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Truck camper disaster


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#41 OFFLINE   Halibutman

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 06:56 AM

I guarantee you one thing that will happen immediatley for me. When I clear my truck it is going to be WAY clear and there will NEVER be anyone near the camper when the jacks are extended. Regardless of cause this has been a good lesson for all. Hope everything works out for you.

#42 OFFLINE   Tuck

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 07:44 AM

I was able to reach the Mexican insurance company Monday AM they had an adjuster out within 2 hous and have hauled the truck to the Chevy dealer in Morelia. Estimated rerair time 7 to 10 days, but we both know this is Semana Santa and that will extend our visit to Patzcauro a little longer than we had planned. That's OK it's a nice place. I have declined the insurance companys offer to try and repair the camper here. The only substantial damage as you know was to the jacks, and they are not available here in Mexico.
The service manager @ Lance contacted me and has offered to ship new jacks and required hardware, at my expense, full retail price plus shipping/customs etc. for repairs here. I think I will reload camper on new truckbed once it is repaired and take the camper to Lance for full inspection. I'm going to look at all options with regard to jacks and certainly a more stable lifting system would be welcome.

#43 OFFLINE   RedneckExpress

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 08:41 AM

The more I see the increasing degree of piss-poor welding going on in RV products these days, the more I'm glad I have older model Atwoods that used the great big clamp rings instead.

I don't know about the rest of you, but my camper does a little wiggling dance when she's going up or down for an extended period of time, something about the rotation of the jack motors gets just right in harmonic resonance and she starts her little dance. Its not really pronounced, but just something I noted when making the big lift and lower when shes going down onto her stacker jacks at camp.

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#44 OFFLINE   wthattny

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 03:34 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.


Paul, I want to thank you for this observation, because it caused me to check the welds on my front Atwood jacks. I found that there were hairline cracks in several of the welds, and rust on several others. This could only mean that those welds had failed. The powder coat paint obscures most of the weld, but the presence of rust and/or a hairline crack can only mean that the weld came loose enough to let water in through the powder coating. Hence, they must be failed.

I'm currently at Lake Powell and there's a guy named Jeff Kiteley who has a shop in Hanksville, north of Bullfrog, who is great with welding (and lots of other stuff too). I'm having him take off the powder coating and redo the welds, both inside the bracket and outside.

Things happen for a reason, and while this is no doubt stressful for Tuck, it's sure going to save me and other folks a lot of grief. Thanks again.

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#45 OFFLINE   PigPen

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 03:46 PM

Can you do me a favor & post this over at the LOA as well. Since most there have lance campers & they are all Atwoods, they should inspect them as well. In fact I think everyone should with Happijac & Reicos as well. this may not me an Atwood problem.

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#46 OFFLINE   PigPen

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 03:53 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


I have not heard of a similar incident with happijacs, although I have seen plenty of complaints about clacking, etc. maybe Don from Happijac can tell us if they have had any incidents. I have heard of people modifying happijacs to supposedly make them better, that is a distinctly dangerous practice. I specified Reico's on my new camper because I felt they were better than happijacs, but they have disadvantages as well. My main objection to happijacs was the paint which supposedly they have fixed, but i have some problems on one of my Reicos as well.The safest solution is stablelift, but I do not like the appearance I suspect they are a pain with fibreglass shell campers or duallies. Any mechanical device can fail and the whole principle of supporting 4000 lbs on 4 sticks is inherently unstable.

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#47 OFFLINE   RedneckExpress

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 07:45 PM

Paul, have you already forgotten about Happijacs motor release jack drop problem from a few years back?

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#48 OFFLINE   PigPen

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 08:44 PM

I was never aware of it.

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#49 OFFLINE   RedneckExpress

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 07:51 AM

Hell, Jim and Sue were one of the first ones to post about how the motor disengage almost dropped the pickup camper they had.

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#50 OFFLINE   PigPen

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 09:06 AM

I actually don' recall it. The whole jack thing is getting scary. I am leaving my camper on in areas I know I can't get it back on in case of failure.

