patti - Maybe I'm still not understanding your situation correctly. When you said one end fell, but the other didn't, I somehow am seeing the top in this new crooked position when you raise it. So, I have some questions:
1. When you lowered the top after the end fell, did you do anything unusual to get the side that didn't fall to come down?
2. When you raise the top, does it go up level, or is one end (the end that fell), lower than the other one as it goes up?
3. With the top up now, is the top level or is the end that fell stopping at a lower position than the other end?
4. If you look under the bottom edge of the top where the cables attach to the top, have the cables "cut into" the lower edge of the top anywhere, especially at the end where the top dropped?
Possibly, I may have better advice once you answer these questions for me.

And, if you only found TWO cables underneath the trailer, you have two missing cables. Possibly broken, and out of sight, but I find it hard to believe the top would go up at all if this is the case.

- Jack
Here's my two cents worth on this discussion. I think what we all might be missing in this perplexing situation is a statement the original poster made :

" The reason just the back end fell down is the front caught on some wood I had and made the front end stay up " The statement, "some wood I had" - leads me to believe there was some fire wood stored on the trailer frame rail in front. When the top section was lowered the front half came down on the firewood. This could have possibly effected the structural integrity or alingment of the upper half of the HiLo mounting points for the cabels.

This is just my guess on what might be going on here. I really think an experienced mechanic of anykind needs to look at this trailer and determine just what has occured.
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Old 09-11-2022, 05:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pattimeh View Post
Hi, thanks it advance for your thoughts on this. I did something by accident that I'm afraid could have affected the tracks that the trailer goes up and down on. One night I came back from camping late and left the camper up until morning. Then I accidentally bumped the hitch with truck and one short side of the camper came down, the other short side stayed up because it caught on something. I immediately brought the whole thing down right down but now it only goes up about 85%. My fear is that this wonky position bent the tracks it goes up and down on? I am not mechanically inclined but open to learning... This used to raise beautifully. I am sad for this old girl since I only used her twice.
my guess is - when you bumped it, probable hard. i think it jumped off all 4 pullies and that, in my opinion, would explain the 85% raising height. the cables seem or present longer b/c they are traveling a longer distance. again , my guess/opinion, AND from reading this forum i gather jack would be better at explaining the procedure needed to replace the cables and or put back on pullies.
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Old 09-11-2022, 09:40 PM   #15
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An additional thought to add to Kirby's post - IF any (or all) of the cables have jumped off the pulley sheaves, it would be a really good idea to NOT
attempt to raise or lower the top again until the cables can be put back in place. If the cables are off the pulley sheaves, raising or lowering the upper section (especially raising it) is likely to do significant damage to the cables and whatever they're being forced to slide over.
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Old 09-11-2022, 10:51 PM   #16
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I agree with the comments about the pulleys, although I find it hard to understand how bumping the hitch could cause the cables to "jump off". Possibly, though, one or more pulleys have broken.

Patti, if you're still with us, you should take the trim strips off the top edge of the bottom half, inside the trailer. They are held on with screws and are fairly easy to take off and put back on. With them off, you'll be able to see the top pulleys which are otherwise hidden, and you'll be able to see their condition and if the cables are running over them. This can be done with the top down, although you'll have to crawl around inside to do it.

The "trim strips" are the horizontal pieces of "wood" that are at the top of the inside walls on the bottom half. They are about 2" wide, I think. The only one that will give you trouble is the one in the bathroom, because it's hard to get access to the screws there - I had to use a small right angle screwdriver. You'll need a square bit on your screwdriver too, for all the screws.

I also suspect you'll have trouble finding a mechanic willing to work on this, unless you take the trailer to J&R Repair or Midget RV in Ohio. From what I've been reading, most RV shops want nothing to do with HiLos.

- Jack
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