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Old 11-19-2018, 01:24 PM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: NW Louisiana
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2003 Jayco Kiwi 17A 6" AXLE LIFT!

First time post.

I signed up membership here to download a CAD file I found from one of the threads pertaining to lifting a torsion axle camper. It was not for my axle...

So, being the engineer that I am, knew it would have been too easy to download a CAD file and have a buddy machine the plates.

Original state... Did not take many pics of this little guy between when I "acquired" it in 2015 and before the Nov 2018 axle lift.



Step 1 - Cut a hole in the box... Opps, wrong step! Jack, block, drop axle so we can draw a template.

WARNING Be careful jacking on these AL-KO frames. They aren't like traditional welded frames. At minimum, use 2 floor jacks and jack/block in small lifts. It will creak and moan if you get to excited.



Step 2 - Draw template and make some plates. I used 8"x3/8" flat stock. Drilled 5/8" holes and used the gas ax to trim for axle gusset.



Step 3 - Attach to axle and to the frame. Found that a torsion axle with the DRUMS STILL ON is AWKWARD to handle... Pull the hubs off. And snip the zip ties holding the brake wires.



Step 4 - Here are the finer details. Due to the way this axle flange was stamped, it was about 7/16" thick. It also had some dimpled details in its design.

Never fear! To combat all this shimming, we used a double thickness of 8"x3/8" at the top to make up for the axle flange. Then to make sure everything had contact at every bolt... Loctite 380! Think black, industrial superglue.

No I did not glue the axle on! But did glue 4 stacks of 2 SAE 1/2" washers and 2 stacks of 4 SAE 1/2" washers where needed into the frame dimples and on the axle flange. The stacks of 4 I could get on the bolts without gluing them to the frame/flange.





This concludes part 1 of this fun project.

CT
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Old 11-19-2018, 01:35 PM   #2
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2003 Jayco Kiwi 17A 6" AXLE LIFT!

Now for the second part of our lift process.

View from the backside. I re-used the backing plate on the top 2 bolts where the axle originally resided. Think big rectangular 2 hole washer.

Also, can see how much lift we got.



With tires on and blocks out, sitting on full suspension load, level on concrete.

22" to door threshold. You may also be able to notice the completely bent and racked single step. Yep, pre-lift dropped into an off-road pothole and drug the step.



18"-19" coupler height.



About a full foot to bottom of sewer drain!!



Ready for an off-road excursion!



So, we pulled the camper about 50 miles. About 45 miles were on awesome potholed and expansion jointed state highways. The last 5 were down unimproved dirt and rock roads with basketball sized holes and washboards.

Axle did not decide to leave the party, shift, or bend. Most likely the strongest single component of the entire AL-KO frame.

Parked in the mud at a local WMA ready to hunt!



And this is how you lift a Jayco Kiwi 17A WITHOUT WELDING TO THE FRAME!

I will respond to any request for those whom would like to attempt this modification.

CT
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Old 11-19-2018, 02:08 PM   #3
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If anyone wants or needs any support attempting this, feel free to message me.

Maiden voyage was about 50+ miles. Most of those were on lovely state highways with expansion joints, heaved sections and potholes. And it doesn't even freeze here! Last 5 or so miles was on unimproved dirt/rock roads that had washboards and holes, lots of holes, like my clothes jumped off the hanging rod rough.

Anyway, nothing shifted, bent, or broke. Most likely the lift plates are the strongest components on the AL-KO frame now. I even forgot the spare tire for this trip!

Next phase will be probably a 2 step folding step and at least 14'" wheels/tires. Also in the plan may be rebuild the cheesy sheet metal "bumper", reinforce to support a hitch that I can pull a 5x10 trailer and my lifted golf cart and gear.

In about 2 weeks I will pull it home. Will report how it holds up.

CT
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Old 11-20-2018, 11:51 AM   #4
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This is how all Jayco Hybrid should come from the factory. I only did a 3" plus went up to the 14" wheels/tires which gave me another inch. SO MUCH BETTER! I've towed mine several thousand miles both with my 3/4 and 1/2 ton trucks up to speeds that well exceed what I will admit and the lift has had no negative impact on the way it pulls. For the price of what this lift costs I recommend everybody everybody do this.

