How to Repair Jayco Camper Cables

by Meg Jernigan

Jayco camping trailers, which first came on the market in 1968, use a winch and a system of cables, pulleys, drive slugs, flexible push rod springs, and telescoping posts to raise and lower the roof. When the roof lift system fails, the problem is usually a broken cable or cable attachment. Most do-it-yourselfers can repair Jayco camper cables with minimal expense and a few household tools.

1. Stabilize the camper with jacks and wheel chocks. Raise the roof to the proper height. If the winch is inoperable, the roof can be raised manually by two people. Brace the roof and measure its height from all four corners. Make certain that no corner is more than 1/2 inch higher than any other. With the bracing in place, crank the winch down to remove tension from the cables. Pull out bunks to allow for an open work space.

2. Replace the camping trailer’s main cable if it is broken, frayed, rusted or otherwise damaged. The cable wraps around the winch, located inside the camper beneath a cover on the cabinet or dinette. Check the winch mounting bolts to be certain they are undamaged, and hold the winch tightly to the sidewall or floor. Unreel the cable and inspect its entire length. One end should be bolted to the winch, and the other either bolted or crimped to the steel harness square.

3. Unbolt the main cable from the winch attachment, and pull the free end through the harness square. Measure it and replace it with a new length of the same diameter cable. Most main cables are 3/16 inch in diameter. If the cable was crimped rather than bolted in place, replace the cable swage sleeves with new ones. Crimp them tightly with pliers or vise-grips.

4. Replace any lifter cable that shows signs of fraying, breakage, rust or other damage. The Jayco’s four lifter cables attach to the harness block with eye bolts and are routed to the drive slugs via pulleys. When the winch reels in the main cable, the lifter cables pull the drive slugs along a track bolted to the floorboard. The drive slugs push the flexible rod springs through the track into the telescoping support posts to raise the roof. Inspect the cable attachments to the eye bolts. If the bolts are damaged, replace them. Pulleys should be anchored securely and operate freely. Follow the cables’ passage beneath the benches and cabinets, and check them for damage.

5. Note how the camper's lifter cables are routed before replacing them. Remove the screw at the inward side of the drive track. Remove the rod spring and drive slug through the end of the track. Detach the cable from the drive slug, and remove the other end from the eye bolt at the harness square. Loosen the eye bolt nut and lock nut to allow for adjustment later. Measure the cable and replace it with a new length of the same diameter. Most lifter cables are 3/32 inch.

6. Thread the camper's new lifter cable through a new swage sleeve. Loop it through the eye bolt and back through the other side of the sleeve. Do not crimp yet. Route the other end of the cable through the floor track to the drive slug, and crimp it in place. Install the rod spring and inward side screw. Pull the cable taut from the harness square side, and crimp it. Adjust cable tension by tightening the eye bolt, and lock it in place with the lock nut.

7. Slide the trailer’s bunks back in and test the cable installation by lifting and lowering the roof four or five times with the winch. With the camper’s roof raised and the door set, measure the height on all four sides to ensure that each corner is within 1/2 inch of all others. Make height adjustments to the corners by tightening or loosening the eye bolts through the harness square.

Items you will need

  • Eye protection
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Two adjustable wrenches
  • Pliers or Vise-Grips
  • Tape measure
  • Lumber

Tips

  • Cables, swage sleeves and eye bolts are available from hardware stores, Jayco camper dealers and other RV dealers. Specialty hardware and components such as pulleys, drive tracks, and rod springs must be purchased from Jayco dealers.
  • Lubricate and service the lift system at recommended intervals.

Warnings

  • When removing, installing or adjusting cables, always remove tension from them by cranking the winch down with the roof braced in the raised position.
  • Frayed and broken cables are sharp and may be dirty, rusty or greasy. Handle them with care and wear eye protection.

About the Author

Meg Jernigan has been writing for more than 30 years. She specializes in travel, cooking and interior decorating. Her offline credits include copy editing full-length books and creating marketing copy for nonprofit organizations. Jernigan attended George Washington University, majoring in speech and drama.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images