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Another Turnbuckle Fiasco Averted ....FWC facebook page

Turnbuckles open ended aluminum

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#1 DavidGraves


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Posted 19 January 2019 - 07:40 PM

An FWC owner traveling mainland Mexico reported a problem with his aluminum, open hook factory supplied turnbuckles on the FWC owners Facebook page......


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#2 john cotterman

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Posted 19 January 2019 - 08:13 PM

I saw that, too.  I had never heard or seen this issue. The hooked end of the aluminum TBs bent and opened enough to slip off. See pix.
Has anyone experience such a failure? The discussion also talked about using 2-ton canvass ratchets instead. Any opinions here? It might be easier to reach in those narrow spaces and tighten using the ratchet rather than the turn buckle. 
I also hear of folks doing redundant fastening -- ratchet webbing or chain as backup. Just how much should we be concerned here?
One last question. What is too tight with a turnbuckle? That might be the problem. I tighten by hand and then 1/2 additional turn with screw driver inside.

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Edited by john cotterman, 19 January 2019 - 08:22 PM.

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#3 longhorn1


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Posted 19 January 2019 - 09:08 PM

Not had a problem yet and we have done some pretty washboard roads. I just purchased some chains and 4 cable locks for the front. Something just doesn't add up. Wondering if there are some things that the OP is doing different. Does he have a rubber pad? Is the camper centered in the bed?. I have wedges in the front of the bed and rigid 1-1/2" insulation between the rear of the camper and end of the bed. My camper can't move side to side. When the camper moves side to side there is a better chance for the turnbuckles to loosen and then bend at a bump in the road. If they come loose when the truck hits a bump the camper has room to lift bending the turnbuckles. My 2 cents.

Edited by longhorn1, 19 January 2019 - 09:09 PM.

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#4 klahanie


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Posted 19 January 2019 - 11:09 PM

Had to check mine ... AL body with ferrous metal hooks.


When the guy on FB writes, "Aluminum turnbuckles" does he mean the hooks are AL?

If so then, yeah I'd replace/upgrade them. If not them maybe the "steel" now is not like what it was when the old OEM ones I still use were made.




 What is too tight with a turnbuckle? That might be the problem. I tighten by hand and then 1/2 additional turn with screw driver inside.


That sounds reasonable to me. Personally, I generally only "hand tighten" but have good access to the turnbuckles so can get a good look at, and feel, for the tension. Also use a 1/2" thick rubber anti fatigue mat under the camper. I think it helps keep the camper from moving around so easily and adds some cushion for flexing. Don't really see the need to keep the TBs super tight. Jam nuts, like in the pic you show,  prevent the TBs from spinning loose.


So far it's keep me off the (turnbuckle) fiasco list. :ph34r:

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#5 ckent323


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Posted 20 January 2019 - 01:45 AM

I have had loosening issues in the past when travelling graded dirt and worse roads.  I check the turnbuckles frequently (daily) when driving off pavement.


We made a 7900 mile round trip to Anchorage this summer and all four turnbuckles remained tight the whole trip.


Same camper, same turnbuckles same truck. 

I generally hand tighten as much as I am able. Even at 65 my upper body and arm strength is pretty good.  It probably makes sense however to use a screwdriver and put an extra 1/4 - 1/2 turn on them as John Cotterman does.



Edited by ckent323, 20 January 2019 - 01:50 AM.

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#6 rubberlegs



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Posted 20 January 2019 - 01:55 AM

I also wondered if that poster was overtightening. The manual says (I think) tighten a half turn with a tool after hand tightening, and I kinda wonder if I'm overdoing it sometimes. I use a jam nut which has really helped. Now I check the turnbuckles using the wiggle test. If I can't wiggle them, they're good.

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#7 Stan@FourWheel


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Posted 20 January 2019 - 11:56 PM

If the truck suspension is not dialed in correctly, that might cause it too.

I’ve see customers with over inflated air bags and the truck bounces too much (too stiff) where the shocks can’t dampen the ride like they should.

Not sure in this case, but one of a few thoughts that comes to mind.

Add ratchet straps in extreme conditions is probably not a bad idea.
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#8 klahanie


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Posted 21 January 2019 - 02:03 AM

A little air out the tires never hurts either..., Bizarre tho, the way I read it the fellow hit a speed bump at ~15mph and all 4 hooks bent open. I mean ... most of us have done that at least once. The other time was going thru a ditch .. again, BTDT, twist is possible and depending on extent, some damage may occur. That's understandable, fair enough.


Too bad we don't know which hook end of the turnbuckle bent - camper or bed end.


Been wondering if the bed attachment point is steel bar with a hole in it, the plane of the bar might - in the right condition - lever open the hook.


Pic of Taco bed brackets, posted here:




This eg uses a quick link, but imagine an install without. Compared to the hook attached to an eye nut like on the camper.


I don't have a pic of my set up but I have the TBs like post #2 and the truck bed tie downs are like this:




So a round rod hook in a round rod ring, same as to camper eye nut. At most angles of attachment the contact always stays at the apex of the rods (layman terminology) kind like a pintle hitch set up. The bar above would {EDIT better to say "could"] have 2 contact points - each face of the bar - and they "may" even put a stress point in the hook depending on how the hole edge is finished.


Also wondering about the angle of attachment. I know this has been mentioned before. I notice on the FB page a reply showing a Torklift solution. Fellow is very happy with.




Guessing this is also on a Tacoma. What stands out to me is the attachment angle. Presumably this is the rear and the fronts are similar but pulling forward and outward. Seems to me if the attachment were plum - the shortest possible distance between the camper and bed - there would be the least amount of available movement should 2 of the attachments come loose.


 For eg if the fronts loosened, with this rear angle isn't there an arc of movement possible for the camper to move rearward if the vehicle hit a bump ?


Now, I understand there will be reasons for this design, min length to be practical among others. And I'm not suggesting it's a poor design. No doubt millions of miles, bullet proof etc. Just noting that there must be different angle of attachment for different applications and this might be a variable for why some owners never have any issues and a few report that they have.

Edited by klahanie, 21 January 2019 - 02:34 AM.

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#9 DavidGraves


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Posted 21 January 2019 - 02:50 AM

A more vertical orientation of turnbuckles,  perhaps a two inch vertical offset from top attachment point to bottom.

Fronts offset forward...rears offset rearward...all can also be offset to the side.


All of this, of course, needs to take into consideration the installers truck bed and strong points to mount bed eye bolts.


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#10 klahanie


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Posted 21 January 2019 - 03:15 AM

Agree. On my current deck I went ~2.5" offset for the bed point, being both outward and fwd/rwd from the camper point. Has worked well.

For tbe fails ? Bending, movement or loss, IDK.
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