Starcraft roof lift winch system question.

Discussion in 'Lift Systems' started by Fe4life, Jun 13, 2010.

  1. Fe4life

    Fe4life New Member

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    So I am doing this complete resto http://www.popupportal.com/index.php?topic=36483.msg242047#msg242047 and I have a question about the 1985 Starcraft Starlite 21 lift system.

    This is the winch system:
    [​IMG]

    I have it torn down for new paint. I have the diagrams and instructions for how to run the cables and lift arms. Which I am also fixing. And I understand how it works.

    [?:~{]What I don't understand is that I can only turn the crank in one direction.

    If the cables wrap around the spool to lift the system, then I would have to be able to unwind them from spool to lower the roof. There is a pawl on the small sprocket that prevents me from reversing the crank.

    You can see the pawl in the middle of this picture, pressing on the smaller gear. It has a spring to keep tension on it. But, I can find no mechanism to release the pawl to allow me to go in the other direction.
    [​IMG]

    I am baffled. What am I missing? Does something slide? Or what allows me to turn the crank the other direction?

    If I cant figure it out, I'm going to build my own wiffle tree and replace the whole thing, maybe I'll just install an electric winch instead. I would really like the original system to work though. This is supposed to be a budget build.

    Thanks,
    Steve
     
  2. cruising usa

    cruising usa New Member

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    The winch looks very similar to our 2004. The winch is a brake winch. There is a friction pad between the drive sprocket and the drum sprocket. The brake helpps hold the drum and release the pawl as it unwinds.
    Happy Camping
    ken
     
  3. ballard

    ballard New Member

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    I have zero experience with this setup but having looked at your pic, I would tend to agree with the above response. You probably need tension on the winch in order for the friction plate to work with the pawl. Bolt it down to something, Put a cable on it, attach cable to a tree, and give it a test run to see if you can get the pawl to release after you've had some tension on the winch. That way you know if it works or not before you proceed with the build.
     
  4. Fe4life

    Fe4life New Member

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    Thanks for the tips. I'll give it a try after work today.

    Steve
     
  5. Fe4life

    Fe4life New Member

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    I GOT IT!!! I had to completely disassemble it to unfreeze the "clutch mechanism," but I got it working nice and smooth now. Thanks again for the advice. I probably would have ditched the part and fabricated something new if I couldn't figure it out. I never would have known to unfreeze the big sprocket if not for your tips. Now that it is in pieces I can refinish it all nice like!

    Thank you PUP community,
    A very grateful restorer.
     
  6. James Fuller

    James Fuller 315 886 2417

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    Hi, I am new to the site, but from what I am seeing of the Winch it is very similar to mine from my 1992 Starcraft Starlite. My problem is that one of the gears is just free wheeling on the shaft. I am correct in assuming there is some sort of keyway that locks the gear in place on the shaft.

    I am not real mechanically inclined, but I can usually get by. I just have not decided if I can pull this apart and remember where all the parts go when I put it together!

    By the way, My name is James Fuller (call me Jamie) I am from the metropolis of beautiful Blossvale, NY. I really think it is great what you are doing to your Starcraft.

    Thanks,

    Jamie
     
  7. Fe4life

    Fe4life New Member

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    OK Jaime,

    I'll give this a try. I think I have a pretty good grasp on how this thing works now. But, I'll have to do this from memory since I am away from my shop.

    If you look at my top picture, hopefully the gear you speak of is the top left gear. If it is not you will have to disregard my next statement and post me a pic to help out.

    When the winch is out of the system. That gear should "free wheel" in one direction and move towards the outside of the winch. When spun the opposite way it should move towards the smaller gear and eventually lock up. That is the friction clutch action. (I think you must have some tension on the spool for this to work.) If it never locks up then you probably have stripped threads or something is broken. I think either one of those is highly unlikely though.

    I had to pull mine apart because that large gear was frozen to the smaller gear and I had to get the parts in a vise to force them apart. You shouldn't have to pull yours apart. If you do pull it apart, there aren't that many parts in it. Take pictures as you go so you can be sure that you get everything pack in the right order. Or just clean off a table and lay everything out in order left to right and top to bottom (like an exploded parts diagram) and you shouldn't have any problems getting it back together right.

    Try putting some tension on the pulley and turning the large gear in the direction that moves it closer to the smaller gear. Eventually it should tighten up.

