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Old 12-06-2015, 02:04 PM   #1
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Jack at Full Ext - Did not go up *or* down?

Ok, I did a search but did not come up with a thread on this question - forgive me if covered somewhere.

So, newbies to AS, we were practicing hitching and unhitching today in the storage yard.

Sequence of events went something like this.

Backed up truck, inserted PP stinger. Line up truck to PP receiver. Backed in to within 2" of PP beveled crown.

Trailer (27' FC FB) was chocked. I had the jack almost all the way out due to the ground, almost fully extended. I backed in the truck, then inserted both PP OCLs and lynch pins. WD bars were relaxed.

At this point, the jack is almost all the way out, on the ground on one block of 2x6.

Now, at this point, I meant to raise the jack. But I hit extend, and it went to the limits (heard the rattle-rattle).

BUT here is where it went south:

It would not raise up, either, either way I hit the switch, I heard the rattle rattle in either direction.

I was like, whaaaaat???

After pondering, I moved the truck slightly forward, and managed to get the block of wood out. Then, I was able to raise it, but it slipped a little bit on the way up.

I then extended, then retracted it, with no issues.

So: what happened? Did I screw something up?

When we put the trailer away, I used 2 pieces of 2 x 6 wood, so the jack is not nearly as fully extended now. It seemed a lot happier this way.

Any thoughts appreciated!

Rich
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Old 12-06-2015, 02:47 PM   #2
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First, I would call your dealer and get some feedback on this.

In general, when you run the jack up and down, you should try to avoid keeping the motor on until you hear the sound you heard. Over time, you will be able to let go of the spring-loaded switch before the jack "bottoms/tops out." If you kept holding the electrical switch ON (either up or down) during the noisy periods, you may have stripped a gear on the drive gear (small one on the motor shaft) or on the larger gear over the jack tube itself).

Your owners manual should tell you how to remove the cover of the jack motor housing, in order to use your manual wrench (supplied with box of OEM parts) to raise and lower the jack/trailer manually. On my old 25' AS I could see the gears referred to above when I took the cover off. Not sure about my current FC20 or your unit, but you should take a look and report on what you see. You should be able to watch the gears move as you operate things with the cover off. [be careful not to get anything caught in the gears, like a neck tie, scarf, or long shirt sleeves etc.]

Also, you should use multiple layers of 2x6 wood pads so that the jack does not have to extend so much. If you use more than 2 thicknesses of pads, it helps to get the bottom layer spread out to enlarge the footprint (2 2x6 about 10" long lying next to each other). For sloping campsites, you should have plenty of 2x6 pads about 12" long, so you can spread them out especially on soft sandy soil. On some campsites, you may need to use 4x4x12" (+/-) blocks spread out, like the cribbing used by house movers in order to be able to do your hitch WD work done and get the trailer level.

If you ever need to use a hydraulic jack to raise the trailer to change tires, you will also need an assortment of wood blocks, so a milk crate full of blocks that fit neatly within is a good investment. They make plastic jack base-plates for this, but the wood ones are readily available as off-cuts in construction.

Good luck!
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Old 12-07-2015, 03:26 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Llando88 View Post
[snip]
Any thoughts appreciated!
Rich
PS -- FYI I just noticed the following thread with a related issue:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f238...up-144401.html
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Old 12-07-2015, 08:33 AM   #4
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On my older Barker jack running the jack all the way up or down tends to burn out the fuse. So, I carry a bunch of extras. Also there are 2 micro switches in my jack one for u and one for down. Last the jack extension and retraction has to be synchronized to turn off just before the extension limits are reached. If it is not you can tear up the teeth on the fiber gear. This is a failsafe meant to prevent the jack tearing itself apart. What kind of jack do you have? It is good idea to carry a bottle jack in case your tongue jack fails. As a last resort you can unbolt the jack from the tongue.
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Old 12-07-2015, 11:53 AM   #5
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We had an electric jack motor put on the trailer when my Dad was getting a little older and I was worried about him hand turning the jack handle. When I brought it up to Colorado and we started using the trailer we noticed a couple of things -

1. when it was fully extended I would have to occasionally turn it manually to get it going.
2. in cold weather - like below 32 F the motor would be very sporadic in running

Also the motor unit would sometimes creep up on the pole which would cause the mechanical connection to come loose. So I began to bring the right size allen wrench for the hex head bolts in order re-position the motor.

