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Old 03-10-2023, 08:45 AM   #1
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Default torqued my frame one time. Is it beyond repair?

I torqued the frame, and am trying to figure out if I damaged my trailer beyond repair. The lift system safety bar is seized right now. I am living in it full time and don't have a lot of funds, but need to move ASAP.



Heres the back story:

I go some bad advice, and "help" from someone who torqued the bottom of my trailer by attempting to level it via the stabilizing jacks.

He broke 3 of the 4 jacks, and got to the point where the bottom half of the door would not open at all before I told him to stop, and raised the remaining jack.

I then paid a professional to move the trailer back and forth while I put leveling blocks of pressure treated wood under the tires. It was perfectly level when he left, but has settled some.

After about a week, I noticed that the safety bar release cable seemed stuck (when I pull on it, it feels like it is welded in place)

I have been living full time in it, parked, for 2 1/3 months with no stabilizing jacks, and am just now getting the finances together to buy stabilizer jacks.

Do y'all think that after I put new stabilizing jacks under it, that I am going to be able to get this straightened out so I can raise and lower the top? Should I just cut my losses and not spend the money on the stabilizing jacks?
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Old 03-10-2023, 10:27 AM   #2
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Are you sure the top isn't resting on the safety bar. Try raising the top with the switch and then pull the safety bar release cable. Mine settles down on the safety bar after a week or 2 and I need to use the up switch before I can pull the safety cable.
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Old 03-10-2023, 11:36 AM   #3
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workinghard, welcome! The advice Gary gave you should correct your problem. Push the UP button to lift the top off the safety bar and while doing that, pull the safety cable. Then, while holding the cable out, start the top back down - you can let go of the cable once the top has lowered a couple inches.

I think if the frame is distorted, it is probably minor and can probably be corrected with proper use of a jack.

- Jack
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Old 03-10-2023, 01:29 PM   #4
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Hopefully, it is as simple as the top resting on the safety bar, which is what it sounds like to me. When you get it to do what it is supposed to do, do the below procedure to help reduce the creeping of the top. Good luck!

https://www.hilotrailerforum.com/f61...o-trailer-129/
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Old 03-11-2023, 07:43 PM   #5
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Thank you all so much for your replies.

I just spent the day trying to raise the top in the hope that the issue is the top just resting on the safety bar, as seems to be the consensus.

Here's what I can tell you that might help troubleshooting:
  • The release cable does not seem to do anything at all, like its stuck or something. Back when I could raise/lower the top, I used to be able to feel the cable engaging/disengaging something. Now when I pull it, it doesn't "give" at all...Basically, it would feel the same if the other end of the cable was tied to a 500 pound weight)
  • The lift motor won't turn on. The up/down switch does nothing (The dangling 25A fuse near the up/down switch tested good).
  • The manual lowering knob only drops the top a tiny bit (maybe 1/32 or 1/16thof an inch).
  • I decided to try to raise the top manually, since it looks like there may be some electrical issue.

    At first, the manual lift handle was really hard to pump (it felt like more than the 40 pounds the manual said it should be). I was only able to raise the top about 1/16th of an inch or so. Then, it got much harder to pump. A lot harder, so I stopped. I was worried I was going to break something. The drawer that the pump is in was deforming from me pushing on the handle so hard.

    I went to see how much the top had lifted from my efforts, and when I went back to the pump to see if I could pump it a few more times without breaking anything, the manual lift handle just flopped back and forth. I can now pump it with my little finger with no problem at all. It's been like that since.


For what its worth, it seems to me that:

1) The top is in fact resting on the safety bar, and that

2) Maybe I also have some kind of hydraulic issue.

3) (Since the up/down witch doesn't activate the lift motor at all, regardless of the position of the master switch, or any other switches, or me inventing new swear words while trying) So maybe I have an electrical issue as well, or maybe there's some kind of safety thing that is designed to cut power to the lift motor?

I am researching the manual, the HiLo YoutTube videos, and this forum trying to get familiar enough with how all these things work to be able to troubleshoot on my own.

I have limited access to Internet, and really limited time, and these days get overwhelmed with all the unknown unknowns kind of a lot.

Any (more :-) )help in narrowing down what I have to research is GREATLY appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 03-12-2023, 11:42 AM   #6
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Do you have room to hook jumper cables to the motor and a good 12volt battery. If you do hook the red jumper cable to the hydraulic motor post or solenoid (positive side of battery) and then ground the black cable to the mounting plate of the motor which should cause the motor to run and raise the top bypassing your electrical system for the moment.
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Old 03-13-2023, 04:33 PM   #7
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Thanks.

EDIT: Apparently I didn't attach the picture. It should be there now.

