Jayco roof lift broken

Submitted: Wednesday, Nov 11, 2009 at 17:53

Member - Phantom (WA)

Hi Everyone,
My new second hand Penguin has just done a rear lift arm. There is a spring dangling about and I have propped it up with a broom handle.
I have heard that it an issue with these but didn't expect so soon.
Has anyone had one repaired? Can you do it yourself or if not, is it a costly repair?

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Reply By: AlanTH - Wednesday, Nov 11, 2009 at 18:02

Wednesday, Nov 11, 2009 at 18:02
Is that a wind-up camper? If so it's not unusual and my mates fathers brand new one snapped the wire in Augusta and he had to stay in Bunbury while it was fixed under warranty.
He wasn't a happy Jayco owner.
AnswerID: 390899

Reply By: Member - Warrie (NSW) - Wednesday, Nov 11, 2009 at 21:11

Wednesday, Nov 11, 2009 at 21:11
Hi Phantom, Jayco don't seem to have changed the winder/cable/spring/telescopic arm mechanism for 30 years.Well almost, they use steel pulleys now, my 79 Swan had plastic. Forgetting to release the roof clips before winding is a common cause of snapping the cable.
You can buy cable at van dealers or boat shops. Maybe go up to a thicker cable as long as it fits around the pulleys.The cable grip on your original where it loops thru the adjusting screw is probably a non serviceable crimp. Cut it off and secure the new cable with cable grips available at hardware stores.
A good coat of grease on all pulleys and the extension springs can't go astray. If the above sounds fiddly, it is, but for $20 it's a cheap repair. Could be a $200 job plus hassle of taking van to a repairer. If a longer cable broke, keep it as a spare as the short bit left might still fit if a front cable breaks...... W

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Reply By: PradOz - Thursday, Nov 12, 2009 at 20:53

Thursday, Nov 12, 2009 at 20:53
yes you can do this yourself if you are the handy type with patience and time on your hands. if you want to do it you need to understand how it all works first. i cannot explain it all here but suggest you search internet for a book called "trevor eastman's camper care - book 2 service and repair manual jayco"

probably cost $30 to $45 but you have it for all your maintenance and any repair issues. handy to leave it in there in case something goes wrong when you are away - most likely as you wont break it when its stored at home.

also i would not go greasing up everything as it can cause bigger problems when the grease packs up and blocks up the "push rods" which in turn places strain on the cable then he "eye bolts" and then BANG something gives and you think that is your problem, but it is just the end result and you have another "cause" to fix as well as the "end result".

I use silicone spray to lubricate but RP7 or WD40 could be used. Best to wipe on not overspray it so it goes everywhere, and wreck canvas etc

not sure how much a dealer or repairer would charge - probably $300 - 500??? You are really paying for their time as most parts are small (but still excessively dealer priced) Just be sure the repairer knows what they are doing first or you will still have a problem after parting with your cash....
AnswerID: 391040

Follow Up By: Member - Phantom (WA) - Friday, Nov 13, 2009 at 11:59

Friday, Nov 13, 2009 at 11:59
Thanks for that. I will probably get that book for later on.
As i don't know how this all works at this stage, I have organised a mobile repairer to fix it next week.
It was lucky it did happen in my driveway and not in the middle of nowhere.
I also now have an appropriate broom handle which I beleive is necessary should it happen again.

FollowupID: 658940

Follow Up By: PradOz - Friday, Nov 13, 2009 at 12:47

Friday, Nov 13, 2009 at 12:47
Good luck with repair. how much was his quote?

I would suggest you have 4 "broom handles' on board. Or better still get some 25 x 25mm angle and cut it to length so it runs from the van body sill up under the roof so the blocks where the uprights are mounted on the roof are. The angles will all sit inside each other for storage and will take the weight easily. I also have a small 40mm flat piece of steel welded on one side about half way along angle so it locks the angle onto the upright and it wont be bumped out or dislodged in any way. You can than take the weight off the winch setup when camped if you want to. 4 uprights are needed in case you have a problem in the system and you want to hold it all up. Also needed for some service type work if yo get keen after reading the book, like getting all 4 corners to lift up an equal height. check what you currently have, its probably lower at back (or front) or on one corner.

Before it goes in for service, open up inside behind the winch (remove ply cover panels) and check out the eye bolts and cables (Caution: dont run your hands along the cables in case they are sharp or splintered enough to slice your hand open) Check the eye bolts are not bent or forced open which would indicate a strain in the system somewhere which would have caused the result you now have. I am guessing either a cable was snagged up somewhere (pulley or something in a cupboard fallen into the cable area?) or a push rod/slug is blocked up with grease and dirt, (or maybe previous owner caused the problem by leaving a roof latch on when trying to wind up etc) - but i cant tell for sure from here on this side of the screen ;)) good luck with it....
FollowupID: 658941

Reply By: Pete Jackman (SA) - Friday, Nov 13, 2009 at 15:13

Friday, Nov 13, 2009 at 15:13
Make sure you hang around to see how it all works then next time you can have a shot at fixing it yourself.

I had to do a field repair on our Jayco Dove once when we were putting it up at a camp site and one corner didn't move. The two lock nuts on the eye that connected the lift cables to the winch swash plate had fallen off so one of the lift cables wasn't working. They are simple system but access to the parts can be an issue. Also on the older campers the winch is just bolted through the plywood floor - we added a backing plate welded to the chassis rail to strengthen that after two bolts had pulled through the floor.

The manual is a good buy from here

Diagram with roof halfway up:
Image Could Not Be Found

Basically each corner is pushed up the coiled blue "spring" inside the red lift tubes. "Spring" is a misnomer as it is just a coil in compression to provide the flexibility. Near the base of the camper wall the spring comes out of the wall in a curved guide then runs into the green square tube which has a sliding plug (purple) connected to the lift wire. The lift wires all run back to plate which has a single wire to the winch.

When you wind on the winch each wire pulls the slug through the green tube which pushes the coil up the curved guide into the lift tubes.


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