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Truck camper disaster


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#61 OFFLINE   rskeans

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 12:31 PM

If you can keep all four corners ligned up when lifting and lowering your camper there won't be an issue.


To solve that problem I mounted two bubble levels on the cornor of the camper for each axis. When raising or lowering the camper I stand by the levels and just keep them level.
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#62 OFFLINE   Mr Firewood

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 01:21 PM

Excellent idea Bob I will give this option a try as soon as I can locate some stick on levels for my camper. Next trip is in a couple weeks. I'm already loaded but need to lift the camper to locate a wiring issue that is affecting the Lance's left rear brake and turn signal lights. I suspect it's the camper plug for the truck as I forgot to unplug it during my last unload and yanked it out of the socket in the truck bed. Have to lift, inspect and return to the truck before I can depart. Thanks for the tip.

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#63 OFFLINE   Silver Fox

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 01:39 PM

This is a tremendous tragedy for you tuck and I'm indeed sorry for the hassle your going through, at least you didn't get hurt.

As a Cert Fabricator, Metals Technician, Welding Inspector, Technology Instructor and avid camper dude; there's alot to look at here.
I would be very surprised if there isn't pile of data supporting the jacks there design constraints and capabilities, lift conditions and life term. the design would most likely have gone through some sort of destructive test analysis prior to production and I would assume that on going inspection happens at the factory.

Having said all of that errors still happen, particularily if 100% inspection is not done, by the way non of us could afford jacks that where inspected 100%, current costs for something like that would be around $1,200.00/jack for xray and die pen testing.

I have had a similar but less tragic issue with my first 10.6 Bigfoot. The lower weld on the front right Happijac developed a Crater crack due to the loading stress and direction of weldment. I caught it through visual inspection which is something we can all do. I rewelded it and she was fine.
On my next camper 9.0 Artic Fox, the swing out bracket for the dually did not engage in the open position and slipped once the camper was ready in the air, just as I started to move the truck forward the support was gone which was holding the camper in position and luckily I noticed what was happening before going much further.
On my present camper 10.11c Bigfoot I recently noitced the swing out bracket on the front right is slightly bent. this could also contribute to a non vertical axis of lift, again a corrected the deflection but technically once a paper clip is rebent it has lost some of its' design strength and ductility, the next failure will be abrupt, solution new brackets must be purchased after any slight bend or twist.

Because these jacks hangout in the open they can be snagged on all kinds of things, I've dragged mine through snow, overhanging branches in the bush and even caught the camper bottom slightly as I pulled out because I didn't pull it up high enough, particularily due to my Dodge having such a high set back end it can be tricky. Another thing which can add to the deflection issue is wind and movement over time, have a look at all those campers sitting on lots all over NA just on their jacks alone. Remember the paper clip, it will do its' job just fine for a period of time but given enough load and workability and sooner or later you will disgard it for a new one.

My point/recommendations:
1.Regular inspection in line with any commercial rigging requirement is a must, keep in mind just because we have remotes cord or cordless we can tend to get complacent, we're still lifting an avg of 3000lbs or more for the vast majority of us. there ain't a rigger or crane operator out there worth there salt that wouldn't inspect heavilyprior to lift.

2. Always block when off the truck.[/i]I know some manufacturers suggest it's okay to leave these little legs supporting the weight of the rig, but how old is the paperclip and how much stress have you put it through???

3.[i] Always employ a spotter to observe the camper from a safe distance for issues arising as you lift
, pull out or back under. Sometimes stuff happens that the driver can't see from their perspective. This is the easiest way to distort a jack or two, again spoken from personal experience.


Hind sight is always twenty twenty after the fact, bottom line lets use this example to improve the way we manage the load/un load process. stay safe and out of harms way.

As for specifics on what went wrong here, I believe that's an issue for adjusters and not arm chair quarterbacks. One thing is for sure Tuck you have a very large audience watching how this issue is resolved by lance. :fing32:

#64 OFFLINE   Mr Firewood

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 01:56 PM

Damn Peter:

You sound like you're edjamacated the way you addressed the possible issue with Tuck's jacks.

Good on ya.

George
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#65 OFFLINE   Muskie David

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 04:10 PM

I also have been watching this thread with interest. I would like to comment that folks stop suggesting that Atwood and/or Lance should step up and accept responsibility before the failed jack is inspected. None of us armchair Monday morning engineers know why it happened.

Back in '85 and '86 when I was full timing in a Carriage 5th wheel, the front pair of electric jacks came joined together with a rotating shaft between them and one electric motor. That meant that both jacks had to raise and lower in unison. It did not allow for using those jacks for leveling right to left, so I bought a second motor and removed the connecting shaft. I am wondering if the TC manufacturers could design something similar to what the Carriage had, thereby forcing the front pair of jacks to act in unison, and the same on the rear. We could use blocks to 'even out the terrain'. Like others who have commented, I have difficulty maintaining level while raising or lowering due to the uneven rate of jack movement.
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#66 OFFLINE   animules

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 05:51 AM

I am so glad to read nobody was physically hurt. This just reinforced my "I am chicken and don't take my camper off the truck" mind set......
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#67 OFFLINE   Halibutman

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 02:22 PM

It's been awhile and this topic certainly drew some interest. Was there ever an outcome and I missed it or???

#68 OFFLINE   PigPen

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 08:43 AM

I will email Tuck. i am interested in how his Mexican insurance company handled it.

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