Before I connect jumper cables to things, let me make sure I understand.

Going by this quick and dirty pic of my hydraulic pump, Which # Terminal are you saying that I should hook the + of a different battery (a known good one, of course) to? (Note that #5 appears to just be something a previous owner used tpo physically hold something in place, because its just lashed to itself on the other side of the hole it goes through)

My second question about this would be "What am I going to find out by doing this?" I ask the second question because for right now I am just trying to reliably move the top up and down by any means ASAP, and I think I can save all the electrical troubleshooting for later by sticking to troubleshooting the hydraulics. (I need to get mobile ASAP, and have a HUGE list of to do's)

Unless I am mistaken, since the manual raise and lower methods aren't working, I still won't be able to raise or lower the top once I figure out why the pump doesn't activate. Am I missing something there?
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Old 03-14-2023, 10:29 AM   #8
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I just noticed you tried using the manual lowering valve, and the top dropped a tiny bit. That means it is definitely resting on the safety bar.

Now, did you close the manual lowering valve after you tried it? If you didn't, you will not be able to raise the top at all, either electrically or manually and the manual raising lever will not have any resistance at all when you try to use it. If the valve is open, there is no way to pump hydraulic fluid into the cylinder to raise the top, you will just be moving fluid back into the reservoir.

One other question, is there ANY fluid left in the reservoir now? It's possible you have a slightly low fluid state so there is not enough fluid remaining to raise the top. If the reservoir is empty, you might add some Dexron III or IV (DON'T use Dexron V!). Don't add a lot, maybe 1/4 cup. If you add too much, it won't hurt anything but you will have messy overflow when the top goes down.

By connecting a good battery directly to the lifting motor, you are bypassing all the lift circuitry and will be able to determine if the motor itself is good. It's possible your solenoid on the motor is bad since you said there was no sound when you tried the lift switch. Solenoids do fail and they are not too expensive. I'm going to let someone else tell you which terminal to use on the motor, since I've never done this task myself, and I can't tell which of those wires comes from the battery + terminal.

- Jack
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Old 03-15-2023, 12:00 PM   #9
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#1 is the cable coming from your battery
#3 is where you would connect positive jumper cable first, then touch the ground jumper cable to any clean metal on the motor case. You will get some sparks when you first touch the ground jumper cable. If the motor is good it should run, all you are doing is bypassing the solenoid. one more thing do you have the power switch in the lift position or the interior lights position? One switch is a momentary switch while the other switch is a on off on switch.
#2 comes from the inside lift switch which sends power to the solenoid. The smaller red wire on the solenoid feeds the whole unit including the raise and lowering switch, Do you know what year and model of HI-LO you have?
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Old 03-16-2023, 03:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackandJanet View Post
I just noticed you tried using the manual lowering valve, and the top dropped a tiny bit. That means it is definitely resting on the safety bar.

Now, did you close the manual lowering valve after you tried it? If you didn't, you will not be able to raise the top at all, either electrically or manually and the manual raising lever will not have any resistance at all when you try to use it. If the valve is open, there is no way to pump hydraulic fluid into the cylinder to raise the top, you will just be moving fluid back into the reservoir.

One other question, is there ANY fluid left in the reservoir now? It's possible you have a slightly low fluid state so there is not enough fluid remaining to raise the top. If the reservoir is empty, you might add some Dexron III or IV (DON'T use Dexron V!). Don't add a lot, maybe 1/4 cup. If you add too much, it won't hurt anything but you will have messy overflow when the top goes down.

By connecting a good battery directly to the lifting motor, you are bypassing all the lift circuitry and will be able to determine if the motor itself is good. It's possible your solenoid on the motor is bad since you said there was no sound when you tried the lift switch. Solenoids do fail and they are not too expensive. I'm going to let someone else tell you which terminal to use on the motor, since I've never done this task myself, and I can't tell which of those wires comes from the battery + terminal.

- Jack
Thanks.

Yes, I closed the valve before trying to raise it again. It is acting like the valve is open, though. No resistance. (Maybe I pushed too hard on the lifting handle and blew out some seal somewhere?)

I added some Dex 3, probably too much, to be honest. (buying speedy dry for whenever I do get this thing lowered)

re Electrical troubleshooting, I have figured out that if I can lower and raise the top mechanically, I can and definitely should save electrical troubleshooting for later. Do I have to get any part of the electrical issue sorted out before I can manually lift or lower? I get the impression that I don't, and if I don't need to tackle the electrical issue with the hydraulic pump right now, I should save it for later.
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Old 03-16-2023, 03:07 PM   #11
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#1 is the cable coming from your battery
#3 is where you would connect positive jumper cable first, then touch the ground jumper cable to any clean metal on the motor case. You will get some sparks when you first touch the ground jumper cable. If the motor is good it should run, all you are doing is bypassing the solenoid. one more thing do you have the power switch in the lift position or the interior lights position? One switch is a momentary switch while the other switch is a on off on switch.
#2 comes from the inside lift switch which sends power to the solenoid. The smaller red wire on the solenoid feeds the whole unit including the raise and lowering switch, Do you know what year and model of HI-LO you have?
Thank you, Gary.

