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Old 03-14-2005, 10:00 AM   #1
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Well,
A friend was moving, and we got volunteered to help (at the last minute). So as I was trying to get the camper off the truck, I had a number of problems.

The first is that our driveway is at a slant. This has always required that the front jacks be extended almost all the way to the danger line to get the camper level, and high enough to get off the bed of the truck.

Apparently, the jacks also probably needed some lubrication, as they were laboring a little more than usual this time.

I did manage to pull the truck out from under the camper, but when I was lowering the camper, well, let's just say the sights and sounds were not pretty. I quickly put the truck back under the front of the camper and managed to get it back on safely.

Now I know that if I lubricate the jacks (happijacks) I should be able to correct the issue with the noise and the operation.

What this won't take care of are the heebie jeebies I get everytime I try this operation. On flat ground, it's probably not much of an issue. My driveway isn't a huges slope, probably just about a 1 over 12 (1 foot drop over 12 feet).

I'm seriously considering the stable lift jacks, it just sounds like a much more, well, stable configuration. I asked the manufacturer and they assured me that the stable lift should be able to handle this slope.

The happijacks with the dually brackets just seem to sway and bend way more than I'd like to see when I'm performing this operation.

I'm wondering if anyone else has any experiences with removal/replacement of the camper on a slight slope with the traditional 4 post system?

Thanks in advance for any feedback..

Sincerely,

Brent
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Old 03-14-2005, 10:00 AM   #2
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Well,
A friend was moving, and we got volunteered to help (at the last minute). So as I was trying to get the camper off the truck, I had a number of problems.

The first is that our driveway is at a slant. This has always required that the front jacks be extended almost all the way to the danger line to get the camper level, and high enough to get off the bed of the truck.

Apparently, the jacks also probably needed some lubrication, as they were laboring a little more than usual this time.

I did manage to pull the truck out from under the camper, but when I was lowering the camper, well, let's just say the sights and sounds were not pretty. I quickly put the truck back under the front of the camper and managed to get it back on safely.

Now I know that if I lubricate the jacks (happijacks) I should be able to correct the issue with the noise and the operation.

What this won't take care of are the heebie jeebies I get everytime I try this operation. On flat ground, it's probably not much of an issue. My driveway isn't a huges slope, probably just about a 1 over 12 (1 foot drop over 12 feet).

I'm seriously considering the stable lift jacks, it just sounds like a much more, well, stable configuration. I asked the manufacturer and they assured me that the stable lift should be able to handle this slope.

The happijacks with the dually brackets just seem to sway and bend way more than I'd like to see when I'm performing this operation.

I'm wondering if anyone else has any experiences with removal/replacement of the camper on a slight slope with the traditional 4 post system?

Thanks in advance for any feedback..

Sincerely,

Brent
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Old 03-14-2005, 12:52 PM   #3
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Loading and unloading a TC on a slope can be very difficult. It also puts a lot of strain on the jacks and jack attachment points. Even a rather mild 1/12 slope can be very problematic.

I really don't have any helpful information for you, except to avoid slopes if at all possible.

Good Luck,
BradW
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Old 03-14-2005, 01:13 PM   #4
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Brad, that's certainly been my experience as well. I have used some concrete pads, with some wedges I cut out of 4x4's to help alleviate the stress, etc. but there has always been a relatively high pucker factor in doing the loading and unloading on this slope.
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Old 03-14-2005, 03:34 PM   #5
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Brad, I have the same BigFoot 2500 as you and the trick is to get the truck level first. I drive the truck up on a 3 inch thick timber to get it level, than I lower the legs on concrete blocks (so I don't have to extend the legs to the max).
Mick
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Old 03-14-2005, 05:15 PM   #6
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Man you guys are scaring me! I allmost lost my first camper when then wind came up and I was extended as far as the jacks would go. The whole camper twisted and was going over if I hadent grabbed and held on till my neidhbors kid hadn't heard me yell for help and come over and lower the jacks while I steadied the camper. Never tried unloading in that spot again. Scotty.
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Old 03-15-2005, 03:07 AM   #7
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Brent,
After about two years my front jacs (Bigfoot 3000) were howling from strain. With the jacs extended I removed the white caps and pumped oil into the hole...ran the jacs up and down a couple of times. The howling quit and the jacs run a lot smoother. Camper is now 5 years old and I recently removed the jacs and did the oil treatment again. It is a messy job as excess oil runs down the square pipe. However, the jacs run very smoothly. When I received the camper included were several bags of the white plugs provided by happijac; instructions on the bag were to remove the plugs and poor oil into them--giving lubrication.

