How To Open Pop-Up Camper Without Crank (Raise Broken Pop-Up)

You are out at your camping spot and you are going through your tools and you suddenly realize, you forgot the crank. Don’t feel bad, many pop-up camper owners have done the same thing. When you realize the mistake, get creative.

One of the ways to open your camper without a crank is to find a substitute tool that will do the same work. This can be a socket with an extension and iron bar or it can be something else. The tools you use will depend on the design of the pop-up camper.

To learn more about this solution just continue to read our article. It explores the topic so you have the best information to help you out of an embarrassing situation. Take a few minutes to see how this information helps you.

How To Open a Pop-Up Camper Without Crank


This is not a rare situation. Many other pop-up owners have faced it at one time or another. But when you are in this situation, do not panic. There are solutions that will replace the crank and let you enjoy your family outing.

The process to follow is simple and it just takes a few extra minutes or so to adapt to the lack of a crank and get that pop-up tent erected. Here are those steps:

1. Gather the right tools- this can be an iron bar with the appropriate socket, extension, and wrench. Or it can be a lug nut wrench if it fits the bolt for cranking or some other tool.

Assess the situation by looking at the bolt and seeing which would be the best tool to use. You have a variety of options but you need to make sure the tool you use is sturdy and will not fall off the cranking mechanism.

2. Disconnect all the locks- depending on your pop-up’s design, the locks need to be unclipped, unhooked, or whatever way they go to release their hold on the trailer’s top.

3. Use some muscle- in this step you may need to ask some neighbors or friends to help you. It is difficult to lift the trailer’s top by yourself but if that is what you are left with, then do one side at a time.

Out in nature, you will not have the luxury of using a chain hoist, but that tool can be used when you get back home.

4. Secure the pop top- once you have lifted all four sides and they are not going to fall on you, re-lock the locks so the top is secure. After that is done, you can kick yourself for forgetting the crank.

Some Tips And Tricks You Can Use To Help You


Forgetting or losing the crank is not a big deal. It is something that is bound to happen at some point in time. When you are facing this problem, the solution does not have to be difficult. Here are some tips and tricks to help you get that top open:

1. Get help- you do not have to be superman for your family. Just be human and seek out some quality help. Hopefully, those people have a few muscles to help make the lifting easier.

2. Lubricate those locks- when you are in a pinch it helps to have the locks work flawlessly and without hassle. WD-40 or other lubricants keep those locks working smoothly and without resistance.

3. Secure the crank- this can be done by buying a pop-up trailer cover. The cover helps keep everything in its place and nothing should get out and get lost. The cover also protects the mechanisms so they are easier to move when you forgot the crank.

4. Store the crank in the tow vehicle- if you know which vehicle you are going to use for the trip and tow the trailer, put the crank in a safe place inside the tow vehicle.

That way, even if you forget, it is already in the right spot and won’t be forgotten. You can keep it in the tow vehicle all the time to make sure the crank is never lost or forgotten. Just make sure to keep it in the same place

5. Use your cordless drill- if you have the right size of drill bit and adapters, etc., your cordless drill can make the work a lot easier. Just make sure you put the drill speed to the lowest setting.

Too fast and you can damage some vital parts. Also, make sure your tent poles are in the proper place so the tent lifts up easier and smoother.

6. Sockets are your friend- remove the access panel so you can reach the bolt a lot easier. Then select the right-sized socket and place it over the bolt. Attach the socket wrench to the socket and you may have to use an extension to get the right leverage.

Then turn the socket wrench in the direction you need to go.

7. Use a pop-up lift- these devices can remove the manual from the labor you will have to do. They are hydraulically operated and remove all the work for you. They also attach to the pop-up camper.

They are easy to install as long as you get the one that is designed for your trailer’s size and shape.

How To Raise a Broken Pop-Up Camper


There are only about 2 ways you can do this task. The first way would be to ask some friends to help you. The first step would be to make sure the locks are disconnected and the top moves freely. No one needs to strain their backs getting the top up.

Once the top is ready and everyone is in their place, you just manually lift the top up. Have another person standing by to put supports in place so the top remains up and does not come crashing down on you.

This may be the old-fashioned method but it works. The second option you have does basically the same thing except there is no muscle power involved. You get a pop-up camper top lift and install it.

Once in place, the hydraulics will do all the work and make sure that the top lifts smoothly and easily. Then you just secure the top in place and you can continue your camping trip.

There are different types of lifts you can buy. One has an automatic brake system which makes sure the top and the lift do not come crashing down when you stop lifting.

Other than that, the top may be too heavy for you to do a DIY fix.

How To Fix a Broken Cable


Again, these instructions will depend on the type of pop-up camper you own and its design. They assume you have the crank.

1. Fully extend your top and then brace it. After that lower the top a little to take the pressure off the cables

2. Now go underneath the camper and remove the box cover that protects the cable hub.

3. Locate the broken cable and follow it to the corner of the camper

4. Next, go into the camper and remove the paneling to gain access to the lifting post. Remove the broken cable.

5. Replace the old broken cable with a new one making sure the pulleys are moved in when you do this.

6. Adjust the cable to remove any slack and test your repair job.

Many owners who have this problem find that their pop-up camper is too heavy for them to lift. That is because the camper had a hard-top, a roof AC unit, and was about 12 feet long.

The owner of this camper followed all instructions and even bought the tools needed to do the job right but found it too heavy to lift the top. So did the first three shops he took it to.

The fourth shop had to use 2 forklifts to raise the roof so they could replace the broken cable. The purpose of this story is to make sure you can lift the top before working on it. If you can’t spend the money and let the pros at the shop handle the problem.

You may not have this problem with a small pop-up camper but the larger ones will give you a lot of trouble.

Some Final Words

When you lose or forget the crank for your pop-up trailer’s top, do not worry. You have some creative and innovative options to help you solve the problem. When you go to use those alternative options, make sure you work carefully.

Sometimes the tools can slip, you break a cable, and so on. Make sure to take as many safety precautions as possible that won’t interfere with your work.

Having friends to help is good but the best option is to have a pop-up trailer lift doing all the work. It may be better than buying tools you may not need.

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