Draw bar rotates- 1986 Coleman Tara

Discussion in 'Lift Systems' started by Herbiesmom, Aug 26, 2012.

  1. Herbiesmom

    Herbiesmom New Member

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    We're still in the process of buying a 1986 Coleman Tara and I've been working on it all weekend. When we first saw it, the owner said it was hard to crank up but it would go up. We helped to crank it down, it was difficult but not horribly so. When we went back to pick it up he said that he had taken the whiffletree cover off to try to problem solve the cranking. He said that there was a bolt in there that he didn't think should have been in there. He took it out and said it cranked easier now. Well, when we got it home we couldn't get it to crank more than about 18 inches. It seemed to need superhuman strength to even get that far (though the first few turns were no problem at all). I lubed up the chain and the pulleys and we tried to get the whiffletree cover off, which finally happened today (and I've got it blocked with 2x4s like I'm supposed to).

    I had my husband crank while I watched from underneath. The whiffletree turns and the draw bar moves down. But, after moving about one inch down the whiffletree, the drawbar then starts to rotate and twist the cables around the whiffletree. At this point my husband said it was getting difficult to crank. When he let go, the crank handle unwound itself (it never did this before when the cover was on).

    I can't figure out what it causing this. I've read the lift manual over and over again. One thing I found is that on page 16 there is a mention of a roll pin above the drawbar. There's no pin in ours, though there is a hole. I'm wondering if this might be the "bolt" that the previous owner removed? While I'm typically very mechanically inclined, I can't figure out what that roll pin would do, it doesn't seem to secure anything but instead would just be a stop for the drawbar, right?

    The solid shear pin below the draw bar doesn't seem to be a shear pin to me. The top feels like a pin but then the bottom that sticks out is threaded and comes out at an angle and has a nut attached. This is the most likely problem, right? Would this cause the symptoms I'm seeing? How would I go about getting a new shear pin?

    The unrolling and dropping the top is a new problem now. The crank has never made a ratcheting sound. It's our first ever pop up and I had no idea that it should make a sound until today! There is a piece that turns next to the crank handle. I can pull it out and see that there's a tooth on it but the tooth doesn't touch anything. I'm going to keep working on trying to figure out what's going on there, as it's a problem to not be able to keep the roof up, assuming of course everything else gets fixed!

    I have a hard time taking pictures while I'm under the PUP so I did a video to show the different parts that I'm talking about. I don't know if this is helpful or not!

    http://youtu.be/R71l_1Cy4fI
     
  2. Herbiesmom

    Herbiesmom New Member

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    Yay, did a bit more problem solving and playing around with the ratchet and figured it out. I've got that part fixed now, the handle won't unwind but I can still let it down by repositioning the handle next to the crank. It seems the pawl was on the wrong side of a strip of metal. Now it's just figuring out why the drawbar is wanting to turn and what to do about it. I don't necessarily want to put money into the PUP before we get the title, though I definitely don't mind putting elbow grease into it. I'm definitely leaning towards the shear pin as the problem though, since it doesn't even seem to have one!
     
  3. mv520

    mv520 Member

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    First things first - you must not crank the top up again without the sheet metal cover over the bottom of the wiffletree area. That cover does 2 things:

    a) Keeps the "draw bar" from rotating and criss crossing your cables. Yes its a bit crude but that is how its designed. Likely you will see score marks down the length of the inside of the cover where the "draw bar" scrapes. (Just run some grease down that contact line when you lube it). So that is why you see it twisting. Normally 2 little white plastic nubs on the "draw bar" actually run along the bottom metal cover. In the video it is hard to tell but it looks like 1 is there and one may be missing.

    b) More importantly, you must have some 2x4's custom cut to length and inserted alongside the wiffletree channel if you have the top up with that sheet metal cover up. Otherwise there is insufficient structural support, and the metal cross brace at the front of the wiffletree will will bend!!! This is covered in the Coleman lift system manual, which you can find a link to under "Owners manuals" at the top of the page

    That "bolt with a nut on it" certainly doesn't look right. Hollow pins were to be replaced with solid shear pins on failure, or when an A/C load was added to the roof.

    Excellent video and you'll get help here getting this fixed up. But first I wanted to make sure you were aware of point b) above.
     
