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Old 07-11-2016, 12:50 PM   #1
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Roof problems for a newb

Hello all!

So, yesterday, my wife and I purchased a 2014 HW257. Spent about an hour with the previous owner learning all about it (we re completely new to RVing, so it took a lot of explaining....). All the systems were working great at the PO's house.

Got it home safely, however, when we tried to raise the roof, we ran into a problem. The winch motor appears to be working fine, but after about 2" of cable gets pulled tight, the winch starts to make a horrible grinding noise and wont take up any more of the cable. It reverses the 2" of cable it took up just fine. I opened the winch housing, and the worm gear on the motor is spinning, but the gear it is interfacing with isn't moving...hence the horrible grinding.

I know there are four latches that lock the roof down, and those are completely disengaged. Is there another lock that I am missing somewhere? Because that's almost what it seems like, that the roof is locked, and the winch is just grinding the gears trying to open the locked down roof.

I am hoping it is just me being a bonehead and not knowing what to look for. Would suck if the thing broke as soon as we got it home.

PLEASE HELP!
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Old 07-11-2016, 01:03 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by michaelbenner View Post
Hello all!

So, yesterday, my wife and I purchased a 2014 HW257. Spent about an hour with the previous owner learning all about it (we re completely new to RVing, so it took a lot of explaining....). All the systems were working great at the PO's house.

Got it home safely, however, when we tried to raise the roof, we ran into a problem. The winch motor appears to be working fine, but after about 2" of cable gets pulled tight, the winch starts to make a horrible grinding noise and wont take up any more of the cable. It reverses the 2" of cable it took up just fine. I opened the winch housing, and the worm gear on the motor is spinning, but the gear it is interfacing with isn't moving...hence the horrible grinding.



I know there are four latches that lock the roof down, and those are completely disengaged. Is there another lock that I am missing somewhere? Because that's almost what it seems like, that the roof is locked, and the winch is just grinding the gears trying to open the locked down roof.

I am hoping it is just me being a bonehead and not knowing what to look for. Would suck if the thing broke as soon as we got it home.

PLEASE HELP!
Is the camper level front to back and side to side?
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Old 07-11-2016, 01:04 PM   #3
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Is the camper level front to back and side to side?
That must have been one of the last 2014's with a worm drive lift system.
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Old 07-11-2016, 01:07 PM   #4
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Yes. All level, or very close to level. If it needs to be exact, I will put it on the concrete this afternoon and check it again. When we picked it up from the PO, he had it in the street without the leveling jacks down, so it wasn't perfectly level there, as one wheel was in the gutter.
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Old 07-11-2016, 01:21 PM   #5
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Yes. All level, or very close to level. If it needs to be exact, I will put it on the concrete this afternoon and check it again. When we picked it up from the PO, he had it in the street without the leveling jacks down, so it wasn't perfectly level there, as one wheel was in the gutter.
Those aren't leveling jacks......those are stabilizing jacks. You use those to stabilize the unit once you have it level. If you use those as leveling devices you will twist up the box and I would take a guess that this is what your current issue is. Look into a Bal Leveler or use boards under the wheels to get it level from side to side.....the use the tongue lift to level to front and back. When you do get it level and put down the stabilizer jacks......they should only touch the ground....nothing more.
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Old 07-11-2016, 03:43 PM   #6
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Does not have to be perfectly level to raise it over 2". I have raised mine almost to max to get into the trailer at times and it was not completely level; a few degrees off.

Really only needs to be as level as possible when completely raised to allow screen door to be installed and when down to make sure it closes ok.

Did you try and raise it manually?
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Old 07-11-2016, 04:02 PM   #7
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I did try the manual lift...but the manual lift bolt is on the end of the motor, and not on the winch itself.

This is a terrible engineering design, IMHO, because all you are doing is turning the motor, rather than directly turning the winch.

Anyways, yes I did, but since the winch is not moving past the two inches of cable, it just grinds the gear the same as the motor, albeit a lot slower.
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Old 07-11-2016, 04:12 PM   #8
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Does not have to be perfectly level to raise it over 2". I have raised mine almost to max to get into the trailer at times and it was not completely level; a few degrees off.

Really only needs to be as level as possible when completely raised to allow screen door to be installed and when down to make sure it closes ok.

Did you try and raise it manually?
You're right........but we don't know how far off of level it is........so to make it ideal, level is best for his purpose. Manually with that old worm drive setup will take FOREVER.
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Old 07-11-2016, 04:15 PM   #9
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I did try the manual lift...but the manual lift bolt is on the end of the motor, and not on the winch itself.

This is a terrible engineering design, IMHO, because all you are doing is turning the motor, rather than directly turning the winch.

Anyways, yes I did, but since the winch is not moving past the two inches of cable, it just grinds the gear the same as the motor, albeit a lot slower.
Can you find out from the PO if he ever did any maintenance on the lift system itself..........ie. greasing the zerks underneath, oiling the springs in the tubes?
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Old 07-11-2016, 05:56 PM   #10
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He did not ever lube or oil the system. Just asked him.