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#51 OFFLINE   ralphl

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 10:00 AM

Let's not over react. Has anyone heard of this happening before? We're glad Tuck brought this to our attention. Fore warned, and all. But between the members on this forum there are thousands of loadings and unloadings with those jacks with absolutely no problems. We are all going to be extra careful and inspect our welds and bolts, but pulling the camper off and having the use of the truck is the primary reason a lot of us choose T/Cs. Has there been any comment from Atwood? Maybe one of our manufacturers can dig up a comment, but I wouldn't knee-jerk until we hear from them or get a chance to cut that jack in half and see what actually happened.
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#52 OFFLINE   sooty1234

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 12:00 PM

I actually don' recall it. The whole jack thing is getting scary. I am leaving my camper on in areas I know I can't get it back on in case of failure.


Paul, I think you have the right idea. I have seen, read, and looked at enough inerds of these jacks, and the resultant failures of all brands, that I use my jacks a little as possible. Like you I never remove my camper at out of the way loacations for the reason you state above. I see people running jacks up and down at every stop. Each use shortens their life. I am surprised at the cheapness of the inside workings of these jacks and wonder how they last as long as they do. Each person well use their jacks as they see fit, but I will not use mine unless absolutley necessary. YMMV, Jim

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#53 OFFLINE   RedneckExpress

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 08:59 AM

The Atwoods I have now are on their 16th year of service, before my camper they lifted a 1994 12' Real-Lite. They clunk and bonk a little, but they go up and down consistently (and are fairly stable as well) and they're longer and bigger than my hydraulic predecessors, by at least 1 1/2x.

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#54 OFFLINE   Gary

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 11:55 AM

Did anyone ever ask Attwood why such a small weld when theres space for twice the lenght surely it wouldn,t be more than $2 a jack more.

#55 OFFLINE   PigPen

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 01:15 PM

same with reicos, a longer weld is pssible

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#56 OFFLINE   tankeryanker

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 01:24 PM

Thread hijack

Hey Paul get busy & add some pics to your blog. We are going thru withdrawls. :comp26:

#57 OFFLINE   RedneckExpress

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 01:36 PM

You can always read my blog in the meantime The Journey of the Redneck Express. It's almost caught up to 2008, but its got a few trips and entries that either never saw the light of day before, or have been long forgotten.

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#58 OFFLINE   flakjacket

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 04:58 PM

Somebody on RV.net, I think it was sleepy, posted that one of his front jacks (I think it was the driver front) was kicked out when raising or lowering and tended to shift the camper in a counter-clockwise motion. This would put extra strain on the passenger front jack and push it in the direction of the bend in the picture. Let it be known I am not an engineer.

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#59 OFFLINE   Mr Firewood

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 09:23 PM

I have a 2006 Lance 1191 which is pretty heavy and I hate jacking it on and off the truck. I use 12" x 12" jacking pads and even on pavement I have to use a sledge hammer at times to keep the two front jacks lined up with the corners of the camper. I think part of the problem may be that when using the remote, the jacks don't go up or down at the same speed. This results in uneven jacking and is a particular problem when unloading the camper since it is not unusual for the rear jacks, L/R as you stand behind it to unload which would put the load on the R/F of the camper.

If you can keep all four corners ligned up when lifting and lowering your camper there won't be an issue. But with mine it's not easy and I fight it most of the time.

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#60 OFFLINE   farmer

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 11:22 PM

The first time I loaded the camper I had to bolt on 12" of extensions on the bottom of the jacks to lift high enough.

I have since then taken off the extensions and built buttressed wood towers that are glued and screwed together and are 1" below the jacks that are in the fully retracted position.
Now my jacks only have to lift 6" to get the camper off the truck, the whole process is done on a concrete floor only.
Out in the real world the camper stays on the truck, especially after seeing this posting.
If we want to sight see, depending on trip, it will be thumb, walk, bike, bus, taxi, or jeep.

Thankyou for sharing pictures,the technology for lifting campers does not seem to be keeping pace with the heavy campers that are now out there.
Maybe except for the stable lift idea, my opinion is that they don't have enough clearance (and ugly) but they look stable.




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