Are jacks necessary? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-24-2012, 09:59 PM   #15
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I use leveling blocks like these. They come in handy to put under under your jacks as well if the ground is uneven.
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Old 09-25-2012, 10:25 AM   #16
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..........If you need to jack the trailer up to change a tire, put a jack close to the wheel... on the frame... not the axle.
........
Donna, why is this? Is the axle tube wall thickness so thin that the jack would dent it? I've noticed that the frame adjacent to my axle is thin enough that a jack distorts it when I jack up my trailer.
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Old 09-25-2012, 11:02 AM   #17
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Thomas, I suspect your correct. Scamps have two 3" x 1 1/2" tubes running down the length of the trailer that they suggest we use for jacking up. I use them and not seen them dent. My manual reads:

"Jacking up the trailer: On the trailer there are two min beams made out of 3 inch by 1 inch tubing, one on each side. Either of these can be used as a point to jack up the trailer. Jack should be placed close to the axle or toward the rear of the trailer, so that the whole weight of the trailer is not on one point. WARNING: The rear bumper jacks are not intended to be used as a jack for changing tires. A scissor jack, hydraulic jack, or a floor jack should be used. "
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Old 09-25-2012, 12:24 PM   #18
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Or a screw jack, like those usually found in cars and trucks.

Certainly don't want to attempt to place a jack under light gauge box frame member or the torsion arm to lift, and Tom is, imo&e, correct about the main axle housing being stiff enuf to be a better jack point than the adjacent frame. Carol quotes the "gospel" according to Scamp, so you can adopt that as your professed method if you own a Scamp. (The official Scamp view of dropdown stabilizers as useful for leveling might make you wonder, but that's another story.)

Sometimes, there's an alternative to either axle housing or frame. On our Burro, the vertical mounting flange (welded to frame) protrudes below the mounting flange of the axle. So, whether bolted or welded (ours is bolted), that flange is a good jack point for a small bottle jack with the "X" depression in thehead of the jack piston. 1/4" of steel may not seem to some to be solid bearing for a jack but is plenty if the base of the jack is on a firm surface (and that surface better be firm or made firm with whatever you have at hand). Some of you may never have considered what the cross-shaped depression in the jack head is for; now you know. This particular bottle jack is from a 70s Toyota truck and most jacks supplied with motor vehicles have a similar head. Once jacked up, your very useful and versatile [not] jack stands should be placed under the box frame fore and aft of the tire you're changing to add a margin of safety. Running up the screw to "snug" won't even mar the paint let along distort the tubing.

One additional piece of advice. It would never occur to you to unhitch your tow vehicle "before" changing a flat on the side of the road but it may also never occur to you just how important the hitched condition is to changing wheels or packing bearings at home. You do need the coupler end anchored in place. The tongue jack (even stabbed in the mud with the foot removed) is simply not enuf resistance to lateral movement which might drop the trailer off the jack and jack [sic] stands. And please remember to set the emergency brake in the tug.

jack
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Old 09-25-2012, 04:30 PM   #19
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trailer leveling - YouTube Here's a vid that shows the Bal leveller that Donna mentioned. I don't personally use it, I just back my trailer up onto some boards to level side to side.
So that's what they are. Thanks for posting the photo, I had no clue! (Oops, did I just admit to being clueless?)
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Old 09-25-2012, 04:54 PM   #20
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First time I've seen the BAL single-piece chock. At 55 bucks the copy I'll go on kickng in plastic chocks. Come to think of it, it doesn't look like it has much bearng on tire or gound and the 'turnbuckle' adjustment down in the dirt looks over-engineered and under-useful. I can tolerate the price, weight, mess, and footprint of the BAL leveler as I find it easier to deploy than oversize LEGGOs and stacks of dimensional lumber.

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Old 09-25-2012, 06:16 PM   #21
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Carol H - are those curved stops purchased separately? So.......you just put a few of those block pads down and it self levels? Do you always put them down on both sides and the wheels come out balanced? Do you carry levels?
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Old 09-25-2012, 07:32 PM   #22
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"Curved stop" = wheel chock? Wheel chocks are pretty cheap. Small one at WallyMart about 5 bucks. Need one each wheel but one fore and one aft is better if you misjudge a slight slope so need 4.

