Mod #31: Power Tongue Jack

Mod #31: Power Tongue Jack

Submitted on: 07/08/08

     Category: exterior
Mod Rating: 12345

(31 ratings)

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Mod Description:

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.

Mod Difficulty:

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.

TipYou 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.

TipYou 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.


ModMyRV recommends these parts for this mod:
3,500lb. Heavy Duty Electric Trailer Jack
Ultra-Fab Model 3002 Electric Tongue Jack

General Reference
How to Properly Level Your Towable RV
How to Install a Power Tongue Jack for Your RV

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24 Comments For This Mod

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  1. Bob Vaughn

    I put a power jack on my camper right after I got it then I had to replace it about 5 years later….the new one I put on shorted out after driving in a rain storm…..Talk about a job try jacking up your tongue with nothing more than a bottle jack and some blocks of wood. Then having to take the jack off and find another…..Of course nothing ever breaks when you are close to a camping store….I had to drive 40 miles one way just to find a replacement…..

  2. jmt

    So Bob’s comments sorta make me unsure if I want to tackle this mod. I really am tired of crank crank crank…up down…

  3. Bob Vaughn

    I would not want to have to crank my TT up and down anymore….If you tackle this mod make sure that the model jack you buy comes with an emergency crank handle so that if you lose 12 volt power or it breaks down you can just remove the cover stick the crank handle on the top and crank your tongue up and down..

  4. jmt

    Great point. Thanks Bob. Never even thought to make sure an emergency crank is available. Now I have to start shopping.

  5. Coachdave

    Have a power jack on a new (to us) Sunline, Sole’. Wonderful until it would not work. Would only go down, not up. Had mobile tech out to repair. Of course being a Sunday, could not get the parts needed. So, the next trick is to exchange the connections of the red and black wires. One way it will go up, other way will go down. Hint, remove the fuse before changing the wires, very easy to blow. Of course, this assumes that you still have power to the unit.

  6. b1i9g5o7

    I really want to install a electric tongue jack but my question is; what do I use to increase the size of the holes on my TT tongue? My manual jack has a 2″ post , and the Barker I like has a 2 1/4″ post.

  7. dmzempr

    I used my dremel to make the hole on our Jayco a little bigger and it worked perfectly. Fairly simple mod to make. The coolness factore has ended but now its plain easiness putting the thing up and down!

    Dave

  8. Adam-12

    Excellent mod! Was probably one of the BEST mods ever! Saves hassle on my lower back because now I don’t have to work so hard hitching and unhitching the trailer. The crank is old news! Get this 12v DC tongue jack!

  9. Justin

    I bought the Barker Hi Power 3500 direct from them for $180 out the door. They even threw in a leather cover to keep it protected! By far the easiest mod I have done!

  10. ANiforos

    Justin,

    How did you order the Barker Hi Power 3500 direct from Barker. I went to their website, but it doesn’t appear as if they will sell direct. Am I doing something wrong? Thanks for any advice you can give me. I am interested in that particular jack also, and the $180.00 out the door seems to good to be true.

    Alex

  11. ModMyRV

    Yes, the link to their retail parts store appears to be broken. You might try contacting them directly. Here is their contact page:

    http://www.barkermfg.com/contact_us.html

  12. Justin

    First I emailed and asked for a price list and “Donna” called me back with a few options. Give her a call or email. sales@barkermfg.com (269) 965-2371. I don’t get any kickback, but you can tell her Justin sent you.

  13. ANiforos

    Justin,

    Thank you so much for replying. I will certainly give “Donna” a call and see what happens. I will tell her that you referred me to her.

    Thanks again.

    Alex Niforos
    Winston Salem, NC

  14. dmzempr

    Ani,

    I too had the same problem with the web site. Told them about it too but I’m not sure they’ll do anything about it. Call them directly and then follow up about 3 - 4 days after they order. The process isn’t very smooth but it works. We got ours in about 6 - 8 days.

  15. b1i9g5o7

    dmzempr,
    Thanks for the tip on enlarging the post hole on the tongue ( from my June 23 post). What bit do you use? I’m a “Saturday mechanic”, with not a lot of experience with my Dremel…
    Looks like the Barker 3500 is the popular choice, are they not cheaper on Ebay?
    Thanks again for the feed back.