When this happened, that's the first thing I thought of. So I shot some grease into both zerks, but I did not do the tubes because I didn't know how.
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Old 07-11-2016, 06:00 PM   #11
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I would check the underside of the trailer at the pulley and make sure the cable is on the pulley and has not slide off the pulley and is stuck between the pulley and the bracket. Just "guessing" that if the cable is caught it will allow the roof to go up and down a few inches (maybe) and if the winch might have a safety feature if there is too much tension on the cable.
The pulley is attached to the rear of the frame....
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Old 07-11-2016, 06:03 PM   #12
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I would check the underside of the trailer at the pulley and make sure the cable is on the pulley and has not slide off the pulley and is stuck between the pulley and the bracket.
Excellent point
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Old 07-11-2016, 06:12 PM   #13
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He did not ever lube or oil the system. Just asked him.

When this happened, that's the first thing I thought of. So I shot some grease into the zerk in the middle of the silver box thing (there is only one zerk down there.....), but I did not do the tubes because I didn't know how.
There are two down there......the one you saw at the rear on the bottom........and the other one is on top in the front.
The tubes......are located in each corner of the box......there are two screws outside of each corner.......undo those and you can gently enough pull them down enough to add about an ounce of oil in each tube......this is part of the yearly maintenance. I believe F5moab has done a pictorial on how to do it.
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Old 07-11-2016, 06:22 PM   #14
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Don't believe this will be the current problem you have. But in the future, these items do need lub, usually in the spring before the first trip.

These are for a 228BH; however they should be similar if not the same for most other Forest River (Rockwood/Flagstaff) trailers.




Brackets are held in place by two bolts at each corner. MAKE sure top is down, and remove bolts.



Once bolts are removed, pull bracket away and lower is SLIGHTLY.



Lower bracket SLOWLY to allow access to squirt some oil into the conduit. I use straight 30 WT engine oil; that's what the dealer recommended.



When reinstalling the conduit, it might be necessary to unlock the roof and allow it to move a bit when you push the conduit back up.
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Old 07-11-2016, 07:26 PM   #15
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So, found both zerks. Hit them with grease. I will tackle the tubes later this week. Thanks for that info! The pictures are great!

I checked the pulley, and everything is cool there. I had my son hit the switch while I was down therethere, and the winch side of the pulls feels fine. It's binding up on the other side of the pulley somewhere.

And just to make sure that it wasn't the actual top hung up anywhere. With some effort, all four corners can be manually lifted by hand.

If lubing the tubes doesn't solve it, my next step will be to take the cable off the winch. That way I can run the winch to see if it turns freely. If so, I can eliminate that as a source of the problem.
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Old 07-12-2016, 07:03 PM   #16
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Welcome to the world of RV camping. Your first test so soon? You will get through this and be wiser and more self sufficient for it. Hang in there.
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Old 07-12-2016, 09:31 PM   #17
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My question is...........IF the "horrible grinding" has destroyed the worm gear, where can he get a replacement?
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Old 07-13-2016, 12:03 AM   #18
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Alrighty.....so hear is what my major surgery on the lift system resulted in:


1) The winch motor still slightly slips/grinds with no load on it. Not sure if it was that way, or its from me trying to lift a stuck roof. See picture. Apparently I will be replacing it. Trevor, you had mentioned this was one of the last 2014's with a worm drive. Is there an upgrade, and will it just plug into the existing mounts? If so, do you know where I can find one?

2) The cable that attaches to the winch is slightly frayed at the end and is definitely flattened out in places.

3) All four lift tubes were completely bone dry. If they ever had any lube, it has long since disappeared. The master tube had grease still in it, although that may be from what I pumped in there yesterday.

4) Two of the four lift springs have slight kinks. Not sure if this was the cause of the binding or not, but I suspect it had something to do with it. See attached pic. I am planning on ordering new springs and cables from Goshen tomorrow, in any case, unless any one has any other bright ideas.

5) The camper is up on a car lift in my shop. I was thinking of taking four 2x4s, sticking them under the roof, and lowering the camper to "raise the roof." I figured it might be a good way to check the operation of the telescoping posts. Any one have any thoughts on this?

I now know more about PUP lift systems than I ever thought I would know. Knowledge gained means a successful day, right?

Thanks everyone for all your help on this. Feels like I've been thrown into the deep end here, but at least you guys are there with a ring buoy to pull me out.

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Old 07-13-2016, 04:15 AM   #19
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The maker of the lift motor is Carefree of Colorado........the newer ones are beefier and more of a direct drive setup. Sure it's a 2014? Your drive now should have a sheet metal box around the worm drive to pack full of grease. This camper you have....were you there when the previous raised the roof before you looked at it? Last thing, box below will hold about one full tube of grease......it will begin to come out of the end when full.
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Old 07-13-2016, 04:35 AM   #20
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Just curious - did you observe the original owner open and close this unit...or was it already open when you got there?
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