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Old 10-28-2006, 09:15 PM   #1
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Manual Tongue Jack Failure

I would hate for this to happen to anyone. I was preparing to back into my TWs spot at the house, a tight 90 degree turn on an uphill. I stopped in the level part of the drive, cranked up the manual jack to throw weight back onto the trailer and loosen the WD bars. Nearly all the weight was off the TV when the jack stripped out. Consequently, the trailer weight slammed back onto the receiver ball and the TV. Scared the $#!T out of me! Thankfully I was still hitched. I can imagine what kind of frame damage could occur with a loaded trailer tongue falling forward hard onto the ground. Or worse, if a hand or foot had been pinned.

Now that I'm facing repair or replacement, have any of you, especially vintage owners, gone to an electric jack and regretted it? I've been reading these forum horror stories of electric jack problems, stripped fiber gears, unable to crank manually, problems maintaining, synching and resynching etc. Or if anyone has repaired or replaced a manual jack, is there anything out of the ordinary one should know beforehand? The TWs dry weight is relatively light, so I could deal with hand cranking a few more years. Here's a couple of pics of the existing tongue jack. Don't laugh too hard at the temporary dish towel bandage on the jack post. It held long enough to get parked! All of you with manual tongue jacks out there, beware.
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Old 10-28-2006, 09:33 PM   #2
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Our 71 Overlander had an original electric jack. When we bought the trailer it would crank up but would slowly let the hitch down. Replaced with an Ultra Fab 3002 - no problems.
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Old 10-28-2006, 09:38 PM   #3
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I never had a problem with the elec. jack on my '77 Excella during the 4 years I had it. The jack head on my '86 25' Sovereign was rebuilt by the PO just before I purchased it and it hasn't been a problem over the last 1.5 years. If you don't mind the "labor of love" while cranking, replace the unit with a new manual unit.
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Old 10-28-2006, 09:49 PM   #4
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I replaced the manual jack on our Overlander with a power jack, and have been very happy with it. The only time it was a problem was when I left a light on in the Overlander when I stored it. The battery was dead, and the charge line was not enough to operate the jack, so I had to charge the battery to use the jack.
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Old 10-28-2006, 09:59 PM   #5
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Ganglin, I think you're the first to mention an UltraFab electric jack. I've seen comments about Barker's jack all over the forum both good and bad. Just did a quick search on the web, I see other forums have positive comments about the UltraFab as well as the company's customer service. I'll check into this one.
Craig, I don't mind the "labor of love" hand cranking, but sometimes my shoulder really gets me. Kind of hate to get rid of the vintage package, but saving wear and tear on my joints is starting to look more and more attractive.
Thanks for the advice Overlander 63. If I go electric, battery charge must be maintained. I'll bear that in mind.
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Old 10-28-2006, 11:27 PM   #6
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Hello Sugarfoot ,

The jack looks just like mine except mines rivited in place ,Im going to have
to check into this on my jack .it would be interesting to know just what
Let Go on yours ,I agree its very unnerving to know it could just drop in a second .boy that makes me uncomfortable for sure .Whatever happens ,post
some "broken part" photos at some point for us .

thanks Dacia,

Scott
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Old 10-29-2006, 01:40 AM   #7
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Sure is a lotta cranking

I talked to a couple of other Streamers that had power jacks...and their AS were lighter than mine. They of course love their power jacks. I thought 'What wusses.' Then I thought Really I need the exercise. Then I remembered my doctor explaining why I need the new hips I got. Sure I have arthritis but he said, "You also wore your joints out and now your knees are going." A power hitch I think I will get. The time I save cranking up to the TV, cranking down onto the ball, after connecting cranking up again...heavy TV + trailer to connect the WDH......You know the time I save with a power jack I could go for a walk for exercise!

Neil.
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Old 10-29-2006, 01:48 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ganglin
Our 71 Overlander had an original electric jack. When we bought the trailer it would crank up but would slowly let the hitch down. Replaced with an Ultra Fab 3002 - no problems.
I installed the 3004 I think it is. The larger of the 2 anyway. $130.00 shipped to the door. Check ebay they are selling refurb units with full warranty. Mine was as new.

Thanks Jim
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Old 10-29-2006, 07:54 AM   #9
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Manual Tongue Jack Failure

Greetings Sugarfoot!

Ace Fogdall RV in Cedar Falls, IA replaced the original manual tongue jack on my '64 Overlander with a new power jack over five years ago. The only problem that I have encountered was a defective (intermittent short) switch.

The shorted switch was replaced under the manufacturers' warranty, but it was a rather scary scenario where the problem presented itself -- on Interstate 90 on the return trip from the WBCCI International Rally in Sioux Falls, SD. Being accustomed to traveling with Murphy (of Murphy's Law) as a near constant companion, it didn't surprise me when I began experiencing a strange "bump" every .25 to .50 miles -- after the fourth oscillation, I pulled to the shoulder to check on my rig expecting to find a bulge developing in one of my tires (tow vehicle's tires had less than 2,000 miles and the Overlander's tires were new at the beginning of this particular trip). I didn't find anything out of the ordinary with the tires, but while I was inspecting the rig, the jack suddenly began deploying -- it went down until it hit the pavement and then reversed. My suspicion is that it had done this four or possibly five times before I pulled to the shoulder.