On raising on an inclined....I would never try it unless there was an emergency situation. Even with the truck on a normal flat surface (no incline) I get a bit nervous raising the camper to the jac red line. Sitting so high the unit is very wobbly.

IVER
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Old 03-16-2005, 07:17 PM   #8
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I did it once on my main driveway and the jacks have never been the same. It bent the brackets and I am always extra cautious. My new truck is sooo much higher than my old one, I had to have the jacks all the way out too.

Now I use two cinderblocks and a treated 2x6 to make up the distance. I built a table out of an old door and anchored some legs. I lower it back down onto this to keep the sway factor down when its unloaded now.
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Old 03-17-2005, 09:55 AM   #9
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The problem is, when you unload on sloped ground, the distances between the jack feet are less than the distances when you try to level it up on the sloped ground. As you bring the camper to level, the jack feet start trying to pull apart and this puts a lot of stress on the jacks and the jack attachment points on the camper. The worse the slope, the worse the stress is.

The exact opposite happens when you load on sloped ground, but is doesn't seem quite as bad.

BradW
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Old 03-17-2005, 12:51 PM   #10
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Never really thought about it that way, but it sure makes a lot of sense. Time to dust off the geometry calculations and see what is going on.....

Well, my geometry calcs aren't very good, but Visio can help me out. This drawing shows a 1 foot drop over 11 feet. On level ground, the distance between the feet is, uh, 11 feet.

Assuming that the camper was parallel to the ground when the jacks hit it (as it would be on the back of your truck), as you bring the camper up to level, you would be inducing about a half inch change in distance between the two.

Ok, I'm really bad with math, but this does seem to make sense.



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Old 03-17-2005, 04:06 PM   #11
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Brent,

Very nice drawing!

I was going to try and check you number, but I left my calculator with the trig functions at work. Did you solve for the 11' .46" graphicaly?

BradW
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Old 03-17-2005, 04:21 PM   #12
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Visio has a special dimensional 'callout' feature. Basically, I just glued the endpoints of the callout to the base of the legs and changed the angle.

I'm a computer guy, so of course, all my ability to do math vanished shortly after starting to use Excel, etc...

I know the theory of the numbers, and can write programs to generate the answers, I just can't do it by hand anymore!

I am going to go out and measure the slope on my driveway sometime soon. The angle in the picture should be to scale, but it just looks too steep to me.

At any rate, a half inch may not sound like much, but with the weight of the camper, and the height we are talking about, I think it really does account for the bending brackets and bars and sounds I've witnessed doing this.

I've had the camper since 2000, and have probably done the load/unload cycle about 10-12 times on this slope. I've used a combination of concrete pavers and wedge shaped 4by's to compensate for the front legs. However I've never felt comfortable about it and have always breathed a huge sigh of relief when it was over!

Thanks to your comment, I now know the 'why' behind my being uncomfortable with this...

Thanks Brad!

Brent
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Old 03-17-2005, 06:01 PM   #13
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Brent,

I love Excel! I started out on Lotus 123 and it was hard for me to give it up, but I kept having to use machines that had Excel and didn't have Lotus. I'm a full convert now. Every once in a while I still run across one of my old .wk1 files.

I'm going to email you an Excel file I made that calculates the camper weight that each axle carries.

I agree, a 1/2" doesn't sound like much. I don't think it is when the jack legs are all the way extended. But as they are retracted, there is less and less flex in the legs, so there is more stress on the jacks. Sometimes, I can see the jack feet start to slide as the legs are retracted.

BradW
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Old 03-17-2005, 06:39 PM   #14
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Not to take this too much off topic, but when I started in this business, I used lotus a whole lot as well, and it was quite amazing what could be accomplished with a few dos batch files, lotus 123 macros, and harvard graphics (think powerpoint, but much more basic).

In somewhere around 90/91 I had created a system that would automatically extract data from a database, load into lotus and process, and then use harvard graphics to output some very important executive reports....

Its amazing, but I'm still doing basically the same thing, just with different, more complicated tools!

And I still have trouble with basic math! (well, except for fractions, I do some woodworking as a hobby and that helps, but only to around 32'nds)

Sincerely,

Brent
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