Greetings! I'm New And Already In Trouble

moon

Member
Aug 6, 2015
28
Tujunga, CA
I had whole different "happy" message ready for my first introduction post but "stuff" just happened.

I brought home a 1986 Coleman Columbia last Thursday 09/24. I'm sorry to start right off the bat with a plea for help, but I just suffered a nasty set back & could use some advice/information.

I've had the top up ounce for 3 days then brought it down. Went to crank it up this afternoon & the right (curbside) rear corner stopped moving about 8 inches up and before I noticed it, the other 3 corners were about 6 - 8 inches higher. The hand crank just wouldn't turn & I didn't try to "power" it up. I lowered it til the roof was even and tried again & same thing happened. So I lowered it even again sitting about 8 inch high. In a nutshell - I went around & lifted the roof up at each corner (about 6 inches) by hand and tried cranking it up again, same thing. So I lowered it all the way. When I tried to raise it again NOTHING moved. The crank just spins.

Now I have a major roof lift problem. I've done some research & read the repair manual, but I'm still pretty lost. I don't think the cable is broken & I think the problem is in that right rear lift. But I don't know how to go about fixing it. I assume I'll have to get the roof raised manually & my first big question is how to even do that? two people & 2x4's? After I get it up where should start & etc.

I hate starting out this way with group, but any help you folks can give will appreciated.

Thank you.
 

Merlin14

Active Member
Aug 30, 2014
549
Until real help gets here, and it will be along soon, use the "search" function for "Lift System", "your model", "broken lift cable", and other search strings you can think of. There's sure to have been a rebuild or two that will give you some insight also.

It's amazing to me how many people will offer to help you from all over!
 

moon

Member
Aug 6, 2015
28
Tujunga, CA
Merlin14 said:
Until real help gets here, and it will be along soon, use the "search" function for "Lift System", "your model", "broken lift cable", and other search strings you can think of. There's sure to have been a rebuild or two that will give you some insight also.

It's amazing to me how many people will offer to help you from all over!

Thanks for the words of encouragement.

Yes, I'm continuing the search & so far just picking up bits & pieces - still don'r know how to start & I notice the lift system manual I found is for 1994 - 1998.
 

moon

Member
Aug 6, 2015
28
Tujunga, CA
In the meantime.... let my say Greetings From the Northern Foothills Of Los Angeles [:)C]
I joined up here a few weeks ago whilst in the process of looking for the right pup to buy. I knew what I wanted, but the market here in Los Angeles is for the most part thin-pickings & expensive. I found what I wanted for a little more $$$ than I wanted & happy all the same. I'm a little bummed-out over this unexpected hurdle but it's all good. Even though I don't know how yet - I'll get it fixed & look forward camping in it.... no more pitching tents & sleeping inches off the ground on on air mattress. [:D]
 

jrclocks

Active Member
Jun 24, 2008
585
Its tough to diagnose from a distance, especially on an older model. But assuming you have a waist level crank, here are my thoughts...

It sounds like you may have 2-3 issues.

1st issue: The one corner isn't going up correctly. This is likely an issue inside the lift post (bad pulley or cable) or with that corner's main cable/pulleys that goes from the lift post to the wiffle tree through several pulleys.

2nd issue: The crank just spins. This probably isn't directly related to the 1st issue and could have numerous causes.


moon said:
In a nutshell - I went around & lifted the roof up at each corner (about 6 inches) by hand and tried cranking it up again, same thing. So I lowered it all the way. When I tried to raise it again NOTHING moved. The crank just spins.

Finally, I think you may have created a 3rd problem when you lifted each corner manually. By lifting each corner about 6", you gave each cable some slack. The slack might have allowed the cables to come off the pulleys. Both the main lifting cable/pulleys for each corner as well as the cables/pulleys inside each lift post. Make sure to check each corner's cable/pulleys as part of your investigation into the original issues.


Here's how I'd start...

I'd remove the wiffle tree cover under the camper and trace each of the 4 main cables, checking the pulleys along their route. Then, have someone slowly turn the crank handle back and forth an 1/8 of a turn (don't turn it more than that with the cover removed) and see if the acme threaded rod that the wiffle tree runs on is turning. If it is turning, you have a bad whiffle tree nut. Replace the wiffle tree assembly.

If the acme shaft does not turn, see if the lower sprocket on the end of the acme shaft rotates when the crank handle is turned an 1/8 of a turn. (Assuming you have a waist level crank, not a bumper crank). If the sprocket turns but not the acme threaded shaft, the shear pin that attaches the sprocket to the acme shaft is sheared and needs to be replaced.

If the sprocket doesn't turn, check to see if the chain is broken. If broken, replace it or repair it.

If the chain is in tact, the issue is in the upper crank assembly. It's either a sheared shear pin or the extension tube/drive shaft is stripped. Remove the crank handle, shine a flashlight down the extension tube and see if you can locate the end of the drive shaft inside the extension tube. Rotate the extension tube by hand clockwise as if you were trying to raise the roof while watching the end of the drive shaft. If the drive shaft turns with the extension tube, the shear pin holding the upper sprocket to the drive shaft is sheared. If the drive shaft doesn't turn, the threads in the extension tube or on the end of the drive shaft are probably stripped. The part will need to be replaced. This will help diagnose issue #2: the spinning crank.

Meanwhile back at issue #1...

If you didn't find the one corners problem by inspecting that corners main cable under the camper. Then, I'd get some friends and slowly and evenly lift each corner of the roof while someone turns the crank to keep the cables taut as you manually lift the roof. (Don't use the crank to lift the roof) Then, block the faulty corner up with the matching length of 2x4 and remove the lift post to inspect the pulleys/cables inside the post.

Also, look in the backside of each lift post to ensure the cables are running in the pulleys (Checking for potential issue #3)

I know this was long-winded, but as you can see lift system issues can have numerous causes.

Hope this helps,
JR
 

moon

Member
Aug 6, 2015
28
Tujunga, CA
^^^^ Thanks jrclocks long-winded is good, I appreciate your time. The crank was working (except for the corner) until I lowered it all the way. The crank/shaft (waist high) just spins both ways. The shaft at the bottom spins also. I think your right about causing additional problems when I lifted it. All the cables & pullys looked OK under the camper, but there is about on inch of slack in those cables all for corners. I'll take it step by step as you stated - thanks again.
 

corona

Active Member
Mar 12, 2013
265
Long Island,NY
You can also check out smit1088 videos on utube to give you a better idea how things work. He helped me fix my lift problem.
@ campersolutions.com.
 




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