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Old 11-15-2013, 05:42 PM   #1
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Lifting an Airstream Safely

I am working underneath my Airstream this winter. I will replace the axles, belly pan, insulation and some of the floor where I have rot. I'll repair the frame where needed. I'll also replace the black tank and maybe add a gray tank.

I want my Trade Wind about two feet up in the air. I'm on a level concrete garage floor. I figure I will place my jack stands on concrete 8" high blocks. I will locate the jack stands on the axle mounting plate just to the rear of the rear axle. I figured two jack stands and the tongue jack would give me a "milk stool" three point support. I will also add "back up" jack stands at the four courners of the trailer, but with little load on them. I figure these would be a back up "just in case".

I want to climb into the trailer to work on the floor and plumbing while its up in the air.

What is the safest way to elevate a trailer while doing heavy work on it?

David
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Old 11-15-2013, 06:09 PM   #2
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I wouldn't use concrete blocks if you are going to be under the trailer . I would build up some wooden blocks with a steel plate for the jack stands to rest on and I wouldn't trust the tongue jack without jack stands under the tongue .
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Old 11-15-2013, 06:31 PM   #3
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I would not put a jack stand on a concrete block unless it is solid concrete. Concrete blocks with the holes facing up will support 100 Airstreams as long as there is a board on top to distribute the load. It is best to support the trailer by the axel mounting plates or as close as possible to them. A support on all four corners of the mounting plates would be ideal. One support on each side will be redundant and give you some safety. I usually leave my roll around floor jacks under the trailer and the majority of the weight would be on the jack stands. You want the heavy duty jack stands. Avoid jacking up on the rear of the trailer. You can use the blocks as your jack stands as long as you face them up and put a board on top of them. Idiots have gotten killed by putting metal on top of a block turned on it's side.

You can work inside the trailer on jack stands but don't jump around too much.

Perry
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Old 11-15-2013, 08:01 PM   #4
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Perry is correct, I did mine last winter just as he describes.
One issue I had is that the door would'ent close and latch properly so I had to adjust the tongue jack up and down to take the slight "hog" out of the frame. Then I added the floor jacks and concrete blocks with wood plank spacers under the tongue.
I only jacked it up till the tires were just "kissing" the ground so it was a bit tight but I fit in 29" waist jeans so it worked for me :-). And I never placed my body under the axel's in case the whole shebang dropped for some reason.
Also added another "step" out of concrete blocks
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Old 11-15-2013, 08:16 PM   #5
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I would not work under a trailer sitting on jack stands alone.
You can replace the axles on a tandem axle trailer without raising the entire trailer. Simply roll one axle at a time onto lift blocks. The weight of the unit is still on one axle and the tongue jack. Very little, if any risk the unit will fall, if it is setting on it's own tires.
The belly pan will be a good 18"- 24" off of the floor if you put 6" lift blocks under the tires. Depending on the condition of the axles.
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Old 11-15-2013, 09:45 PM   #6
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I used concrete blocks stacked as you would if you are building a wall, with wood on top. I placed them under the front frame. I also used a solid 18" wide oak log, that was cut real square. Looked really red neck, but it was solid. I also kept jack stands under the frame in a couple of sections as back ups, just in case.
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Old 11-15-2013, 10:14 PM   #7
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I jacked mine up till the jacks ran out of travel then adjusted the jack stands to that height.

Perry
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Old 11-16-2013, 06:00 AM   #8
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Thanks guys. I feel more confident about my planned trailer support "structure." I always have "holes up" when using cement block. And I always use a 2x8 cap on them to help distrubute the load of the jack stand contact points. Thanks for the tip on the tongue jack, I'll get the tongue better supported with a jack stand.

I'm always a little concerned about working underneath a supported vehicle.

David
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Old 11-16-2013, 07:51 AM   #9
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The tongue jack works fine for me but I don't have a wheel or skid on mine. I put a 2x4 down for it to land on and it is pretty stable like that.

Perry
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Old 11-16-2013, 10:24 AM   #10
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Attached is my "get the trailer high enough to work under safely" rig. Did the rear floor, new holding tank support frames and jacked it a little higher to change both axles with a couple of good jack stands. Good luck with the project.....Phil.
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Old 11-16-2013, 11:39 AM   #11
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Phil, what exactly are you using under your tires in the attached picture?
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Old 11-16-2013, 04:48 PM   #12
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I jacked up my Trade Wind this afternoon without incident. Although it does makes me nervous. Dry weight on this trailer is about 4100 pounds. I now have room to work underneath the thing.

I supported the trailer with two jack stands located aft of the rear axle on the axle mounting plate. I have the jack stands on concrete blocks with a wood cap. I like the jack stands not extended. It looks too wobbly when the jack stands are fully extended.

I have two more jack stands located forward of the front axle. But there is no load on them. They are 1/2 of an inch from making contact.


And I used my 4 stabilizers at the rear and front of the trailer to, well, stabilize the corners. These are making contact, but not providing much lift.

So tomorrow I will begin removing the black tank.

David
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Old 11-16-2013, 06:14 PM   #13
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I think you will be ok with that. I would have laid the block flat instead of on end but the loads you are dealing with are small.

Perry
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Old 11-17-2013, 07:07 PM   #14
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Ramps made of 2x8 tamarack, three vertical pieces with top and bottom, gives about about a foot under the wheels. End pieces are for stability. Trailer spent all summer on them while I did the rear floor and tank frames. You can raise this by putting the whole shebang on concrete pads ( I had some flat 3" thick 2 foot square pads.)....Phil.
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