That will be really helpful when I do decide to tackle the electrical issue witht the pump.

Re year and model, I just upodated my signature, so it should show here, but it is a 2000 Model 260RD ("Classic")
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Old 03-16-2023, 03:22 PM   #12
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No, you don't have to correct or repair anything electrical to get the mechanical/manual lift/lowering to work. But if you have no lift with the hand pump, you will not be able to get the top off the safety bar so you can release it. Hopefully, adding Dexron will allow you to lift it.

I doubt there's any way you could have blown any seals using the manual handle. The valve COULD be stuck in a partially open position by some dirt in it and there is a way to clear that talked about in this forum somewhere. But, if the valve was closed, my guess is that the fluid level was just too low. Don't worry about adding too much, my 1/4 cup suggestion was probably way too low.

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Old 03-17-2023, 01:52 AM   #13
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Going back to your original post - chances are the frame is not bent, but there's at least a small possibility that if the trailer is parked on uneven ground, wasn't properly leveled, isn't supported by the corner supports and has settled, it could be twisted just enough to bind up.

You might want to consider getting under the trailer and checking it with a bubble level along the frame rails - that should tell you if one corner is high or low. If one corner is low, it should be possible to raise it with an automotive floor jack or bottle jack (protect the frame rail with a wood block) until it's level, then try to raise/lower it. If one corner is high, you'll probably have to raise the other three to get it level.

Once it's level, make sure the corners are supported one way or another - ideally by replacing the stabilizing jacks
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Old 03-17-2023, 08:17 AM   #14
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I am not sure what model you have but I had the problem with the cable like you said and also not raising or lowering.
Here is what I found with our 2808 C 2008 year the cable was stuck first because there was dirt etc. in the tube so I sprayed WD40 into the tube underneath and that fixed that but then the cable position inside was positioned that the cable run across the switches and shorted it out and blew the fuse because the tube it ran through here from being used the cable cut the tube . On our model in behind the switches is a fuse . To access it in the shelf to the side of it. I removed that shelf and replaced it. Prior the fuse I put a jumper on the solenoid to bypass the switch to raise it . I moved the cable position to be straight and not go over the switch.
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Old 03-17-2023, 11:08 AM   #15
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Quote:
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No, you don't have to correct or repair anything electrical to get the mechanical/manual lift/lowering to work. But if you have no lift with the hand pump, you will not be able to get the top off the safety bar so you can release it. Hopefully, adding Dexron will allow you to lift it.

I doubt there's any way you could have blown any seals using the manual handle. The valve COULD be stuck in a partially open position by some dirt in it and there is a way to clear that talked about in this forum somewhere. But, if the valve was closed, my guess is that the fluid level was just too low. Don't worry about adding too much, my 1/4 cup suggestion was probably way too low.

- Jack
Thank you!

I will add more Dexron III, and see if that helps. After that (if needed) is dealing with the valve possibly having some schmootz (technical term) in it.

I have a pdf called "How to fix “top half creep” in your Hilo Trailer" from this forum that includes instructions on how to flush out debris.

Basically, it says to activate the lift motor with the lowering valve open (and I would imagine closing/opening the valve with the lift motor running might help, too) for up to 60 seconds.

Does that sound like the item you were directing me to (or a close enough approximation of it)?
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Old 03-17-2023, 04:00 PM   #16
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Thank you!

I will add more Dexron III, and see if that helps. After that (if needed) is dealing with the valve possibly having some schmootz (technical term) in it.

I have a pdf called "How to fix “top half creep” in your Hilo Trailer" from this forum that includes instructions on how to flush out debris.

Basically, it says to activate the lift motor with the lowering valve open (and I would imagine closing/opening the valve with the lift motor running might help, too) for up to 60 seconds.

Does that sound like the item you were directing me to (or a close enough approximation of it)?
Yes, it does. I would think, but this is just a guess, that activating the manual pump while playing with the valve might just work too, if you can't get the motor running.

I DO think you should try bypassing the solenoid like Gary suggested is a good thing to try too - the motor moves hydraulic fluid around much better than the hand pump, and at higher pressure.

