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Old 09-03-2007, 07:33 PM   #1
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Replace Flat Yourself Practice

My Airstream salesperson- "I never touch a flat, I call AAA and they replace the flat with the spare and I am on my way."

Now I know better. My flats never occur near a city and next to a tire business with a handy floor jack. I would be lucky to have cell phone service out Rockdocking too far from anywhere is my favorite camping spots. My solution. I always carry a stout hydraulic jack in my tow vehicle, along with the mechanical jack that comes with my tow vehicle. As a 2006 newbie trailer owner, here are some lessons I found out the hard way but had anticipated.

(1) Flat tire. Block opposite side tires from any movement. I release my equalizer bars from tow vehicle to trailer before using the jack. Keep the hitch attached as you are less likely to see your trailer leaving town on its own.

(2) I take a strip of wood buffer (2x12x5" long) that fits where the jack should be placed behind the rear wheel on the Safari 23 footer. It is NOT marked well, but there is a square aluminum piece and an arrow pointing to it as you look. If you have not looked before, do it before it is raining, you are in the mud on your back looking for it. There are water lines or LP gas lines you NEED to avoid crushing on the trailer door side near this jacking spot. The other side has more clearance to work with.

(3) Take the hydraulic jack and put it on a firm surface (asphalt). On a dirt or gravel road- I use a 3 foot section of 2x12 I carry for crossing tough irregular dry creek beds (3/4 inch plywood should handle it). The jack will pull forward as you begin to jack the trailer up. Break the lug nuts before the tire is "air borne". When you can freely move the tire needing to be replaced, remember that you will need a bit more height for the spare. Give it another inch clearance.

(4) No Jack. Some leveling blocks, lumber or in an emergency situation some large flat slabs of rock. Pull or back up on the non-flat tire to get the flat tire elevated. You still need to account for the spare needing some extra clearance from the ground. Cannot get jacked up high enough? Dig a hole under the flat until you have clearance. Come on, use some imagination.

(5) ALWAYS STAND NEXT TO YOUR TRAILER WHEN A TIRE IS BEING REPLACED BY ANYBODY. The first thing they want to do is run the floor jack under the axle. Don't believe me... watch. I always show them where to position the floor jack and I MAKE SURE it is placed where it should be. I am a bit careful when someone else is messing with my Safari. I had this idea of reading on the Forum about some mis-worn tires that were caused by BENT AXLE trouble. Hmmm... wonder how that happened... Guess real hard. The owner probably was not hovering around the guy with the gold tooth.

(6) Know what is happening all of the time, when someone else is doing the work. The old saying... well not that old since it was my idea. "It ain't my fault, it's ass-phalt." (A play on the word asphalt... get it? Oh well.)

I realize a triple axle AS is big and the single axle you have limited tricks to replace the flat without a jack. Do not count on anybody coming to your rescue. And if someone DOES come to help, go back to Step 5, roaring blizzard, hurricane or flood. Stand there. Trust me, if you remember anything. Step 5 will save you some money in the long term in the future.
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Old 09-03-2007, 07:41 PM   #2
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I tried to fix several typo's and cannot get the edit to work. That is what happens when you are making things up as you go. As I say, "It ain't my fault, it ass-phalt", can happen to anybody.

Sorry, but you can work through the word and insert your own, appropriate term.
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Old 09-03-2007, 07:53 PM   #3
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Great reminder! I saw someone spray orange paint on the aluminum squares used for jacking on his AS.
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Old 09-03-2007, 08:22 PM   #4
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Or Never Jack Again

Get one of these and you don't have to jack at all. Heck, get two and drop
an axle.....





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Old 09-10-2007, 09:25 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Eklund
(2) I take a strip of wood buffer (2x12x5" long) that fits where the jack should be placed behind the rear wheel on the Safari 23 footer. It is NOT marked well, but there is a square aluminum piece and an arrow pointing to it as you look. If you have not looked before, do it before it is raining, you are in the mud on your back looking for it. There are water lines or LP gas lines you NEED to avoid crushing on the trailer door side near this jacking spot. The other side has more clearance to work with.
Quote:
Originally Posted by halimer
Great reminder! I saw someone spray orange paint on the aluminum squares used for jacking on his AS.
You can see the jack point label in the last photo in post 1 here. Back up and read the thread I just linked -- there is belly wrap damage from the trailer moving off the jack. The little squares & labeled jack points are intended for stabilizer jacks only and not jacking the trailer to change a tire. The recommended jack location is the axle mounting plate -- of course not the axle as Ray properly points out.

