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Old 09-26-2011, 01:44 PM   #1
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Vintage Tongue Jack - Reese

Sitting in my driveway, before my trip, I did not have this problem. Arrived at my destination: electric Reese tongue jack goes neither up nor down, either way, press the switch up or down, sound is clicking noise, very slight (1/16 in.) back and forth movement of the inner, moving leg. Holding the switch up or down only results in prolonged clicking and slight movement of the inner leg.

I have no idea how old this jack is. Once I post photos, maybe someone can tell me. I'm sure it is long overdue for replacement, but if it could last just one more year ...

The motor unit appears to have been opened before, but I don't know anything about it, am unable to locate an image online, to let me know what to do there.

Over time, I have seen rust dust coming out of the jack as it goes up or down. Now, when this frozen condition finally emerged, I lubricated the leg, but not being able to take the leg apart, I lubed it in a general way. I took the motor head off (loosened two set screws and lifted the head off the leg), turned the leg upside down, took a long time carefully dropping in some gear lube (for the lower unit of a boat motor, it's what I had lying around, and it stinks and reminds me of heavy agricultural equipment). The leg has a groove about 1/4 inch wide and about 1/16 - 1/8 inch deep. I left the tube upside down overnight.

I skipped a step. Before I did that, I tried adding lube to the top of the leg tube, where the top of a shaft is visible, not with a hex bolt or indent, but with a 1/2 inch of shaft that has a pin going crosswise through the shaft. I'm trying to imagine a tool made just for turning this shaft, but my imagination fails me. (I know, a photo would be really helpful. I will, later, after this rain ends.) I waited a long time and observed that the lube was just sitting there, not going down the tube of the leg. I removed the pool of lube with a paper towel and turned the leg upside down.

I cannot tell how to get into the tube of the leg. The upper end, with the shaft with the pin is available, is locked in with what looks like three stamps of the outer tube, holding the flange through which the shaft passes. I assume this jack leg is not meant to be serviced by the user. (that's an insult down here where I am currently camped out: "jack leg") Similarly, on the other end, the end that usually contacts a piece of treated lumber on my driveway and campsites, there appears to be a cap, but it is firmly rusted in place.

Yesterday, in a fit of rage (not really), I put the head back on and held the switch for about three seconds each on the up the down directions. The same clicking sounded, and some viscous liquid rust dripped out of the bottom of the leg.

I installed a brand new battery, made sure the battery was fully charged, and that the Univolt was providing charging power to the battery. The first thing I noticed at my destination was that the old battery was shot, leaking, not charging; jack would not respond at all with only power coming from the Univolt. New battery, all is nice and snappy. But, the jack is stuck and will go neither up nor down, but clicks in place.

I will post photos, and maybe a sound file of this clicking noise. Wanted to get the question out asap.

Does anyone know about this problem and how I might sort it out? I would really like to persuade this jack to last one more year.

Thanks,
Anne
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Old 09-26-2011, 02:02 PM   #2
CLOUDSPLITTER "Tahawas"
 
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I'm trying to imagine a tool made just for turning this shaft, but my imagination fails me."

Anne.

The tool will look like this...

One common reason for the "clickclick" is a slightly bent inner tube.

Not sure of the make of the Jack..more help if you can post some pics.

Bob
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Old 09-26-2011, 02:23 PM   #3
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My Diagnosis

Your electric motor still works.
So, it has nothing to do with your battery.
Either the drive gear on your motor shaft has lost its teeth, or the gear on the head of the jack shaft has lost its teeth.
I have never taken one of the old Reese jacks apart, so this is pure speculation.
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Old 09-26-2011, 03:39 PM   #4
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I have an old Reese elec. jack on my '74. I do not know if it is original to the trailer, but I do know that the original owner had it on the trailer during his ownership. When I purchased the trailer, I was given a tool very similar to what Bob posted above. I can remove the top of my jack (the motor and housing) by removing 2 or 3 Allen-type set screws. I've never pulled it off because I'd have to loosen / cut the power wire, but I did verify recently that I can get the set screws loose and the top will lift a bit. So in an emergency, I think I'm OK. As for now, my jack is working with no problems.

If a jack were giving me this many issues, I wouldn't trust it to work for me when I'm camping. I wouldn't try to get another year out of it. Unbolt the entire thing from the trailer, scrap it, and get a new one.
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Old 09-26-2011, 05:47 PM   #5
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check the positive and negative connections. do you have a volt meter to check the voltage at the jack when activated?
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Old 09-29-2011, 03:04 PM   #6
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Reese Jack Photos

Hi, thanks for responding. As promised, I am posting some photos of my Reese Lectra-Jack. I know it's an Lectra-Jack because it says so on the top.

