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Truck camper disaster


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#1 OFFLINE   PigPen

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 06:35 PM

I am in Patzcuaro and a Lance camper pulled in today. After he removed the camper from the truck, one front Atwood jack buckled & bent bringing the camper down on the side of the truck and the ground. Its a Lance 981. I suspect there is frame damage to the camper, you can see in the photo below as the brackets have shifted and this is an Aluminum frame camper. The nose was also punctured by the side of the truck bed. They managed to get it upright and on blocks so it is usable, but there is no way to get it back on the truck without new brackets & jacks being shipped down. The front brackets are too bent or else the rear jacks could be moved to the front and alternated as it was raised on blocks. The truck bed has to be repaired first regardless. This is why I hate taking on & off, the jack just buckled without warning from the camper weight.

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#2 OFFLINE   67rs/ss

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 07:04 PM

Those are some pretty scarey pictures. I have thought about something like that happening when I am standing next to the camper pushing buttons. Glad no one was hurt!

#3 OFFLINE   wthattny

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 07:07 PM

That is quite a strange accident. The ground looks dry and level. Any ideas on how or why this happened?

Coincidentally, I'm loading my camper tomorrow. Wish me luck!

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#4 OFFLINE   ralphl

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 07:20 PM

that is too bizarre... something had to be out of whack. Paul,, were you there when it happened?? Has anyone ever seen a jack buckle for no reason before? We really need to run this down
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#5 OFFLINE   RichConley

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 08:03 PM

Sickening!

#6 OFFLINE   PigPen

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 08:09 PM

I saw it happen, the jack simply buckled under the weight of the camper, it was on solid ground. If you look at the area where the jack would have been you can see the ground there is solid and unmarked. It happened real fast. The camper was already up to clear the truck, obviously the center tube had cleared the area where the outer tube failed. When it went over the jack on the other side also buckled. Here is a picture of that one, we removed it. That makes me think the outer tubes on these are not thick enough.

IMO they need to go after Atwood for this one. I advised they carry the damaged jacks back with them. Ironically last year in Mexico I saw the result of something similar with another lance & Atwood. In that instance the welds on the bracket failed.

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I am hoping someone on the LOA site can shed some light on how the brackets are affixed. 2 of them will have to be replaced along with 2 new jacks.

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#7 OFFLINE   RedneckExpress

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 10:59 PM

Atwood makes two version of their jacks. One is a lighter duty, for campers under 4000lbs and the other is a heavy duty for campers that weight more. Odds are possible that Lance put the wrong set of jacks on that camper, coupled with the fact that he had swing out brackets (Why I don't know since he didn't have a dually truck) was enough weight deflection to start it tumbling down. I also don't see any evidence that he was putting his 12x12 3/4" plywood squares down under his jack feet either. From the looks of it, he was putting his feet down on Lynx Levelers which are NOT a nice uniform smooth surface on the top.

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#8 OFFLINE   Shellback

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 04:40 AM

I'd suspect overloaded and exceeding the jack capacity. It seems pretty standard for T/C users to exceed truck GVW's with campers, and I'm included there too. Maybe what a lot of us folks don't consider, is overloading the jack capacity of the truck camper. I like to unload my camper of all the extra gear stuffed into in while traveling on the road before off loading. Could the owner have a lot of excess gear stowed in the camper while traveling? I don't see anything in the pictures that would indicate he unloaded stuff before raising the camper.

#9 OFFLINE   Mooney

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 06:46 AM

I am in Patzcuaro and a Lance camper pulled in today. As he was removing the camper from the truck, one front Atwood jack buckled & bent bringing the camper down on the side of the truck and the ground. Its a Lance 981. I suspect there is frame damage to the camper, you can see in the photo below as the brackets have shifted and this is an Aluminum frame camper. The nose was also punctured by the side of the truck bed. They managed to get it upright and on blocks so it is usable, but there is no way to get it back on the truck without new brackets & jacks being shipped down. The front brackets are too bent or else the rear jacks could be moved to the front and alternated as it was raised on blocks. The truck bed has to be repaired first regardless. This is why I hate taking on & off, the jack just buckled without warning from the camper weight.

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Paul were there watching him unload when the jack failed? Can't help but believe he had too much weight transfered to that one jack. Looking at the bend it looks like the camper was leaning with all weight to the front right. If the camper had been unloaded like Lance requires, with front high and rear low there is now way the jack would have bent that direction.
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#10 OFFLINE   PigPen

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 06:48 AM

It was on a dually before which is why it had swing outs. It did not seem excessively loaded, I was in it afterwards, no cartons stored on the floor or bed, etc.. It is a heavy camper, I will go look at the jack models. He was using lynx levelers, but I can't remember if they were there before or were being used to shift it for the guy with the tow truck. I think after as we were trying to bring the back up a bit. It is amazing how much you forget so soon with something like this.I can understand why crime witnesses can be so unreliable. If you look at the picture of the other front side, you can see the ground scuffed, but the jack foot there was turned 45 degrees after it went down. No-one saw it start we all looked over there as it was happening so its tough to gauge the exact sequence. The back end on the same side dug in after it happened. That side side off the leveler as it went down from what I can tell. No matter which way you look at it, that tube bent, I don't think that should have happened, unless it took all the weight of the camper, or sunk into the ground, neither of which it did. I can see Shawn's point and I would agree with him if the ground below was marked, indicating that. He had the truck clear of it when it happened, it is possible the truck hit the jack stand, no one can say for sure that was there. He says he did not. I am going to talk to him some more today, and his wife who was closest. If we can get some more opinions it may help him if he needs to claim from Atwood. I am not sure his Mexican insurance will cover it since it was not a moving accident.