As for block pads, I guess you mean the LEGGO type leveling pads or something similar. Self-leveling? Don't we wish? Gotta put what you think you need to make up the rise of slope between wheels behind the downslope wheel, back the trailer until the wheel is on top of the stack (or in the case of one "stair" type sytem sitting on the appropriate tread).

I suppose a stick-on vial level on the bumper might tell you which way is up and which downslope and you back onto whatever height stack you think will give you a full bubble. A 2' masonry or carpenter's level could be placed with one end on the bumper and when you've got a centered bubble you could measure the distance to bumper at the other end. That would be the rise in 2'. If the lateral wheelbase is roughly 6' you could multiply the rise in 2' by 3 to get the rise from the downslope tire to the upper and place the required height of blocks or nearest approximation. Lot of trouble and I expect most people take a SWAG at what elevation is necessary, put down the blocks, back on and call good enuf. With the BAL leveler, you can place a 2' or torpedo level on the floor inside the trailer and crank the elevation screw until you get a centered bubble and you're done. (If you use the BAL leveler, you will NOT also chock the wheel on the downslope side.)

To review, backing onto blocks requires a a flair for estimation or a love of cut and try. The BAL Leveler requires only the strength of a small ape and less brainpower. Occasionally you will camp on a site which is truly level athwartships or one with some sort of hump or crown which puts the wheels on a "sweet spot."

Linda, you will learn faster if you arrange to go camping with another small camper owner and go thru all the operations of setting up with his/her assistance. Maybe take your advisor to the store first to get what you need. Nome sane?

jack
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Old 09-25-2012, 08:00 PM   #23
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Linda yes the curved ones are sold separately but if you already have wheel chocks you can use them instead - just put an extra block on the top row so it sits flat.

It unfortunately not self leveling - dont think any of the options are. I have small stick on levels you get at rv stores - one under the belly band on the side of the trailer that gives me a reading of the front to back level and one on the front of the trailer for the side to side level. Also have a small bulls eye level on flat part of the tongue of the trailer that gives me a pretty good idea as to where its all at before I take the tongue off the tow.

All I do is put the trailer back about a foot or so from where I want to camp take a look at how level it is side to side and lay down the blocks in front of the tire on the low side and then pull the trailer up onto the blocks. Once you have used them a couple of times its pretty easy to tell how many levels you will need to get it level ... even if you get it wrong its not a big deal to back up a foot pop another block on and pull forward again.

I also often use the blocks stacked under the stabilizer jacks at the rear as well - if I used blocks under one of the tires ts a good bet the low side stabilizer isnt going to touch the ground either. Also come in hand to use stacked under the tongue jack in situations where the land sloops away sharply making it impossible to jack the tongue up high enough to clear the hitch ball.
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Old 09-25-2012, 08:27 PM   #24
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..........If you need to jack the trailer up to change a tire, put a jack close to the wheel... on the frame... not the axle.
........

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas G. View Post
Donna, why is this? Is the axle tube wall thickness so thin that the jack would dent it? I've noticed that the frame adjacent to my axle is thin enough that a jack distorts it when I jack up my trailer.
Thomas, I pay attention to manufacturers suggestions. This is what Dexter axle says "Never jack up or place jack stands on the axle tube or on the equalizers."

Here: http://dexteraxle.com/i/u/6149609/f/...orage_1-12.pdf
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Old 09-25-2012, 08:30 PM   #25
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[/I]


Thomas, I pay attention to manufacturers suggestions. This is what Dexter axle says "Never jack up or place jack stands on the axle tube or on the equalizers."

Here: http://dexteraxle.com/i/u/6149609/f/...orage_1-12.pdf

I believe ya, I just always want to know why. It looks like that ain't a sayin.
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:42 PM   #26
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lJack Point 76 Sovereign 31'

Tom, review posts on link above. Will tell you why there's a recessed "cross" in the pad atop the piston on automobile bottle jacks. I use the edge of the vertical axle mounting plate which is welded to frame as a jack point. It is lower to the ground than the frame by a couple inches and gives a short jack a chance of getting the tire off the ground without pads under the base. I also trust the stability of the base on most bottle jacks a lot more than I trust the long and skinny footprint of cheap scissors jacks.

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Old 09-26-2012, 07:34 AM   #27
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..........Tom, review posts on link above. ...............
jack
Thanks, Jack. I guess I need to crawl under there and look at it carefully.
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