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Old 07-16-2020, 07:12 AM   #1
New Member
2015 22' FB Sport
Louisville , Kentucky
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 3
From Electric Jack to a Manual Jack

I'm thinking about switching from my electric jack to a manual (A-Frame) jack.

I know what you guys are thinking, don't blame you either, LOL! But hear me out.

AS Bambi FB22 2016. I am the third owner. The trailer has been lightly used and in excellent condition. Note, 2nd owner changed from a manual jack to electric (which was a great call for them, as the 2nd owners were a little older).

TV is 1994 F150 5.0L 2WD SWB.
My RV mindset, in a word, is 'nimble'. Or perhaps, 'less is more'. Well, plus I'm cheap.

Story that leads me to my question: First outing for 2020. We're pumped. Lesson One: DO NOT GET EXCITED ABOUT ANYTHING IN 2020. We had done due diligence during the winter. Making sure everything is good, as best as we could tell. Short trip planned to make sure all is OK. The 12V battery was fully charged as I kept it unconnected and covered from the weather. Upon 'hitch up', I connected the battery to the AS, backed the truck up. Hit the toggle switch to raise the trailer. Nothing. Checked connection. Nothing -Should We Stay or Should We Go (The Clash -kinda). Turns out, it seemed to be grounding issue, got it working and hitched up. Whew, dodged that bullet.

Got to the camp site, but the electric jack issue hitch issue returned, grrrrr. Fellow campers are a great resource, with their knowledge/assistance, got unhitched.

Oh, Lesson Two. Tire Jacks were NOT included with our AS (when new). Therefore, I am now, the proud owner of a brand new 2T hydraulic jack.

During our short stay, this jack issue kept swirling. If I switched back to a manual jack, I get reliability, less weight (battery + jack), less head aches (keeping the 12v battery charged, voltage leaks, etc). Not to mention the cost of a new electric jack vs a manual jack. But, that electric jack is pretty convenient. But that's the price my wife will have to pay (uh yea, I'll let you know how that one works out).

I've not experienced the use of a manual A-Frame jack and would like to ask for user experiences when using a manual jack. Is it difficult to raise? What brands you've experienced, etc.

Thanks all who care to respond and took time to read this short story!
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Old 07-16-2020, 07:45 AM   #2
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2007 30' Classic S/O
Somewhere , South Carolina
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 4,851
Husky electric jack.

I've had one on my 2007 Classic Ltd Slide Out since 2012? no issues and that is one heavy tongue its lifting plus hooking up the WD bars. Strong and reliable. Zero failures to date.
S/OS #001
2005 Dodge Ram 2500 5.9L 6 Speed
16" Michelins, Hi Spec Wheels, Max Brake, Dexter 4 Piston Disc Brakes, Carslile Actuator, Equal-I-Zer, Dill TPMS. Campfire cook. BMV-712
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Old 07-16-2020, 07:51 AM   #3
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1976 31' Sovereign
Oswego , Illinois
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Thumbs down

There will be no weight loss of battery as power jack gets power from on board battery that is used for most 12 volt items. Lastly think about ability to crank jack and health plus ease of use with power, time saved when using power. I changed many yrs. ago never thought about going back to manual. Finally manual gets to be a hassle as you get older as trailer does not get lighter in weight.
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Old 07-16-2020, 08:11 AM   #4
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1967 22' Safari
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Monona , Wisconsin
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With You 100%

Old Home I am with you 100%. We have a manual jack and dont want an electric. Chances that ours would fail are next to none (its orginial to 1967). Slower, yes, more work, yes, I am camping not in a race.

PS: We have a manual awning also!

Monona, WI
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Old 07-16-2020, 08:13 AM   #5

2003 25' Classic
Zanadude Nebula , Milky Way
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Posts: 17,245
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Welcome Aboard 👍

X 2 on the Husky electric, got one last Season.
I poo poo'd the remote control...until I used it.😂
Plus it just looks good on "Cloudspliter"

BTW all electric jacks I'm familiar with come with a manual handle for emergencies.

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Obrigado, é hora de descansar.

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Old 07-16-2020, 08:23 AM   #6
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2012 25' FB Eddie Bauer
Vintage Kin Owner
Virginia Beach , Virginia
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Owning any RV can be expensive, replacing everything that does not work perfectly the first time you use it will be VERY costly. Your electric jack should also have a hand crank, so if you want a hand crank, just use it.

