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Old 02-05-2011, 11:33 PM   #1
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OK to use a jack instead of blocks to level?

I am curious about using a bottle jack with a built in jack stand for leveling the trailer while leaving the tires on the ground. That is, instead of using blocks under tires, what about using this bottle jack under the axle mounting plate to level the trailer as needed? Also, if two were used, seems these could be used on both sides to easily take the weight off the axles.

Amazon.com: Powerbuilt 640912 All-In-One 3-Ton Bottle Jack with Jack Stand: Automotive
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Old 02-06-2011, 12:00 AM   #2
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Why? Seems simpler to drive the trailer up on blocks.

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Old 02-06-2011, 12:02 AM   #3
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Oh, you shouldn't EVER jack a trailer from the frame to level it.
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Old 02-06-2011, 12:26 AM   #4
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I'm curious...why is that? I've seen pics on this site where people jack a trailer during storage. What would the difference be?

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Oh, you shouldn't EVER jack a trailer from the frame to level it.
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Old 02-06-2011, 12:28 AM   #5
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for clarification...I'm referring to between the tires, at the axle mounting plate, not elsewhere along the frame.


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Oh, you shouldn't EVER jack a trailer from the frame to level it.
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Old 02-06-2011, 12:40 AM   #6
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Were the trailers SOBs....some other brand? Airstreams are all aluminum construction and will twist if jacked up from the corners. It's probably ok to jack it using the jack plates located on the frame near the axles, but again why? The axles are made to support the weight. It is a good idea if in storage to park with a 2x6-8 between the tires and ground. If you are 'stabilizing' the trailer first park it with the axles level side (wheel to wheel) then place stabilize the corners with jacks with no 'real' weight on them. Most likely you will know the trailer is 'twisting' when you have difficulty opening the door. Say, welcome to our group.

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Old 02-06-2011, 12:55 AM   #7
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Thanks for the welcoming. These are great forums here.

I guess I am confused--my impression has been that it is a good idea to take the weight off the rubber torsion axles if the trailer is going to sit for awhile. As far as the trailers I saw, they were Airstreams with jacks at the axle mounting plate behind the tires. They were not supported only at the front or rear--I imagine due to the reasons you mentioned regarding flexing.

The reason I asked is because it seems that using a bottle jack with a built in jack stand would be much easier than fooling with blocks on sites that are more than just a little out of level. Sometime more than just a couple 2x's are needed to get level, and it seems that using a jack like the one I posted would make dialing in a level position much easier.

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Were the trailers SOBs....some other brand? Airstreams are all aluminum construction and will twist if jacked up from the corners. It's probably ok to jack it using the jack plates located on the frame near the axles, but again why? The axles are made to support the weight. It is a good idea if in storage to park with a 2x6-8 between the tires and ground. If you are 'stabilizing' the trailer first park it with the axles level side (wheel to wheel) then place stabilize the corners with jacks with no 'real' weight on them. Most likely you will know the trailer is 'twisting' when you have difficulty opening the door. Say, welcome to our group.

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Old 02-06-2011, 07:03 AM   #8
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KYAirstream,

I see no reason why jacking, when done at the plates, would be a problem. After replacing all three of my axles because the trailer sat for many years, I am considering taking the weight off of the axles when I store it for a couple of months. (Of course it would be better to take her out on a monthly basis and go camping instead )

As to leveling when camping, I use those plastic yellow blocks and have found it quite easy to park, check the level mounted on the front of the trailer, pull forward a bit, lay down the appropriate number of blocks, the back up again. That process takes about a minute. Personally I think jacks would take longer.
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Old 02-06-2011, 07:30 AM   #9
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Jacking at the axle plates is commonly done to service wheel and axle components, but this is usually done on flat ground and not when people are moving around in the trailer. The axle plates are not very thick and you would have a small amount of surface on the jack itself. Doing this on an uneven surface with the weight shifting around inside the trailer could be a problem in my opinion. If the jack is not straight under the plate you could possibly bend the plate and if you are parked on a hill I would also be concerned that the trailer could slide on the jack because of the small amount of surface contact.

I use the orange blocks and lock the wheels together with expandable chocks when needed. The chocks are going to prevent any movement and I have the full support of the axles at the same time. I carry two bags (20) of the blocks which are very light and store under the bed. Building the ramp only takes a few minutes to setup.
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Old 02-06-2011, 07:57 AM   #10
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Any time the trailer is going to sit more than 1 month, I use a floor jack between the tires to jack up each side to put a metal stand forward of the floor jack to sit the frame on, then lower it down on the stand. I made a ground pad that is level for the trailer to back into for parking and to keep it level without any type of blocks needed for leveling.
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Old 02-06-2011, 10:00 AM   #11
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I was misled to believe that my old axles were fine because the trailer 'sat' high. Once I raised and lowered the trailer I noticed that the wheels never did the same....the torsion rubber was frozen as if perhaps a PO (previous owner) stored the trailer raised. I replaced my axles and even though I believe they will outlast me I figger the solution is, as for me also, to KEEP MOVIN'.
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Old 02-06-2011, 12:19 PM   #12
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Thanks for the replies everyone. I can see where traveling and parking temporarily, it would be easier to level with the plastic pieces made into a ramp. In this case, my Airstream spends the majority of the time sitting in the same spot at a campground. What I have done so far is dug out the ground under the wheels enough to place "permanent" concrete blocks that are level, similar to what RLS mentioned. I thought that since it stays in the same spot for so long, I might as well take the weight off the axles by placing jacks on additional concrete blocks that are level. This jack makes lifting a breeze and has a built in jack stand, so it provides a good amount of coverage around the axle mounting plate. Amazon.com: Powerbuilt 640912 All-In-One 3-Ton Bottle Jack with Jack Stand: Automotive Sounds like doing this won't be an issue...just wanted to run the idea by more experienced folks first. Thanks for the help.
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Old 02-06-2011, 12:21 PM   #13
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Any recommendations for those plastic yellow blocks? Also, my trailer doesn't currently have the level mounted on the front. Any links to a pic?

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I use those plastic yellow blocks and have found it quite easy to park, check the level mounted on the front of the trailer
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Old 02-06-2011, 02:22 PM   #14
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The blocks come in two flavors:
yellow - camping world
orange - wally world
I have orange because my trailer came with an orange set and I added an additional set.

I have this level on the front of my trailer:
Wheel Masters - Jumbo Level with Mounting Bracket - Levels - Camping World
Pros: Very easy to read and shows you how many inches you are off level.
Con: I had to replace mine as they can leak if they get very hot (Phoenix).
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