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In this article I’ll show you how to fix a Jayco wind up lift system when the main cable snaps.

This is what I did when our Jayco Swan camper wouldn’t wind up.

I’ll show you how I did it:

As a one person job.

For less than $15.

And, without lifting up the top.

Let’s climb on in…

1. Gather up the tools you need

The tools you’ll need are a:

  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • 10mm spanner (or socket)
  • Pair of pliers, and a
  • Swaging tool

Tools Needed to Fix Jayco Wind Up Camper Cable

Don’t have a swaging tool?

Swaging Tool - Needed to Fix Jayco Wind Up Camper Cable

You can get one from most hire places like Kennards for about $30 for the day

(or you could just get one off eBay)

2. Take all the cushions off the front bench seat

In our Jayco Swan the winch and main cable assembly are under the front bench seat.

Fixing Jayco Wind Up Camper - Remove All Cushions

Getting rid of all the cushions will make sure you can get clear access to the mechanism that makes a Jayco wind up lift system work.

3. Remove the lid from the corner compartment

There’s 2 screws holding this down so it comes off pretty easily.

Remove Corner Lid to See Jayco Wind Up Camper Winch Mechanism

Here you can see the winch

Jayco Wind Up Camper Winch Mechanism

(but it’s still pretty hard to get to)

4. Remove the panel that houses the winch and main cable assembly

Use the flathead screwdriver to pop the little plastic covers off to reveal the screws holding the panel to the floor…

Remove the Panel to Show Jayco Wind Up Camper Winch Mechanism

… and then unscrew the panel from the cross bars.

This gives you a nice clear view of the winch and main cable assembly:

Jayco Swan Wind Up Camper Winch and Main Cable Assembly

Here’s the broken cable that stopped our Jayco from winding up:

Jayco Swan Wind Up Camper Broken Main Cable

NOTE: Wire cable just doesn’t snap for no reason… look for the cause

5. Undo the nut holding the cable to the winch

I used a spanner, but a socket would have probably been a bit easier

Nut Holding Main Cable

Hint: I used my phone’s camera in selfie-mode to get a better view of what I was doing!

6. Remove the broken cable from the winch

Here’s where the pliers came in handy:

The wire cable had lots of sharp little bits on it…

Pull Main Cable Through Winch Using Pliers

…so save your hands and use the pliers to pull it through instead.

7. Remove the other end of the broken cable from the anchor plate

Pretty self-explanatory.

Pulling Main Cable Through Jayco Wind Up Camper Anchor Plate

Don’t forget to keep the washers!

8. Buy a replacement cable and swages

These aren’t anything specific to a Jayco Swan or wind up camper lift system…

Jayco Swan Wind Up Camper Broken Main Cable

…it’s like what you see on your standard balustrade wire fence.

Replacement Jayco Swan Wind Up Broken Main Cable and Swages

So I went to Bunnings and bought:

  • 5mm stainless steel cable
  • A packet of swages

This cost $4.32 for the cable and $7.82 for the swages… so just over $12!

Now the original cable was only 1.9 metres long.

But for the sake of an extra dollar or two?

Get them to cut 2.5 metres for you

[it’s much easier to work with, and means you can do 5-8 dead wraps around the drum of the winch]

Swage one end, put the washers back on, and you’re good to go

9. Feed the new cable through the anchor plate (and wrap it neatly around the winch drum)

I did this slow and steady so that way the cable was wrapped up neatly around the winch drum.

Winding the Main Cable Back Onto Jayco Wind Up Camper Winch Drum

I kept on going until the slack was taken up

10. Slowly wind the winch handle to check if everything in the lift system is okay

Here’s where a big feeling of satisfaction came in:

It was a Jayco wind up camper again!

Once it started to move I would:

  1. Check to make sure it was evenly pulling the 4 smaller cables
  2. Look for other signs of fraying, wear and tear
  3. Wind up a little more
  4. Repeat.

Wind Up Slowly to Make Sure Winch and Main Cable Are Okay

Once it was at full height I put the corner supports into place

(and checked that all 4 corners had lifted evenly)

Repaired Jayco Swan Wind Up Camper Main Cable

11. Screw the panel back on again

This was also a good opportunity to vacuum inside the boot tunnel so it’s nice and clean all around the lift system

Repaired Jayco Swan Wind Up Camper Main Cable - Top View

Summary: Replacing a broken main cable to fix a Jayco wind up lift system

This was how I fixed the broken main cable of the lift system when our Jayco Swan wouldn’t wind up

I’m glad I took the time to learn how do it rather than take it in to get repaired:

This way if it happens again and I’m in the middle of nowhere at least I’ll know what to do!

A swaging tool is something you you can easily get one from Bunnings (or cheaper here on eBay).

Now that we have a Jayco Swan, a swaging tool and some cable is something I might start carrying…

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