where to put the jacks? - Fiberglass RV

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Old 01-04-2006, 07:13 PM   #1
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Trailer: 2003 16 ft Scamp Side Dinette
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I just found out i should lift the suspension up during the storing season(as per the owners manual that i just discovered and read for the first time. By the way i got this info from one of the members websites{thanks Dan Meyer }). So i went to Walmart and got four jacks. My question is where exactly do i place these on the frame? I sure dont want to bend the frame.

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Old 01-04-2006, 07:59 PM   #2
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Name: Per
Trailer: 2000 Burro 17 ft Widebody towed by Touareg TDI
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I'm sure many will chime in here, but my "logic" says that the whole weight normally is taken by the axle (and the tongue jack when used). So the bending forces would normally force the frame into an arc bowing up in the middle. If the frame was totally suspended by four jacks at the extreme corners the frame would describe an arc bowing down in the middle, sagging sadly and leaving the wheels hanging loose and forlorn.

No, wait, it isn't as drastic as all that and these arcs may not be visible at all. In fact on my Burro's super sturdy frame there is zero bending (sure, tell me more lies). Well, negligible and unnoticeable to my old eyes anyway.

Ideally I would think that if you divided the length of the trailer into thirds the best place would be one third from each end in order to distribute the weight as evenly as possible. Probably much better distributed than on that one lonely axle. There may be other considerations, but I putting the jacks at the extreme corners is probably the most stressful , especially if you jack it up so that the wheels are not even touching the ground.

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Old 01-04-2006, 08:58 PM   #3
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Name: Gina D.
Trailer: '77 Leocraft 17 & Former Burro owner and fan!
West Coast USA
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Ah, now here's one of many subjects that got lost in the big crash of '05. To Block or Not.

My baby moves too often to bother with blocking. At least once a month in winter, and way more in summer. So, I don't.

The others will chime in here!
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Old 01-04-2006, 09:07 PM   #4
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Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
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When I had the axle replaced a couple of summers ago, the welder suggested I take the weight off the axle when in storage. Last winter I did it faithfully, but here it is January, the trailer hasn't moved since the end of October and I still haven't done it. Won't be moving the trailer until April and probably won't get around to it before then. Don't think it's going to hurt anything tho.

At any rate, the welder said to put one set of jacks halfway between the axle and the end of the trailer and the other set halfway between the axle and the front of the trailer (don't include the tongue) and to jack it up enough to take the weight off the tires, not so they'll spin however, just not totally resting on it.

Don't know if this is the correct method, but it's what I did last year.

On second thought, the Scamp was 15 years old and had been towed thousands of miles before the axle needed to be replace...and I don't think it had ever been blocked up during any of those storage times.
Donna D.
Ten Forward - 2014 Escape 5.0 TA
Double Yolk - 1988 16' Scamp Deluxe
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Old 01-04-2006, 11:06 PM   #5
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Name: Frederick
Trailer: Fiber Stream
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The Fiber Stream's tiny frame has a definite arc to it. I want to remove the 4 wheels to get them sand blasted and powder coated. This info comes in handy.
Frederick - The Scaleman
1978 Fiber Stream 16 named "Eggstasy" & 1971 Compact Jr. named "Boomerang"
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Old 01-05-2006, 05:40 AM   #6
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Name: Roger
Trailer: Y2K6 Born Free 32RQ on the Kodiak chassis, 1995 Coachmen 19' B-van
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I think Donna's got the right idea. The design life of a torsion axle is some 15 years. The suspension comes from the condition of the rubber rods running through it. Most trailers that are suspended with a properly sized axle will get at least 15 years out of the axle; some go much longer. I have yet to own a trailer that has been stored up on jacks over the winter, and I haven't seen any degredation yet on the axles as a result. I suppose that if I planned to store the trailer for several years, I'd put it up on jacks, as sitting without moving for that period would probably adversely affect the rubber rods.

Storing it on jacks for the winter may be a nice thing to do, but I certainly don't see it as a necessity, and I don't bother. That said, if you're going to do it, I'd just lift it enough to take some of the weight off the axle, and I'd place the jacks under the frame at base of the tongue (where it joins the frame) and on the frame rails just aft or just forward (depending on where there's room) of the axle mounting brackets. Those locations will take the stress off the tongue jack and will place the stress on the frame at the axle mount location where it was designed to take it.

Use automotive jack stands that are designed to carry weight, not trailer stabilizer stands that are merely for steadying the trailer.

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Old 01-05-2006, 04:30 PM   #7
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What ever happened to the advice to keep the trailer wheels off the ground over the storage season so that they could be spun once in a while because the roller bearings develop flat spots if it`s not done? ....Benny
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Old 01-05-2006, 10:06 PM   #8
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Trailer: X Casita Owner
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What ever happened to the advice to keep the trailer wheels off the ground over the storage season so that they could be spun once in a while because the roller bearings develop flat spots if it`s not done? ....Benny
Without the weight on the wheels and hubs etc. You would not develope flat spots on the bearings. It would be if you didn't take the weight off the trailer for very long period that a flat spot might develope. Some say this can't happen on our lightweight trailer's but I jack mine up on jack stands for winter to take the weight off the axle.

I use 3 Ton Jack Stands and place one behind the axle on each side and one on the front on each side where the fiberglass body stops and the "A" frame starts for the tongue. Make sure you don't put the jack stands on the axle at any point and dont' put the jack stands just in front of the axle without having any behind the axle. This will throw the center of gravity off and the front of trailer could tip up or fall off the stands.

My Casita is very stable and I'm able to go inside without any movement of the trailer.

VickiC, you stated that you bought four jacks from Wal-Mart. Did you get four jack stands or 4 stabilzers stands. You want to make sure what you have is designed to hold the weight that you are intending to set on them. Stabilzers are not design to lift a trailer.

Also, jacking up the entire trailer can be dangerous if not done properly and on solid level surface. I will place the two jack stands in back first using a bottle jack and than put the fronts in place using the tongue jack. I alternate the height increments from back to front and side to side until I have the trailer at the height I want it. This way the angle of trailer while jacking up is not to extreme from front to back or side to side at any one time. Once the trailer is sitting on all jack stands you want to make sure that each leg of each jack stand is sitting flat on the ground.
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Old 01-06-2006, 04:24 PM   #9
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Trailer: 2003 16 ft Scamp Side Dinette
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Thank you for all the responses.

After considering the thoughts and suggestions i may opt not to use the jacks. I dont feel confident enough to do this on my own and i'm afraid i might turn it over on its side. I have it parked at the side of my yard. The dirt area is already uneven and the ground is soft. I was going to use concrete blocks to place the 4 ton jacks on so they dont sink--but i dont feel it well be stable enough. We are going to have a garage built where the scamp is now and i am going to have a level serface poured for the scamp--then maybe i'll use those jacks.
I have one more question about storing and keeping the scamp level but i'll post that seperate.


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