Lowering my Alaskan 8' CO is a PITA...

Nailhead

New member
I just raised my '85 8' CO for the first time since I brought it back from Portland, OR in February. In the course of lowering it, the front would lower much faster than the rear (this makes sense to me with that extra weight hanging out so far beyond the lift rams) and then the whole system would bind up.

The only way I got it to lower was to barely crack the valve on the jack, lower the top VERY slowly, and hang off the rear of it in the doorway when it started to bind up. Not fun (being over 50, out of shape, and portly), and not sensible.

I imagine I need to lube the slides between the two halves, but other than that, I'm out of simple solutions. The other idea that came to mind was to install a metering valve on the front lift circuit so more pressure gets to the rear circuit and maybe evens the lift/lower action up. I'd REALLY rather avoid this because of the mess that's likely to involve.

Any other ideas?
 

Tennmogger

Explorer
Sounds normal. I have to manually balance the rate of raising, and lowering, of my Alaskan by a little 'weight bias', as you described.

Later models have balancing or metering valves in the circuits, I think. Your '85 may be up-gradable (if it does not already have the valves). I suggest talking to Alaskan about the issue.

If you must make upgrades, look into a four circuit 'internal gear flow divider'. These devices force the same volume to flow in each circuit no matter what the pressure.
 

john61ct

Adventurer
Can anyone point to components to do this DIY?

I plan on solar plus roofrack stuff, maybe 500 lb up top, and weight distribution will not be fixed.
 

Nailhead

New member
Sounds normal. I have to manually balance the rate of raising, and lowering, of my Alaskan by a little 'weight bias', as you described.

Later models have balancing or metering valves in the circuits, I think. Your '85 may be up-gradable (if it does not already have the valves). I suggest talking to Alaskan about the issue.

If you must make upgrades, look into a four circuit 'internal gear flow divider'. These devices force the same volume to flow in each circuit no matter what the pressure.
Thank you for the reply.

I think I'll call Alaskan & see what they have to say; I've reached the point of spending fatigue on my IH 1310/Alaskan project, and the prospect of buying a $500 hydraulic part does not entice.
 

JMadigan

New member
Are you opening the valve at least one full turn? I've noticed in my 79 8ft CO that the front will lower faster if the valve isn't open enough.
The 1969 manual for the CO models say for closing:
"J. Open the shut-off valve to the full open position (at least one full turn) and allow the top to descent rapidly. This creates a surge effect which actuates the restrictors in the front pistons and keeps the heavier front from descending first and creating the harmful binding effect.

The full 1969 manual is posted over on Wander The West, and I believe it should apply to any model that doesn't have the valves.
 

Motafinga

Adventurer
My 2000 Cabover has front and rear proportioning valves that have adjustment dials on them with an electric pump. I've needed to adjust them several times as things seem to get unbalanced now and then. The way they work is, upon raising, the front is full bore to compensate for the CO weight, so if the rear is raising faster you'd choke the rear off. Upon lowering, the dial that controls the front will choke off fluid so it doesn't get ahead of the rear. It seems pretty simple actually and I imagine the concept is the same with a manual jack. It seems you could just install some adjustable valves in the same way for your setup. Brian at Alaskan Camper is very helpful and only a phone call away too.
 

john61ct

Adventurer
I don't want anything powered, hand cranking or pumping is fine.

Anyone know of systems just using wire rope and pulleys?

Otherwise might go with robust gas-assist struts.
 

john61ct

Adventurer
Any keywords or links useful for a DIY approach would be appreciated.

Ideally an OTS kit, but I'm not optimistic
 
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