Between your design and the one Sicario did that fits the 19H style axle this will probably cover most if not all of their models.
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ROOF REPLACEMENT

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Old 11-20-2018, 01:35 PM   #5
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Thank you Scott.

I need to go back and edit my post. I will include the materials and the hardware required. I estimate I had 20 hours invested in research, jacking, blocking, removing axle, sourcing materials, cutting, drilling, painting, reinstallation, ect.

Once I finally decided to commit to the project, it was a fairly easy for someone handy with tools.

I agree that for most people, this is how they should look. But, I believe that the intent of Jayco was to have them low to the ground for economy reasons. Lower wind drag behind smaller 4 and 6 cylinder vehicles with lower HP/TQ.

Behind a GMC 2500 with a 6.0L, 360HP/380TQ, this extra wind drag is not an issue. Have not tried it yet, but our 4x4 Jeep Grand Cherokee with 3.6L 290HP/260TQ should not have an issues either.

Still have the 13" tires on it. Will probably wait until it needs tires again (these are 1-2 years old) then upgrade to 14"s.

CT
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Old 11-20-2018, 01:39 PM   #6
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I like what you did.
Here's how I did my 01 17A. I put 15" wheels on it with a 4" lft for a 6" overall.
Happy with the result. First pic is before. Second is with mods. Updated the graphics as well on second pic.
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Old 11-20-2018, 01:49 PM   #7
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Parts List

Ok, here is the parts list.

I do not have the measurements, I just removed the axle and made a trace template. Tinkman's pdf file has the all the dimensions. You can refer to his file if you wanted to lay it out like that.

Materials:

2 - 8"x3/8"x12"
2 - 8"x3/8"x5 1/2"

I tack welded the 5 1/2" long piece to the 12" long piece to make the upper spacer required.

Match drill the double thickness.

Will require some torch or cut off wheel work to relieve the 12" long pieces to fit over the axle gusset.

16 - 1/2"x2" G8 bolts
16 - 1/2" G8 Lock washers
16 - 1/2" G8 Nuts
32 - 1/2" USS washers for bolts/nuts
32 - 1/2" SAE washers for spacers

Enjoy,

CT
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Old 11-20-2018, 02:17 PM   #8
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jerdog,

Your axle mounting is a little different. Seems Jayco used at least 3 different axle mounting configurations over the years on these hybrids. Based on the research and pictures I have seen.

So, your 4" lift was enough clearance for 15" tires? That's good to know. I have some trailers with 15" tires. May have to test fit them. That will bring the overall lift to 8" and possibly a smoother ride.

When I got the camper, the tires were shot. When I put new tires on, used 185/80D13 bias ply. At 60 psi, they bounce and shake stuff around pretty bad. Defiantly will go back with radials.

I would have been happy with 4" of lift. But the way our axle mounted and the way I drew it out, it just ended up at 6"...

CT
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Old 11-20-2018, 11:45 PM   #9
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Yes, there is plenty of clearance now with the 15 inchers. Can't remember if they were 205's or 210's though but I got 2" of height with this setup.
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Old 08-21-2019, 10:37 AM   #10
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Just wanted to say thanks for posting this. I'm looking to lift my 03 Kiwi 18F which has the same style axle and before coming across this I hadn't found much, so thank you for posting this!

How has this lift held up? Did you end up replacing the tires with larger ones?
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Old 08-21-2019, 02:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrettMatthews View Post
Just wanted to say thanks for posting this. I'm looking to lift my 03 Kiwi 18F which has the same style axle and before coming across this I hadn't found much, so thank you for posting this!

How has this lift held up? Did you end up replacing the tires with larger ones?
I only use this camper in the fall/winter during hunting season. This isn't my primary camper.

It held up to about 120-130 miles on rough state highways and about 10 miles of rutted muddy dirt roads. I will use it again in November. I have no doubts that it is as strong or stronger than originally designed.

I did not change tires, yet. Actually was thinking about trying a 15" to see if it will fit yesterday while mowing grass.

My only advice is to be very careful when jacking and blocking it up to remove axle. The frame is pretty light. Work evenly from front to back. Don't treat it like a truck and just start jacking up one corner at a time.

