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Truck camper disaster


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#21 OFFLINE   PigPen

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 05:47 PM

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?


Nope, it was clear of the truck, my original wording probably gave the impression it was not, I corrected it. the owner was lowering it to the ground when it happened.

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#22 OFFLINE   RedneckExpress

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 11:39 PM

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


Given that that parts manual is from 2004, odds are the part numbers have changed a few times.

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#23 OFFLINE   RedneckExpress

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 12:00 AM

" 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


Go to RV.net and do a search in the truck camper forum about Happijac failures, there's been a fair number of reports from owners of campers about them failing. Its also why Arctic Fox switched from using Happijacs to Reico Titan electrics a while back. They're nicknamed "Crappijacs" for a reason.

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#24 OFFLINE   weymard

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 04:39 AM

Sorry for you Tuck, I hope you will have a quick solution.
I am not experienced as you Folks, but after read all posts, I think there is at the origin an internal insignificant fissure in the jack and year after year this failure expanded so as to weaken the jack which break this day, this would have been able to be an other day.

#25 OFFLINE   PigPen

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 05:52 AM

Good possibility, a reason to closely examine jacks regulary no matter what brand.

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#26 OFFLINE   Tuck

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 07:56 AM

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.)


The truck was clear of the camper for several minutes and the front of the camper was raised the prescibed 4 inches. The truck can not touch the jacks when it is being removed due to the swing out jacks and the truck being single rear wheel, it has about a 12 inch clearance on each side. The damage to the truck was caused by the camper moving 8 feet to the left when the front right jack collapsed. I am questioning the weight capacity of the jacks and the swing jack set up.
The rear jacks moved when the front collapsed but no damage, probably due to the additional contact point @ the rear bumper.

#27 OFFLINE   mjgcamper

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 11:51 AM

.

Edited by mjgcamper, 03 April 2010 - 07:27 AM.

To go see the Northern lights, Alaska, Queen Charlot Islands, all of B.C., Alberta too, To travel every back road inside the American and Canadian Rockies. Not a 'Grand Potentate', just grand while in the mountains, fire going, bears all around, no work to do.

#28 OFFLINE   PigPen

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 03:07 PM

Tuck, A friend of mine showed the pics to a friend of his who used to work for Lance:

The best thing they could do is contact Lance and order a set of new front jacks. Without being there it's hard to comment, plus his pictures are woefully incomplete.

The plates attach through the corner frame member, with the bottom bolt going through the extrusion, LanceLock. Plus, there are backing plates, which self-tapers hold together. After two or three years of production Lance added a Nylock nut to keep the bolts from loosening.

I would imagine that this customer has not been tightening the bolts, the camper was manufactured when backing nuts weren't used, therefore, this unfortunate incident happened. Of course, this is an assumption without seeing complete pictures.

It sounds like there weren't any injuries, which is a very good thing. I wish there were more pictures to dissect. Maybe I missed a forensic calling at some point in my life. I just want to know.


I think he is all wet on this opinion. The bracket damage, IMO, happened due to the fall. As we noticed, the front brackets are bolted from behind, maybe not the rear.

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#29 OFFLINE   farmer

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 09:49 PM

Is there a chance the right front jack was accidentally lowered more then the others, causing a sideways shifting of the weight, then causing the jack to side load and bending the pipe at it's weakest point.
I find my jacks don't go up or down evenly and have to check them all the time when moving them up or down.

#30 OFFLINE   Halibutman

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 10:51 AM

Is there a chance the right front jack was accidentally lowered more then the others, causing a sideways shifting of the weight, then causing the jack to side load and bending the pipe at it's weakest point.
I find my jacks don't go up or down evenly and have to check them all the time when moving them up or down.

This is exactly my thoughts on this. My rear jacks NEVER retract evenly. One of them will come off the ground several times while I am retracting them and it's not always the same one. I routinely have to extend one of them so all four are on the ground. I have never had this happen with the front jacks however. On one hand this certainly makes this a possible cause but on the other, if one jack is enough to hold the entire weight of the rear then why would it just collapse. Unless there was some sort of metal fatigue I would certainly start with this theory however. Just a side note but the dealer told me this was normal as there is a different resistance in different lengths of wire. When I asked why this did not happen when raising the camper he had no answer.