In the end I put a regular handle on it because it sure is a pain when you can't hitch up and get going in the morning because your electric jack won't run ...
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Old 12-07-2015, 12:59 PM   #6
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The electric jack is supposed to have limit switches to prevent over running either way. I have always been told to not run the jack to it's limits because the switches are light weight micro-switches and in my case I had to replace both (for a totally different reason); the point being that the tiny nub that activates the switch internals is very fragile and if the switch contacts are just a bit corroded the switch will close too late and will break. You may also have sheared the pin that drives the jack shaft. It is a brass compound pin that is supposed to shear if it is over stressed. The motor on these jacks is quite powerful and geared down to provide a lot of torque. Start with removing the cover to see whether the motor and limit switches are OK.
If you are not handy, maybe get it to a dealer taking the motor apart is easy; getting it back together is tricky. The jack can be run manually but it may require that you remove the complete motor head to get at the top of the jack shaft. The jack should have come with a manual crank to run it up and down manually. Once you remove the motor you can see the shear pin. I have had a personal situation where the jack would go up but not down, caused by a bent shear pin.
JCW
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Old 12-07-2015, 01:11 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the information.

Just to be clear, the jack operates normally 'at the moment'.

It was at the lower limit, that it would not go up or down. After I knocked the wood out from under and too the weight off the jack, it finally 'caught' and went up.

I then cycled it down and up, operating normally. I parked it normally after that also, the jack going down normally.
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Old 12-07-2015, 01:44 PM   #8
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Hope you are planning on figuring this out ASAP, even though things seem to be operating normally right now? You could have a few lurking mechanical problems waiting to happen again, and the last thing you need is another failure when you are far from a repair shop or your dealer. I assume your unit is still under warranty?
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Old 12-07-2015, 02:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OTRA15 View Post
Hope you are planning on figuring this out ASAP, even though things seem to be operating normally right now? You could have a few lurking mechanical problems waiting to happen again, and the last thing you need is another failure when you are far from a repair shop or your dealer. I assume your unit is still under warranty?
Thanks for the thoughts. We picked up the trailer last Monday in NJ and drove it home to Tampa. I'll get in touch with Colonial for their thoughts.

At the moment it is working. I will keep an eye on it. I will post back in the event I have further developments. Appreciate it.
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Old 12-07-2015, 02:33 PM   #10
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Mine has ceased working for the second time. First time it had corrosion on the wires and needed dielectric grease. This Time? Well it's either a loose connection again, or it's a blown fuse, or it's low batteries (I'll hook up the truck and retry or

OR my batteries are low or I pushed it to the limit and jammed it - but I have no recollection of doing that.

So trouble shooting tonight. Simplest stuff first.
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Old 12-07-2015, 04:51 PM   #11
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Rich, your local AS dealer will do any warranty work, as I am sure you know. Good luck.

Peter
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Old 12-07-2015, 04:58 PM   #12
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Wondering if it had side pressure on it as it worked after kicking the 2 by 6 out? They can be weaker when fully extended. Maybe while hitching it was pushed harder than you thought.
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Old 12-08-2015, 08:58 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wvstreamer View Post
Wondering if it had side pressure on it as it worked after kicking the 2 by 6 out? They can be weaker when fully extended. Maybe while hitching it was pushed harder than you thought.

Yes, I think this may have been it.

I heard back from Colonial; they think I will be ok at this point.

The jack worked normally today; we connected up in Tampa and drove up to Cedar Key FL for a few days shakedown.

Very much appreciate all the help in the thread. It is really great to have the expertise available on Airforums. Thank you.

Rich
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Old 12-09-2015, 12:34 AM   #14
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To avoid any side pressure or twist on the tires when backing our Airstream into a site, we always back in, then pull ahead a foot or so, enough to straighten things up. Makes it easier on the tongue jack and tires and is easier (and safer) to unhook and hook back up.
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