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Thread: Stablelift

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    La Habra, CA
    Posts
    503

    Default Stablelift



    My camper is a 1988 Lance and it has spent its whole life in Southern California and it is in very good condition for its age. I bought it with 4 Reico Titan hydraulic jacks on the corners. When I first got it it had dually swing out brackets on the front jacks. I have only ever put it on a single rear wheel truck and had no use for the swing out brackets. I actually left them on for a few loadings/unloadings and I did not like the camper movement they added to the process. My hats off to those of you with DRW trucks that have to use these.

    I used the Reico Titan hydraulic jacks for approx 6 years. It is at least a 2 person job (better with 4 although I only had 3 other people helping once out of 50 loads) and we always pumped the front jacks in unison 10 times and then moved to the rear jacks. This process was repeated until the camper was high enough to drive under. The camper is very stable down low but as the camper rises on the jacks it starts becoming less steady. Bringing the camper down was always a challenge as we had to try to unscrew the hydraulic knobs the same amount to keep the camper lowering somewhat level.

    I believe the weakness in the 4 corner jack system is that the bottoms of the jacks are not connected. For my application the jacks started to bend the brackets on the camper and the rear jacks would want to walk (move) during the loading/unloading process.

    In the last year the loading/unloading process became more scary each time, so much so that I was leaving the camper on or off longer just because I didn't want to deal with the loading/unloading process.

    I had always wanted electric jacks. I had read a lot of posts on rv.net and the Stablelift jack system was very highly spoken of with no negative reports. Even though the Stablelift system was quite a bit more expensive than 4 electric corner jacks I reasoned that I would have still had to repair or replace my bent corner brackets and it seemed like a wash.

    There really isn’t much information on the Stablelift webpage. A few pictures, some FAQs and contact info.

    I called Stablelift on 12-15-11 and got an answering machine. Later in the day Mont called me back. He explained they were offering $150.00 off if I ordered during the holidays. I asked him what the shipping time would be and he explained the motors were out of stock and it would be 4-6 weeks. Mont asked me what year and brand of camper and truck I would be using. (I assumed the Stablelift would be designed for my application. I would later find out how wrong I was) I placed the order and paid for the lift in full.

    6 weeks later after not receiving a single phone call or email from StableLift I called back. I got the answering machine. Mont called me back and said the lift would be done one week later and then another week for shipping.

    I called back one week later and got the answering machine. Mont called me back. Mont told me the StableLift was at the powdercoaters and it would ship in a few days. I told him I wanted the StableLift by Thursday 2-16-12 or I was going to cancel the order. He assured me I would have it.

    Thursday 2-16-12 came and went and no call from Mont. I called him and got the answering machine. Mont called me back at 7pm on Thursday and said the Stablelift was in route. I eventually got the Stablelift on Tuesday 2-22-12.

    I started to install the lift on Saturday 2-25-12. I read the instructions. They are not very well written. They put 30 thumbnail pictures on 2 pages. It would have been much easier to view the full size pictures either on paper or their webpage.

    16 bolts (8 on each side) hold the Stable-Lift to the sides of the camper. I had to drill all 16 holes with a 3/8 bit into the ” steel plate. Not sure why 16 holes couldn’t have been drilled at the factory. Even if I had to drill a couple of holes to fit my particular application it would have made the job much easier for me.

    The instructions don’t state anything about backing plates but two of the thumbnail pictures show backing plates. I initially installed the lift without any backing plates but it soon became painfully clear that I would have to reinstall with backing plates. Backing plates turned out to be the biggest nightmare of the job. I had to remove my battery box. I had to remove my city water inlet. (it had to be relocated) I had to remove my water heater. I had to remove my propane box. 6 of the bolts are under the dinette cushion and although the access was easy I had to custom make a backing plate that would not feel awkward under the dinette cushion.

    I had to remove the bottom trim molding off the camper so the jacks would fit flush with the edge of the camper. Temporarily I have screwed the aluminum siding to the camper. I’ll have to find or fabricate new molding.

    Once the jacks were attached to the camper an everything got put back in the camper it was time to start on the ground supports that tie the whole lift together. Once again I had to drill 16 3/8” holes. This time through steel tubing. 12 of these holes had to be drilled while laying under the truck. Once again I'm not sure why 16 holes couldn’t have been drilled at the factory. Even if I had to drill a couple of holes to fit my particular application it would have made the job much easier for me.

