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Author Topic: Correct Jacking/Lifting  (Read 33655 times)


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Correct Jacking/Lifting
« on: August 29, 2013, 06:20:33 AM »
I have read, several times, that you should not jack up an axle to replace a wheel on a dual axle trailer.  The way I understand it, you must drive the good wheel up onto a ramp to lift the bad wheel up off of the ground to facilitate replacement of the bad wheel/tire.  This is the way I did it on my last trip home when I went through a whole set of tires and it worked quite well.

Is this absolutely necessary?  The reason I ask is, it was a daunting task on the side of the highway in a construction zone -- my ramp kept popping out as I backed onto it, but I eventually got it.



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Re: Correct Jacking/Lifting
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2013, 07:26:07 AM »
Axle manufactures will tell you NOT to place a jack under their axles as damage is likely occur.  Further, they say that they (the axle manufacture) don't have control over the support brackets, etc., that trailers manufactures install and they highly recommend that you do not jack a trailer on the suspension components unless that is called for in the trailer's owner's manual.  The recommendation is to place the jack on the main frame beam close to the wheel you want to lift off the ground.

Some trailers are closed on the bottom and you can not see the main frame beam.  Some of these, like Airstream, have markings on the closure metal as to where to place the jack.  Others, that have closed undersides, have specific instructions in the owners manual for jacking procedures.

An easy and safe way to raise a tire for removal is to use a ramp type trailer aid.  I like the ones that have a detent on the top for the tire as you are less likely to drive off the ramp accidentally.  These tire aids are available at many RV stores and Camping World.  Normally they are very easy to use.  Just pull on until the rear tire is off the ground or back on until the front tire is off the ground.  Sometimes, on dirt or gravel surfaces, the trailer aid can move when you try to roll onto it but this normally isn't a big problem.  If you brush away the rocks or debris and make a good base for the trailer aid you won't have that problem.

Like anything else, you may be able to do the task incorrectly and luck out...but it is ALWAYS best to find the correct way!!   


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Re: Correct Jacking/Lifting
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2013, 07:55:26 AM »
I have sen the Aid you mention. I made a ramp with my Lynx Levelers.  Thanks for your input.


Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Correct Jacking/Lifting
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2013, 08:22:05 AM »
Is this absolutely necessary?

One of the problems with component-based instructions like this is that the engineer for the component is interested only in avoiding any conceivable risk to HIS part and ignores the big picture.  He also is concerned with avoiding liability, so will not recommend any procedure where there is a risk of injury. He has no knowledge of how the axle is installed, or your skill level, or anything else, so he takes the safest possible course of action.

Realistically, if you place a good jack as close as possible to the wheel and lift it just enough to clear the ground, the risk of axle damage should be negligible. The effect on the axle is no different than driving over a pothole or speed bump, where first one wheel and then the other changes height dramatically. There is, however, a risk the axle will slip off the jack pad, e.g. if you use the common bottle jack with it a small round head or the jack is not on firm footing. Those are common roadside problems and the risk is substantial. The wheel ramp method is much safer for YOU.

To get around the sliding ramp problem, consider carrying some large nails, like the spikes used to anchor landscape ties, and a short piece of 2x4. Hammer the spikes through pre-drilled holes in the board and into the pavement or road shoulder to make a butt stop for the ramp to keep it from sliding as you drive onto it. It doesn't take much space and you can even strap the pieces to the trailer frame or spare tire bracket.
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL


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Re: Correct Jacking/Lifting
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2013, 08:41:40 AM »
I had a tire fail on my enclosed car hauler.  had the ramp.. only place I could find to work was a paved parking lot.  the ramp grip teeth didn't grip and were ripped off the bottom of the ramp aid. (so now useless).  I tried 10 times to get the good tire up the ramp.

finally had to use the parking lot curb to roll the good tire on. Bad tire off was easy, good tire on not possible as the good tire wasn't high enough (that 1 inch)..  luckily I had some 12 ft 2x4s and was able to make a lever off the curb and some stones to get the rear axle up high enough.
I carry a 2 ton aluminum floor jack now. low profile, jack on the ubolt pad.
2012 Ford F350 DRW
2013 Keystone Alpine 3720fb


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Re: Correct Jacking/Lifting
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2013, 05:32:34 PM »
When I replaced all 4 tires on my prior TT, my local tire shop jacked up each axle (1 tire at a time) directly under the spring. Yes, he is in business to sell tires and make money but I've known him for years and trust his judgment.
Joe & Kim
Upstate NY - Kuyahoora Valley
2010 GMC Sierra 2500HD - 6.0L
2017 Keystone Hideout 295BHS
Andersen Ultimate Aluminum 5th wheel hitch


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Re: Correct Jacking/Lifting
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2013, 07:58:30 PM »
I've carried a truckers special 12 ton shorty Hydraulic bottle jack with a 10"x10" base that I slide under the end of the axle tube next to the U bolt on std leaf spring suspension on any vehicle I've owned.
 Axle/trailer manufactures give the warning as some folks don't know where to put the jack and have put it to far inb'd from the U bolt and bent the axle.

I've jacked 1750 lb axles on up to 10k lb axles under fully loaded 20k trailers by jacking from the tube or the u bolt itself.
 The old jack came with a adapter that fits around the u bolt so the jack doesn't slip. However I welded a 4" long piece of steel channel that cradles the axle tube. I prefer jacking one end of the axle off the ground a bit vs lifting the whole side of the trailer just to change a flat tire.


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Re: Correct Jacking/Lifting
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2013, 10:35:06 PM »
Personally I just keep a bottle jack handy and a few of my leveling boards and jack the axle up and do the service that is required (like change a flat tire). But like doing bearing service here at home I grab the 3.5 ton floor jack stick it right under the axle tube close as possible to the springs and jack it up. Then place a jack stand right under the spring part of the axle for safety.
Mopar1973Man (AKA: Michael Nelson) located out in the state of Idaho with...
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John From Detroit

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Re: Correct Jacking/Lifting
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2013, 07:12:05 AM »
I do agree the spring shackle is the best place for the jack... Mine is a 12 ton air/hydraulic jack jack.  Works great.   (That is for tire changing or moving leveling boards around.. For general leveling I go for the frame rails. but that's another job.)
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Re: Correct Jacking/Lifting
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2013, 01:23:38 PM »
I had a Lippert axle fail just from chuck holes on I 40 near Flagstaff.  The spring perch collapsed into the axle tube.  When I looked at the thickness of the axle tube when Lippert replaced the axle believe me you would definitely reconsider ever jacking on the axle tube with a bottle jack.
I go with the manufactures recommendation and jack on the main frame rail with a 12 inch 2x6 between the jack and frame rail.

Lou Schneider

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Re: Correct Jacking/Lifting
« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2013, 02:50:28 PM »
Most trailers use leaf spring suspension with the springs attached to a teeter-totter equalizer between the two axles to allow some independent movement of the axles.

When you drive one wheel up on a ramp until the other is off the ground, you're moving the equalizer to the extreme of it's range. 

That's OK, but when you lower the trailer back down make sure the equalizer returns to it's normal position.  While I was helping to weigh RVs after the Escapade we found one trailer where the equalizer went over center and stayed all the way to one side. This made one wheel carry more weight than it was designed for, while the other on that side was barely loaded.  The owner had no clue anything was wrong until we showed him the individual wheel weights.

The fix, performed by a repair shop, was to jack up the trailer frame until both wheels were off the ground, then use a crowbar to move the equalizer back to it's normal position.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2013, 02:58:18 PM by Lou Schneider »