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Old 04-11-2019, 08:31 PM   #1
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Gas Springs Actuator DIY Primer

Apologies for the long post. I considered replying to http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...nt-156873.html
or
http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...ir-151967.html
or a few others. But they all had sidetracks.

Mods, if you want to consolidate no problem.

As some of you probably know I've posted extensively on this subject.
I've felt all along that the issue was water in the motor. I still think that to be a large part of the problem, but not all.

I really feel this is a low cost long term solution not requiring extensive mechanical ability.

Last fall we headed out to the outterbanks with my power drill set-up http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...-a-172927.html and it worked just fine. But being on the port side while raising, I was able to observe that the tension on the lifting roof panel was way too much (not the 1st to observe this). Warping of the side panel was serious. I'm thinking the torsion springs are getting weak or are not properly installed/adjusted, or just a POS.

With that in mind, last winter I decided to go the gas spring route. With some help from backpacker3 ( http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...ir-151967.html) I ordered and installed these https://www.siraweb.com/gas-prop-c16-15952 trying to duplicate backpacker3's dealer fix.

I didn't want to post until we had a chance to try it out. We recently completed a 5 week, 10 campground, 16 setup/teardown trip and couldn't be happier (almost). It takes about 5 seconds to raise or lower. I can do it alone without having to move from one side to the other. My wife (5' 4") is more comfortable moving, but she can do it on her own.

I said 'almost' above. I'm not sure it's set up as well as it could be, but it works darn good. Maybe we can discuss improvements later, but here's some photos.

Based on Backpacker3's (A213HW owners) input I mounted the rail brackets 23" from the front of the camper. And the wall brackets 22" from the floor. (Photos 1 & 2).

On the port side there was nothing solid to fasten to so i made a block to solidify it (Photo 3)

Photo 4 shows the roof after releasing the latches.

A push up on the rear panel moves the lower section up and another nudge engages the two roof panels.

To lower just pull down on the rear panel to disengage, then an easy tug to latch it. .
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Old 04-11-2019, 09:46 PM   #2
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I am another surviving member

of the original custom actuator replacement user team.

I would like to be the first to congratulate you for your latest accomplishment,
which may be the ultimate solution to the actuator dilemna.

I am still using the actuator for "up only" with a shovel handle side assist,
and we'll see how long that works.

Best regards!
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Old 04-12-2019, 06:48 AM   #3
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Nice job looks good.
What I was thinking of trying to install a gas strut on the existing electric motor mounting brackets.
I am lifting the roof now without the motor now. The motor is just too darn slow for me.
Just need a little more lift power to make it easy for me to lift.
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Old 04-12-2019, 07:03 AM   #4
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Nice job. So all you have is the gas struts on that one panel? Nothing on the other panel? I had assumed 2 on each panel would be ideal. But this fix seems doable.
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Old 04-12-2019, 07:43 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lcangler View Post
Nice job. So all you have is the gas struts on that one panel? Nothing on the other panel? I had assumed 2 on each panel would be ideal. But this fix seems doable.
Just on the front panel. The bungies pull up the rear panel. If you were to do both you'd better lower the psi of the springs. It's actually a little harder to close than to raise.
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Old 04-12-2019, 08:06 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superal View Post
Nice job looks good.
What I was thinking of trying to install a gas strut on the existing electric motor mounting brackets.
I am lifting the roof now without the motor now. The motor is just too darn slow for me.
Just need a little more lift power to make it easy for me to lift.
That could be difficult to close. Once a GS gets nearly closed it should close its self. If the angle is too steep that won't happen and you'll be pulling against the spring.

I actually have this issue with my setup. I think the lower wall brackets should be higher, almost to the top so that the GS is nearly parallel to the ground when shut.

That's what the (almost) statement is about in my original post. I was hoping to generate some discussion on the GS placement.

On the other hand, the way it is makes it super easy to lift.

Don't get me wrong, it works great, but it probably isn't perfect.
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Old 04-15-2019, 11:54 PM   #7
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Do you have to purchase the mounting brackets separately, or do they come with the struts?
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Old 04-16-2019, 04:22 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benefit View Post
Do you have to purchase the mounting brackets separately, or do they come with the struts?
Separately. I should have mentioned that: https://www.siraweb.com/bracket-gpb2
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Old 04-16-2019, 09:32 AM   #9
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One more question.
What did you use to fasten the brackets?
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Old 04-16-2019, 03:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benefit View Post
One more question.
What did you use to fasten the brackets?
On the three that "hit something" (both sides of roof and starboard side wall) I used stainless flat heads, 1 1/2" I believe. On the port side wall I used ss machine screws.
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Old 06-18-2019, 11:22 PM   #11
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OYO - given the option of an actuator that never failed or the gas lift mod, which would you choose? (I'm looking at this one from Progressive Automation which is IP66 rated - It's pricey but it might last a fair while. Looking at the 400lb rated 1in/sec one)

https://www.progressiveautomations.c...19694949990487
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Old 06-19-2019, 05:58 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidmrawlins View Post
OYO - given the option of an actuator that never failed or the gas lift mod, which would you choose? (I'm looking at this one from Progressive Automation which is IP66 rated - It's pricey but it might last a fair while. Looking at the 400lb rated 1in/sec one)

https://www.progressiveautomations.c...19694949990487
Gas Spings:

-Reliability way better
-Cost better
-Setup/take down much faster
-No power required
-Quite. Zero noise
-Way less stress on roof rail(s)

Knowing what i know today, if someone gave me a new A-frame today I'd probably switch it so Gas Springs.
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Old 06-19-2019, 10:49 AM   #13
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Thanks OYO! I'll definitely be going the gas spring route. I noticed that you went with 40lb ones rather than the 60's that backpacker3 used. Judging from their released position that looks like the better force threshold.

