Busted cable on 2011 Coleman Utah

Douglas Capella

New Member
Jun 7, 2021
8
Hey guys,

I purchased a 2011 Coleman Utah with electric lift system and it is I pretty great shape. I noticed the few times that I popped it up that the motor was sluggish which I guessed was a low battery so I charged it fully. We hit the road and on our first time camping the motor really was struggling and the back passenger side wasn’t raising like the others. When I looked underneath, the cable had snapped. I’m going to assume the guy that sold it to me knew nothing of the issue as it was fully open when I bought it. I’m guessing that the cable got caught on a pulley or something and snapped. I’m not new to pop ups but I have never replaced a cable before. I’m happy to have it repaired professionally but the problem I’m running into is I can’t find anyone that works on pop ups. Is this something I should try to tackle myself or continue looking for a repairman? I’ve watched YouTube videos and it seems that it wouldn’t be too difficult however I just paid 8 grand for this camper and would hate to do more damage. Also any idea of the size of cable I’d need? It’s a 2011 Coleman Utah with electric lift and it’s the rear passenger cable that has snapped. Thanks guys!
 

Jwwiff

Member
Jul 16, 2015
99
Twin Cities, MN
I just replaced one on my ‘07 Bayside - not too difficult. Go to colemanpopupparts.com for a standard cable. You will have to raise the top and block it up. Then remove the bolts on the bottom and top to take out the lift post. Remove the cable and open up the whiffletree to get the other end. Measure the old one and cut the new one. You will have to string the cable up through the lift post, then make the loop and crimp it. There are a couple of good videos out there that will help. Also go to the reference section on this site for Coleman/Fleetwood instructions on maintenance and repair of the lift system. The only special tools you will need is a cable cutter to cut the cable to length and a crimper for the loop on the end. Take is slow and I’m sure you can do it!
 

Douglas Capella

New Member
Jun 7, 2021
8
Is this for an electric lift model? I just got off the phone with a camping place that said I had to replace the entire gear system and that part isn’t sold anymore? That doesn’t sound right because it’s a 2011 model meaning parts still have to be made for it and also nowhere have I seen anything mentioned about an electric gear system being replaced?
 

Jwwiff

Member
Jul 16, 2015
99
Twin Cities, MN
Fleetwood is no longer in business, so replacement parts are problematic (and not cheap). Go to colemanpopupparts.com and you will find replacement motors there - looks similar to the one on the back of my ‘07 Bayside.
 

Douglas Capella

New Member
Jun 7, 2021
8
Does it “need” to be replaced though? I can’t imagine a gear box needing replaced for a busted cable? The guy never looked at it, he just said his technician said the gear box would need to be replaced and they can’t get that part? I have called another place that actually does the work and they said they replace the cables all the time so I’m getting contradicting information from these repair places. I’ll just take it in later this month and see what they tell me. I’m not opposed to paying for the repair considering I just bought it and would prefer if it worked lol! I’ll update once I find out more. Thanks!
 

McFlyfi

Super Active Member
Aug 1, 2014
806
Thousand Oaks CA
Does it “need” to be replaced though? I can’t imagine a gear box needing replaced for a busted cable? The guy never looked at it, he just said his technician said the gear box would need to be replaced and they can’t get that part? I have called another place that actually does the work and they said they replace the cables all the time so I’m getting contradicting information from these repair places. I’ll just take it in later this month and see what they tell me. I’m not opposed to paying for the repair considering I just bought it and would prefer if it worked lol! I’ll update once I find out more. Thanks!
No.
The lift mechanism is a worm gear/draw bar attached to the cables. There is no need to replace any drive components unless they are damaged. I would do my best to figure out WHY the cable broke- if you don't repair THAT, replacing the cable is just setting yourself up for failure. Inspect ALL aspects of the system- the motor, the whiffletree, the pulleys, pay special attention to the cable that broke.

Oh, and there are at least two places that sell the whiffletree ("gearbox"):
Here and here

I have no experience replacing a cable, but based on @Jwwiff 's description, it doesn't sound too difficult.
 

Douglas Capella

New Member
Jun 7, 2021
8
Thank you both! Hopefully I am on the right track with this RV repair shop. I was just baffled at how few places work on pop ups. I asked one dealer what they do when the new pop ups they sell are faulty and need work and they literally told me “I don’t know”?. It may just be the area I live because I see folks on the net and YouTube that repair them. I appreciate the advice, I’m going to ask them to go over the lift system, grease it, and make sure the reason the cable broke is found. I’m guessing the cable got off the pully some how and the pully will need to be replaced as well but we shall see.
 

Jwwiff

Member
Jul 16, 2015
99
Twin Cities, MN
I broke mine by not fully leveling the camper before popping the top. I was going to “lift it up just a bit” to do something and I violated the cardinal rule of pop ups - always level the camper front to back and side to side before lifting the top. I was my own worst enemy that day. Off to get a cable (found them on popupparts as well as eBay)! Play dumb games - wind dumb prizes….. and learn a few things along the way!
 

jmkay1

2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah
Oct 10, 2013
7,474
Northern Virginia
baffled at how few places work on pop ups
. This is my area as well. If you do find someone to work on popups they won't work on Fleetwood/ coleman. Or they won't work on the lift and just quote a ridiculous amount knowing you would hang up. If not that, then they will find issue with the age of the camper. It's beyond frustrating it's like they are penalizing you for daring to camp in anything other than a TT. Or hoping you get frustrated enough where you sell the popup and buy a TT from them. Good luck with your repair. I busted the lift on my old 1990 Jayco by not making sure it was level first. Called a number if shops and ended up giving the camper away.
 

Douglas Capella

New Member
Jun 7, 2021
8
Well I finally got two places to work on it, won’t know anything until later in the month. It’s not that these places won’t work on Coleman/Fleetwood, they don’t work on popups period. Essentially most of the parts are the same, a lift cable is a lift cable, the length may need to be adjusted but it’s the same. As far as mobile repair, it seems they just want to come out to replace a fuse and charge you 300 dollars for the “emergency”. My guess is that the cable replacement is just a pain in the rear so places just don’t do it. I’ve read enough and seem enough that if these two places bow out, I’ll attempt the repair myself. The camper isn’t exactly old, it’s a 2011, and it’s in great shape, just needs a new cable and maybe a few pulleys replaced depending on what happened in the metal support.
 




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