Ray does a good job suggesting how to deal with the odd creek bed contours and his extra piece of wood. There are innovative ways to get out of a jam. I need to make everybody aware that the labeled jack point is not intended as a place to jack up your Airstream. Please get down on your knees and eyeball the heavy frame mounting plate that the axles are attached to -- it's closer to the C.G., heavier & wider than the narrow frame member under that lable.
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Old 09-10-2007, 09:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
The little squares & labeled jack points are intended for stabilizer jacks only and not jacking the trailer to change a tire.
We have a spot just rear of the axles - a plate with a label that says "jack here" - that's not supposed to be used to jack the trailer up for service...???
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Old 09-10-2007, 10:04 AM   #7
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If the labeled area is covered by belly skin, that's for stabilizer jacks only. Odd too -- considering most of us have B.A.L. stabilizers in the first place. The axle mounting plate is bare steel (is your's labeled?!). Get down low and you'll have no problem finding it. Somebody with a 22' CCD did recently post a pic of the frame in the axle area and they didn't have a flat surface (ulp!). And said many times -- never jack directly on the axle.

Better yet for 2 axle trailers is a set of interlocked 2x8s or a single tire ramp. You only need to drive onto it with one tire to get the other fully up in the air (loosen the nuts first).
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I carry just one of these along from my set of 2. I have a bottle jack of course in case a road hazard takes out two tires on the same side.

Ray has provided an excellent how-to -- from loosening the WD bars, to blocking the opposite side and staying attached to the tow vehicle. It pays to practice at home!
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Old 09-10-2007, 10:47 AM   #8
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Bob,

Thanks - I have two of the Trailer Aids shown above as I hope to avoid ever using a jack - but there is taking it in for service. I'll have to look again for a different plate. Odd that there would be a spot behind the axle for a stabilizer jack - the manual I have says to place stabilizer jacks as far out on the frame as possible - the bumper frame and "a" frame are illustrated.
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Old 09-10-2007, 10:51 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanoeStream
.... I need to make everybody aware that the labeled jack point is not intended as a place to jack up your Airstream....
sorry bob but it just ain't so.

Airstream Forums - View Single Post - Jacking up an Airstream

i too was perpetuating the MYTH about the factory labeled jack points, until recently.

they (fljp) ARE intended for use when changing a tire and the j/c folks use 'em everyday...

here is a challenge for ya...

email or call the j/c service center and ASK 'EM...

then "make everyone aware" of the official reply.

it never made sense that the factory would offer incorrect instructions in the owners manual for 20 years...

and they aren't.

cheers
2air'

another way 2 view this..

they build'em and service'em and have told us exactly where to jack'em.

we buy'em and use'em and break'em and can put the jack any place we want
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Old 09-10-2007, 11:06 AM   #10
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2air' -- I've learned that you dig deep on some of these questions. Interesting point you make. I'd have to get under mine to tell if there's a crossmember at the label point -- not that the crossmember increases the surface area at all. The labeled points are still only overlying the 2" wide frame channel. Like the TV show sez, "Let's be careful out there."

Then there'll be the consternation of so many people who report they have neither label nor little riveted squares. I think stability of a bottle jack could be dicey on some road or offroad surfaces and that axle mounting plate is hard and flat... Rehearsing this has worked in my driveway well enough. It's just not the most secure situation for either jack location. A wheel ramp is my first choice since I don't have a single axle Airstream.
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Old 09-10-2007, 11:07 AM   #11
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Last Airstream had decal and square plate for jack point. The new, according to the owner's manual on how to change a tire, specifies also using the square plate. No such plate exists on this unit. Used 2 boards to elevate one axle. Very quick and secure. Have since purchased the trailer aid. Think about some reflective triangles or other safety devices to carry on board.

Running a change the flat, install the spare drill is an excellent idea. You'll quickly find you don't have the right size wrench, the pin holding the spare is corroded and won't release or the chrome caps on the lug nuts just turn and get stuck in the wrench. I recently replaced all the lug nuts (solid chrome plated) due to chrome trim covers just turning outside on the hex head and then getting stuck in the wrench. A good job for my son to replace and torque on new ones - took close to 5 hours with my assistance. This would have been ugly on the side of the road.
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Old 09-10-2007, 11:09 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanoeStream
Then there'll be the consternation of so many people who report they have neither label nor little riveted squares.
Yep, no labels, no squares - I keep looking, but they're not there.
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