HELP! 1996 StarCraft 216 pop up trailer won't open level

Discussion in 'First Time & New Camper Owners' started by Joe Chemerys, Oct 26, 2019.

  1. Joe Chemerys

    Joe Chemerys New Member

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    Hello folks.

    My wife and I bought a 1996 StarCraft popup knowing it was going to need a bit of work. The main cable broke for the last owner and we knew we'd have to replace that. It has the Goshen Lift System.

    We also noticed when we went to pick it up that the back didn't close all the way (chocked that up to the broken cable). I replaced the cable, went to raise the tent up, the back fully extended and the front was about 6 inches lower. When we cranked it down the back still wasn't closing all the way. We adjusted the pulley and it did lower a bit, but still had a ways to go before it would fully close.

    Has anyone else had an issue like this before? Any advice beside trade it in?
     
  2. Grandpa Don

    Grandpa Don Active Member

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    Where did you get the replacement cable? And what type of winch do you have? Manual or electric?
     
  3. Joe Chemerys

    Joe Chemerys New Member

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    We got the parts from Home Hardware, put the stops and crimps on ourselves to the same spacing as the ones on the cable that came off. The winch is manual, it does slip a bit when we are putting the top down.
     
  4. Grandpa Don

    Grandpa Don Active Member

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    I can only think of a couple of reasons why the top won't go all the way down. One, is there anything on the rear bunk? Maybe a foam pad so something. The other is the cable stop spacing. I would not attempt to make a cable myself when you can buy a new one already made up from Goshen for around $30.00. I replaced my cable before it broke, and ordered a second one just to carry in the camper... just in case. Here is something you can try that might give you an idea which way to go. When the top is all the way down put a lot of slack in the cable at the winch. Or disconnect the cable from the winch and see it it will close all the way that way. I pretty sure that will tell you if you have a cable problem or not. Also, when the top is down and not closed all the way, is it even on both sides? Or is one side ( driver side or passenger side) lower than the other?

    Another possibility is a broken spring inside of the lift tube. The great thing about the Goshen lift system is the ease in repairing it. With just a couple of tools you can replace the cable in the field in a couple of hours. It is an easy system to work on and the parts from Goshen are not all that expensive. Get everything from Goshen. Not any other source online. I've seen those cable go for as much as $99.00 on Amazon. There have been folks on this forum that have made their own cable. If it is down right, there is not problem. But for around $30.00, why take the chance and go to all that effort? Once you get this thing repaired lube the Hell out of everything. Put plenty of grease inside of the lift tubes and in the cable tube underneath the camper.

    Let us know what you find. Many times folks with ask for help here and a lot of us will offer advice. But when they get the problem fixed they don't come back and tell us what they did to fix it. That's one way we learn how to fix problems, by knowing what others did to fix things. Let us know!

    An after thought. You said you put the spacers on the new cable in the same place the old ones were. But you can't be sure they were in the correct place. Maybe that is why it broke in the first place.
     
  5. BillyMc

    BillyMc Well-Known Member

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    I guess there was a couple years Starcraft used whatever lift system was on the shelf. Our 97 Starmaster 1224 has a four cable Starcraft lift system. The system on our PUP has a turn buckle on each of the four cables for adjustment. I wish I could help more, but I don't have any experience with the Goshen system.
     
  6. davekro

    davekro Active Member

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    Billy thanks for the description of the StarCraft lift system. I spent some time on YouTube this morning and found some good videos on how the system works and how they tore it apart and fixed it. It was good to see how the whole system works and operates.

    I had spray lubed a few pulleys under the chassis before, but today I looked closer and saw more. The top was down and the cables had slack so I was able to see which pulleys were NOT spinning freely. Luckily, healthy sprays of silicone lube got them all spinning very well. With the top still latched, I turned the crank in the ‘up’ direction until the nearest (right rear) had tension. The other three cables had varying degrees of ‘less tension’, so I adjusted the their turnbuckles so they all have the same tension.

    I’d guess there is one additional pulley at each corner somewhere near the top of the each roof support. Any idea how to access and lube those four upper pulleys?

    I’m looking forward to tomorrow morning when I raise the top to see how my lubrication and adjustments affected the ease of cranking it up. Hopefully it goes up a little more evenly than before.

    This makes me remember, in the mid /late 70s I had a StarCraft pop-up. At that time they gave you two stainless steel U channel supports. After raising the top, you put the two on opposing corners, then lowered the top onto the supports.

    Billy, do you raise your top manually or with a cordless drill. Is yours a 10’ box?
     