Here goes, in the order in which I uploaded:
First, the brand & model
Next, the top of the tube revealed by removing the motor head
Last, the motor head upside down, revealing the shaft that connects to the tube gear shaft

I am moving through the stages of grief to acceptance that I will need to replace this jack. But -- bargaining -- I wonder if there is a leg out there somewhere that I could swap out, connecting the motor head to it?

Any idea how old this jack might be? The motor seems to be running strong, but it's hard to say more than that without everything connected. I guess the circuit is closed by contact of the motor head to the leg.

I don't remember doing anything that would bend the leg, but I did have it parked in a fully extended position for about a month while some work was done in the back yard. Maybe that was too much stress on the gears or the inside tube.

Still wish I had a diagram of how the thing works inside. It's sealed up really tight.

I guess I'm spoiled by having so many 1968 parts and pieces still in good working order. I'll have to figure something out before camping trip on the Columbus day long weekend.

Thanks,
Anne
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Old 09-29-2011, 04:28 PM   #7
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IA,

Hold the jack head (motor) tightly against the post and try the switch.

Does the motor run freely?

Do you have a side view of the motor head?, there should be a way to get to the gears.

Looks like the above tool would work.

Bob
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Old 09-30-2011, 11:04 PM   #8
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Bob, I'll give that a try, but I can tell you now, the motor does not run freely. It is as if the post/leg/gears are frozen, and the motor can't turn the shaft.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS
IA,

Hold the jack head (motor) tightly against the post and try the switch.

Does the motor run freely?

Do you have a side view of the motor head?, there should be a way to get to the gears.

Looks like the above tool would work.

Bob
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Old 09-30-2011, 11:10 PM   #9
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Does anyone know what happened to the Reese jack business? I went by a local RV Superstore, not CW, and we looked through some catalogs. The parts guy did not remember Reese selling anything but hitches and related gear.

If they sold that part of the business to some company that still makes them, maybe I could get a new post, since the motor seems to work well. Seems to.

I'm trying to get my Dad's house ready to be listed. I'm camping in the driveway. I have another week to figure this out.
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Old 10-01-2011, 01:30 AM   #10
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I have two Reese jacks, one on the Caravel and one on the 20' Argosy. Reese will not respond to my email about a replacement cover for them (the plastic finally failed on both) so I guess no parts are available, and my very good RV parts store could not find any mention of them in their books. I did buy both of mine new, in the early '80's and they have worked faultlessly, having been transferred from one trailer to another.

To isolate the problem, see if you can turn the jack post itself with a handle such as the one pictured in another post. They did come with a handle, but mine are long gone. If the handle will turn the jack post up and down, it is the head that is the problem. If it will not, the post is the problem and the head clutch is "clicking" against the stuck resistance of the post.

If the post will move with the jack handle then the head has issues. Only a disassembly will tell if it is toast or not. But if you need parts, I doubt that you will find any from Reese.

BTW, I finally fixed the cracked and broken plastic motor cover head with foil tape and painted it to match. Looks a bit funny, but keeps the weather out and like the energizer bunny, the jacks keep running and running and running.
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Old 10-01-2011, 06:57 AM   #11
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Anne,

If you think the handle I posted above will work, here are the #s you can check local and see if it's available. It's for a Barker Super Jack model #12250.
P/N for the handle 16199.
It is available on the Barker web site, but that seems a little drastic when you may end up changing the whole jack anyway.

How 'bout just getting a piece of flat stock 1/4" thick X 1" wide, kind'a like a really big screw driver, see how easy it turns.


Bob
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“After all these years the reason I continue to love Thanksgiving.....I still sit at the kids table.”
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Old 10-19-2011, 02:32 PM   #12
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I decided I could not repair the jack, so I bought a Husky 3000 lb jack at Reed's Camper Sales in Huntsville, AL.

Had to get the holes enlarged, found a trailer repair place (Mid-South trailers) willing to do it in a hurry. By the way, Gene, the owner, showed me a 5th wheel horse trailer they had outfitted for 3 horses in the back, front end for humans, looked like it could sleep 6, really beautiful interior cabinets, full shower, small kitchen. Said he sold those for $76,000.

Said he'd be glad to finish my Trade Wind for me. I'll bet. Little beyond my pay grade, since I choked a bit on the enlargement cost, $150.00. But, I got to go camping that evening, and I didnt have to use a manual crank jack, especially for the weight distribution system.

Just makes me question what kinds of tools I should keep in the Trade Wind at all times when away from home. Add a grinder and a plasma cutter to the list :-)
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