Since my camper has been down for the past few weeks due to warrenty repairs, I figured that this 4th of July I would skip the planned trip and work on some updates. I have been having problems hitting the skid bars in the very gentle slope of my driveway due to the crown of the road vs angle of the drive so I decided to go ahead and get the lift kit from Forest River.
The kit cost $150 and is little more than a few pieces of 2" w x 4" h x 1/8" thk chanel with gussets welded at both ends and the middle to siffent them up. They supply enough grade 5 hardware to mount the spacers to the frame but you have to reuse the axle hardware which appears to have an all metal "deforming" style of self locking nut. Not sure if this will be damaged or reuseable once removed. I got the kit from the Surveyor div parts dept:
(Surveyor series & R-pod parts & service: 574-642-3119 )
I have the lift kit now and will be getting my camper back this weekend. The kit will raise the whole trailer about 3" which should give plenty of clearance. Will post pics once I get the trailer back.
got it installed. The old axle fasteners were reusable! Biggest lesson learned is to make an alignment mark on the frame and axle before unbolting. It took a while to get the first axle back on square to the other 3 tires. I finally drew a straight line between the 2 pieces so it could be lined up again. The ride height went up from 21" to 25". I may need a new set of steps though as the first step is just over a foot off the ground now. There really isn't much to is so here are the pics!
A warning here, make sure to pull slack into the brake wires prior to disconnecting the axle. 3 of mine had plenty of slack hiding in the underbelly, the 4th needed to be extended.
These are the pre-operation pics with the final ride height pic. The actual procedure will be in the next post
notice the jack stands, you need to make sure they are running in line and under the I-beam. The first attempt to set the trailer down with the ears of the jack stand perpendicular started to bend the thin flange of the i-beam.
The instructions that come with the kit are vague but they are very specific that all of the fasteners be torqued to 120 ft-lbs. I snugged everything up with an impact, verified alignment and rough torqued to 100 ft-lbs. I then checked that the brakes still worked which is a lot easier to fix with the wheels already off. Finally I set it on the ground and final torqued everything twice. Just like the lug nuts, you have to go back around a second time to make sure everything is tight.
the center of the top axle mounting holes is right at the center of the i-beam and the flange is so ridiculously flimsy that I wouldn't want to try and bolt to it. With 2 jack stands and the floor jack on the i-beam I still bent the flange a little when jacking it up. It is just strong enough to hold the camper together. The little bit of reinforcement that Forest River did install at the axle connections is just barely enough to hold the load. It's the sacrifice you have to make between strength and weight.
The only safe place to jack these campers up is right under the axle attachment flange. I could see some deformation where I had previously used a bottle jack centered between the tires directly under the i-beam center line.