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Systems and Maintenance

Maintaining Happijac Tie Downs and Turnbuckles

Truck Camper Magazine asks Don Payne, Happijac’s Product Manager, about the proper use and maintenance of Happijac’s tie-downs and turnbuckles.

Happijac turnbuckles

Happijac Company has been manufacturing tie-downs and turnbuckles for over thirty years.  When we first visited the company in 2007, Marty Rasmussen, Happijac’s Founder, shared with us Happijac’s rich history going into great detail about how he designed, developed, and tested Happijac’s tie-downs and turnbuckles.

As the story goes, Marty had an incident where his truck and camper became separated prompting him to develop the spring loaded turnbuckles that we take for granted today.  Clearly that was one incident that lead to an important breakthrough for truck campers.

For this story, we wanted to find out more about how to properly use and maintain a Happijac tie-down and turnbuckle system.  It turns out there are some subtle but important details about how a Happijac tie-down and turnbuckle system should be installed and these details can make a big difference in the systems effectiveness and longevity.

I truss
The following is our interview with Don Payne, Happijac’s Product Manager, on the proper use and maintenance of Happijac’s tie-downs and turnbuckles.

TCM: Give us an overview of the Happijac tie-down and turnbuckle system and how it works.

Don: Happijac’s tie-down and turnbuckle systems are frame and bed mounted.  This means the tie-downs are bolted into the frame of the truck as well as the front of the bed of the truck.

The real key to Happijac’s tie-down and turnbuckle system is an I-beam truss that is formed with a stabilizing bar, the front of the truck bed, and the truck frame.  This I-beam truss is one of the strongest fundamental structural forms pound for pound.

As a result of our I-bean truss design, Happijac can offer a light weight twenty-four pound system that can hold and control the camper movement in every possible direction.  Other alternative tie-downs add up to eighty pounds and add unneeded weight.

Happijac tie-downs on truck

A set of centering guide locks and bumpers are mounted on the stabilizing bar and guide plates to aid in loading a camper and ensure that a camper is positioned correctly and remains positioned correctly in the truck bed.

The placement of Happijac’s tie-down anchor points and the use of Happijac’s linear compression spring loaded turnbuckles creates tremendous structural strength by triangulating leveraged counter forces.

As a complete system, the Happijac tie-down and turnbuckle system effectively controls the yaw, pitch, and roll of a truck camper in motion.  That is front to back, side to side, and left to right movement.  This is accomplished by pulling the camper forward, down and toward the center at the same time.

The high mounting angle of the tie-downs controls the camper from getting off center or moving in the back of your truck.  Again, the Happijac system is designed to control camper movement.
Front and Rear Happijac Turnbuckles

TCM: What is the correct way to connect a Happijac turnbuckle?

Don: Happijac turnbuckles are sold in sets of four including two long barrel turnbuckles and two shorter barrel turnbuckles.


The longer barrels go on the front because they contain the linear compression spring.  You want all four barrels facing down to allow rain to flow out of the barrel.

Happijac Quik Load

If you’re using our Qwik-Load turnbuckle, it best to install them with the threaded hook up if possible.  If it is not possible, then they can be installed in the reverse.

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