What? Stabilizers down after the top is up?

Discussion in 'Stabilizing Your Camper' started by MyName, Apr 8, 2018.

  1. MyName

    MyName Active Member

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    I'm glad I was scrolling and saw this. I guess I've been doing this wrong.
    so ... Why?
     
  2. myride

    myride Well-Known Member

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    If there down before raising top you run the risk of twisting frame...or the lifr system binding.....follow your manual.....some say stabs before lifting.
     
  3. Natureangel

    Natureangel Everythings better outdoors...

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    My Rockwood instructions say to put stabs down then raise the roof.
     
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  4. BelchFire

    BelchFire I speak fluent vise-grip

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    For Fleetwood/Coleman owners, it's "Up, Down, Up, Down". Top up, stabilizers down, then when packing up, stabilizers up, top down. As myride said, putting the stabilizers down introduces a lot of force on the frame, sidewalls and most importantly, the lift system. Some manufacturers have determined that their system works better or worse, with or without these forces in place. I've always suspected that Fleetwood's opinion is based on the fact that the camper is squared up while it's being built without any force on the frame or lift system, so basic logic says that's the way it's going to lift best. Of course, I have no evidence of why, but the instructions say to lift the top before I engage the stabilizers. And it works great! :)
     
  5. f5moab

    f5moab Retired from the Federal Government

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    I've been raising the roof after the stabs have been drop and in place since I have had the trailer. That is what my dealer said, and that is what my manual says. If level and the roof lift system is operating correctly I would love to know how the frame could twist and cause damage.
     
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  6. theseus

    theseus Centerville, OH

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    Yes follow this advice. Every manufacturer has something different...
     
  7. roybraddy

    roybraddy Well-Known Member

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    I do mine after the top is up and door is set in place...

    On mine I have to get level end to end or I can't open my door after I have the upper door in place. I have a bubble level gauge mounted below the bottom door to show me how level it is.
    [​IMG]

    I also like to drop the back down an inch or so to allow any roof water drain to go to the back side of the POPUP and not drain in the patio sitting area...

    This is what we do at any rate...

    Roy Ken
    [​IMG]
     
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  8. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    It just depends on the manufacturer. I don't know if the different types of lift systems come into play too.
    Our first pup had external lifters, and it didn't seem to matter when the stabs were put in place. We never saw a copy of the manual until we'd had it a few years, we were the third owners.
    Our 2010 Coleman definitely had the stabs put down after the roof was raised. I could hear things creaking and adjusting slightly as the roof was raised. (50 or so rotations of the crank - I took a couple of breaks.)
    The other thing to remember, to prevent damage, is that the stabs are just that, and not to put too much pressure on those when they're put down. Snug them enough to stabilize, no lift at all. (The jacks on larger RVs are designed to lift, as are the frames if the camper is so equipped.)
     
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  9. Raycfe

    Raycfe Waterford Ct.

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    I had sold our Coleman last fall and got a call about the door not fitting or canvas. Stopped by the new owners house and there was my loved Coleman cranked up so the tires were off the ground. The stabilizers are just that .... stabilizers .......... just to take the wiggle out ...... not to twist the body. So ..... the suggestion of stabilizers up lets the lift system work easier. Just put them down before you walk inside... or you could do a wheelie. And don't over do ti.
     
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  10. durhamcamper

    durhamcamper Active Member

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    I don't get it either. My previous pup was a Dutchmen with a Goshen lift system so level the pup, put the stabs down then raise the roof. That makes sense to me. You are only snugging the stabs, not cranking them. Not enough force to twist anything.
    But my Fleetwood says roof up first. And IMO, the Fleetwood seems to have a stronger, beefier frame. After 7 years with the Dutchmen, I am still having a hard time changing my initial setup procedure. A couple of times I did stabs first and had no issues, then realized I wasn't paying attention.
    You would think that putting the stabs down first would actually help avoid a possibility of any force that would twist the frame.
     
  11. Bowman3d

    Bowman3d Well-Known Member

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    It has to do with the frame being rigid,with the stab up the Pup absorbs the any shocks and swaying while lifting and lowering with the stab. Down the lift system absorbs all the shock. Kind of like dry firing a bow without an arrow in it. Do it too many times and your bow is going to come apart on you.
     