Anything else you would do differently? I noticed you mentioned that elevating the mount might have been a better way to go. I'm trying to decide if I should just copy placements outright or if I should make any adaptations.

I'm planning on keeping an actuator (for now) anyways so the point is possibly moot. I might still go with the progressive automations actuator purely for the convenience of others (I might let friends and family use it and my mom and dad especially aren't super tall/mobile in that way.)

Other than that, do you think there's a need to look for stainless gas lifts or are you pretty happy with the ones you got from Siraweb?
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Old 06-19-2019, 01:41 PM   #14
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As I have studied this - my power lift is definitely over-loaded and needs manual assistance to get all the way up in less than 5 minutes - I realized the front dormer already uses gas struts. And works very well with the struts.

The only question I have is whether or not I need to increase the strut rating to account for the weight of the dormer. The good thing is that most of the dormer weight is in the lower 1/3 of the forward roof section - where the hinge is.

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2019 Flagstaff T21TBHW (same as A213) A-frame
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Old 06-19-2019, 02:13 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidmrawlins View Post
Thanks OYO! I'll definitely be going the gas spring route. I noticed that you went with 40lb ones rather than the 60's that backpacker3 used. Judging from their released position that looks like the better force threshold.

Anything else you would do differently? I noticed you mentioned that elevating the mount might have been a better way to go. I'm trying to decide if I should just copy placements outright or if I should make any adaptations.

I'm planning on keeping an actuator (for now) anyways so the point is possibly moot. I might still go with the progressive automations actuator purely for the convenience of others (I might let friends and family use it and my mom and dad especially aren't super tall/mobile in that way.)

Other than that, do you think there's a need to look for stainless gas lifts or are you pretty happy with the ones you got from Siraweb?
David,

1) I'm pretty sure i used 60 lb, I may have inserted an incorrect link. I'm not home or at the camper. I'll check my order when i get home later this week

2) Improvements: At 1st i thought it was bad that the panels popped up when they were released. When you open a footlocker or chest with GSs you have to lift a bit before the GS takes over. But recently I realized that a truck cap pops open as soon as you release it. Now I'm thinking the immediate lift is good in this case. That's when you need the help the most.

3) I didn't investigate SS GS. Once you have the brackets on it takes about a minute to swap in new ones. In other words they're cheap and easily replaced. I've used Siraweb and Hatchlift.com. I think they sell some of the same products. For where i live Sirawebb had far better/cheaper shipping.
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Old 06-19-2019, 02:18 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pgandw View Post
As I have studied this - my power lift is definitely over-loaded and needs manual assistance to get all the way up in less than 5 minutes - I realized the front dormer already uses gas struts. And works very well with the struts.

The only question I have is whether or not I need to increase the strut rating to account for the weight of the dormer. The good thing is that most of the dormer weight is in the lower 1/3 of the forward roof section - where the hinge is.

Fred W
2019 Flagstaff T21TBHW (same as A213) A-frame
Fred, I wouldn't think more PSI would be necessary. I may have too much. Plus, see my reply above about easy replacement.
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Old 06-20-2019, 07:31 AM   #17
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I have the link to the Gas Sprinngs I used wrong in post #1. It should be:

https://www.siraweb.com/gas-prop-c16-10198

36" 60 lbs. Gas Prop Suspa C16-10198 C1610198

My apologies.
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Old 06-20-2019, 01:41 PM   #18
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No worries Craig! Thanks for the quick reply. I'm going to place an order now for the springs and will make the mods when I get home from work. I really appreciate the input.

I'll be doing a number of mods to my unit (gas lifts/combi cam locks/solar/inverter,etc) I'll do a full post with pictures once I get everything done.

Cheers!
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Old 06-20-2019, 02:48 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by davidmrawlins View Post
No worries Craig! Thanks for the quick reply. I'm going to place an order now for the springs and will make the mods when I get home from work. I really appreciate the input.

I'll be doing a number of mods to my unit (gas lifts/combi cam locks/solar/inverter,etc) I'll do a full post with pictures once I get everything done.

Cheers!
Great. Keep us posted.
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Old 07-29-2019, 06:26 PM   #20
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lift assist

I would just like to remove the lift motor and install a lift assist
gas shock on the existing mounting brackets.
I removed the motor because its to slow.
Just a little tough to lift all by myself.
Any body have any ideas of a place that sells the gas shock
to fit existing mounting brackets?
Something like this picture I just need the correct size.
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