Pop Up Camper Project Begins!

Project 1: New Lift Cables

When we bought our tent camper, the previous owner told us the lift cables were bad. But they didn’t say how bad.

They also didn’t tell us when the cables snapped, they just kept cranking until they couldn’t crank anymore.

This is after I pulled the spaghetti mess of cables.

Step one in the project is getting the roof lifted up high enough I can get inside and work. This is a challenge when you’re working alone. But, I managed to get it up a couple feet.

A trick I found on a Google search was to cut some 2×2” or 2×4” boards in 4” increments. I had some sticks left over from another project, so I chopped them down to the sizes I needed, in pairs.

The idea is to raise each end of the roof 4” at a time, but one end 4” higher than the other. Then stick the appropriate length board in by the lift support rail so you can move to the other side. For example, I lifted the rear up 4”, then the front 8”. Then I went back to the rear and went up 12”, and so on.

To get It to raise by myself, I used a 3 ton floor jack and a 2×4” at various lengths to lift it. But, I had to stop half way up because my floor jack and longest 2×4” couldn’t get high enough.

As I lifted the roof, I also discovered the canvas that has supposedly only one small hole in it is now disintegrated in the rear corners. Fun. New canvas on order now.

Bad canvas….yay <sadness>

Once I got the top up high enough, I was able to pull all of the junk out, gain access to the cables, and make room to work.

This cabinet will have to stay for now.

With room to work I started pulling out most of the broken and poorly done cables. It was redone before, but it wasn’t done right it appears.

Once the mess was cleared, I installed the new main cable. I wish I would have gotten a picture of how the cable mounts to the crank, but it goes through a hole in the side and to a clamp on the outside of the wheel.

End of the new main cable that the lift cables attached to.

Running these new cables to the rear was a bit of a challenge. Especially with this breaker box on a board with screws poking out of it. Add that to the project list.

The cables had to run behind the cabinets, and unfortunately wasn’t run through a chase of some kind. So, I had to pull out a lot of drawers, doors and a cabinet.

The photos below show mostly how the cables attach at the end once it is run through the track. The track is actually a square tube that the cable is punched through, then a lift spring is pushed through. The end of the cable slides in a slot in a hollow block. When you crank the roof up, the cable pulls on that block and pushes the lift spring up into the lift rods between the wall and the roof.

Since I needed to pull some of the tracks out to pull the spring and cable through easier, I had to go underneath the camper and take off the 7/16” nuts, as shown below.

In the rear of the camper, I was able to leave the tracks in with just one end loose and pull the spring out of a storage compartment door. You can also see where I had to pull a cabinet out to run the new cable through the pulley.

Once all the cables were run, I connected them to the block on the main cable. The lift cables still need adjustment and is why the block is crooked. I may also need to let the eye bolts out a little to help with raising the roof to the right height.

Fortunately, I got done just as the rain moved in. The roof raises and lowers as it should. I wanted to raise it all the way, but i needed to close things up before it started pouring. I’ll add a fully lifted photo later, or just post it on the blog with our next project.

I know this isn’t the most comprehensive write up on replacing your Jayco lift cables, but it’s my experience, and it might hopefully help someone who plans to take on this project. I think in total it took me 4-5 hours and working by myself.

If you need a more in-depth set of instructions, please check YouTube and Google. There is plenty of information on this project. That’s where I pulled my info from. The biggest help was this video on YouTube that was about an hour long, but informative.

If you have any questions on this project, let me know and I’ll do the best I can to help!

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