Whiffle Tree- How hard to replace?

Discussion in 'Lift Systems' started by Nicole Nguyen, Aug 14, 2018.

  1. Nicole Nguyen

    Nicole Nguyen New Member

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    Hello All!

    I am new to the site and have been combing through all of the posts. This place is super informative! So much so that I have a question for you.....

    I recently bought a 1996 Coleman Laredo Pop Up a couple of weeks ago. The guy assured me that everything was in proper working order, and it was set up when I arrived (you can see where this is going, I am sure- big mistake)... Brought it home, put in garage, and set it up about half way so that I could take out the nasty sheet vinyl and give it a quick paint job on the inside (the roof ac and ceiling shelving prevented it from going any further).

    I admired my work, closed it up, and loaded up the kids to take it to the desert this past weekend for the meteor shower.

    I cranked it up to set up camp and I heard a loud pop. Looked at all the cables- all in order. Went to turn the crank to back it down (thinking maybe went too far) and it kept thumping with something bumping against the floor of the trailer. It was getting dark so I couldn't mess with it anymore, and I figured it was set up, so future me would deal with it in morning when it was time to break down camp. I spent all night looking through posts here and watching youtube videos, convinced I knew the issue. Tried the vise grip pliers on the drive shaft trick but the top wouldn't budge. Still the thumping noise. Pulled off the cover protecting the whiffle tree and found the problem..... The jerk that sold me the trailer had a bandaid repair on a broken thrust nut in the form of a pipe clamp around it to secure it! It was enough to get it to go down once, but the force of bringng the top all the way up caused the "fix" to fail.

    Needless to say I need to replace a thrust nut (and a whiffle tree since I had to close the top by rotating the whiffle tree by hand with pliers and messed up the threads at the end- I am sure there was a way to close it without damaging whiffle tree but I wasn't thinking straight in 110 deg desert heat with 3 kids ready to go home).

    My question at the end of this (super long) post is- how hard is it to replace the whiffle tree and thrust nut? I am tempted to just get the whiffle tree, thrust nut, and crank assembly rebuild kit and replace the whole thing while I am down there. I really don't want to take it to someone to repair because I don't want to drop upwards of a thousand dollars or more on a trailer I paid $2,500 for. I consider myself somewhat mechanical but am not a mechanic by trade.

    Thoughts (aside from me needing to work on brevity)?
     
  2. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

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    call the jerk.
     
  3. jnc

    jnc Welcome from New Hampshire

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  4. Nicole Nguyen

    Nicole Nguyen New Member

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    @Halford - Oh, I did. I was furious on Sunday. He claimed that he never had any issues with it and that he had never taken the plate off before (calling bs bc it was the only thing with new bolts) so had no idea it had a "faulty repair." He also stated that I was still getting a "good deal." The guy is a piece of work but it's now my problem. In the end, I am the stupid one for being a little too trusting and not knowing what issues to look for in a used trailer. I clearly didn't do a thorough enough inspection, and relied a little too much on his word.

    It is a little perplexing that this is the part that failed, though... During my research, I have found plenty of things relating to worn out threads on drive shaft (which is what I initially thought it was) but not anyone talking about how their thrust nut broke. The rolls pins are still inserted in the whiffle tree, which I would've assumed would've been the weaker part. Clearly I have some things to learn about these lift systems! No better way to learn than hands on, I guess....
     
  5. Nicole Nguyen

    Nicole Nguyen New Member

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    photos to give an idea of what I am up against. The last photo is the "repair" that failed. o_O
     

    Attached Files:

  6. myride

    myride Well-Known Member

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    Firstly Welcome to the PUP Nicole. Bully for you for spending the time searching out a fix or resolution to get the Kids and Pup back home...says a lot about your nature. Unfortunately there are "liars-cheats and crooks" everywhere but mostly people would have come clean regarding the fix prior to your purchase...say a lot about HIS nature.
    Anyways, by the sounds of it and your fix to get it home I firmly believe you can handle the repair....you already have been under the pup, know what to look for and realize that a new whiffle tree and rebuild kit is the best recourse. Plenty of members here have done the same repair and I'm sure one will pop in and offer you some advise.
     
