How much different in height front-to-back is normal?

gi_jimbo

Member
Sep 4, 2021
12
Western Nebraska
My wife and I just bought a 1996 Coleman Shenandoah. I've seen a number of posts on roof sag and though the sag isn't too bad yet on ours (it doesn't have a roof AC unit), I plan to be proactive and re-enforce the inside anyways to prevent future sag and ABS cracking.

Before I do any re-enforcing, I wanted to check and see if it's normal for the front and back to have about a 4" height difference between the front and back when the roof is raised. When fully extended, the floor to ceiling between the support beams measures 80" at the front and 76" at the back. If this isn't normal, please let me know. Any tips or suggestions are appreciated.

Thanks!
 

Dingit

Super Active Member
Mar 8, 2017
1,947
Not normal. Find an old manual if you don't have one and see the instructions for adjusting the lift post range. (If you have to use one from another year Coleman/Fleetwood or just generic Coleman lift instructions it's likely pretty similar.) If you're lucky, the standard adjustments are all you need.
 

davekro

Super Active Member
Aug 30, 2019
764
SF Bay Area, CA
A few questions for clarity.
When you made those measurements of the interior ceiling, was the top surface of the roof level (taking into account designed roof curvature side to side or front to back), or does it have the same corresponding droop as the onterior ceiling? If the roof's top surface is not drooping, this means that the 1/8" Luan ceiling panel has Is has either delaminated or simply become become unglued from the Styrofoam ceiling. Does the low spot or area raise easily when you press up with your hand question? You may need to remove and replace the ceiling if so. If needed I can link to the thread where I replaced my ceiling.

The Following is about height differences at the four corner supports. This may have nothing to do with your issue or or post, but may be helpful info (it was news to me! ;o)
What are the heights at each support pillar?? Are they close to equal especially front-to-back? The spec for my roof height variance in my service manual says that a 1/4 inch variance is OK when adjusting cables for roof height. Cables need to roll evenly on the winch drum, not overlapping the previous winds! When one of the cables overlaps on the drum it will cause that corner to be an inch or more higher than if it had wound flat and even as designed. I just learned this as I as I studied and adjusted my cables. In my case the lowering stop was not set! So when top was fully lowered, I actually was creating slack for the cable on the drum allowing it to wind randomly over itself on the drum the next time it was raised.

Good for you and being proactive to support your roof the ceiling inside.
 

McFlyfi

Super Active Member
Aug 1, 2014
803
Thousand Oaks CA
Coleman's don't have a winch drum, they have a wiffle tree.
Measure the lift posts between the top of the box and the bottom lip of the roof. These measurements should all be within a 1/2 inch or so. If they are different, then you have a cable adjustment issue- easy to deal with.

If they are not different, then you have an issue with the interior roof- it has sagged/delaminated, and will not be easy to fix.

So re-define your measurements- get the lift post height to determine where your issue is.
 

Camper054

Active Member
Jul 23, 2019
313
Indiana
Hello, @gi_jimbo, I would agree with others that 4" difference seems too much and adjustments would be good, if possible. My 2002 Coleman is also not completely aligned, but the difference is about 1" or less. Good luck.
 

gi_jimbo

Member
Sep 4, 2021
12
Western Nebraska
Thanks guys. I measured the supports and there was about a 3" difference. I made the pully position adjustments mentioned in the manual and now there's about an inch difference. I'm thinking I'll probably look into adjusting the cables as well at some point. I also noticed when I raise it, the front raises up about an inch or two before the back when it's first going up. I'm assuming that shouldn't be happening either.
 

davekro

Super Active Member
Aug 30, 2019
764
SF Bay Area, CA
My Starcraft uses a different pulley system (Shelby 5438), not a Whiffle Tree. The service manual for mine says to adjust so height is within 1/4”, then raise up down several times and recheck, readjust as necessary. I’d say to try to get as close to even as your service manual says for calling your adjustment complete. Over time, and if for some reason the heights vary on one or two supports by an inch, you are probably still ok. But you might want to check occasionally during the season to see what your height differences are over time. If you get several times much more than 1” difference, I’d want to redo the cable adjustment again.
 

DanW1960

Member
Nov 13, 2021
13
Addressing this issue now on my 2001 Coleman Taos. The starting corner lifts ranged from 49 1/2 to 51 1/2 inches. Enough that getting the top of the door into position was not possible. The Coleman instructions were a bit perplexing especially since I don't have the Stratus roof (see attached).

Finally I just measured everything. Was surprised how different the corners were. Cut a 51 inch prop from 2x2 and a couple 1/4 inch shims and started on the low corner. I already had the wiffle tree open but decided to try moving the pulley pivot point to take up the slack first on the lowest corner. Easier said than done! The clevis is inserted from above in a blind entry and not much room for fat fingers. Also the pulley is fully enclosed by the bracket so only moved around with a screwdriver or other tool. Even a tiny bit of cable tension seemed to defeat my ability to align the holes and reinsert the clevis.

In the end I slackened the cable a bit more at the tree and got a bolt of similar diameter to the clevis to insert from below. Once in place I could slowly back it out as I pushed in the clevis from above. A little jimmying of the bolt helped get the last bit of alignment. Also vice grips were handy to compressed the legs of the cotter to reinsert.

Once re-pulleyed I finished up at the wiffle tree, corner by corner. The rear cables had almost no clearance to turn a wrench. I resorted to grabbing the cable swage with vice grips, then twisting back and forth with the captive wrench to spin the nut down.

So initially I needed raise enough to get the door to fit. Then I figured I'd just match the highest corner. But eventually I realized the canvas placement was different enough that each corner required slightly different height to create similar tension (not much, don't need any canvas splits). Still probably within a half inch but still noticeable. Anyone else experience this? Maybe my canvas needs adjustment but I don't see how.
 

davekro

Super Active Member
Aug 30, 2019
764
SF Bay Area, CA
No idea if the Wiffle Tree even has a drum that four cable roll onto and need to deploy flat along the drum like my Shelby winch. I was confounded why I would adjust the turnbuckles to make the corners within a half inch and later remeasure to find up to 1.5 inch diff. ??? a season or so later, I finally found a readable copy of the Shelby adjustment PDF. I learned that the cables were designed to roll flat against the drum, NOT over the previous wind of cable! I knew my ‘stops’ were set way past full up and full down, but I had no idea that allowing slack in cables when lowered fully enabled cables to wrap over themselves. Of course they would wrap differently and corner heights would change randomly. That confused and frustrated the heck out of me.

Then I learned there is a bottom stop so cable remains under slight tension when top is lowered and sitting on the seals all around. This helps the cable ‘remember’ to wind the one way. After setting my bottom stop, I had to manually push the cables to the desired path while DW slowly applied crank up pressure, then continue process until roof was at full height. I hope cable tension memory will be restored by this process. I’ll need to climb under and watch next time we raise the roof.

At least good to know why my corners measured different each time!
 




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