  16. ANiforos

    I have been in touch with Barker Mfg., and was about to order the 3500 lb Deluxe Ballscrew Super Hi Power jack. This is their highest priced model. The rep I spoke with recommended that I not buy that one, as they have had some problems with it. What was recommended was either of the VIP models. What was relayed to me was that the high priced model had limit switches that they were having problems with, and the VIP models did not have these switches or problems. I was about to order the VIP 3500 lb model, when I asked about the manual crank. I was concerned that my propane tanks would be too close and a little bit too tall to be able to hand crank in the event of no electricity. After measurements were made on both ends of the phone call, it was determined that Barker also makes the same model, the 3500 lb one, in a little bit longer version, going from 18 inches to 24 inches from the three screw mounting plate to the top of the unit where the manual crank would go in. It is a close call, but it looks like there will be room to hand crank if I remove the plastic cover over my propane tanks which takes about five seconds.

    Here is the real kicker though. I was about to order when I mentioned something about the crank fitting in the top of the unit just under the bubble level. I was told that it is no longer made that way, that in order to use the manual crank handle, you have to loosen the three set screws that hold the head unit onto the shaft and then remove the head unit from the shaft. Then you get to the part where the crank fits in. This seems like a lot of trouble to have to go to just to use the hand crank, so I held off on my purchase. I checked one local camper store and their display model was just as the rep told me. I removed the little bubble level and there was no place to put the crank handle. I then went to another local camper store, and the model they had on display had the crank handle port just under the bubble level. That was a 3000 lb VIP jack though. They did not have any of the 3500 VIPs in stock. I would hope that they changed it for a good reason. I sure hope it is a good reason, because it sure looks like a lot of trouble to get to now. Does anyone have any thoughts on this or had any experience with this new design. Thanks in advance for any advice offered.

    Alex

  17. dmzempr

    Sorry for the delay B1. Heck I don’t know much either. I used one of the grinding heads and kept going with a little trial and error. Snug as a bug and worked fine. Don’t make it too big though cause too much play can be a little scary.

  18. b1i9g5o7

    Thanks ANi for the heads-up on the Barker. Does anyone have any info on the Bulldog 4000 lb. jack? I was on a E-bay website that was selling them. They are offering this jack with a 5 year warranty. They’re manufactured by Cequent.

  19. ustaxmaster

    This mod and using an old cordless drill to get the other jacks up and down has made hookups and setups much easier.

  20. GrandFunkRR

    b1i9g5o7, I bought the biggest Bulldog they make. I would buy it again in a heartbeat. It was the best money I have spent. No more taking 20 minutes in the rain running the jack up and down by hand. It has the emergency jack hole in the event of dead battery or other power loss. It literally only took me 15 minutes to install.

  21. b1i9g5o7

    Hey ,thanks GFRR on the Bulldog comments. Can you tell us where you purchased it , any other details? And AMEN to the cordless drill ustax….

  22. agifford64

    I have a Bulldog power left 4,000 lb was trying to lift my TT off the hitch. I can hear the motor and a clicking sound but wouldn’t lift so I took cover off and tried to hand cranks just made a sound and moved a little then stopped.
    Any idea’s on how to fix?

  23. Enhantedcamper

    Put my electric jack on about 15 years ago. Makes it soo easy, plus, you have a light for hookin’ up at night. Definatly do it. about the camper that has a problem with his jack: I don’t know the excact mechanics of your jack, but mine sticks some times too when I raise or lowwer it to far. It has a hex(I think it’s a 5/8)
    drive “emergency” fitting on the top end. It can be used by putting the correct socket on an 6-8″ extension bar and reaching into get to it. Just crank it in the oppisite direction(you might have to “rock” it back and forth) a little bit and it should come loose. Once it’s loose, the motor will drive it OK.
    Just a bit of advice. Be sure the screw threads have some grease( I use white Lithium)on them and the telescoping leg has some grease on it too. You can get Lithium grease in several different kinds of containers from an auto parts store. It also works great to lube the slide tracks that align the top and bottom halves. CAMP ON!

  24. sdayman

    I just installed the Barker VIP 3500 24″ model which I ordered straight from Barker for a good price. One trip to a very unlevel campsite convinced me to get the tallest jack they offered. The bubble level is easily removed with a quarter twist for access to the manual override. The battery wire is at least a foot too short so I need to extend that some for clean routing.

1 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. Camper hints | Tokeloshe

    [...] use a Power Tongue Jack and an impact wrench to lift the stabilizer [...]

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