lowered hitch, tongue jack too low now - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-27-2013, 08:27 PM   #1
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Name: Roamin
Trailer: Scamp 13'
New Hampshire
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lowered hitch, tongue jack too low now

Hi everyone, don't know if anyone remembers, but a while back I realized that my Scamp 13 was not level when towing, it was slightly nose up, and I was noticing some handling weirdness. I pull it with a Honda Element. We flipped the ball mount over so that it is now a 2" drop instead of a 3/4" rise, and the trailer is now level while towing, but I have encountered a few sites where I don't have enough clearance to get the tongue jack to swing down. Last time in desperation I used my BAL to raise up the low wheel and then was able to swing the tongue jack down, and did the reverse to hitch up again BUT... in the process, I bent the BAL and that is now unusable. Luckily it didn't fall on me.
Does anyone have any suggestions for this situation? I have thought about having the tongue jack remounted so that it is higher, going back to towing slightly nose up, or carrying or installing another jack whose purpose is to help me with hitching and unhitching. Has anyone else had this issue?
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Old 08-27-2013, 08:36 PM   #2
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Trailer: Boler (B1700RGH) 1979
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I have not had this issue, but I don't have a swing-down jack and do have a reasonable tongue height (the Boler 1700 frame is about a foot off the ground when towed level with stock suspension). Having the tongue jack remounted so that it is higher sounds like a great idea, but usually isn't trivial to do. I would certainly not want to compromise the towing attitude just to avoid fixing the jack configuration.

A different jack - either another swing-up jack which is shorter on the lower end or an A-frame jack of the right length - seems like the best idea to me if you can find one.
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Old 08-27-2013, 08:49 PM   #3
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Name: Eddie
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If you have some leveling blocks for the trailer place them under your rear Element tires before unhitching. Now your jack should swing down, but you have to use the blocks when hitching up or the jack won't swing up. If on dirt can just scratch out a hole for the jack foot to swing into.
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Old 08-27-2013, 09:30 PM   #4
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either get a new jack that is shorter or carry a shovel, that is the issue with some low tow vehicles, as the Element.
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Old 08-27-2013, 09:51 PM   #5
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Name: bill
Trailer: Burro
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I have the same problem with my '80 Burro and a 2wd Mazda PU. My tongue jack has a wheel and not just a plate, so I put the off-centered wheel in line with the tongue and pull back on the top of the jack cylinder until it raises off the ball and the jack locks. I make sure to chock the wheels to keep the camper from rolling backwards. Lowering it is alot more scary, since I have to unlock the jack and hit the jack wheel with a rubber mallet to get it out of the way and then the tongue drops about 3" onto the ball. I've only had the Burro since June and am trying to figure out a safer and less challenging way to hook-up. I have thought of just getting a smaller diameter rubber wheel for the tongue jack, but for now, as long as I am careful and not in a hurry the rubber mallet and back labor is working. I am going to turn the ball over on the drop to raise it and see how it tows also. That will hopefully solve the problem permanently.
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Old 08-27-2013, 10:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doghaus View Post
Hi everyone, don't know if anyone remembers, but a while back I realized that my Scamp 13 was not level when towing, it was slightly nose up, and I was noticing some handling weirdness. I pull it with a Honda Element. We flipped the ball mount over so that it is now a 2" drop instead of a 3/4" rise, and the trailer is now level while towing, but I have encountered a few sites where I don't have enough clearance to get the tongue jack to swing down. Last time in desperation I used my BAL to raise up the low wheel and then was able to swing the tongue jack down, and did the reverse to hitch up again BUT... in the process, I bent the BAL and that is now unusable. Luckily it didn't fall on me.
Does anyone have any suggestions for this situation? I have thought about having the tongue jack remounted so that it is higher, going back to towing slightly nose up, or carrying or installing another jack whose purpose is to help me with hitching and unhitching. Has anyone else had this issue?
I removed my swingdown jack and replaced it with the vertical jack now standard on Scamp 13s.....
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Old 08-27-2013, 11:49 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
A different jack - either another swing-up jack which is shorter on the lower end or an A-frame jack of the right length - seems like the best idea to me if you can find one.
Here's an example of changing to an A-frame jack:
Quote:
Originally Posted by floyd View Post
I removed my swingdown jack and replaced it with the vertical jack now standard on Scamp 13s.....
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Old 08-27-2013, 11:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doghaus View Post
Hi everyone, don't know if anyone remembers, but a while back I realized that my Scamp 13 was not level when towing, it was slightly nose up, and I was noticing some handling weirdness. I pull it with a Honda Element. We flipped the ball mount over so that it is now a 2" drop instead of a 3/4" rise, and the trailer is now level while towing, but I have encountered a few sites where I don't have enough clearance to get the tongue jack to swing down. Last time in desperation I used my BAL to raise up the low wheel and then was able to swing the tongue jack down, and did the reverse to hitch up again BUT... in the process, I bent the BAL and that is now unusable. Luckily it didn't fall on me.
Does anyone have any suggestions for this situation? I have thought about having the tongue jack remounted so that it is higher, going back to towing slightly nose up, or carrying or installing another jack whose purpose is to help me with hitching and unhitching. Has anyone else had this issue?
I've run into not being able to swing the tongue jack down several times. I simply move the trailer a bit until I can find a spot where I can the tongue jack to swing down. Only once or twice did I have to move to a different site.

