Coleman popup hard to crank

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Repairs & Maintenance' started by Campcook578, Sep 6, 2011.

  1. Campcook578

    Campcook578 New Member

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    I have a 1978 Coleman popup that is very hard to crank up. I am not really that great at diagnosing these types of things. Is there a common problem that I can look at to see why this is so difficult? I am afraid that I will break a cable and then have to repair that too. Any help is appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Terry
     
  2. ghacker

    ghacker Active Member

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    I guess the 1st thing I'd do is lube the pulley on the lifts system and see if that helps. Then I'd take a look at the whiffle tree. IIRC on Coleman's this old you should not have the roof up while taking off the whiffle tree cover. Bad things happen. The cover provides strength to the box enclosing the whiffle tree. If nothing is obvious, I'd lube the threaded rod and see what happens.

    Not familiar enough with the changes Coleman made over the years but some years used a nylon nut that can strip. Other years people find loose ball bearings. There is a replacement whiffle tree made by a 3rd party now that Coleman is defunct. Not exactly the same as Coleman's but supposedly a viable substitute. Good luck.
     
  3. Dusty82

    Dusty82 Active Member

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    Here's a link to the Coleman/Fleetwood Lift System Repair Manual hosted here on The Portal:

    http://www.popupportal.com/index.php?action=media;sa=item;in=3122

    I had a 1978 Coleman Saratoga and a 1975 Coleman Patriot, and I can tell you that the lift systems are very simple. First, know that the pup needs to be pretty level. Level front to rear with the tongue jack, and side to side with something under the low side tire. DO NOT level the pup with the stabilizer jacks located on the corners of the frame. The stabilizer jacks are used to keep the camper from rocking around as you move about in the camper - not for leveling. If you use the stabilizer jacks to level the pup, or put them down before you lift the roof, it can cause the lift system to bind up while you're cranking. Remember - raise the roof, then put down the stabilizers. To crank down, raise the stabilizers, then crank the roof down. Just remember UP, DOWN - UP, DOWN - roof UP, stabilizers DOWN - stabilizers UP, roof DOWN.

    No doubt the entire system needs to be lubed. The first thing to get is a can of silicone dry lube spray. While you're at it, buy a small tub of high temp axle grease.

    Crawl under the pup and locate the cable pulleys at all 4 corners of the frame, then the pulleys in the center of the frame. Spray all of those pulleys with the silicone dry lube, You don't have to spray the cables themselves, but get the outsides of the pulleys really well. You're trying to get the pulley axles as well as you can. In the corners, where the cables disappear into the frame rails, is actually the bottom of the lift arm. There's a pulley inside there - spray that pulley too. While you're under there, check the cables to see if they're kinked, bent, frayed, coated with crud, or if something is stuck in a bracket that keeps them from moving back and forth. You can crawl out from under the pup now.

    Raise the roof and grab a large scrap of cardboard. Pick a corner on the outside of the pup and tuck the cardboard in between the canvas and the lift arm in that corner, then spray the entire outer surface of the lift arm with the silicone dry lube. The cardboard is to prevent you from spraying the canvas - the silicone WILL stain it. Spray all 4 lift arms in this manner.

    Put down the stabilizers and go inside the pup. Unzip the canvas at each corner and move it aside to get to the inside of the lift arm. Spray all of the pulleys you can reach with the silicone dry lube. Lube all 4 lift arms in the same manner.

    You can put away the silicone now and grab the axle grease. Lower the roof again and get back under the pup. The whiffletree cover (or Guide Channel, per the manual) can be removed with no problem with the roof down. You'll need a couple of 7/16" wrenches and a ratchet handle and 7/16" socket. You can't get to all of the nuts with the socket - that's why you'll need 2 wrenches. Take the cover off to expose the whiffletree. Clean the threaded portion of the whiffletree as well as you can with some rags and the solvent of your choice. I use brake parts cleaner, and I spray the rag with the cleaner - not the whiffletree. After it dries, put a good coat of grease on the threaded portion of the whiffletree. Clean the inside bottom surface of the whiffletree cover (guide channel) and apply a good coat of grease to it as well. The cross bar on the whiffletree that the cables attach to is called the draw bar, and that draw bar rides along the inside bottom surface of the whiffletree cover (guide channel) as you crank the top up and down. With the whiffletree and cover greased up, you can put the cover back on and snug down the bolts.

    Crank the top up and down a couple of times to spread the grease along the whiffletree. You should notice a huge difference in how easy it is to crank up and down.

    If you thumb through the manual, you'll find all kinds of info on your lift system. As I said before, it's really a pretty simple system. You might want to grab a tape measure and check your top height - instructions are in the manual, as well as adjusting it if you need to.

    Good luck with your lube,a nd if you have any questions at all, ask away!
     
  4. CampingCorums

    CampingCorums Making Memories

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  5. Dusty82

    Dusty82 Active Member

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    The adjustment is the easiest part. There really isn't any "tension adjusting" per se to be done when the new cable is installed. Just do a Top Height Adjustment per the manual, and that's it.
     

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