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Old 04-24-2004, 05:05 PM   #1
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Jack needs replacing

The electric tongue jack on our trailer seems to have given out so I am looking at replacing it. I have two friends who have new non-Airstream trailers and both have manual jacks and don't seem to be a problem. I'm wondering whether to replace the jack with a manual or another electric. Any advice is appreciated.
John
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Old 04-24-2004, 08:21 PM   #2
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Jack needs replacing

Greetings John!

Welcome to the Forums!

Quote:
I'm wondering whether to replace the jack with a manual or another electric.
This is a decision that is more one of personal preference rather than one being a "better" solution than the other. Both my Overlander and Argosy came from the factory with manual jacks. Hitching isn't a particular problem with a manual jack much of the time, but I changed to a power jack on the Overlander three years ago and will do so on the Argosy in the next season or two.

My reasons for preferrring the electric jack relate to my push to make the towing experience as painless as possible. As an asthmatic, the amount of effort required to hitch with the manual jack could trigger an episode and often did in the high humidity of the Mississippi River Valley. With the power jack it is just one push of the button to raise the trailer and back of the tow vehicle such that it is possible to cinch up the weight distribution bars with almost no pressure on the snap-up bracket lever. As a Free Wheeler with asthma, I find my power hitch jack to be an asset that I don't want to be without.

Good luck with your decision!

Kevin

P.S.: Have you considered having an Airstream technician examine your current jack to see if it is repairable? I have heard of instances where an older power jack can be repaired.
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Old 04-25-2004, 06:48 AM   #3
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John;

What are the symptons of your problematic jack? Does the motor run and nothing happens? Is the motor not turning?

They are servicable and a good selling point when you trade up. Some are many years old and work very well. Like anything with many moving parts, it just needs a little TLC. A fiber gear is much cheaper than replacing the entire jack.
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Old 04-25-2004, 01:57 PM   #4
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Thanks for both of your replies. If you try to raise the tongue with weight on it the jack won't move. It goes down just fine. It will also raise if you take the weight off the tongue with a floor jack. Then it seems to hold the weight OK. I just bought the trailer last fall and the jack has always made a lot of noise, like gears grinding. Also, the jack will run for 10-15 seconds and then stop. After waiting 30 seconds or so the jack will run again.It doesn't seem to be in very good condition so I will probably end up replacing it.
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Old 04-25-2004, 02:08 PM   #5
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Jack needs replacing

Greetings John!

Depending upon your location in Missouri, you may not be too far from the Airstream dealer in Wentzville. While I haven't had the opportunity to do business with him, it is my understanding that his store is quite Vintage Friendly. With the cost of new power jacks, having an experienced technician diagnose your existing jack could be cost effective - - it could be as simple as a stripped gear (there is a sacrificial synthetic gear that when partially stripped can cause the symptoms that you descirbe). It is also possible that the power head itself may have been removed at some point and wasn't synchronized when it was reattached.

If my memory serves correct, the installed cost of the new power jack on my '64 Overlander was nearly $400.00.

Good luck with solving your issues with the tongue jack!

Kevin
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Old 04-25-2004, 06:06 PM   #6
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As Kevin suggested, I would first try checking the fiber gear to see if it has stripped.
See thisELECTRIC JACK thread.
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Old 04-25-2004, 06:17 PM   #7
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From the description of the sounds and movement (or lack thereof), it may be a basic matter of a little TLC, lubing everything. The groaning sound could well be everything running dry, and a little lube will set things right again. At the worst, it won't hurt a thing to try.
Terry
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Old 06-04-2004, 06:06 PM   #8
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After a couple trips using the car jack to get the hitch on and off I ended up replacing the old jack with a new electric jack. When I went to install the new jack there was a sleeve in the second flange on the hitch which was the same size as the hitch and wouldn't allow it to pass through. I was prepared for a day of filing the welds down to free it but noticed there was only one small bead weld. I hit it from above with the hammer and screwdriver and noticed it moved. I tried tapping it from below and it came right out. It was flared on top to keep it from falling out. Nice to know these Airstream people think of the little things. The new jack works fine and it wasn't nearly as big a job to replace as I tried to make it. Thanks again for everyone's advice.
John
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