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Old 03-02-2018, 07:52 PM   #1
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Torklift GlowStep Revolution for Travel Trailer

Hi,

We are looking at an entry step upgrade and I know we have talked on step upgrades in the past, just not this brand. See here on our current steps. These have 8" wide by 24" long treads at 9 1/4" rise. They are not as bad as some of the newer fold in steps on other brands, but we are looking for something that we can step up and down a little easier with a better foot feel and somewhat more sturdy.







The Torklift Glow Step Revolution I found from searching and is very popular on truck campers that they were developed for but not too much yet on TT's/5er's. It may be they are new on the TT's option. These https://www.torklift.com/rv/glowstep-revolution

Looking for info/opinions from folks who may have seen them, are thinking about them or have them on a few topics.

1. There is a lever on the side of the unit that adjusts the top step into 3 positions. When do you use the other positions? This was not real clear in the Glow step videos on their site.

2. They say they extend into tighter places. OK, how do they really do that? It seems it has to be extended long enough to reach the ground, can you change the angle of the descent/rise so the bottom ground step is closer or further from the camper?

3. Do the scissors links deflect much under weight going up and down?

4. Have you ever been in a campsite where they will not work? Or you had to create a work around?

5. The Glow step is reported to be a 7 1/2" rise which is less then our current 9 1/4" and I see that as a good thing. Do you think so? Does the 7 1/2" change more or less when the steps are out or in further?

6. Is there something you do not like about them and why?

7. Are you glad you did the change to the Glow Step?

In our case, we have 3 steps now and there are times we have to add a 4th bottom separate step due to the downhill slope of the campsite. And other times we have the opposite, a high up ended site and the bottom step can almost not be folded out as the ground is so high. These extremes of up and down are characteristic of more remote campgrounds with no hard surface pads that we go to them a lot. I am hoping the Glow step will accommodate both extremes.

My thoughts were on the Glow Step, we could go from our 3 step unit to a 3 or 4 step unit and eliminate the separate bottom step which can be a hazard when I have to shim it to not rock. Shim wiggles out and you can go flying out of balance on the rocking step.

Our current step threads are 8" wide, just like the Glow Step but the glow step looks flat all across the top other then some grooves for anti slip. Ours has 2 raised pads so to speak. One smooth the other gritted for anti slip. In our case your foot really never rests on a full 8" wide, only the tops of the pads. I would like more foot contact surface and think the 8" glow step being flat on top will allow all 8" under your foot to give you the feel of more tread width.

Sunline welded in the step bracket and it mounts to the main frame and bolted up into the floor. While I can cut out the bracket welds, that is a lot of work. I can drill out the rivets and just remove the existing scissors. Then mount the glow step inside the original step frame.

Thanks in advance for your opinions.

John
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Old 03-03-2018, 07:07 AM   #2
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I remembered seeing similar steps and found the thread, but they different. Due to location his are removable, but if you like pictures you can probably see accordion style steps in lots of different scenarios. Install on pg. 4 but not much discussion... scroll backwards and just look at many different pics of steps

Box truck to RV conversion. Crew Cab f450 - Page 25 - Pirate4x4.Com : 4x4 and Off-Road Forum
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Old 03-03-2018, 07:44 AM   #3
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Thanks Enormiss,

Yes, I have seen them on truck campers online. A lot of them. They have a step need worse then in TT/5er's as it is so high up. The Torklift steps started out catering to the TC market. Now they have started on the TT/5ers with the same concept just a different mount on the camper.

I have run into that forum before. They are some serious back country traveling folks and home made gear. The one you linked, I thought those pics look like the NW US and yes, it seems they are from WA.

Thanks

John
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Old 03-03-2018, 03:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnB View Post
Thanks Enormiss,

Yes, I have seen them on truck campers online. A lot of them. They have a step need worse then in TT/5er's as it is so high up. The Torklift steps started out catering to the TC market. Now they have started on the TT/5ers with the same concept just a different mount on the camper.

I have run into that forum before. They are some serious back country traveling folks and home made gear. The one you linked, I thought those pics look like the NW US and yes, it seems they are from WA.

Thanks

John
I see a lot of truck campers Iím my travels and I always check those with that step style out (half marveling at the design, but also with a suspicious eye). I donít know how many brands of aluminum steps like that there are, but I have seen some span an incredible distance and flex a LOT under some hefty campers and hold up. Looking at that brand they look well built and for a couple/few steps, I would think they would work well, but that is far from any actual experience, sorry.

I may need to add another step after new axles. .
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Old 03-03-2018, 05:19 PM   #5
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John
A lot of Grand Design owners have changed the factory steps to the Torklift. They get a lot of very good reviews.
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Old 03-03-2018, 05:41 PM   #6
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Hi Tod,

Thanks. I found another brand other then Torklift, called Brophy. C.R. Brophy Machine Works, Inc. -- Scissor Stairs and Steps

They are not made with the same attachment system at the camper or the telescoping feet for uneven ground. And in their instruction Brophy states this.

