Fabrication: 2002 Bonaire OhZone TourOh Lift System

jnbarrett

Member
Mar 30, 2022
96
Winnipeg, MB
Last weekend, we had some issues cranking up and down.

I got it home to discover that the main crank shaft had slipped and chewed up the crank gear and main (slipper) gear. It appears this happened before with the previous owner(s) and they tack welded the shaft collar on that keeps it from sliding (because they stripped the set screw). This is a Shelby 5438 winch so they don't make parts for it anymore.

I made up new gears in my laser software, cut them out of wood to test fit, then sent them off to a machine shop for them to water jet cut them out of steel. They worked beautifully. Smooth as butter, the pawl is engaging perfectly, and it's cranking easily.

As I was cranking it back up for the first time today, I was setting the cable lengths, everything looked good and I started cranking it up further when a cable snapped. Upon further inspection, the 2nd stage of the rear drivers side lift post is seized. We've always had an issue with that post sticking. I got the top up with some help and wedged a support under that corner, removed the post, and it took me about an hour to get the post extended it was so tight.

Once I got it extended, I could see where it was rubbing. I took a straight edge from my level and put it against the sides, it appears it's bent on the wider axis.

Tomorrow, I will try to bend it within tolerance using a couple of bottle jacks and fulcrum. I intend on marking with a marker each point that it's sticking.

Wish me luck ... they don't make these lift posts anymore. We have a family trip coming next weekend, so I need to get it serviceable for the time being until I can figure out a permanent fix (if this doesn't work out well).

Any suggestions if I need to replace?
 
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jnbarrett

Member
Mar 30, 2022
96
Winnipeg, MB
Follow up to my post ... here's the crank shaft gears and main (slipper) gear that were mangled.


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What happened was the shaft collar that prevents the crank shaft from slipping back and forth had a stripped set screw. Prior owners did a bad job tack welding it on to the shaft, it let go allowing the shaft to slip back and forth, grinding the gears up.

Here are the prototype gears I made from wood on my small hobby laser (main gear not shown), and the final water jet cut replacement gears (the main gear is 5/8"-11 LEFT HAND tapped ... I had to cut the shaft threads to clean them up as they were rounded out and preventing the new gear from threading on).

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The winch system now works smooth as butter!

Next post regarding my lift post that caused the cable to snap ...
 

jnbarrett

Member
Mar 30, 2022
96
Winnipeg, MB
So, after reinstalling my winch and testing it, I cranked it up only about 3-4 inches to adjust the cable lengths so that all 4 corners were lifting to the same height.

I had it all setup and started cranking it up the rest of the way, when half way up, the rear drivers side cable snapped. Ugh.

With some help, I got it raised and a post under it for support. I looked closely and then realized that the lift post was dangling from the roof and wasn't extended. I took the post out only to realize the bottom and middle stages were seized together, which likely caused the cable to snap.

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I tried to get them to slide apart, but they just wouldn't. I literally had to use a hammer and a drift to get them to a spot where I could slide them apart the rest of the way. I thought at first it was the bottom cable anchor point on the middle stage had bulged the metal, so I hammered it back (before even trying to initially slide them) without luck.

Then I took a straight edge and it appeared there was a very slight curve on the width axis of the bottom post. I tried to straighten it with only mild success. I could slide it by hand, but it was no where being close to sliding freely.

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By this point, I had wasted a little over half a day on this project and decided that I wasn't going to get any closer to my goal. I messaged my contact at the place that water jetted my new gears and they said they thought they could fix it, so I took it in over the weekend.

Today, I picked up my newly repaired lift post. Not only did they fabricate the entire bottom stage, but they made it from slightly heavier gauge steel, and put in the additional reinforcements across the open gap in the c-channel. It slides without any force except some gravity ... so basically sliding effortlessly. Newly repaired lift arm below.

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I work at a company that distributes, sells, and services commercial and residential overhead doors and related products, so for the cable I just made my own. The 1/8" cable used on the camper is a standard galvanized cable in the overhead door world, and we have bulk spools along with all the stops / crimps / tools to make them quickly (if you have a problem with your cables, take them into a OHD company for them to make you a new one at a fraction of the cost of what the RV dealers want for them).

Tonight, I'll get the post reinstalled and the new cable ran. I better hurry my ass off, we have a family camping trip this weekend.
 

jnbarrett

Member
Mar 30, 2022
96
Winnipeg, MB
Repair successful.

I didn't have time to post any photos of the repair last week as I was on a time crunch to get repaired post and new cable installed. While I was in there, I noticed the corner (the one area I missed upon inspecting this trailer prior to buying it) was rotten.

My rotary tool decided to die, and I needed to get the floor fixed that evening or we'd miss our camping trip. What did I do? I got out a chisel and hammer, and chipped it out. It was so soft, it was very easy to get the rotten wood out. I quickly cut a replacement board out of what I had laying around (3/4" green pressure treated) and smacked it back in from the outside, and bent the lip on the steel skin back into place, stapled it, installed the post and cable, tweaked the cable tensions, and BAM .... worked perfectly. If I had more time, I would have removed the cabinet, but that would have also meant disconnecting the fridge and pulling that out - which I had no time for. It's not an ideal repair, but it ain't bad for an hour of work to fix that corner of the floor.

In the fall or next spring, we are ripping out all the cabinets and doing a full overhaul / reno of our camper. I may just replace the entire floor with marine plywood and be done with it at that time, if not, I'll do a proper repair job at that time. We wanted to camp in it this year first so we could determine what improvements worked for us to make life easier and the layout more function for our family.

Here's a photo of the replaced floor corner, new post, and the new cable (not really visible but kinda lol) ....

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