  4. mv520

    mv520 Member

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  5. Dusty82

    Dusty82 Active Member

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    What mv520 said.

    The whiffletree cover keeps the draw bar from rotating and twisting the cables. If you look at the inside of the cover, on the bottom, you can see where one edge of the draw bar or the other has ridden along the inside of the cover. When you clean and lube the whiffletree the instructions in the lift system manual also say to clean the inside bottom of the whiffletree cover, then apply a layer of grease to it. That eases the way for the draw bar to move along it back and forth.

    Mv520 is also correct that you should NEVER operate the lift system, or allow any pressure to be on the lift system at all with that cover removed. The lift system manual says to cut two 2X4s to fit in between the frame members at either end of the whiffletree (I believe they're supposed to be cut to 24 1/2" long, but please check the manual - I may be wrong.) Those 2X4s should be placed on either side of the whiffletree to keep from bending one or both of those frame crossmembers when the roof is raised to do a roof height adjustment, or when the lift system is operated for any reason with the whiffletree cover is removed.

    The pin with the nut on the end is completely wrong. That coupler should have a 5/32" solid pin in it. Solid shear pins were put into the thrust nut coupler per the manual, again as mv529 said. That coupler is the thrust nut coupler. I don't know this to be the case, but it appears that the end of the pin with the nut on the end was hitting the whiffletree cover from the inside, and that it was bent over like that to prevent that from happening. Solid shear pins, as well as hollow roll pins, can be found at most any hardware store.


    At the other end (with the hole and the pin missing) it looks like the collar is there. That collar around the threaded portion of the whiffletree should be pinned to the whiffletree with a 5/32" hollow roll pin. That's a draw bar stop that's needed to keep the draw bar from moving too far forward. If that collar is pinned into place as it should be and there's another hole there that isn't being used, ignore it. The threaded rods used to make whiffletrees were drilled for pins for whiffletrees of different lengths. Your particular whiffletree didn't need to use that hole.

    Basically, everything except for that pin with a nut on it looks normal - about average as far as rust, gunk, wear, and tear are concerned. If it were me, I'd replace that pin/nut with a proper pin (a pin the same length as the coupler's diameter,) check to make sure the draw bar stop collar is pinned in place with a hollow roll pin, clean the threaded portion of the whiffletree and the inside bottom of the whiffletree cover, and apply a good coat of high temp axle grease (the same grease you use to repack the wheel bearings) to the threaded portion of the whiffletree and the inside bottom of the whiffletree cover. Then put the cover back in place and button it all up. Grab a can of silicone dry lube spray and spray the bejeebers out of every cable pulley under the trailer. There are 4 on the back of the frame crossmember at the aft end of the whiffletree, one in each corner of the trailer frame, and one more in each corner just inside the hole the cable disappears into. You don't need to lube the cable itself, but those pulleys need to be lubed bigtime.

    Once you're able to get the roof raised, spray the entire outer surface of all 4 lift arms with the silicone dry lube. Tuck a piece of scrap cardboard in between the canvas and the lift arms to keep from spraying the canvas. The silicone spray WILL stain the canvas fabric.

    With that done, go inside the trailer and unzip the canvas in the corners, and move the canvas aside to give you access to the inside of the lift arms. Check to make sure all of the cables are on the pulleys, then spray the bejeebers out of those pulleys with the silicone dry lube too.

    You've just done a complete lift system lube.


    Good luck!
     
  6. Herbiesmom

    Herbiesmom New Member

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    Thank you everyone. It's good to know that the drawbar rotating is not a problem, I was afraid that it was getting caught on the cover and that it was part of the problem.

    I do have the 2x4s in place and did have them there when I had my husband crank it up. I've read the manual cover to cover and looked at tons of posts on here before I even started, trying to make sure I did it right and didn't break anything. I just hadn't seen any posts about the drawbar trying to rotate and wasn't sure if that was normal with the cover off or if was adding to the problem. We only took it up about 6 inches at that point anyway, I just wanted to watch what was happening when he did it. I'll work on getting a new pin and trying to get the bolt out that was in there. I'm a professor and school starts Monday (yes, Labor Day, my school is crazy and doesn't recognize it or Memorial Day). Hopefully I can get to it tonight, otherwise it'll be over awhile because I've got Freshman Orientation events all weekend!
     

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