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  12. 1380ken

    1380ken Well-Known Member

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    I doesn't make any difference. The important thing is to remember to put them down.
     
  13. TRR

    TRR Active Member

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    I drop the stabilizers first thing but don't tighten them up before raising the roof. That way things are flexible but if I were to forget them later the camper doesn't do a full wheelie. Once the top is fully up I go back and tighten the stabs before sliding out the bunks.

    Coming down, the stabs always get put up as soon as the bunks are slid in. That way I don't accidently drive off with them down.
     
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  14. crackerJack

    crackerJack Well-Known Member

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    That is my ritual as well.
     
  15. Boatnman

    Boatnman Well-Known Member

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    We do the same as TRR and crackerJack. However, "as per the manual" is the correct sequence.

    The weight distribution of the roof changes as soon as the roof starts to go up. When closed, the roof rests on more than the lift arms. When the roof starts to rise, only the lift arms support it. So the frame goes from a more evenly distributed load to 4 concentrated point loads. Technically, the stabilizers can be set under a Fleetwood/Coleman as soon as the roof becomes supported only by the lift arms since the point loads don't change after that and the frame has already reacted (flexed) to those loads. Setting the stabilizers before the roof is supported by the lift arms restricts how the frame can react to the point loads.
     
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  16. 1380ken

    1380ken Well-Known Member

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    That sounds good but in reality how much does the roof weight? How much force is on each lift arm? How much force twisting the frame? How much of a difference will the stabilizers make? If the frame can twist so easily then I would be worried about people walking in the camper.
     
  17. Boatnman

    Boatnman Well-Known Member

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    Well, since you can adjust the stabilizers to the point that the door doesn't fit, I'd say the frame has a fair amount of movement. That's not to say the frame is not safe, just flexible. Does it make a difference? Maybe, maybe not - it would depend on the trailer and how it was stabilized before the roof was raised. The manufacturer knows best (hopefully) so do as your manual states.

    If your manual states to stabilize after raising, you can still stabilize before, but you should check the stabilizers and adjust accordingly after the roof is raised.
     
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  18. f5moab

    f5moab Retired from the Federal Government

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    I would love for someone to come forward with some irrefutable proof that the stabs used to raise a trailer will actually cause damage to a frame. I do not mean anecdotal I mean PROOF.
    I personally, have lifted the rear right corner of the trailer a good four inches with the stab and did ABSOLUTELY NO DAMAGE. And I know a person who has used his stabs to lift the trailer for tire removal and did NO damage.
    Also, if you are using a bottle jack to life a side to change a tire, that is probably more force being applied to a small area than with the larger plate and mounting for a stab.

    Beginning to believe it is one of those internet sayings that are similar to people saying certain tires are illegal, you will get a ticket, you will be sued, etc.

    And it certainly appears that one company says to lower first then raise the roof, while another company says not too.

    So who really cares is the stabs go down first or not, so long as that is what you are comfortable doing and there appears to be NO damage to a frame.
     
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  19. BelchFire

    BelchFire I speak fluent vise-grip

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    Amen and AMEN! But you're not raising the roof; you're changing a tire.

    I can't speak for everyone, but my point is not that you may damage the frame, but that you may torque the frame enough to misalign the lifting posts to the point that they bind and/or create unintended wear when you raise the roof. Once you release the pressure on the stabs, this torque may go away but not before it caused problems for you lifting. If you put enough of a bind on them, you risk breaking a cable. Even if you don't break a cable, you risk creating unintended wear that may make raising the roof harder and harder over time. Alignment is very crucial to a telescoping mechanism and the smooth operation that we like when raising the roof. Some manufacturers opine that alignment is best with the stabs up and some opine that the alignment is best with the stabs down. I would tend to defer to my owner's manual, no matter what brand of p'up I own.

    In short, it's not the frame that I worry about, it's the smooth, intended operation of the lifting mechanism while raising the roof.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2018
    myride likes this.
  20. myride

    myride Well-Known Member

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    Well.....here's my take on it....if the manufacturer suggests one way over the other...why the argument...or need for proof.......

    DO AS THE MANUAL SUGGESTS
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
    silvermickey2002 and BelchFire like this.

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