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Old 07-29-2010, 10:30 AM
FatBaldGuy FatBaldGuy is offline
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: SLC, USA
Posts: 4,079
Cranking up/down a tent trailer

Our family has a tent trailer that we love to use for camping. In fact, this is the third tent tralier that we've owned.

For those who don't know what a tent trailer is, they're sometimes called popup trailers or other names. The top half of the trailer cranks up for camping and has beds that slide out in the front and back, then it collapses for towing. The top is raised and lowered by a winch with a hand crank. Some are motorized, but ours isn't.

Here's the part that puzzles me. We have been told by the dealers, and also the owners manuals that the stabilzing jacks on the 4 corners of the trailer should not be in position while the trailer is being raised or lowered, because it could possibly cause damage to the lifter system.

This is counter-intuitive to me. It seems that if the trailer is level and stabilized that it would be better for the lifter. I know that when I crank it up without the stabilzers in place I get a lot more rocking and swaying as I turn the crank.

Does anyone know the reason for this recommendation? Does it make a difference if the trailer is on a flat paved surface as opposed to a slight incline where the footing is perhaps a little more precarious for the stablizer jacks?

Fellow RV-ing dopers, help me understand why I should do it this way.
Old 07-29-2010, 10:50 AM
Leaffan Leaffan is offline
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 22,812
No idea, but my guess would be that if the trailer was 100% level then there wouldn't be an issue. There would be an issue though if the trailer was stabilized, and you thought it was level, but it really wasn't.

Leaving the stabilizers off ensures the top is free to "float" to the fully extended point without applying uneven forces to the four corners.
Old 07-29-2010, 10:57 AM
Machine Elf Machine Elf is offline
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Challenger Deep
Posts: 10,568
Had one of these pop-up trailers while growing up. I don't remember the order in which we did things, but I suppose it's possible to distort the entire trailer chassis by bearing weight on the stabilizer jacks instead of the main wheels and hitch wheel. If the lifting mechanism is designed/assembled for proper function when the trailer is supported by the main wheels, then the mechanism may bind when the chassis is distorted by the lifting jacks. That's all fine when the top is already lifted and not in motion, but if you're trying to raise/lower the top while the mechanism is binding, you may end up with excessive loads on the mechanism, as well as rubbing/wear on parts to that could cause problems in the long run.
Old 07-29-2010, 10:58 AM
johnpost johnpost is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 12,056
if the trailer is rigid the lifter may bind up. without the stabilizers down the lifter has some play and can move allowing for the wear of the mechanism.


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