More damage was done to the center of the nose by the tow truck lift as he lifted the front by the nose to get blocks under it. The picture I showed was from it hitting the truck bed.

See Video

This camper needs to go to Lancaster, not a dealer.

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#11 OFFLINE   Mooney

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 07:06 AM

Paul I just don't see anyway you could fold the jack in that direction without having too much weight creating that side load.

Keep in mind all jacks have their strength with a vertical load, their weakness from the side.

Ever try the old trick of standing on an empty aluminum can, then tap the side with finger for the perfect collapse?

I am always very careful to unload keeping the camper slightly rear low.
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#12 OFFLINE   PigPen

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 08:53 AM

It is a mystery. But I still can't figure out why the ground under where it is does not indicate too much weight in that area. Going to take a closer look later.

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#13 OFFLINE   Tuck

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 09:55 AM

Maybe I can clear up some of the misinformation posted regarding the Mishap @ Patzcauro. I am the ownner of this camper and am an expeienced truck camper owner.
We travel about 6000 miles a year in our Lance traveling all over Mexico for thee months a year. This is our second Lance and have traveled extensively with these rigs for seven years. We have had very minor problems with these rigs until yesterday.

I arrived @ the Patzcauro Rv park and proceded to unload the camper as I have done at least 100 times before, in fact in the same site that I off loaded and loaded last year at this time. I lowered the jacks, and pulled the truck forward slowly, unpluged the wire harness and proceded to clear the camper. I was in the process of lowering the jacks, as prescribed, when the right front jack collapsed and shifted the camper onto it's front right lower corner and at the same time into the right rear of my truck.

I do not oveload the camper when traveling, I always dump both holding tanks and travel with only one third of the fresh water filled.

I am curious if anyone out there has had a similar problem with these jacks o has seen this happen before.

#14 OFFLINE   xnorp

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 10:25 AM

Tuck glad that you posted and welcome to bad your first post had to be about this mishap. I am sorry for the problem and it sure is a bummer. I don't have Atwood's I have never read about the tube bending like that one did. I don't know which would be stronger round or square. I guess this will start a debate about that. I am sorry that it happened and hope that you can get it resolved without to much of a problem. Again welcome and sorry.
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#15 OFFLINE   PigPen

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 12:10 PM

I might add, it was clear of the tuck bed, It hit it because when the jack collapsed the nose came down on the end of the truck. My opinion is this is Atwoods fault, not Lance or the operator..

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#16 OFFLINE   RedneckExpress

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 01:06 PM

Unless Lance installed the wrong set of Atwoods! There are TWO models Paul, one is only rated for a max 4 jack load of 3900lbs. An aluminum lance with a slide with a full water tank and provisions is going to weigh in the 4000lb+ range.

Traditionally, round tube jacks tend to be fairly hard to collapse, note the history of camper jacks and you'll see that the vast majority have round tubes. The jacks with the highest denoted failure rates are Happijacs, which used a thin-walled square tube.

Atwood Jack Manual

Its a bit dated, but it lists all the makes and model of Atwood jack. See Page 27 for model #s and weight ratings.

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#17 OFFLINE   PigPen

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 01:49 PM

Its an MPD 86065 heavy duty. I can't see that model listed.

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#18 OFFLINE   Gary S.

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 02:31 PM

I have never seen or heard about anything like this before.
Could it be that when the owner removed the truck from underneath the camper the truck hit a bump on the ground with one of the rear wheels which might have caused the back of the truck box hit the bottom part of the camper? This would have the camper go up and down on one side and caused the leg to buckle?

( The Lance instruction book says that the front of the camper must be higher than the back of the camper when loading or unloading.)

#19 OFFLINE   tdium

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 03:37 PM

Unless Lance installed the wrong set of Atwoods! There are TWO models Paul, one is only rated for a max 4 jack load of 3900lbs. An aluminum lance with a slide with a full water tank and provisions is going to weigh in the 4000lb+ range.

Traditionally, round tube jacks tend to be fairly hard to collapse, note the history of camper jacks and you'll see that the vast majority have round tubes. The jacks with the highest denoted failure rates are Happijacs, which used a thin-walled square tube.

Atwood Jack Manual

Its a bit dated, but it lists all the makes and model of Atwood jack. See Page 27 for model #s and weight ratings.



#20 OFFLINE   tdium

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 03:39 PM

" The jacks with the highest denoted failure rates are Happijacs, which used a thin-walled square tube."

Please provide the source and evidence for this statement, or is it your opinion.

Thank you.
Td




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