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Old 02-14-2013, 06:43 AM   #1
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Question Tongue Jack Requirements and Recommendations

I have two trailers that I am considering replacing the tongue jacks. The first is for a 1978 24 ft. Argosy. The jack is original and the handle is bent and broken. The second is a 1971 Streamline 33' trailer with a worn out power jack.

First question- How much weight should the jack be rated for? After calling local RV stores and sales departments, no one can recommend a tongue rating based upon the trailer's weight or tongue weight. They always want to sell the 4,500 pound unit. ( most expensive) . So what is considered adequate lifting power? I have weighed by Argosy and determined the tongue weight is about 500 pounds. The Streamline's manual states about 575 pounds.

Second question - manual vs. power. At 69 years old, I enjoy not doing manual labor anymore! LOL But i have only had manual jacks for all my trailers, spanning RVs to hay and stock trailers. I would love to have a power jack but have read too many "stranded, broken, wont work stories". Are they worth it? Also my trailers are not stored inside and my location receives over 60 inches of rain per year and over 250 days of gray, wet weather. ( Western WA) . Are sidewinder manual jacks easier than top handle jacks?

Who is the most reliable power jack manufacturer?

Thanks for your opinion.
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Old 02-14-2013, 10:10 AM   #2
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Well I recently replaced a 1000lb jack with a 1500lb jack on a cargo trailer with a 200lb tongue weight since the 1000lb jack broke because it was to light duty to do the job.

With that in mind for a hand crank I would go at least 2000lb for an Airstream and electric at least 3000lb. It is common to lift some weight of the tow vehicle when hooking and unhooking the trailer.

Also side to side and front to back movement from wind and people moving around inside the trailer puts a lot of strain on the jack in addition to the actual tongue weight and probably more stress then the tongue weight.

I would go with electric, the price difference for the 4500lb jack may be worth it for extra durability.

I still have the factory electric jack on my trailer which is 25 years old and has been outside more then 99% of the time since it left the factory, as far as I know.
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Old 02-14-2013, 11:10 AM   #3
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Many of the new off shore made electric jacks have very questionable lift ratings. That said, I would probably go for a 3000# "rated" capacity. Although it is much higher than the tongue weight of the trailer, often you lift the rear of the TV in order to take the weight off the spring bars for hookup.

Look for an electric jack with as few holes in the head cover as possible. That is where rain water can get in. I have seen some with plastic covers for an emergency crank, and those simply did not seal well, a good leak point. Others had poor switch weatherproofing or lights which were leak possibilities. You can always toss a bucket over the head when you are not using it, but start with a low leak potential unit.

I love my electric jacks, and would not have a trailer without one. Mine are both 30 year old Reese units, no longer made. I see Reese has a new one made by Bulldog, and it might be worth looking at. Bulldog has made some pretty good products over the years. I think the larger lifting capacity Atwood's look good, and I hear that the Barker may be a good unit.
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Old 02-14-2013, 04:21 PM   #4
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The original tongue jack on my AS packed it in last summer and I replaced it with one made by Husky which was sold to me by our local AS dealer. Husky, FYI, is made in China. I got one rated for 4500 lbs - but that is because when hitching up with the Reese equalizer hitch, the jack has to lift weight off the rear of the TV as well in order to tighten up the weight distributing hitch.
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Old 02-14-2013, 04:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buffaloman View Post
I have two trailers that I am considering replacing the tongue jacks. The first is for a 1978 24 ft. Argosy. The jack is original and the handle is bent and broken. The second is a 1971 Streamline 33' trailer with a worn out power jack.

First question- How much weight should the jack be rated for? After calling local RV stores and sales departments, no one can recommend a tongue rating based upon the trailer's weight or tongue weight. They always want to sell the 4,500 pound unit. ( most expensive).
It is my experience that tongue jacks are optimistically rated. The one on my 30' classic is supposed to be a 3,500 pound jack, similar to this:

Airstream Power Jack

I would suggest that might be an ideal jack for either of your trailers.