From looking at your other thread I don't think the BAL is bent. The barrel nut floats between the tabs freely until you get some weight on the system. I simply center the barrel nut when cranking up the BAL Wheel Leveler. Again not an issue.
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Old 08-27-2013, 11:53 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
... that is the issue with some low tow vehicles, as the Element.
I don't see how this is related in any way to the tow vehicle. The jack is attached to the trailer tongue, not the tug. If the right height for the tongue is too low for the jack, it will be too low whether the ball is mounted dropped two feet from a monster truck, or raised a foot from a Ferrari.
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Old 08-28-2013, 06:27 AM   #10
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I also have a jack that does not swing down so I have not encountered this with my FG. However it used to happen sometimes with the tent trailer. I used to chock the wheels, then unhook everything so the trailer was loose on the ball. Hubby or I would stand on the back bumper which caused the hitch to rise enough to get the wheel jack down. Only problem is that when you get the other jacks down you have to put something under the wheels or they are free floating. The trailer ends up quite high. Maybe a temporary solution until you get a crank down jack ????
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Old 08-28-2013, 06:34 AM   #11
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Vermont
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We have a sloping driveway and a flat parking area. This can put the tow vehicle on a different plane than the trailer, lowering the tongue to where the jack won't swing around. I've used the shovel method on occasion. I've also used my tow vehicle jack. Chocks and safety chains are a must. Raz
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Old 08-28-2013, 10:53 AM   #12
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
California
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I have this issue with my 13 foot scamp, with its origional swing jack and using the wheel up front. I need the wheel on my trailer to be able to push it around the yard or camp sites. But when I hook up the wheel causes this issue. I carry a seperate adjustable jack stand I use it to take the wiggle out of the trailer when its on its front wheel. I use this stand when hitching up I jack up the front and get the ball under the hitch. I put the jackstand under the frame near the coupler and lower the jack and remove the wheel. I put a large wood block where the wheel was and jack down on it to remove the jack stand and lower it down on the coupler. then I remove the block and swing the jack. This isnt the greatest way but it works. The key is getting the right height block of wood so you dont have to crank the jack 8 inches everytime you couple and uncouple.
I believe this is caused by the old sagging rear axle on the trailer and the use of the fron wheel instead of the flat foot.
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Old 08-28-2013, 11:14 AM   #13
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Name: Roamin
Trailer: Scamp 13'
New Hampshire
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Installing a vertical or A frame jack is what I'm going to do. I am usually alone and need something safe and easy to do at the end of a long dog agility weekend, and in all kinds of weather too. Thanks everyone! This forum is always SO helpful! So the vertical jack...does it bolt on or is this a welding project? Might just take it to the RV place and see about getting brakes installed at the same time...which is also on my to do list. Hoping my axle has the flange for them.
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Old 08-28-2013, 12:04 PM   #14
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British Columbia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
I don't see how this is related in any way to the tow vehicle. The jack is attached to the trailer tongue, not the tug. If the right height for the tongue is too low for the jack, it will be too low whether the ball is mounted dropped two feet from a monster truck, or raised a foot from a Ferrari.
I agree with Brian. I would look to see if I could find a shorter tongue wheel jack. Seems to me that Scamp doesnt offer a wheel on their standard tongue jack on their 13' - possible for this reason? Lower tongue height when level on a 13' vs a 16'

What the OP is experiencing happens from time to time when camping in sites with slopping entrances to the site even with my 16'. Thats pretty common at Provincial/state parks in this area. If the tug is on a steep slope up hill I use lego blocks to drive it onto to raise it to allow the jack to freely swing down. If the tug is seriously sloped down hill I put leveling blocks down along with a tongue wheel dock to land the tongue jack down on to make sure I can crank the tongue up high enough to get the ball back under the hitch when leaving.

A case of Lego/leveling blocks are my must have.. can never own to many.
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