I started Airstreaming in 2005. In 15 years I've had 2 problems with electric jacks. Dead battery once, shorted wire second time on a "new to me" trailer. Simply used the hand crank the first time and re-charged the battery. Second time, found that the hand crank did not match the jack...aargh! Neighbors came over and checked the fuse, grounding, and voltage... found a loose wire nut and properly repaired it. Meanwhile, I found that a 10 mm socket would work to hand crank and dedicated one with a 4 inch extension and a ratchet wrench to my setup tools and goodies.

Before you change anything, find the hand crank, practice using it and show SWMBO how it works. Like many things, it becomes amazingly simple when you know HOW it works and WHY it works that way.

Read and study your manuals. They will literally save you thousands of dollars and make you look like a genius on a routine basis.
Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
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Old 07-16-2020, 09:32 AM   #7
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1996 25' Excella
Tillsonburg , Ontario
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 1,221
I'm changing manual to electric on a 2017 Bambi. Nothing wrong with manual, just decided to upgrade for my Lady's sake, on her trailer
I expect there will be a small weight penalty since the electric jack is HEAVY just carting it around in the box.
You should just consider converting the existing jack to manual, but there is no reason to not go manual
Keep the electric for the next owners
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Old 07-16-2020, 09:43 AM   #8
2 Rivet Member
Murfreesboro , Tennessee
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 67
My electric jack from AS has a manual handle and to be honest it works better than any other manual jack I’ve ever used. I wouldn’t swap it out for a regular manual jack. I’ve got the best of both worlds.
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Old 07-16-2020, 09:55 AM   #9
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2017 26' Flying Cloud
Tampa , Florida
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Originally Posted by old_home View Post
Oh, Lesson Two. Tire Jacks were NOT included with our AS (when new). Therefore, I am now, the proud owner of a brand new 2T hydraulic jack.
Jacks are never included.
Try the crank with your electric jack. Some are easy. If so, you can have the best of both worlds. But it sounds like you have a grounding problem, so simply replacing the bolts, star washers with matching in grade 8 from the big box store is a cheap way to chase the old threads threads for under $5.
The bolts are 3/8" x 16. I use grade 8 because they resist rust and are super strong. The cost is negligible.
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Old 07-16-2020, 09:59 AM   #10
2007 19' Bambi
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 58
From Electric Jack to a Manual Jack

You mentioned nimble, which applies to small utility trailers, motorcycle trailers, small boat trailers and the like. An AS with a weight-distribution hitch is another matter (I'm assuming you are towing with a WD hitch). This is a very different program than simple ball hitch on ball trailering attachment.
Different grades, loads (dry/wet) and securing your weight distribution arms often require multiple adjustments.

Your electric tongue jack is significantly superior to a manual jack. I'd speculate that the majority of this forum would agree. An electrical tongue jack is more nimble and less frustrating than a manual jack. A wet AS has no corelationship to a straight forward lightweight ball & hitch trailer setup you may be used to with other trailers. Stick with the electric option and ensure you have the manual crank backup handle as others have suggested.
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Old 07-16-2020, 10:19 AM   #11
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2012 25' Flying Cloud
2001 19' Bambi
Fresno , California
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 34
Our 2012 Flying Cloud (bought new) came with an electric jack, we had previously had a 2000 19' Bambi with a manual jack. We will never go back to manual. The original electric jack lasted us 8 years, with a couple of problems with the switch, which my husband replaced easily; this year we bought a new jack with more torque (which gets the job done a little more slowly) and we love it.
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Old 07-16-2020, 10:32 AM   #12
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2018 22' Sport
Saint Petersburg , Florida
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AE electric jack

“I may be mistaken” but if the electric jack That AE uses breaks down not because of power but mechanical issues the hand crank will also be affected.
The Husky Jack has a by pass so that u can use the full extent of the manual cranking.
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Old 07-16-2020, 10:33 AM   #13
Tow Vehicle ISO 23cb
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Hollywood , Maryland
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Manual vs electric

I’d say stick with electric but...

Recently broke my factory electric due to not being fully awake when I hooked up. Longer story.

Swapped for a manual en route to campground and swapped them out before I unhitched. Could only find a top crank manual jack and that was a pain with the propane box. A sidewinder jack would have worked perfectly and I might have stuck with it.

That said I swapped back out for a Husky Super Brute with remote and love the convenience. The grounding issue you had should be an easy fix and like others have said you still have a manual jack option with the electric.