    Then came the wiring. The electrical box is held in place with 4 screws. It only fits in one location and one of the screws hit a weld and broke. The wires coming out of the electrical box were 8”-12” long. If they had been 16” long the connections could have all been made inside the camper out of the weather. The 3 motors all had labels on them at one time. The labels were removed in Montana but all the sticky residue was left for me to clean. The black and brown wires were undistinguishable from each other. The electrical stuff is all small stuff but IMO all very unprofessional. The Stablelift system comes with 3 jacks. IMO it really needs 4 jacks. I assume that the extra motor/jack assembly was left out to save money?

    The Stablelift system is designed (in theory) to utilize attachment points to the ground support system under your truck to keep the camper in place in the bed of your truck.


    The ground support system puts downward force on the walls to hold the camper in place on the truck. My camper is built with wood framing. Nails and brads are one direction fasteners. As soon as the ground support system locked into place on the truck frame the walls started separating from the wings of the camper. The Stablelift system had to be removed and all the walls had to be screwed into the wings and backing plates. After reattaching the jack system for the third time it took me one trip out of the driveway to find out just how bad the ground support attachment system to the truck frame is in limiting sway. I attach my old turnbucles in the front of the camper to limit sway.

    My overall view of the whole company and lift system is that it is unprofessional. I was and still am thoroughly disgusted with the lack of customer service. The lift works, but IMO for the cost of the product and for the production time involved it should have been custom built to my application. The installation directions are horrible and the fabrication after the fact to make the product work is frustrating. Installation time was approx 48 man hours

    If I had to do it all over again I would have fabricated some ground supports for the 4 corner jacks that would have kept them from moving.

    If you are at all interested in the Stablelift jack system I suggest you think about the following points:

    Is your truck camper designed to be lifted from the sides/wings rather than the corners?
    Most truck campers have reinforcement designed and built into the corners where the jacks will be mounted. The same design and/or reinforcement is not normally present where the Stablelift jack system attaches.

    Most corner jacks provide 30” of up/down travel.
    Stable Lift provides only 18” of up/down travel and you have to drive over a 2” tube to get under and out from under your camper.

    Stablelift was designed for SRW trucks. I have 8-1/2" of plate under my camper for support. In a DRW application this gets reduced to approx 2". There are not any swing out jacks for DRW trucks. The motors are 3” in diameter and a DRW fender has to clear these motors. If you have a DRW truck and are considering the Stablelift jack system more than likely you will be wider than the national DOT standard of 102" and subject to "Wide Load" laws.
    Last edited by FishPOET; 05-01-2012 at 12:58 AM.
    Doug N1DUG
    2004 WJ stock
    1996 ZJ locked on 35's, Claytons LAs
    1999 Ford F250 V10 4x4 19.5s, 1988 Lance ES3000
    Life Member CA4WD, CORVA, BRC
    over 2500 hours volunteered with the SBNFA
    CASSP
    TreadLightly! Trainer
    ForestAid Reforestation Supervisor

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    So Cal
    Posts
    1,774
    Thanks for the candid review Doug. Sounds like installing one of these on our Bigfoot would be a PITA. I think we'll be keeping our electric corner jacks.

  3. #3
    Doug,
    I've read your comments on RV.net, and having seen this happen to others, I'd have to agree, there are better ways to spend your money if you need to stabilize your camper. For the $$ spent on an item like this, poor customer service is just not excused...
    2004 Dodge Ram 2500 CTD Long Bed 4x4 - Project Land Mass
    Project Land Mass

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Whistler BC
    Posts
    2,720
    Wow, that sounds like an incredibly crappy experience! I have always wondered about the Stable-lift system. The tube frame around the bottem would be a deal breaker for me. There are too many ditches to drive through in my local camp areas to allow the decrease in clearance.
    My new to me 10' tc is a bit of a bear to load, and also has the fold out dualy brackets. I can understand your desire for a better way. I am going to keep the fold outs on for now,as my driveway has a curve in it, and the extra width at the front may come in handy. I built some very tall horses to sit the camper on so I only have to lift it a few inches. I am loading it up again tomorrow for a long weekend away. Wish me luck!
    '98 Dodge 3500 4x4 12v NV4500 complete with a crap load of goodies.
    '94 Santa Monica Airlines 39" longboard, Indy 159s, Powell AT wheels
    '11 Rubicon Unlimited OME heavies, 285/75-17 Toyos
    '07 Adventurer 10T with surfboard racks!
    '75 Argosy (Airstream) 26'

