DIY Telescoping Lift for RTT on Trailer

Eugene the Jeep

New member
Good point. I just wanted to add to the discussion and provide an opinion to your question because I considered aluminum. I bet the XVenture trailers by Schutt industries use aluminum for their telescoping racks.

I hope to not come off as argumentative here but I personally would not use .110" wall aluminum as the support legs for a telescoping tent rack. I'd go almost twice the thickness with anodized aluminum.

I wish my trailer frame and tub were made out of aluminum...

And I doubt the landing gear of a plane or rocket is aluminum. But maybe so? I really don't know. Either way, I just think that without proper engineering and knowledge of material strengths us common folk should overbuild for safety.
 

Nd4SpdSe

Adventurer, eh?
I run 2.5" 1/4" tubing outter and 2" tubing inner. I also have it set to actually put the actuator inside for tighter packaging. I'm limited to 12" lift for design restraints, but it's just enough to get the job done. I couldn't at the time figure out how to do a system like Dagtwo did using heim joints, but I don't have any binding issues either. They do get lubed up with graphite.
 

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Eugene the Jeep

New member
Ok I'll ask seeing as I'm getting ready to do something similar. What would you do different? What I see here looks really good. What am I not seeing??
It works pretty well but it is more difficult to get down. My goal was to make it easy to setup and take down with only one person. This might be a bit long winded in order to explain everything.

I used 2" and 2.5" tubing with .125" wall so there is .25" of play to decrease binding. This is reduced to 1/8" because I have a set screw with a flat disc on the inside. There's a good angle of this in one of my drawings from a previous post. This works great for taking out all movement and rattles for driving and in the raised position. These tighten the tubes together from front to back. There are also spring loaded locking pins on each tube across from these set screws.

My tent raises 20" and binding occurs at maybe 8"? Going up, the struts engage and the binding is not an issue. Going down would not be an issue with two people but with only one the tent will teeter totter back and forth because the struts will be pushing the other side up.

The best thing to do would be to put another hole for the spring loaded locking pin to pop into right at the midpoint (10"). I would do this on just the front two tubes or back two, not all of them. This way I would be able to pull one side down to the midpoint, the pins would lock and I could go to the other side and pull it all the way to it's bottom locking position. Then return to the other side that is still locked at midpoint and pull it the rest of the way down.

The problem is that my rack binds before it reaches the midpoint. I suppose I could do more holes for the locking pins, like thirds instead of in half. Or I could use shorter struts. Or I could use a set screw without the disc that reduces the play to 1/8".

But what I wish I would have done is have the top of the rack pivot from side to side instead of front to back. This would give the tubing the full 1/4" of play because the set screw is on the front to back plane. My rack is also narrower (side to side) than it is long (front to back). This would also allow the tubing to telescope for a longer distance without binding.

Hopefully all this makes sense. I haven't decided exactly what I'm going to modify to make the tent/rack easier to get down. It is still very new.

I should also mention that I experimented with many different strut weights to get the best function. Also, strut performance is temperature dependant.

I would have also made the top tent platform out of aluminum to save weight.

And I would suggest bolting the rack through the frame tubing if possible. My trailer is designed for off roading so it will be taking impacts and riding at all angles with a heavy tent and awning on top. I can see this cracking welds after a while. But this really depends on your usage.

That's all I can think of at the moment.
Let me know if you have any questions.
 

Dana B

New member
It works pretty well but it is more difficult to get down. My goal was to make it easy to setup and take down with only one person. This might be a bit long winded in order to explain everything.

I used 2" and 2.5" tubing with .125" wall so there is .25" of play to decrease binding. This is reduced to 1/8" because I have a set screw with a flat disc on the inside. There's a good angle of this in one of my drawings from a previous post. This works great for taking out all movement and rattles for driving and in the raised position. These tighten the tubes together from front to back. There are also spring loaded locking pins on each tube across from these set screws.

My tent raises 20" and binding occurs at maybe 8"? Going up, the struts engage and the binding is not an issue. Going down would not be an issue with two people but with only one the tent will teeter totter back and forth because the struts will be pushing the other side up.

The best thing to do would be to put another hole for the spring loaded locking pin to pop into right at the midpoint (10"). I would do this on just the front two tubes or back two, not all of them. This way I would be able to pull one side down to the midpoint, the pins would lock and I could go to the other side and pull it all the way to it's bottom locking position. Then return to the other side that is still locked at midpoint and pull it the rest of the way down.

The problem is that my rack binds before it reaches the midpoint. I suppose I could do more holes for the locking pins, like thirds instead of in half. Or I could use shorter struts. Or I could use a set screw without the disc that reduces the play to 1/8".

But what I wish I would have done is have the top of the rack pivot from side to side instead of front to back. This would give the tubing the full 1/4" of play because the set screw is on the front to back plane. My rack is also narrower (side to side) than it is long (front to back). This would also allow the tubing to telescope for a longer distance without binding.

Hopefully all this makes sense. I haven't decided exactly what I'm going to modify to make the tent/rack easier to get down. It is still very new.

I should also mention that I experimented with many different strut weights to get the best function. Also, strut performance is temperature dependant.

I would have also made the top tent platform out of aluminum to save weight.

And I would suggest bolting the rack through the frame tubing if possible. My trailer is designed for off roading so it will be taking impacts and riding at all angles with a heavy tent and awning on top. I can see this cracking welds after a while. But this really depends on your usage.

That's all I can think of at the moment.
Let me know if you have any questions.
I'm getting ready to do version 2.0 of my telescoping rack so that's some good info. Thank you! I plan to use motorized actuators in hopes that it will come down ok. I will be doing it alone pretty much every time. Right now the tubes I used fit way to tight is my main issue. I take it everyone is using seamless tube.
 

Eugene the Jeep

New member
I'm getting ready to do version 2.0 of my telescoping rack so that's some good info. Thank you! I plan to use motorized actuators in hopes that it will come down ok. I will be doing it alone pretty much every time. Right now the tubes I used fit way to tight is my main issue. I take it everyone is using seamless tube.
I didn't use seamless tubing. I think it's more expensive and not as available. I don't know much about actuators but I think they're the way to go if you have power.

⭐More people should chime in on this though. I didn't find a ton of information when I was searching forums on how to do it.

This forum has some info if you do a search:

https://tventuring.com/

Here's a couple pics of how much slop (1/4" I think) there is in my tubing. I can't really find the weld seams but I think it varies between manufacturers. If you have a local place to buy metal they might have good info on what sizes will telescope. Go for less than 1/4" of slop if you're using actuators. And some kind of set screw will tighten the tubing together when driving or when the rack is up. The pictures are from opposite corners of the same tubing IMG_20210512_011313649.jpgIMG_20210512_011206003.jpg
 

Eugene the Jeep

New member
Here's the 'set screw' that I used. A weld stud threaded from inside the tubing. I almost did a 1/2" sized bolt with an attached knob but I found these in a bin somewhere.

IMG_20210212_141137_01.jpg
 
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