The other option worthy of consideration is one of the jacks that you can use with your cordless drill , or the manual handle. Gives you both functionality and reliability easily.
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Old 07-16-2020, 11:06 AM   #14
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Napa , California
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 283
Someone mentioned it, but even hand cranks break down. We've had several trailers, and only the Airstream has a power jack. On all the others we had jack issues -from stripped gears to stuck levers to a wheel that fell apart. Then add lost handles, bent handles and a flip foot that made the entire trailer hard to get on our truck. Can't tell you how many we replaced over the years, but it was almost as bad as batteries and tires!

You might want to double check the installation to be sure it was done correctly, sometimes loving hands at home lack the proper skills to get things working perfectly.
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Old 07-16-2020, 12:21 PM   #15
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2020 28' Flying Cloud
2017 23' Flying Cloud
Hiawassee , Georgia
Join Date: May 2017
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Originally Posted by CaptainFlair View Post
“I may be mistaken” but if the electric jack That AE uses breaks down not because of power but mechanical issues the hand crank will also be affected.
The Husky Jack has a by pass so that u can use the full extent of the manual cranking.
I had exactly that problem a few years ago on the 3rd trip out with our 23D. Something went bad in the gearbox such that the tongue jack would go UP but not DOWN while under load. What a PIA. The manual crank was useless. The workaround for the rest of the trip was to relieve load on the tongue Jack with a bottle jack and wood blocks, retract the tongue jack a little, lower the bottle jack, step and repeat 🤬.

Lippert sent me a new jack which worked since. We have the same Lippert jack on our new 28’ which works but makes all kinds of noise. If it fails I’ll replace with a Husky and be done with it.
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Old 07-16-2020, 02:32 PM   #16
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1964 26' Overlander
1974 31' Sovereign
Milton , ON
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The electric jack on our '74 Sovereign broke and was going to be somewhat expensive to fix. It was the only trailer I've had with an electric jack. I replaced it with a manual jack and haven't regretted it.
1974 Sovereign
2005 F-350 SRW 4x4 crew cab long box

1965 Avion C-10 Truck Camper (
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Old 07-17-2020, 07:59 AM   #17
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2014 23' FB Flying Cloud
Petrolia , Ontario
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 56
From Electric Jack to a Manual Jack

Funny I haven't seen anyone else point this out.
If you switch from an elctric jack to manual, you won't reduce the weight by loosing the battery. The battery remains an essential component within your Airstream. You'll still need it in transport for brakes, to keep you refrigerator running, and when parked to allow the propane detector to do its job.
Find the manual crank handle and give it a try before you spend any time or $s persuing a change out. You may find as dnsapp says you'll "have the best of both worlds".
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Old 07-17-2020, 04:19 PM   #18
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1970 23' Safari
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 326
My trailer came with a fairly new electric jack ...after about 1 year I had to replace the switch...not hard ....after about another 1 1/2 yrs I had to do it again.
I then started covering the jack with a plastic bag which is inside a fabric cover bag that looks good. Its been a couple of years and no more jack electric issues. Getting it out of the rain was a good plan!
Mine does have manual emergency crank handle ....lots of work!!
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Old 07-17-2020, 09:35 PM   #19
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1966 24' Tradewind
1995 34' Excella
Lynchburg , Virginia
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,943
I agree with you switching from electric to manual because that is what I did.
About 7 years ago my electric jack failed. What a surprise when you hit that little button and you get nothing! I used my Tundra jack plus a couple of pieces of wood that I rounded up. I decided to replace it with a manual because of cost and because I am not that old or weak... So I installed a manual jack. It worked ok but the crank was on the side, which I didn’t like. Anyhow last summer it failed in Colorado. It wasn’t easy to find a manual jack replacement but I finally did at a NAPA store. I really like this jack, much better than the manual jack that broke. I will take a photo of it tomorrow.

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Old 07-19-2020, 06:44 PM   #20
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1966 24' Tradewind
1995 34' Excella
Lynchburg , Virginia
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,943
One big advantage to this jack is that I can easily lower the tailgate. I couldn’t do this with my previous jack and I ended damaging the tailgate one time. I hate it when I do something stupid like that. Anyhow if this jack fails I will replace it with an identical jack.

Now this jack is heavier duty than the jack that failed- 5,000 Lb load versus 2,000 Lb load. I did have to make the hole in the A frame a little bigger but that wasn’t too hard.

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