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Old 03-18-2023, 01:07 PM   #17
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Going back to your original post - chances are the frame is not bent, but there's at least a small possibility that if the trailer is parked on uneven ground, wasn't properly leveled, isn't supported by the corner supports and has settled, it could be twisted just enough to bind up.

You might want to consider getting under the trailer and checking it with a bubble level along the frame rails - that should tell you if one corner is high or low. If one corner is low, it should be possible to raise it with an automotive floor jack or bottle jack (protect the frame rail with a wood block) until it's level, then try to raise/lower it. If one corner is high, you'll probably have to raise the other three to get it level.

Once it's level, make sure the corners are supported one way or another - ideally by replacing the stabilizing jacks
I'm just seeing this now.

This might be a BIG help, thank you!

I am definitely going to do what you suggest. It might very well be bound up.

I had been trying to measure level on the body. As soon as I read your instructions to do it on the frame, it was obvious that is the way to go...not sure I ever would have figured that one out on my own, but now that you said it, it's obviously the way to go.

The replacement jacks will arrive on Tuesday (3/23).

I can't believe I am saying this, but I am looking forward to working on this issue!
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Old 03-18-2023, 10:41 PM   #18
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If binding does turn out to be the issue and you're able to correct it and lower the top section down to the "travel" position, it would probably be a good idea to re-level before trying to raise it again.

If your trailer doesn't already have them, you might want to add a couple of cheap stick-on level indicators (under $10 a pair at Amazon, about the same at most RV supply places)- they're an easy, cheap way to tell when the trailer is sitting level and it's safe to put the stabilizers down and raise the upper section.

https://www.amazon.com/RV-Designer-E...9191365&sr=8-5

https://www.amazon.com/Standard-Leve...191365&sr=8-10

We have one in the center of the back window frame to indicate side-to-side level as adjusted via blocks or ramps under the low-side wheels and one in the center of the big curb side window frame to indicate front-to-back level as adjusted via the tongue jack. If the trailer's not on a paved surface, checking them occasionally will also let you know if it's starting to settle.

One other thought - if you're living in the trailer and it's going to sit in the raised position for an extended period of time, you might want to consider making 4 or 5 vertical 2x4 supports to take some of the load off the lifting cables. If you do 4, put them between the ground and the bottom edge of the upper section at the points where the top sits on the outriggers when lowered - a 5th isn't absolutely necessary, but placed just behind the door opening, it will take some load off the door area and help avoid "sagging" in the upper door frame.
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Old 03-19-2023, 11:58 AM   #19
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I am not sure what model you have but I had the problem with the cable like you said and also not raising or lowering.
Here is what I found with our 2808 C 2008 year the cable was stuck first because there was dirt etc. in the tube so I sprayed WD40 into the tube underneath and that fixed that but then the cable position inside was positioned that the cable run across the switches and shorted it out and blew the fuse because the tube it ran through here from being used the cable cut the tube . On our model in behind the switches is a fuse . To access it in the shelf to the side of it. I removed that shelf and replaced it. Prior the fuse I put a jumper on the solenoid to bypass the switch to raise it . I moved the cable position to be straight and not go over the switch.
I don't know how I am missing these posts...just seeing this one now.

Thank you, LW (If I may call you LW, haha).

My model has a fuse that hangs in front of the switches, but I will check behind there, as well. I will try the WD as well.

I am so grateful for all the replies on this forum!!!
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Old 03-20-2023, 12:31 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldcarguy View Post
If binding does turn out to be the issue and you're able to correct it and lower the top section down to the "travel" position, it would probably be a good idea to re-level before trying to raise it again.

If your trailer doesn't already have them, you might want to add a couple of cheap stick-on level indicators (under $10 a pair at Amazon, about the same at most RV supply places)- they're an easy, cheap way to tell when the trailer is sitting level and it's safe to put the stabilizers down and raise the upper section.

https://www.amazon.com/RV-Designer-E...9191365&sr=8-5

https://www.amazon.com/Standard-Leve...191365&sr=8-10

We have one in the center of the back window frame to indicate side-to-side level as adjusted via blocks or ramps under the low-side wheels and one in the center of the big curb side window frame to indicate front-to-back level as adjusted via the tongue jack. If the trailer's not on a paved surface, checking them occasionally will also let you know if it's starting to settle.

One other thought - if you're living in the trailer and it's going to sit in the raised position for an extended period of time, you might want to consider making 4 or 5 vertical 2x4 supports to take some of the load off the lifting cables. If you do 4, put them between the ground and the bottom edge of the upper section at the points where the top sits on the outriggers when lowered - a 5th isn't absolutely necessary, but placed just behind the door opening, it will take some load off the door area and help avoid "sagging" in the upper door frame.
All definitely worthwhile additions to this project.

Thank you!
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