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I Need Help Designing Camper-Jack Platforms

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Forum topic by poopiekat posted 08-18-2013 07:58 PM 1118 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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poopiekat

3733 posts in 2481 days


08-18-2013 07:58 PM

Topic tags/keywords: jacks

We’re usually pretty lucky with whatever campsite we’ve reserved, sight unseen. but this weekend, we got the LAST available site with electric power. When we got there, I had to block up the camper quite a bit due to a slope in the landscape of about 28 inches from front to rear. That’s a lot of adjustment, and those cheep built-in stabilizer jacks are handy, but…wobbly even if extended only a few inches.
Anyway… next time we go, I do not want to create some scary “Jenga” stacks of 3X3 hardwoods. It’s just not safe, and I was really concerned about the stability of all four corners.
So…I’m looking for ideas, links, plans, anything which can be constructed of wood, perhaps stacked up like napkin boxes, and versatile enough to accommodate varying heights of say, 6 inches to 20 inches. One at each corner, and one used in conjunction with the tongue jack. I’m not happy with metal automotive jack stands either, they just don’t work well on a sloped surface. Have you got a suggestion you can share? most appreciated, thanks!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!


12 replies so far

View bold1's profile

bold1

151 posts in 593 days


#1 posted 08-22-2013 11:37 PM

I carry 16” lengths of 3”x3” notched out like Lincoln logs, with the ones I use on, the next to top, notched the whole way across, except the ends. That way I can stack the top solid across, for the jack to set on.Just leave the one off the upper side of the slope when you start stacking. I was shown this by a drag line rigger many years ago.

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firefighterontheside

5812 posts in 603 days


#2 posted 08-22-2013 11:49 PM

I carry 16” pieces of 6 * 6 cedar. I have four of them and use them as needed. They are pretty stable. When I had my bumper pull travel trailer occasionally I would have the sloped sites and not be able to level the camper perfectly because I could not lower the front enough. That doesn’t happen with fifth wheel. Do you have the orange leveling blocks. Can’t remember the name. I recommend those. Much more stable than just blocks of wood since they fit together like Legos.

-- Bill M. I love my job as a firefighter, but nothing gives me the satisfaction of running my hand over a project that I have built and just finished sanding.

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Shawn Masterson

1262 posts in 695 days


#3 posted 08-23-2013 01:11 AM

I carry these with a 14”x14”x3” pad made of four pieces of white oak 2 7” boards one way and 2 the other way glued and screwed with rope handles. if I am on a slope I dig a flat area for the mud sill and pace the stand. I have never had a problem.

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poopiekat

3733 posts in 2481 days


#4 posted 08-23-2013 03:41 AM

Thanks, guys for the appropriate suggestions.
As my wife and I stroll through our favorite campgrounds, we make mental notes of which sites may be of interest to us for future reservations, indeed some of our Provincial Parks now have photo images which may or may not show a severe slope which is always a bugger to contend with. Indeed, with a slope adding up to about 28 inches, my concern was that those cheapie crank-down corner jacks will tend to flex if extended too far, and blocking up a huge elevation can be chancy even with good square 3 X3’s. Bold: Thanks for the Lincoln log concept! Yeah, layers that interlock with one another is really the direction I am going to take. Firefighter: Though our trailer is a bumper-hitch type, the tongue jack was fully extended and still could not raise the front high enough to achieve level front to rear! It too becomes wobbly and unreliable once extended to it’s uppermost height. I’ve seen some pretty unflattering reviews for those plastic Lego style leveling pads, some people like them, some peoplebroke them first time out, so.. I think I’ll stick with wood which I have in abundance. Shawn: great idea, the crosswise brick pattern for laying out the blocks, and I really like the rope idea, great for this old man’s ailing back! I’m using rubber chocks under the tires, they have a grippy surface and stay put’ as I back the camper into its spot, I add 1 X 6 lumber shorts to compensate for the lower elevation for whichever side needs raising and chocks fore and aft.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View DrDirt's profile

DrDirt

2597 posts in 2488 days


#5 posted 08-23-2013 02:43 PM

Hey Cat -

Typically the trailer jacks are just stabilizers – and not designed to lift (like the hydraulic jacks in class A motorhomes)

These are Not wood but I have seen a lot of folks with Class C motorhomes that don’t have jacks – use a harbor freight floor jack then use jackstands.

