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Old 10-10-2021, 03:46 PM   #1
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Angry Help please!

Hi all! My husband bought an old 1983 Hi-Lo camper yesterday. He was told it was fixed to stay up Permanently and it had been pulled many miles like that with no problem. We pulled it maybe 40 miles home. About 3 miles from our house the whole left side of the camper fell down! My question is how do we get that side back up to fix it to stay up permanent? We know NOTHING about this camper. Help please! Thank you!
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Old 10-10-2021, 04:09 PM   #2
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Hi and welcome to the forum.

The standard advice regarding HiLos and towing, is,"NEVER tow a HiLo with the top up. You will damage it".

So, you've experienced the "damage" part, and the first problem will be to get the top back up. A common way to raise the top when the lift system is not working, is to use farm jacks. You would need two of these, to raise the side that has dropped. An alternate way is to get help from several strong neighbors. With enough muscle, they could probably lift the side that has dropped.

Then, you'd need to keep it there. A temporary way is to use two 2x4s, cut to the proper length to go between the top and some part of the lower half that would support it. Later model trailers have what we call "outriggers" - metal beams, about 2" on a side that extend at four points from the bottom half. The top rests on these when it's down for towing. You could place the 2x4s between the outriggers and the top to hold it up. If you don't have outriggers, put the 2x4s on whatever you can find, even the ground if necessary.

You will have to cut the 2x4s to the proper length BEFORE you get the low side raised. Use the side that did not collapse to determine the length to make them.

Now the final part. If you plan to leave the top up, you will need to find out how the previous owners modified it. You may be able to tell by looking, but you may have to contact them to learn how they did it. Whatever way they used, it does not seem to have been particularly sound.

Of course, the real advantage of HiLos is that they tow low for reduced wind resistance, better stability and so on. SO, you would really be better off repairing the lift system so that it worked and remove whatever was installed to hold the top up. That would be a serious undertaking.

- Jack
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Old 10-10-2021, 06:46 PM   #3
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Thank you so much! Would you happen to know if a 1983 hi-Lo has a manual jack and where it would be if it does?
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Old 10-10-2021, 10:56 PM   #4
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If you're talking about the tongue jack, it's right up front behind the place where you hitched it up to tow it home. I think you had to activate it to do that, so, was it mechanical or electric? The "standard" jack was manual, but there was an optional electric one.

Now, if you're talking about the lifting mechanism for the top, it's not a "jack". It's an electric motor powered hydraulic pump that moves a ram under the trailer to pull on the four cables attached to the top to lift it.

If the prior owner had the top fixed in the up position, the lift system was likely inoperative and if one side of your top has fallen, it's probable there are no cables there or they have broken. The four cables are what holds it up once it is raised. You'll need to raise it some other way, such as with farm jacks as I mentioned before.

If you look inside the trailer tongue, you will see the lifting motor, pump and hydraulic reservoir, and the battery if they're all still there.

- Jack
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Old 10-13-2021, 12:21 AM   #5
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I agree with Jack on his replies. Follow all his advise to get the lift system operational again; otherwise you'll be defeating one of the main benefits/purpose of owning a HiLo, which is to be able to tow better. My goodness!! Why would the previous owner even sell you this unit and not advise you to get that fixed asap, and that HiLos werent made to be towed in the up position?? Good luck, and keep us posted on how you fixed it.
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