  7. BillyMc

    BillyMc Well-Known Member

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    With the roof raised and the zippers at the four corner open you can see inside the lift/supports from the inside of the PUP. If memory serves me, there are two pulleys in each lift on a Starcraft lift system. The cables will be under tension and prevent you from turning the pulleys. If you must turn them you will need to find a way to support the roof so the cables aren't tight.
    I raise it manually. It is a '97, but everywhere I look says it should have a Goshen lift system. It uses the oval crank handle and I haven't come across a drill adapter for this style. I have really looked for one though, because it doesn't take long and not very difficult to raise it with the crank handle. We have a 12' box nearly 24' when opened up.
     
  8. davekro

    davekro Active Member

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    I lubed the pulleys in the supports today. I'll post some pics and tips I learned in the process, hopefully tomorrow.
    Just this morning I was looking at Starmasters and showing my wife. We are pining for a slide out. Then I noticed in your signature, that's what you have! Sweet! When you bought it, were shopping for that model specifically, this fit your 'wanted list' or you saw it and liked it? I'd be curious of your pros and cons on the floor plan. One person commented he did not like that the dinette was the only place to sit (did not occur to me). The front bunk must be ≈72" long! Very col to be able to sleep long ways instead of wide ways. We sleep at an angle in our front 60x72 (I'm 6').

    We are coveting a slide out for next season. ;o)
    We never thought we wanted a toilet (and shower), but I guess it comes with bigger pups. Do you use your toilet (maybe TMI ;o)?
     
  9. BillyMc

    BillyMc Well-Known Member

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    Our doesn't have a slide out dinette, the Spacemaster has the slide out dinette. I wish we had the dinette when the DQT was with us on trips (she says she's an adult now). With DW, the two boys, and me it isn't so bad. The toilet is fantastic. The first time we didn't have to go to the bath house on a stormy night we decided there will always be a toilet going forward. The shower has been used twice and while nice to have when no bath house is available it isn't as great as the toilet. We weren't looking at particular PUPs, just something that would be comfortable for a family of five and have room to squeeze in a friend or two of the kids. This was the first PUP we found that fit, wasn't total junk, and in our price range. I do not like the U-dinette up front nor do I like that you have to climb threw it to get in the front bunk. I would also have preferred the larger bunk in the back, but haven't seen that on any PUPs. We sleep on the smaller rear bunk. It's easier to get in and out of and and it's on the same side of the dividing curtain as the toilet for DW to have privacy. Never measured the bunks, but we've had three kids in the front one with room to spare. We have a Dometic awning/ screen room that adds 11'X7' living space for sitting and cooking. We use our PUP for camping, but some of our trips it's more like a mobile hotel room. One major factor in getting the PUP was while trying to book a hotel for a vacation I couldn't find a hotel that didn't have complaints of bedbugs near our destination. We always know who slept in our beds last.
     
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  10. davekro

    davekro Active Member

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    Last edited: Nov 3, 2019
  11. Jaygray

    Jaygray New Member

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    Our 2013 Palomino w/ a Goshen system has these 2 U-channels also, I always put them in place for safety, but never lower the roof to sit on them before erecting the tents. Is that the standard procedure? Raise the roof, place the U-channels, and then lower an inch before installing the door, etc?
     
  12. davekro

    davekro Active Member

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    I don't know the answer to your support vs safety channel question. But regarding the door, on mine I noticed that when I adjusted the roof height for the door to 'pop' into place just adding slight raise pressure to roof, there was a gap on the rear side of the door frame to pup's frame. I loosened the cable to the rear door side ≈1" to allow that side of the door's frame to contact the Pup's frame equally w/ the frames front side. This adjustment brought the raised height to 44.75 rear, 44.65 front. I marked the SS channel with a sharpie so I'd visually know when I was at the height for the door to 'pop in' properly. I also learned to listen for 'clicks' of the crank when fine tuning the height for proper door fit. Previously I was thinking in '1/4 turn of handle' to adjust.
     
  13. Grandpa Don

    Grandpa Don Active Member

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    I just re-read my Viking instructions for raising the roof and placing the U-shaped channels. All it says to do is raise the roof until the green gauge cable is taut and then place the U-shaped channels. It does not say to lower the top a little to make contact with the channels. They are mainly for safety in case the main cable breaks.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
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  14. davekro

    davekro Active Member

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    Makes sense as a safety if one failing cable would drop two or more supports. Maybe my mid 70's Starcraft did not have the Shelby 5438 system which a separate cable attached to the main winch for each of the four supports. If one cable were to fail, the other three would keep it from dropping.
     

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