Mod #31: Power Tongue Jack
Submitted on: 07/08/08
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All travel trailers have a tongue jack that you use to raise, lower, and level the front of the trailer. Most tongue jacks are of the manual type, meaning you must use a hand crank to operate it. The power tongue jack mod not only makes hand cranking a thing of the past but can be very useful when connecting and disconnecting your weight distributing spring bars.
Selecting the right tongue jack is an easy process since they are rated by how much they can lift and support. There are lightweight rated jacks suitable for tent trailers all the way up to heavy duty jacks rated for up to 3500 lbs. Use the tongue weight of your trailer to help select the appropriate jack and pick the next highest rating above your tongue weight. This ensures that you will get the longest life out of jack because it doesn’t have to work as hard as a lighter weight unit.
Installation is pretty straightforward. You will need some way to support the front of the trailer while replacing the manual jack. Be sure you are on a level surface with the wheels chocked before you begin. Jack up the trailer by the coupler using a floor jack and support the front using a jack stand on either side of the a-frame members. This is the hardest part of the replacement process.
Remove the three bolts that hold the manual jack on the a-frame then remove the manual jack. You may have to remove the foot from the jack to get the jack ram through the hole. Reverse the process with the new power jack. The only additional step is to connect the power wire to the battery. Just be sure you use an inline fuse of the correct size, usually 30 amp, in the wire to the battery.
Now you can use your new found power to make your weight distributing hitch much easier to setup. Instead of installing the spring bars with the entire weight of the tongue on the tow vehicle (you know how strenuous this can be!), simply lock the ball coupler to the ball mount with the coupler pin and raise the power tongue jack high enough to remove the majority of the weight off the tongue. You will notice the back of the tow vehicle raise up quite a bit. Now the spring bar chain brackets should be very easy to lift! You can also use the same technique when removing the spring bars as well.
You can buy a cover the goes over the top of your new power tongue jack. This cover will help prevent moisture from accumulating inside the gear assembly beneath the top cover, reducing the chance of the gears and other parts from rusting.
You can attach the trailer to the TV instead of using jack stands and a floor jack. This makes installation much less strenuous and you can rely on the tow vehicle’s emergency brake to keep the combo from rolling away.