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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Help with Skamper Heco Lift System Corner Brackets Setup

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mvfariajr

San Diego, CA

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Posted: 03/13/22 11:40pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hello,

Newby here trying to get some help from you guys. I recently purchased a 1995 Skamper 060s Popup Truck Camper with a damaged roof and pulled the trigger on fixing it myself. I already removed the entire roof and in the process of reconstructing it. The roof is "almost" (feels like never ending) done, but I'm thinking a bit ahead and trying to figure it out what's the best way to mount it back.

As many of these campers, the corner brackets that holds the lift system to the roof is a huge issue. Seems like, specially when it gets wet, this brackets go right thru the roof. I'm guessing this happens because of lack of support on the side wood structures AND because these brackets have a certain angle to them?!

My first question is actually that: These corner brackets suppose to have an angle?! I would think they should be flat 90 degrees angle to hold the roof evenly. Mine seems to have a slightly angle when its all the way down, AND (most interesting) they twist while I lift it up. Here is a Dropbox link for pictures and videos: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/tbxxqd38g9w6xie/AAAFmHvqGheQCQQza1A8gVxZa?dl=0

I have seem other people putting a metal bar attached to the wood and the brackets to help the support. Which I will do that but before, I need to understand why these brackets move when lifting AND why aren't they in a flat 90 degrees angle?! My first idea/impression would be remove the torsion bar (I'm guessing that's what it makes them twist) and attached the corners somehow to the outer tube, but I'm not an engineer, so here I am..

On top of that, seems like the right side is a bit lower than the left side when it's all the way down. I'm not sure if that's how it should be or not.

Any help will be greatly appreciate it.

Thanks!

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joerg68

St. Ingbert, Germany

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Posted: 03/14/22 01:18am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

These roof lifts are known problem children with ageing campers.

There are torsion bars inside the upper tubes that run the length of the camper.
The bars are attached to the brackets in the rear, and to the lift arm at the front.
When the roof is lowered, they are loaded by gravity.
When you crank the roof up, the loaded springs unload and provide lift assistance.
When the lift is all the way up, they are fully unloaded. In that position, you should be able to pull out the torsion bar, I believe to the rear. If I remember correctly, the bar has square ends.

When the roof is stored all the way down, which it typically is for most of the time, the rear brackets are supposed to be level. They are kept in position by the roof structure. But there is a permanent angular force on them from the torsion bar, and when the roof begins to rot, the brackets begin to twist out of their mounting position under the force of the loaded spring.
The torsion bars themselves lose some of their spring properties if they are kept in the loaded position for a long time. You see the same with cars that use this type of spring.
Since there is only about 1/4 turn available to load the spring, both effects combine to reduce the assistance effect considerably, and the roof appears to become ever heavier (well it does when soaked with water) with time as you need a lot more force to crank it up.

Hope this helps, best wishes for your project!

* This post was edited 03/14/22 01:33am by joerg68 *


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JoeChiOhki

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Posted: 03/14/22 01:12pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Fixed(?) the images.




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RickW

Sacramento CA

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Posted: 03/17/22 09:13pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I am currently repairing my pop up roof with some of the same issues.

First, the design of the roof structure is flawed. The roof latches pull out on the aluminum skirt breaking the caulk joint and let water into the slot holding the plywood backing. With nowhere to drain, the water wicks into the plywood until it disintegrates. Then things start bending and falling apart. I am replacing the plywood with PVC trim and am about half done.

Second, The brackets on the back should be square when mounted. As mentioned, there is a torsion bar (with a hex head) inside the top tube that connects to the bracket. Over time, the tension and jostling causes the brackets to twist in the plywood. I plan to remove the roof, refit the brackets and attach a 7 ft. steel bar across the back to secure them from twisting. I just need to visit a friend with an overhead beam and chain hoist to lift the roof.

Check the internet for "heco roof repair", and "how to deal with the torsion bar lift system". There is one good instruction sheet written by a former TC manufacturer on how to properly torsion, adjust and reconstruct the Heco system.

Hope this helps,


Rick
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mvfariajr

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Posted: 03/18/22 11:36am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

RickW wrote:

I am currently repairing my pop up roof with some of the same issues.

First, the design of the roof structure is flawed. The roof latches pull out on the aluminum skirt breaking the caulk joint and let water into the slot holding the plywood backing. With nowhere to drain, the water wicks into the plywood until it disintegrates. Then things start bending and falling apart. I am replacing the plywood with PVC trim and am about half done.

Second, The brackets on the back should be square when mounted. As mentioned, there is a torsion bar (with a hex head) inside the top tube that connects to the bracket. Over time, the tension and jostling causes the brackets to twist in the plywood. I plan to remove the roof, refit the brackets and attach a 7 ft. steel bar across the back to secure them from twisting. I just need to visit a friend with an overhead beam and chain hoist to lift the roof.

Check the internet for "heco roof repair", and "how to deal with the torsion bar lift system". There is one good instruction sheet written by a former TC manufacturer on how to properly torsion, adjust and reconstruct the Heco system.

Hope this helps,


Thank you! I'm half way done doing my roof too.. do you mind sharing some pics? I'm just curious how's yours going, I'm planing on doing a metal plates where the brackets go too. Thanks!

RickW

Sacramento CA

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Posted: 04/03/22 09:41pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sorry for the delay in posting. I did not take photos when I started this repair. I returned from a trip with part of the side roof buckling and separated from the skirt. The front was sagging slightly. Upon close examination, all the plywood support for the front roof was completely disintegrated. Over the years, water had leaked into the support channel and, with no weep holes, completely rotted the plywood. I recaulked the seam between the roof and skirt many times, but to no avail.

I decided to not remove the roof during this repair. In order to get access, I lowered the roof half way. I added clamps to the HECO track and supports inside and out to keep everything stable. I also supported the front to make sure there was no sag in the roof.

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Shown below are the largest pieces I pulled out. The rest was splinters, rusty staples and dust for about 20 feet of roof perimeter. I had to scrape, chisel and sand the remaining wood and epoxy from the inside of the aluminum side roof.

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The original design is two 3-1/2 wide pieces of ½ inch plywood stapled and spliced together and epoxied to the aluminum roof. These wood pieces are inside a 1 inch wide channel in the aluminum skirt.
I decided to replace the side roof support with PVC trim. It comes in 3-1/2 lengths by ¾ inch thick. I also purchased lengths of ¼ inch thick lath to make the 1 inch thickness. A special order of 1 inch thick PVC is possible for $$$. PVC is not structurally rigid so I added a series of Simpson ties along the sides.

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As shown, I beveled the edges of the trim (and planed 1/8 inch off the bottom edge) to facilitate rotating into the channel. Liquid nails was applied to the inside of the trim and the inside of the aluminum roof. After the trim piece was inserted, the lath piece was inserted into the channel and everything clamped up until set.

After the glue cured, Simpson ties were attached along the inside of the sides to add rigidity to the assembly. From bottom to top on the right, the channel, the lath piece and the Simpson tie screwed to the PVC trim piece. On the left is the fabric of the top. The rusty looking part on top is Styrofoam that formed the curve of the roof when first assembled.

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This photo is a front corner showing (from bottom to top) the aluminum channel, the lath piece and the trim piece. Kinda like a wedding cake. Corner braces were reinstalled after this photo.

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The rear of the roof is in much better condition but the roof lifting brackets have twisted somewhat from the tension. I will have to disconnect and lift the roof for this repair, hopefully sometime in the near future. I have already been camping with the repaired top. So far, so good.

Hope this helps

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