    In the direction that it tightens up is the direction you would be turning the crank to retract the cables and lift the roof. In the direction it loosens would lower the roof. The friction clutch allows you to lower it in a controlled fashion.

    My winch does not have the limiter nuts attached to the threaded shaft on the left. If your pulley were spun too far in one direction the gear may not make all the way to the friction clutch before the limiter tab (tab w/ nut on one side and hole that crank shaft goes through on the other) bottoms out on one of the nuts. If that is the cast then it just needs adjustment. I think there is a pdf somewhere on this site with directions on how to adjust the winch. Or I could send it to you next time I am at my own computer.

    I hope this helps, but ask more questions if you have them. I am more than happy to help.

    Steve
     
  8. James Fuller

    James Fuller 315 886 2417

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    Steve,

    Thanks!! I had a friend help me with this, he is an auto mechanic and we diagnosed your response and then set to work. What we found is that the large shaft that the cables are actually hooked to was setup. We pulled it apart and used a fine emery cloth to remove rust and lubricated the (I want to say bearings, but they are not bearings really) so that it can turn smoothly. We now have it so we can crank it in both directions.

    2 of the cables are still in tact, but 1 of the others has been broken. The fourth cable is non-existent. This camper has not been registered in 10 years, so it probably has been lost in the shuffle of multiple owners. Or maybe if I had a smaller person climb inside the camper they might find it somewhere in there. When I was looking to buy it I did not see it in there, so I am doubtful it is there.

    Did you end up ordering cables (If so what info did you need) or did you make them yourself. My wife works for LOWES and says we can buy all the parts right from them. If you made the cables, how did you know what length they needed to be? If I had all of the old pieces, I could match them up. By the way, Only the cables underneath need to be replaced. The cables going up to the roof are still there and they seem to be in good shape.

    What have I gotten myself into ?!?!?!?!?

    Jamie
     
  9. Fe4life

    Fe4life New Member

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    Jamie,

    Glad you were able to make some progress and that I was of assistance. As far as the cables go, I am making mine. My project is a "budget build" so, anything I can fix or make myself I am. All of my cables are wrecked, underneath and 2 of the lifters. I didn't price the replacements from starcraft, just because I believe I can make what I need cheaper. But many people on this sit rave about how good the Starcraft customer service and parts department are for them. Even when dealing with older models. So if you can afford it and only need 2 cables it might be cheaper than getting the tools and supplies needed to do it yourself. I'm sure you can find the number on this site or just Google it.

    If you want to do it yourself here is what you need to know. The cable diameter is 3/32. The originals use stainless steel cable. Lowe's or Home Depot in my area don't carry stainless in that diameter. The Tractor Supply Company does, but it is 3.5 times more expensive. A boating supply, or FASTENAL or Grainger might also have it. You will also need swages and stops, Those are the parts that are crimped onto the ends to make the loops or terminations. The original swages are copper, but you will most likely only find aluminum ones, which are fine. You will also need a swaging tool to properly crimp the cables for the proper strength, $28 @ Lowe's. You will also need any turnbuckles that are missing. Once again, the stainless is 3 times more expensive than the zinc plated ones. DO NOT use the cable ends that have a little u-bolt and two nuts. They slip, and will get caught up in your frame.

    Since I am doing budget, I went with the galvanized cable. I plan to coat it with a penetrating dry chain and cable spray AFTER I make the cable sections. That, and regular maintenance, should keep the corrosion at bay. I know I will probably get scalded here for using the galvanized, but I wasn't feeling the extra expense.

    As far as the length goes, copying cable length and design is always best. Maybe a phone call to Starcraft might come in handy here for the missing one. I don't have some of my cables so I will have to figure out the length of a few cables. I plan to set everything up and use some cord that doest have a lot of stretch in it to figure out my lengths. The turn buckles offer some adjustment, so the cables out of the pulley don't have to be exact. I have to replace some in the lift arms, those have to be pretty exact ( I think so, at least.) But I have some good lift arms to copy for those.

    You might want to inspect the bearings on the frame that turn the cables. I took out all of the bearings on my frame and de-greased, de-rusted, wire brushed and painted/ lubed them back into a like new condition. Most of them were rusted in place and did not spin. That would cause excessive load on your cables and winch, which would make for harder roof lifting and premature part failure. Be sure those spin freely, or they may need some attention too. Check the ones in your lift arms too. Sometimes, just a little lube can go a long way, but make sure you don't use something that dirt will stick to (like lithium grease.)

