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Old 10-22-2008, 03:30 PM   #1
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Manual hitch jack

Our '67 Overlander had a power hitch jack. I'd like to install a simple manual hitch jack. Any suggestions on a replacement?
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Old 10-22-2008, 03:36 PM   #2
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If the old power jack is still there I would fix it and use it. My '67 has the power jack and it is great. In my original owners manual it says the power jack is so easy even the little lady can use it. Helen didn't think that was as funny as I did!
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Old 10-22-2008, 03:49 PM   #3
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I have seen manual jacks on some of the older units and the LP tanks are usually in the road. I had the electric jack go out on my older 71 unit and replaced it for less than $300. Replacement jacks either electric or manual can be purchased at any RV supply store.
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Old 10-22-2008, 04:04 PM   #4
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My electric jack went out on this last trip. While the manual alternative (it came with a manual crank) isn't as hard to use as I thought it would be, I'd rather use the electric one. I have to remove the gas tank cover and the motor every time I want to hand crank the tongue up or down or hitch and unhitch.

Mine is a 3,500# one. I'd like to get a more powerful one since I often have a golf cart in the bed of the truck and use the jack to lift the tongue to install the spring bars of my Equal-i-zer brand hitch without using the lift bar thingie. I think the cause of it going out was lifting so much weight all the way up to the top of the post shaft. I've done this before but for some reason it blew the fuse this time and I couldn't get the motor to ground out per the instructions. I took it to a trailer shop and once they got it to ground out it kept blowing fuses every time I reached the top or bottom of the post or end of the motor's rotation limit...the shop I took it to didn't fully reverse the motor before installing the motor head on the post like they were supposed to so it would only turn a couple of turns before it reached its limits. Now it won't ground out again. I think I probably just need a new motor at this point.

Does anyone know if Airstream puts a stronger motor on the Pan America or one of the slide-out models since they have more tongue weight? The strongest thing I have found is 3,500# at Camping World.
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Old 10-22-2008, 04:08 PM   #5
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Don't do it

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Originally Posted by hampstead38 View Post
Our '67 Overlander had a power hitch jack. I'd like to install a simple manual hitch jack. Any suggestions on a replacement?
My '67 Overlander has it's original, manual, tongue jack. Due to my yearly oiling, I doubt it will ever quit. But I wish it would.

I am just plain tired of cranking it. If I could stand to replace something "that ain't broke", I would replace the jack in a hearbeat with an electric version.

Electric jacks work carefree IF the limit switches are properly adjusted.

FWIW, I tried to remove my manual jack for painting during the original refurbishment. It would not budge, and it's obstinance lead me to believe I was missing a hidden weld. Later posts by others in another thread affirmed that jacks, sometimes, need a lot pounding to get them to release from the A-frame.

If I could get my manual jack free of my Overlander easily, I would offer you a simple trade because I am just plain tired of manually cranking the Airstream's tongue up.

I recommend you keep your electric jack. IIRC from your past posts, you (like me) ain't no spring chicken.

Tom
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Old 10-22-2008, 04:48 PM   #6
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Manual Jack

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Originally Posted by hampstead38 View Post
Our '67 Overlander had a power hitch jack. I'd like to install a simple manual hitch jack. Any suggestions on a replacement?
We have a new manual jack that was installed by the PO. it is a Bulldog brand and serves us well. The propane tanks are not an issue in our case.
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Old 10-22-2008, 04:51 PM   #7
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You know, I normally agree with TomW. He's about as smart as they come, and he's "been there and done that" for just about any Airstream restoration project you can imagine.


But I too like the simplicity of the manual jack. It doesn't use up precious battery life whilst boondocking, and it doesn't stop working in the case of a loss or interruption of power.


As an engineer, I've always believed in the philosophy of KISS. And manual tongue jacks keep it plenty simple.
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Old 10-22-2008, 05:02 PM   #8
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Well, I'm not a spring chicken but I did manage to persuade the hitch jack to let go.

I think both Tom and you are bright guys, Marcus. There are fair and reasonable arguments for both manual and power options. My instinct is to begin simple and resist as long as possible the slouching towards complexity and convenience. I need a jack to tow the tin girl. A manual jack (if I can find one that drops in and doesn't require a great deal of fuss) will work for the immediate future. If the ravages of time leave me weak of limb, I can always drop in the electric. I'll prewire the hitch just in case I find the power too great a temptation later.
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Old 10-22-2008, 05:43 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by hampstead38 View Post
Well, I'm not a spring chicken but I did manage to persuade the hitch jack to let go.

I think both Tom and you are bright guys, Marcus. There are fair and reasonable arguments for both manual and power options. My instinct is to begin simple and resist as long as possible the slouching towards complexity and convenience. I need a jack to tow the tin girl. A manual jack (if I can find one that drops in and doesn't require a great deal of fuss) will work for the immediate future. If the ravages of time leave me weak of limb, I can always drop in the electric. I'll prewire the hitch just in case I find the power too great a temptation later.
Well thanks, that's mighty kind of you.


The bolt-in tongue jacks seem to be pretty standard. Just three bolts arranged in a triangle around the cylindrical housing. When I experienced a loss of power on my electric one, right as I brought the trailer home for the very first time and desperately needed to unhook my TV, I just ran over to my favorite local outdoor/marine shop and bought a manual replacement for it.


I still have the electric one and it should still work, so maybe if Tom will come to the Texas State Vintage Rally I can hook him up with a great deal on one...

-Marcus
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Old 10-22-2008, 05:54 PM   #10
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The last one I attended even made it to a web page entry

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... so maybe if Tom will come to the Texas State Vintage Rally I can hook him up with a great deal on one...

-Marcus
Believe it or not, I'm still agitating about that rally. I thoroughly enjoyed the last one we attended, and Kim enjoyed the time to ourselves while doing something fun.

The current distance, though, is a killer for us time-wise.

I would like to change my mind - Texas is a great state.

Tom
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Old 10-22-2008, 07:50 PM   #11
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Some tongue jacks come with a vertical, rather than horizontal, crank. That way they don't tangle with the LP tanks. There was one on our '63 when we got it, had I known Marcus wanted a manual, I would have left it on.
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Old 10-22-2008, 08:05 PM   #12
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I really like my electric jack, even though it has failed (I had to use the crank) and needed some parts replaced. It works well.

I also use power tools rather than manual tools when I can.

Why walk when you can ride? Why crank when you can push the button?
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Old 10-22-2008, 08:31 PM   #13
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Quote:
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I am just plain tired of cranking it. If I could stand to replace something "that ain't broke", I would replace the jack in a hearbeat with an electric version.




Tom

Yep, I have used both,, we borrowed our friends AS that had a power jack.. was very nice.... But my manual one works just fine... If I do replace it, it will be one of the last things....

Like Tom says, IF it ain't broke why fix it.... Especially for a manual...
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Old 10-22-2008, 08:42 PM   #14
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Last year at one of our Penn Wood rallies there was a couple from Canada with a vintage unit (I can't remember what year and model), but he had the neatest vintage tongue jack. It was a manual hydraulic jack. It was operated just like a little floor jack. Put the pump handle in, pump up the tongue, and twist the handle to release the pressure and the tongue would go down. It was very easy to use and was a lot easier than a manual crank jack. If I had a vintage unit I would sure be looking for one of those little beauties.

It looked a lot like this one I found on the Internet...

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