Quote:
WARNING: This step is only to be used while vehicle is stationary. Do not permanently mount step. Use mounting bracket provided so step is easily removed prior to vehicle travel. If step is not removed prior to travel, injury and damage may occur and voids warranty and liability.
Not really wanting a set of steps I have to remove and put back on the camper all the time.

And I found this brand Step-Up Products - Home of the Backstep - Eugene, Oregon

Again these are targeting the truck campers.

Torklift put a new spin on the concept with the mechanism that mounts at the camper and telescoping feet at the base. And their pivot joints with bushings might be a better longer lasting joint. Don't know what the others use at their joints.

Thanks

John
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Old 03-03-2018, 05:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 264SRinPA View Post
John
A lot of Grand Design owners have changed the factory steps to the Torklift. They get a lot of very good reviews.
Thanks Mike,

Have you seen one up close yet?

They also seem to have a few generations on the TT/5er line. The latest design ones have a pivoting mechanism mount at the camper that can change the step height to reach down further. Don't know how much just yet but this hopefully will eliminate the need of an extra step when the camper is nose down to the ground to level it out. The back end is high then and we have to bring along a extra step to put down so you don't have a 10" to 12" drop off.

Thanks

John
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Old 03-05-2018, 11:07 AM   #8
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I called Torklift today and had a good conversation with them.

They offer 2 different width frames, a 27.5" and a 25.5". The part I did not realize is, the step tread does not change between the 2 sizes, only the mounting frame. The tread width is 22" for both sizes. My T310SR is setup on the 27.5" wide step mounting plates that are attached to the main camper frame. (not part of the step unit)

Sunline welded the step unit to the frame mounting brackets. On many other brands, they bolt the steps to the frame mounting plates. There is 7" of weld on both sides of the step unit holding it to the mounting frame. They for sure did not want this to be a failure point and it is a solid attachment.

That amount of cutting normally does not bother me but in this case most of it is right between the lower gold siding opening and the step frame. Getting a grinder cut off wheel in there would be a challenge. And taking that gold siding off, well it's even that much more work... I wanted to install the 27.5" Glow step inside the step unit but it "just" does not fit, I have a 1/4" interference using the 27.5" wide unit.

After I found out the 25.5" unit had no step tread change, I can fit the 25.5" frame inside my Hickory Springs 27.25" (ID) welded on frame and not lose tread width. Yeh!!! I may have to trim a few bolts on the Glow Step that have excess thread extension, Or drill a clearance hole for them in the side of the old step frame, but that beats grinding out 14" of weld... And I can also convert back to the old steps if we ever need to.

I also figured out the range of vertical adjustment of the system between the phone call and the manual. The service rep gave me the login info to be able to download the install/user manual and that helped a lot too.

The pivot lever on the top step has 3 positions. Hi, medium and low. Reading the instructions, medium is the normal location. Going to the hi setting allows 2" of height lift to the stairs. Going to the low position lowers 2" of drop stairs. This translates into 4" of overall step height change from the top mounting system.

The bottom landing pads have the ability of +/- 1.5" of adjustment where the foot and extend/retract creating 3" of total adjustment on the landing pads.

This is how they get what they call 7" of height adjustment.

After researching this out, I ordered a set of the A8104 25 1/2" wide 4 step Glow Step Revolution units today from Etrailer. I'm on the edge of a 3 step or 4 step unit. After looking at the pricing, I can delete a step a lot cheaper then adding one later. When I get it installed I can sort out the 3 or 4 steps as at the camps we go to, I am more often using our extra separate riser step. You can convert it as needed and if this camper does not need the 4 step, the next one most likely will.

They offer a lifetime warranty to the original purchaser which is good and they are made in the USA. We will move them to the next camper if and when the time comes.

This is not an inexpensive upgrade, this type of step costs more to make. The hope is it will really help the problem a lot. Last year both Cindy and I about lost our balance on the add a step when the wood shim under the foot wiggled out. The site was sloped downhill to the lake and that meant the camper was a lot nose down to level out the camper. This put the rear main entry door sky high. Without the add a step, it would of been a 15" drop off... And getting a 4 legged add a step to be level means most times you need to have add shims to the step legs on even ground. Well after enough ins and outs of the camper, the shims wiggle out of the way and it only takes once to have a problem when the bottom step is unstable. As you get older, a bad fall off the end of camper step can be a real bad thing. So hoping this will cure the problem or make it a whole lot better is enough justification on our end. Having a long camper with a rear main entry door does aggravate this problem.

I want to thank everyone again for all your help. I will do up a post on the install when the time comes.

Thanks

John
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Old 03-06-2018, 06:15 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnB View Post
Sunline welded the step unit to the frame mounting brackets. On many other brands, they bolt the steps to the frame mounting plates. There is 7" of weld on both sides of the step unit holding it to the mounting frame. They for sure did not want this to be a failure point and it is a solid attachment.
Interesting. Back in the day, there wasn't much of a step frame, and the steps were bolted to the floor. Over time if water got in by the door, even just a little bit, those lag bolts would sink through the wet wood and the step would angle down. This happened on my '86. The floor wasn't rotted out, but the bolts definitely pulled down some into the floor plywood. The solution was to put new lag bolts in the floor a little farther in, to hold the steps tight, which straightened them back out. Nothing's worse than a step bent down and away from the trailer!