    According to the other user on this site, what you have gotten yourself into is a wondrous adventure of camping fun. I have gotten myself int a much bigger project than I was hoping for. But I love the challenge, and it keeps me out of trouble. The first time I take my PUP camping will definitely be very gratifying. I haven't seen any pictures of your PUP, so I can't tell you what YOU have gotten yourself into.

    Once again, hope this helps. If not, feel free to ask more questions.

    Steve
     
  10. Hacksaw

    Hacksaw Active Member

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    I strongly urge you to get stainless cable and brass or copper ferrules. The problem with using them is the $28 tool won't crimp them so you need a professional quality tool to do it.Check with rental places in your area they may have one.Galvanized cable will work but it will corrode and nothing short of perpetually submerging it in oil will stop it.The aluminum ferrules have about 50% the holding power of brass/copper.
     
  11. Fe4life

    Fe4life New Member

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    Thanks Hacksaw,

    After writing that reply to Jamie I can't stop thinking about the cables. And I just about have myself convinced to get the stainless, but then you just pointed out the other situation with the stainless that has been tearing at me. Proper swaging... I'll have to do some more research, but I think that I will be going with the stainless and copper ferrules/ swages.

    ST
     
  12. Adawg

    Adawg New Member

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    I have this exact mechanism in my Bonair. The Pawl is not engaging and I have cleaned around the spring and it is still not working correctly. Should I be pulling it out to refurbish this?
     
  13. Haybale

    Haybale I'd rather be camping!!

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    You might want to start a new thread this one is almost 4 years old...
     
  14. Haybale

    Haybale I'd rather be camping!!

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    Update so I can find this on my phone tomorrow!!

    1339
     
  15. theresah

    theresah New Member

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    I have been looking for the height the roof on my starcraft starlounge should be when up. I have read about roofs being stuck up and I do not want to raise it up to far. When I called starcraft, they just said there should be a green cable that shows the correct height. When I explained there is no cable and it is a used camper, they said they can not help and go to a dealer. Really? Thanks for any help.
     
  16. Haybale

    Haybale I'd rather be camping!!

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    I'd say raise it up to where the door fits decently and the canvas is just getting tight but not stretched. At least that is where I'd start.
     
  17. theresah

    theresah New Member

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    Thanks for your suggestion. My DH cranked to far this weekend and we heard a loud pop. We were able to put it back down. Not sure what the pop was but hope we did not do something to damage it.
     
  18. Haybale

    Haybale I'd rather be camping!!

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    If it was a cable, it might be easier to replace while closed!
     
  19. Alli

    Alli New Member

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    This new pup owner is Batt **** Crazy right about now! Quickest entry and turn around EVER! Started when the guy delivered. Said he needed to run and get coffee, but would be back. I wasn't about to let him inside our place so off he went. Never to return. I end up being left to put gate back up, which was a "task" all by itself. After that, I stared at new (to us) pup and thought "how tough can it be?" Grabbed the crank and started turning. All went well. After adjustments in front end finally got door to open. Called DMV this morning and it's not stolen so that's the highlight.

    No title, no bill of sale. He GOT me, but my mistake all around. I own them. I figured I'll sell it to somebody who has a place for it to stay. No road miles. I dont want to deal with the bonded and paperwork.

    The pup won't release and is stuck upright. I've spent hours perusing trying to figure out what i'm missing. All the cables are in tact and it's a very simple mechanism. There are no add ons once the roof is lifted. It seems like there's a lever or SOMETHING to release it. Loosey goosey doesn't let pup down. What am I missing?

    It's an 84 Starcraft Stardust
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 20, 2017
  20. Figuarus

    Figuarus New Member

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    I hate to resurrect a dead thread, but I'm kind of in the same boat with a bad lift mechanism.

    I lubricated the crap out of a dusty and mud-caked lift mechanism this morning.

    The catch pawl is finally moving, and i don't have to hold the crank handle with my snow shovel to keep the top up...

    The problem is now reversed. I can't get the top down now. I ended up having to remove the whole crank assembly tonight to get the dang thing in my garage.

    I had seen that fe4life had had the same problem, but i didnt see a breakdown or pictures of the fix. Is there someone out there has has an exploded view diagram of the crank assembly, or has pictures of how the entire assembly looks disassembled?
    some pictures for reference...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     

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