Easy to pump the floor jack and bring it to level/ or dial it in – but you would need a good lift point on the trailer.

Also some LEGO block type designs that you could reproduce/modfy in a wood verson

.

-- "If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves." Edison

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Bluepine38

2953 posts in 1831 days


#6 posted 08-23-2013 05:39 PM

A friend who used a trailer to live in while working in the woods welded a car type scissor jack to each corner
of his trailer and welded a lug nut onto the end of the threaded rod. Being in the woods he had chainsaw
access to blocks of wood he would place on the ground and used a cordless impact wrench or a cross lug
wrench to easily adjust and stabilize his trailer. He used this set up until he retired a few years ago.

-- As ever, Gus-the 76 yr young apprentice carpenter

View poopiekat's profile

poopiekat

3733 posts in 2481 days


#7 posted 08-23-2013 10:06 PM

Thanks again, guys! Dr. Dirt: Yep, I spent a few years with a hydraulic bottle jack and aluminum jackstands like you posted above. Mine had horribly twisted bars, obvious use by former owners that they indeed tried to lift the camper with screw force instead of hydraulic jacking first. The jury’s still out on those plastic legos, but you are correct, a wooden equivalent of those would do nicely. I just have to design a way to make them interlock by layer, because I will occaisionally be compensating for heights of up to 24 inches. This past weekend, the camper looked like the two front corners were playing “Jenga”!! Gus: I actually have scissor jacks at each corner, welded in at the factory. (Wish I’d taken pictures of it on our last trip) They are notoriously flimsy when extended more than six inches. I tried 4 scissor jacks that I borrowed from a Subaru mechanic, they were really no better, and it was on a lighter trailer than I have now. These are great ideas, but I’m back at the drawing board until I can figure a better way to block up most of the travel, rather than wayyy overextended mechanical jacks. I really do like the interlocking, modular pieces ideas that were suggested. From fully retracted, I would like to ultimately like to descend the permanent jacks only a couple of inches, and let the homebuilt stands do the rest of the work. After all, the trailer might fall at a most inopportune moment!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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firefighterontheside

5812 posts in 603 days


#8 posted 08-23-2013 11:38 PM

How about if you built something that was like a pyramid. The base would be the widest piece and if you need to go higher you add the next piece that would fit inside the lower piece. Im not sure how high you would be able to get with say 6 levels. The highest piece could be a 6 by 6. The bottom piece might be too wide to carry easily, but it would be very stable. I only use the lynx levelers to level a few inches from side to side. I wouldn’t use them to build up the tongue height as much as you are needing to.

-- Bill M. I love my job as a firefighter, but nothing gives me the satisfaction of running my hand over a project that I have built and just finished sanding.

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poopiekat

3733 posts in 2481 days


#9 posted 08-24-2013 02:18 PM

firefighterOTS: yes, a pyramid-shaped design makes the most sense, thanks for the suggestion. I’m going to get started on a final design and get into the shop this weekend. I’m really not familiar with the ‘Lynx levelers ‘you suggested, I’ll look them up and see what they can do for me. [Edit:] I’m more likely now to incorporate the features of the Lynx Levelers, with a pyramidic design, interlocking, and most of the other features suggested above. I’ll need to make one set for each corner. No more plastic bin filled with random blocks! Thanks to everyone for posting your relevant suggestions!

.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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firefighterontheside

5812 posts in 603 days


#10 posted 08-25-2013 01:57 AM

Good luck and happy camping!

-- Bill M. I love my job as a firefighter, but nothing gives me the satisfaction of running my hand over a project that I have built and just finished sanding.

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firefighterontheside

5812 posts in 603 days


#11 posted 08-25-2013 02:39 AM

I’m from Missouri and just remembered a website called missouritrailertrash.com and thought this might help you out.

-- Bill M. I love my job as a firefighter, but nothing gives me the satisfaction of running my hand over a project that I have built and just finished sanding.

View poopiekat's profile

poopiekat

3733 posts in 2481 days


#12 posted 08-25-2013 04:05 AM

LOL, @ firefighter OTS: Yess, I’ve seen that picture, part of a viral redneck wedding montage!! Heehee… there’s also a pic of a 60-foot mobile home on top of a barge, and a junky homebuilt 20 passenger stretch Chevy Suburban… I’ll see if I can find it. Thanks for the pic! I wonder if there’s rebar running through those cinder blocks??

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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