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    SE Alaska
    Posts
    185
    WOW, I am impressed with your patience. Thanks for the great report on a topic I have been revolving around in my pointed head for some time. I guess I'll not be buying stable lift

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Whistler BC
    Posts
    2,720
    Would it make sense to modify the stable lift and use it as a load/unload only tool? You could undo it from the camper, and fab a few brackets to let the camper sit on it for storage, load and unload. Once loaded on the truck, drive out of the frame, then use regular tie downs, and leave the contraption at home. Seems like this would be the best of both worlds.

    I took the dually brackets off my camper after loading it this last time. It is WAAAAAY more stable without them.
    '98 Dodge 3500 4x4 12v NV4500 complete with a crap load of goodies.
    '94 Santa Monica Airlines 39" longboard, Indy 159s, Powell AT wheels
    '11 Rubicon Unlimited OME heavies, 285/75-17 Toyos
    '07 Adventurer 10T with surfboard racks!
    '75 Argosy (Airstream) 26'

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    La Habra, CA
    Posts
    503
    Quote Originally Posted by redthies View Post
    Would it make sense to modify the stable lift and use it as a load/unload only tool?
    Nope. The stablelift would not stand by itself without the camper. The stablelift has no shear strength without being connected to the camper.
    Doug N1DUG
    2004 WJ stock
    1996 ZJ locked on 35's, Claytons LAs
    1999 Ford F250 V10 4x4 19.5s, 1988 Lance ES3000
    Life Member CA4WD, CORVA, BRC
    over 2500 hours volunteered with the SBNFA
    CASSP
    TreadLightly! Trainer
    ForestAid Reforestation Supervisor

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Racine WI
    Posts
    322
    Just saw this after reference I make in a thread about jacks. Thanks so much for the information. Seems if there was any chance of using these jacks it would only be if they are installed at the factory. After reading this account I don't know if I would do that either. Too bad. Sounds like a neat idea. There are at least some people out there pleased enough with them to have their pictures on the web site.
    Dave Bybee
    ________________________________________
    If you use it and enjoy it, doesn't matter how much it costs. If it sits around never getting used, doesn't matter how good a deal it is/was.

    2000 TJ
    2004 Tundra DC
    2004.5 Dodge Ram, 4x4, auto, quad cab, LB, diesel, Ute aluminum flat bed
    1998 Alaskan 10 ft cab over

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Canadian in Colorado
    Posts
    1,174
    I really never considered them to begin with because of the clearance issuer, plus I leave my jacks off most of the time. Too bad about such a good idea having poor backing. Amazing how some companies stay in business in our economy, you would think they want to try a little harder.
    '12 Dodge 5500 6.7 diesel slightly modified. 14' 3" Alaskan camper (Alaskanabego)
    My camper build: http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...ead.php?t=9502

    KD0ERY

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    West Slope Northern Sierra Nevada
    Posts
    163
    Doug,
    A very clear and concise scenario on your experience of the Stablelift. It's clear to me that you pays your money and takes your chance on just about anything. We have some good friends on RV-net, truck camper forum ( your old hangout before you were drummed out of the corps 8<)) who swear by Stablelift. Personally I don't like the clearance issues and it's WAY too complicated with too many parts and installation issues for us off-roader types. Good ol' happy jacks and spring loaded tie downs are good enough for me. They are only on when the camper is going on or coming off. Just remember: I am the king of jacks-off. Lately I've been playing with tie-down tension as a way to ease the stress on tie-downs and eye-bolt connections and keep the box intact.
    regards, as always, jefe
    2001.5 Dodge 2500, HO-CTD, SB, Quad Cab, 4x4, NV5600, NV241HD, PWR-LOK, 33x13.50 frnt/33x15.50 super singles rr on 12" wide wheels, steering brace.
    +3" coils frnt., double secondaries rr, Stable Loads, anti-sway bars, on board air, lots of recovery gear, 15K lb. winch on Roo Bar/Bovine deflector.
    1998 Lance Lite, 8'6", 165-s XTC. Narrow/less tall/NS bed. 1842 pounds/wet. Honda 2K. Outdoor shower enclosure.

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