CT
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Old 09-15-2019, 03:59 PM   #12
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Weve got a 2003 Jayco Kiwi 23b dual axle and would love to do this to it!! This is brilliant!! It appears that the axels are mounted the same as yours were, do you have template for the plates so we can get them made?
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Old 09-16-2019, 08:32 AM   #13
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Template

Quote:
Originally Posted by angellicb View Post
Weve got a 2003 Jayco Kiwi 23b dual axle and would love to do this to it!! This is brilliant!! It appears that the axels are mounted the same as yours were, do you have template for the plates so we can get them made?
I do not. I did not think to keep the "template" that I made. I did not draw it up either.

What I did was remove the axle. Then used a piece of cardboard and traced the flange pattern on the frame. Then transferred the pattern to my lift plate 2x. One for the frame, one for the axle. Just make sure the template you make is square and all should be well.

If your frame is like mine in the pictures, make sure to use washers like I did to properly shim the plate.

I don't know your skill level. To me, it was cut and dried simple what to do. If your skill set isn't honed for this, ask a buddy.

CT
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Old 09-16-2019, 09:11 AM   #14
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This is exactly what my husband was envisioning to do, but seeing it actually done has confirmed it for him. He is very handy, and very precise. It’s just finding the time to do it. I bet if you made templates for this you could patent it and make some good money, cuz this is brilliant!!
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Old 09-16-2019, 10:36 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angellicb View Post
This is exactly what my husband was envisioning to do, but seeing it actually done has confirmed it for him. He is very handy, and very precise. Its just finding the time to do it. I bet if you made templates for this you could patent it and make some good money, cuz this is brilliant!!
Liability... Otherwise I'd make you a set of plates. Bolt on, ready to go!

CT
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Old 06-21-2020, 08:12 AM   #16
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Nice job on the axle lift. I recently bought a 2003 17a with this same axle. I'm am planning to follow your design. How did it hold up? Did you have any issues over time? Can you give me specific dimensions of the plates. I don't have a welder or torch so I'm going to have a shop fabricate it for me.

I was worried my axle was shot since my torsion bar is sitting with an upward starting angle but it looks like yours is the same. Is that accurate?

Thanks in advance.

Jonathan
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Old 06-21-2020, 07:59 PM   #17
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It has held up 2 years. This fall will be 3rd year. Haven't changed to 14" or 15" tires yet. Also haven't replaced bent step yet. LOL. Will need to go to a double step for sure. Have been using milk crate.

Have no templates made. I did photo-document in my posts. This was raw material, a vision and an execution to completion. If you show this thread to your fab guy, they will understand.

I can assist in any way if you decide to go forward.

Basically, using my parts list, drop axle. Then use cardboard to trace bolt pattern in frame. Transfer this to lift plate 2x, 6" apart from each other to make lift.

Use super glue to glue washers together for spacers. Hint, if cannot access during assembly, super glue those.

Good luck and post pics of the results in this thread!

CT
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Old 07-17-2020, 11:41 PM   #18
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Signed up to say thanks....I made it about 3 days owning this rig before I had to use your idea and implement it on mine. As soon as it bottomed out in my driveway (not sloped the slightest) this is the first thing I knew I needed to do. Maybe 2-3" from the pipe to the concrete. Luckily it only cost me about $80.00 in hardware since I had access to the steel. Little sketchy doing it by myself but doable. also used goop instead (works just the same as is somewhat removable in the future If someone else wants to) Once the materials were cut, took me an evening after work. Today I went and got some 14" wheels and it almost seems to tall now without an extra step so that is my next project. Many thanks for this thread.
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Old 07-18-2020, 05:47 AM   #19
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VERY NICE, Alaskanate!

I'm still running 13" wheels. If I go to 14" or 15", will definatly put a double step. Mine is currently bent from before lift drag.

Glad this thread inspired a few hybrid owners to "get high".

Uses a lot of washers!

CT
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Old 08-08-2020, 01:11 PM   #20
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We have just lifted our 18F. Yes, my husband took your idea and went even farther. We are adding scissor stabilizers and a new step as well. We had to, the former owner must of had a few flat tires and hurt the step and sewage system. We now have to put on a rubber sleeve so the sewage doesn’t leak. Thank you for posting!
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