Before I could react, the jack had retracted to its normal travel position, at which time it immediately began to re-deploy. By the time that I was able to find my wire cutters, the jack had fully deployed and stopped -- waited four minutes but it didn't retract this time. Eneded up cutting the power feed and retracting the jack manually.

I hope to never have to retract or deploy the jack manually again. Retracting isn't that difficult, but deploying is another story. I was able to drop the coach off at my dealer's on the way home so I only had to deploy the jack once manually -- a process that took the better part of an hour on a July afternoon with 90%+ humidity.

Even with the problems, I wouldn't go back to my manual jack on the Overlander as the electric has greatly simplified the hitching processes. Since the switch failure, all has been well with the electric jack.

The manual jack on my Minuet began stripping out in 2005. Despite my satisfaction with the electric jack on the Overlander, I went with a manual. I have never had the hitching difficulty with the Minuet that I did with the Overlander so didn't feel that the power assist was an absolute necessity. If I were to be faced with the same decision today, I would probably go with the electric jack as I didn't consider the increased difficulty of the hitching process when towing with the Eldorado rather than my Suburban.

Good luck with your decision!

Kevin
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Old 10-29-2006, 08:47 AM   #10
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Appreciate the advice everyone

Thanks all for the advice and comments. So far it sounds like everyone has been happy going electric in spite of occasional problems. Like anything, an electric bears watching, but then look what happened with my manual. Kevin, I'm also very familiar with Murphy's law. One corollary must be that everything goes bad eventually, and when it does, timing will be at one's least convenience. I'm taking the TW in tomorrow AM to discuss my options. If I go electric, and at this point I probably will, the job probably won't be done before Friday. I'll let ya'll know what I find out and why the jack failed, rust? age?, etc.?
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Old 10-29-2006, 09:11 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugarfoot
Thanks all for the advice and comments. So far it sounds like everyone has been happy going electric in spite of occasional problems. Like anything, an electric bears watching, but then look what happened with my manual. Kevin, I'm also very familiar with Murphy's law. One corollary must be that everything goes bad eventually, and when it does, timing will be at one's least convenience. I'm taking the TW in tomorrow AM to discuss my options. If I go electric, and at this point I probably will, the job probably won't be done before Friday. I'll let ya'll know what I find out and why the jack failed, rust? age?, etc.?
Replacing the Jack is not a big deal. I did mine in less than a hour. My battery is on the tongue so electrical was no problem. My 68 had a hot wire on the tongue I would assume your trailer dose also.

Jim
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Old 10-29-2006, 12:54 PM   #12
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Re: keeping battery power for your electric jack. We ran batteries down boondocking at Many Glacier campground in GNP on the day we planned to pack up and leave These were pregenerator days for us, but we learned! A total stranger, another Airstreamer also at the park, came to our rescue with his Honda 2000, got us hitched (electric raising the jack up and down as needed) and stabilizers up as well. Guess what our anniversary present to one another was when we got back home? Yep, the Honda 2000. Now we don't worry nearly so much. Recommend that you add one along with your electric jack if you don't have one now. Perhaps the 1000 would do, but we wanted to insure that we could always use the AC as well. ~G
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Old 10-29-2006, 01:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxandgeorgia
Re: keeping battery power for your electric jack. We ran batteries down boondocking at Many Glacier campground in GNP on the day we planned to pack up and leave These were pregenerator days for us, but we learned! A total stranger, another Airstreamer also at the park, came to our rescue with his Honda 2000, got us hitched (electric raising the jack up and down as needed) and stabilizers up as well. Guess what our anniversary present to one another was when we got back home? Yep, the Honda 2000. Now we don't worry nearly so much. Recommend that you add one along with your electric jack if you don't have one now. Perhaps the 1000 would do, but we wanted to insure that we could always use the AC as well. ~G
On my 68 I used the same battery I used on my boat. When I had the battery removed I just hooked the trailer cord to the truck to operate the jack. I don't think a generator is necessary, nice to have anyway.

Jim
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Old 10-29-2006, 03:56 PM   #14
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MaxandGeorgia, thanks for the heads up on boondocking with the electric. No, I don't have a Honda 2000 yet, but I'm hoping Santa will be extra nice this year. That and my tempermental Grover compressor are about the only things holding me back. And Jim, I'm glad you mentioned the truck connection. I'm having to farm this work out and I'll make sure I'm covered by both trailer and truck batteries. Mine may not be so easy to replace. Instead of rivets like some of the vintages, I'm bolted and have the flange around the post welded to the tongue. The existing jack may have to be cut off somehow. I've read how someone on the forum knocked the setup from below with a hammer and displaced the weld, but my weld job looks pretty solid.
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