#31 OFFLINE   PigPen

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 01:01 PM

No, he was lowering it to the ground checking to make sure the jacks were going down even as he said he always does. That was my first thought. Besides 3 can, & should, support the camper. Notice the bend is just under the weld, maybe it rusted under the paint & weakened, I am no longer there so can't check that out. The camper is 4 years old BTW.

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#32 OFFLINE   fast.5

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 01:34 PM

No, he was lowering it to the ground checking to make sure the jacks were going down even as he said he always does. That was my first thought. Besides 3 can, & should, support the camper. Notice the bend is just under the weld, maybe it rusted under the paint & weakened, I am no longer there so can't check that out. The camper is 4 years old BTW.


Hi Paul: I used to think that the camper could be supported by three jacks. When I had my Lance 820 I could have one front jack off the ground at any time with no issue. With my Lance 1161 there is no way it will stay upright with only one jack, it would tend to fall in the direction of the lifted jack. Some are front heavy as mine. Both front down and one rear up yes.

Question to Tuck; Do you have leveling bubbles? or do you use your eye and the amount of jack extension difference from front to rear?
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#33 OFFLINE   PigPen

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 02:05 PM

Had a request from someone on rv.net for more pictures if I had them. I do. I have posted them below & given him the ok to post them there.

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#34 OFFLINE   Tuck

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 04:06 PM

Hi Paul: I used to think that the camper could be supported by three jacks. When I had my Lance 820 I could have one front jack off the ground at any time with no issue. With my Lance 1161 there is no way it will stay upright with only one jack, it would tend to fall in the direction of the lifted jack. Some are front heavy as mine. Both front down and one rear up yes.

Question to Tuck; Do you have leveling bubbles? or do you use your eye and the amount of jack extension difference from front to rear?
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#35 OFFLINE   Tuck

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 04:12 PM

Mike,
Yes I have and use levels and have been a builder for 30 years so I have a good idea of the term level and plumb for that matter. I wish I could say that I had done something different from the numerous times I have loaded and unloaded two different Lance campers on two different trucks over the last seven years, but sorry to say I think this is totally a case of jack failure and metal fatigue.

#36 OFFLINE   PigPen

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 06:11 PM

This from someone in the industry:

Checked out the pictures on Natcoa site. Years ago I worked on an Elkhorn camper that also had a failed front jack. I believe it was an Atwood. As with the picture you posted there was a small rust spot just above the weld, the jack collapsed in this area as well. We cut the jack in half at this point and found a small pinhole in the weld had caused the jack to rust from the inside out, eating away at the outer wall of the jack. I would suggest the customer take the jack to Lance and have them cut the jack and inspect the inside wall. If rust is happening on the outside it is important to check the weld points for possible water intrusion. These things happen very rarely, but even once can be too many.

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#37 OFFLINE   tdium

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 07:06 PM

Very sorry about your accident Tuck. I hope you recover from it all and continue your truck camping adventures.

The corner jack system for truck campers has many conceptual engineering design flaws affecting operator safety IMHO. I have owned a Palamino, Elkhorn, Lance, Northern Lite and my current camper is a 2003 2500 Bigfoot. I have had hydraulic, wired and wireless Atwoods and Happijacks. Although some of the posters on this forum would make us believe it is a piece of cake...many of us have experienced numerous "nervous" moments jacking up our campers.

The potential leverage or mechanical advantage generated between the camper and the ground of a fully extended jack is enormous. Metal fatigue may have been the case. However it would not take much to collapse a tubular jack anchored to the ground (in this case by weight) and then levered north south or east west at a point 4 to 6 feet above (at the camper). In other words it is not really the jack that is at fault but the basic concept of jacking the 4 corners.

This is one of the most serious and catastrophic incidents related to truck camping safety I have come across. I for one would be most grateful if you would keep us informed of your recovery, the final conclusion and especially what Lance has to say. You would be doing a great service to many of us.

#38 OFFLINE   PigPen

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 07:17 PM

Any luck getting a hold of the mexican insurance company today, Tuck?

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#39 OFFLINE   PigPen

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 07:30 PM

BTW, this thread is running also on the LOA forum @ LINK. Some other perspectives there.

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#40 OFFLINE   tankeryanker

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 05:25 AM

Boy what a disheartening experience. Hope all ends well for you Tuck. Now it's got me thinking more about how much if any the Stabillift system might be?




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