Not sure when they improved on it, but sometime in the '90s. There was an early '97 2053 near me for years. The owner was very large, and that step bent down over time, I could see it as I drove by. There's an angle bracket welded to the frame on mine, so something major must have compromised to have that happen. Maybe with the step unit itself. I haven't looked to see how the newer steps, or the three step units, are mounted to compare.
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Old 03-06-2018, 08:28 PM   #10
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Hi Jon,

That is interesting info on the history of the steps. And I think your right, Sunline may have realized there was a long term issue if and when floor rot came. I did not get time today to look at the T-1950 as it is one step and the issues while still there are not as pronounced as a 3 step unit.

It seems the 8,600# and 10,000# GVWR TT's have the same mount. The 5er's may have too. I never looked close enough to know.

They have a 10" I beam frame and that allows different attachments to occur then a 4,5 or 6" frame.

Here are some pics off my T310SR. Your T-286SR should be the same as I'm assuming Sunline stayed with the Hickory Springs steps. And even if they did change step brands, the step mount would be the same as this seems to be an industry standard width of 27.5" across the "outside" of the step unit and the inside dimension of the mounting frame which is part of the camper.

Here is a side pic. Since I painted all this last year, everything is shiny black and the surfaces all blend in together.

The outside front view. There is about a 4 1/2" wide bracket on the top that is welded to the main I beam frame and is on the top flange as well. This is the step mounting frame bracket. It is an outrigger to hold the camper too as there is a carriage bolt or lag screw on the outermost end up into the floor system.


The bottom outside front view showing an angle iron bracket on the bottom of the steps. Welded onto the frame and step.


Here is the inside front of the steps. You can see the outline of the Hickory Springs step unit. It attaches to the main frame outrigger bracket.


Here is the inside rear of the steps. Looks the same as the front side.


Here is looking at an angle from the door side of the camper. You can just see the main frame outrigger bracket which is welded to the front side of the step unit.


It shows up here on the back side too. Look up top of the stair cutout opening, it is there. The lighting and lack of shiny paint makes it show up better. That weld is 4" vertical and 1" horizontal.


The step unit also has a 1" long weld stitch on the outside ends of the front and back side to the main frame outrigger.

The leverage on a 3 step unit hanging off the camper 24" is very large. Sunline for sure did not want that to bend down or come apart under use. This all hangs off the side of the frame and the 2 carriage bolts or lags on the ends of the main frame outrigger. So they welded it on most likely at Lippert when the frame was built. They could of bolted the steps to the frame brackets like some other brands do, just they chose the weld route. From talking to TorkLift they have run into welded on steps in other brands. They say about 20% of all the steps they sell are to folks with welded on steps. The other 80% are bolted on.

I'll have to look at the T-1950 tomorrow.

Thanks

John
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Old 03-07-2018, 06:22 AM   #11
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Hi John,

From the little bit I've looked at it, that does look like a similar mounting style. I still remember almost crying when I had a little yellow road line paint splatter up on the rear step frame.

One thing I can't stand about many trailers is how poor the steps are. Many are cheap steel to begin with, and then poor mounting makes them even less reassuring. My parents replaced theirs because it wobbled so much. They have a slide out porch platform which the steps are mounted on. The platform doesn't have much up and down movement, but it has a little, and then super springy steps were just amplified. Like you say, any support to the ground just wiggles out of place after using the step a few times, so there's no good way to have a solid step. It's one thing to want a spring in your step, but you shouldn't get it from RV steps!

Once the most recent snow melts, I'll try to document how my '97 was attached for comparison. I think your 1950 might have the same style, and '05 was when they went to the square single step that goes out in more of a cam motion instead of sliding on the bar.

My front step on the '97 has been annoying me. That design is not very precise, and when the step goes out, the spot it rests against isn't even. Either the step is slightly bent, or the mounting spot is just a little uneven. I think more the latter. I tried to file it down a little to even it out, but it still rattles when you step on it in certain positions.
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Old 03-07-2018, 06:02 PM   #12
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Hi Jon,

To keep the learning going, here is the mount in a 2004 T-1950 single pull out step.

They use the same features as the 3 step unit on the larger camper. They have a frame welded outrigger as the stair mounting bracket. The bracket does have a carriage bolt to the wood frame but I think they do this to hold the camper to the steel frame and add some extra holding power at the step area. And then they weld the step unit to the bracket.

The step out


The frame outrigger bracket


Inside the step pics

Front


Rear


They for sure did not want that step to move much.

Thanks

John
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Old 03-07-2018, 06:09 PM   #13
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The Glow Step showed up today from Etrailer. When they have the parts in stock, they do ship fast.

The boxes


The step in the stored position


Mocked up on a set of jack stands




I must say I am impressed with the quality of build. I have heard others that have Tork Lift products and they state they have good quality and this shows it.

Now I have a mod project to do after I get the rest of the camper put back together from the frame repair...

Thanks

John

Edit 4-14-18 See this post for the Glow Step install Torklift GlowStep Revolution Installtion
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