Quote:
Second question - manual vs. power. At 69 years old, I enjoy not doing manual labor anymore! LOL But i have only had manual jacks for all my trailers, spanning RVs to hay and stock trailers. I would love to have a power jack but have read too many "stranded, broken, wont work stories". Are they worth it? Also my trailers are not stored inside and my location receives over 60 inches of rain per year and over 250 days of gray, wet weather. ( Western WA).
It's important to maintain the jack and to carry the handle and tools required for manual operation in an emergency. I've never had a problem with my electric jack.

Quote:
Are sidewinder manual jacks easier than top handle jacks?
In general, they are easier to operate because they rely on inherently stronger muscle groups than top handle jacks.
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Old 02-14-2013, 04:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blkmagikca View Post
The original tongue jack on my AS packed it in last summer and I replaced it with one made by Husky which was sold to me by our local AS dealer. Husky, FYI, is made in China. I got one rated for 4500 lbs - but that is because when hitching up with the Reese equalizer hitch, the jack has to lift weight off the rear of the TV as well in order to tighten up the weight distributing hitch.
Bought same model. Liked the ball screw design and ability to operate manually w/o removing power head. So far so good. We'll see.
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Old 02-18-2013, 01:37 PM   #7
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well after reading these and other comments/reviews, I purchased a Barker VIP 3500 jack. I spoke with the sales person regarding the different model features of Barker jacks. Ironically he said the VIP and next jack up were actually the same expect for the cost.

It should arrive this weekend so I'll see how difficult installation is.

BTW two important reasons for buying a Barker is 1) many many good comments about customer service 2) MADE IN USA.
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:10 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by buffaloman View Post
BTW two important reasons for buying a Barker is 1) many many good comments about customer service 2) MADE IN USA.
When the original tongue jack quit working, it was the day before we were leaving for a rally. The local AS dealer *only* had the Husky (made in China) jack in stock. I wasn't happy about this, as I really preferred a USA/Canadian made one. The Husky jack has been good so far, and it's design really is much better than the old one that packed it in.
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Old 02-19-2013, 03:28 AM   #9
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My jack was dead when I first got the AS this is what I got locally in a pinch and i'm happy so far. 18" lift plus 6" adjustable extension 5000#max.
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Old 02-19-2013, 06:24 AM   #10
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Ours has an electric jack, and my only gripe is that it's loud, if you're trying to slip out quietly in the morning or something like that.

I just fixed said electric jack yesterday; it had stripped a gear (ours has a fiber gear in it that strips if anything binds, figuring a gear is cheaper than anything else to repair) either from binding on the previous jack post that was bent, and/or because I didn't index the new jack post correctly. Before I fixed it, I was using the hand crank, and it wasn't very hard to do, even with a fairly large Airstream. I did consider, for a moment, buying a hand-crank jack to replace it, but that would've been more expensive than the gear was.

Ours is kind of a pain if it does become unusable; to use the hand crank I have to remove the tank cover, loosen two set screws, and remove the entire head. Then I can crank, while holding the head in the other hand because I don't want to leave it hanging by the wire. I'd look for one that has a better solution in case it does fail - I've heard of ones that have a cover on the top that can open so you can do the manual thing more easily.

Last time we had a question like this there was a discussion over whether it's too hard to crank a trailer. It's not. But it's also not like camping in an Airstream is really "roughing it," either.
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:29 AM   #11
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I saw what looks like a good deal on a Camping World email. A $250 3000# jack for $150 and change (internet sale ends today) with free shipping. I then looked on Ebay and saw what looked like the same jack for less than $100
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:40 AM   #12
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Thank you Buffaloman for buying USA made, which btw it was noted that you live in Canada, that says a lot about you.... Same goes for others.
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:46 AM   #13
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Anyone using the 3500# Stromberg Carlson electric jack? I'm in the market for a new jack and this is the unit that the local RV dealer carries in stock.
Thanks
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Old 02-25-2013, 06:58 AM   #14
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Installing Jack

I started to install the Barker jack yesterday. The mechanical part seemed easy except for the five trips between the trailer and the tool shop for the correct wrench size, etc. I need the exercise anyway. The rain didn't help my depression much either. LOL

Mechanically it was easy but I need to figure out if I can wire the positive lead into the trailer light plug or have to run a separate wire under the trailer to the battery. Anybody know?
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