  7. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

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    after looking at the pics, yes, buy the long threaded bolt whiffletree.
     
  8. tfischer

    tfischer Well-Known Member

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    Don't be so hard on yourself, how could you possibly have found this? One doesn't expect to take apart the lift system for inspection before buying...

    Was the camper owned by another owner before the seller? It's possible the "patch" happened before him.
     
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  9. jnc

    jnc Welcome from New Hampshire

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    I know this wont address you issue but I believe it maybe helpful and if you can talk with the guy that runs the page I'm sure he can help.
    HERE
     
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  10. Byrd_Huntr

    Byrd_Huntr Well-Known Member

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    Is welding the broken shaft an option?
     
  11. Nicole Nguyen

    Nicole Nguyen New Member

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    @myride @Halford Thanks! I am looking forward to being a part of the community! I have ordered the parts and am hoping that they arrive quickly so I can get this little trailer put back together and out camping again!

    @tfischer - The guy I bought the trailer from had it for a few years, and prior to that his dad was the original owner... I do find it hard to believe that the father would pass on a trailer to his son in that condition (and that the "fix" would've even held out that long) but who knows! I am not going to hold onto any ill will towards the guy either way. Definitely a live and learn situation. I do really like the little trailer (especially after a week of remodeling the inside). Aside from the issue of getting it back down it was a great trip, and my older kids and I are making it our own (we were looking forward to posting our before and after pics on this forum). My husband is overseas so this is our little thing to keep us occupied. Looks like I have an extra (unexpected) project to tackle!

    @jnc- This page that you linked is the one that I studied for a long time after I realized the predicament that I was in! He definitely helped me understand how the lift system comes together, and it was a lifesaver. It's one of those thing that (at least for me) you don't think about until it fails!

    @Byrd_Huntr - I would imagine that I probably could weld the whiffle tree end to the thrust nut (seriously- why don't those two pieces come as one?!) but while I know how to operate power tools, I have never tried my hand at welding. This probably wouldn't be a very good first project! :wink:
     
  12. jsalexan7

    jsalexan7 Flatlander

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    I wonder if you couldn't get a shop to sleeve it back up to size so it can be rethreaded. A new thrust nut is around 50 bucks on ColemanPopupParts.com.

    On the same site, a whole whiffle tree assembly is in the vicinity of 250 so you'd be dropping $300+ bucks for the parts.

    Ebay has some things that may be worth a shot. If you were able to find matching parts on there the cost would drop to around $100-$150

    It may also be worth checking Craigslist in your area to see if somebody is parting out a similar model year camper that you could snag the parts off of. A lot of the older pups end up as utility trailers when they hit end of life.
     
  13. giadiep

    giadiep Active Member

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    Sorry to hear about your problem. I think you should write the guy a letter describing what you found and the danger he put you and your 3 young kids in. You should include a picture of the blatantly faulty repair job that was done (hose clamp) and a copy of your receipt for the replacement parts. Ask him to reimburse you for the parts and tell him that you will cover the labor. Send the letter certified so he knows you mean business. If he doesn’t step up, post your story on Facebook.

    Years ago, I sold a boat and motor, even ran it for the buyer before. His first time out with the boat, the water impeller failed. He called me upset. I apologized and reminded him that he tested it and it was working fine. But I offered to pay for the part and he could pay for the labor. We were both happy afterwards.
     
  14. Nicole Nguyen

    Nicole Nguyen New Member

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    @giadiep- Thanks! You are a much more upstanding person than most seem to be this day and age!! Somewhere along the way things seem to have changed in regards to how we treat our fellow humans. My family is new to this part of the country and we have found it also seems to be a little more of "don't trust or be trusted" than we are used to. I grew up in a small town where everyone left their doors unlocked. Here we are in a neighborhood with a gate and a guard that patrols the area!

    I have ordered the parts, will attempt the repair, and won't look back! :)
     
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  15. smit1088

    smit1088 Well-Known Member

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    So the pictures looked like the thrust nut snapped. Interesting, but not hard to replace. Let us know how it went.
     
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