How Does A Four Wheel Camper Roof Lift Work?
I love the clever way the roof lift is done on the Four Wheel Campers.
No winches or fancy expensive mechanisms — just simple mechanical elegance. Gotta love it.
The “secret” to how the Four Wheel Campers lifter mechanism works is fully described in the patent (US Patent 4201413 by David Rowe, Lift Apparatus For Camper Top) and is composed essentially of two elements:
- A front and rear set of plywood levers (slightly different at each end) that both raise the roof to full height and provide a stable “wall” at each end when locked into place.
- One or more varieties of “lift assist” to provide the bulk of the lifting, so that you ideally only need to push up and lock the levers into place.
You can see the action of the levers in the videos below. Look closely and you can see two plywood boards about four feet wide — a vertically short top board and a vertically taller bottom board, which are attached by hinges to each other in a “y” shape, and also attached by hinges to the roof and to the top of the wall. When you push up on the bottom board, it in turn pushes up on the top board and raises the roof.
The lifters themselves are easy enough to make. The question is going to be… Can you find the right parts? The boards can easily be made from 1/2″ plywood. The hinges to attach them are continuous hinges (a.k.a. “piano hinges”), because it’s very important to keep the boards in strict alignment. But it’s a bit more complex than that!
First, let’s check out the videos before we go further.
This one’s from Rollin’ On TV:
Here’s another from Truck Camper Magazine.
Pretty Cool, right?
But there's something important you need to know about those lifters...Something that I totally missed until I'd already made my second prototype!