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Not Vertical Jacks

  #1  
Old 10-08-2018, 06:53 PM
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Not Vertical Jacks

The rear jacks on my camper are not quite vertical (both about the same angle).
The attachment bracket to the camper itself has slightly migrated over time.
It made be nervous when I raised it to put onto my F350 dually.
I had only previously only lowered it from an F150 and didn't notice it then (that was a scary ride home!).

Compounding that is that my driveway is sloped enough to need an extra 6" at the lowest corner requiring blocks under the jack pads.

I need to remove the camper and I am contemplating ways to secure the rear jacks from bending further and collapsing.
First thought is to run a board from the base of the jacks to each other on each side.
I've placed a board in the approximate location in the photo.
I would secure the board to the bottom of each fixed tube to prevent the rear one from moving forward.
They just barely clear the fenders.

Thoughts or other recommendations please.

Jeff '92 F350 plus '95 Lance Squire 3000
 
  #2  
Old 10-08-2018, 07:02 PM
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Not saying that is what your problem actually is but I've seen several campers where water has been into them and the jack mounting points are soft. I remember seeing one years ago that fell over onto the ground when the jack attachment point completely disintegrated.
Grab hold of each jack and pull on it hard. The jack should not move at the attachment point.
 
  #3  
Old 10-08-2018, 08:18 PM
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If you think the rear jacks are up to it, I would raise it and inch the truck forward enough to get cribbing in place under the rear floor of the camper before pulling fully out. This will give you free access to work on reinforcing the rear jack stands/camper frame. Of coarse you should shed as much weight (tanks/gear) before the attempt.

I don't think the boards you show will do much if the camper wants to fold on it's jacks.

Good luck! Be safe and take it slow - most of the camper weight is on the front jacks.
 
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Old 10-09-2018, 07:48 AM
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Check the integrity of rear camper structure to which the jacks are attached. Is there a kink in the lower the siding forward of the jack brackets? It looks like it in your picture. If so, something has to have caused it... Either by force (collision), or the structure is weakened by rot (assuming your camper has a wood frame). You could temporarily un-screw one of the mounting screws to see if it has significant corrosion. The top end of the mounting angle looks like it was moved back at some point when I look at the caulking there.

The camper appears to have been fixed before - the angle iron along the lower edge looks unusual for factory stock. This may account for the kink in the siding as well as the off angle of the jacks. Or it may indicate an ongoing structural issue that has come back.

On the plus side, the rear jacks carry less weight than the fronts. Can you test taking the camper off on level ground first? Just lift it a bit off the truck and see how it stands on the jacks. A little bit of sway (probably less than 1/2 inch in either direction) is normal when they are extended. There should be no movement in the jack mounts. If there is, you need to address this before you proceed.

The board might help if you fimly attach it under the jacks. If they have drainage holes, put screws through those. It will not help much with side to side stability.

In any case, beware of one of the jacks bending or tearing out while you unload. The camper can topple and fall on you. Always stand clear of its path... I have seen it happen once (one jack folded under, on a patch of ice, with a three-legged camper, all jack mounts solid) -. the owner just barely escaped.
 
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Old 10-10-2018, 01:09 AM
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It does have the appearance that the jacks / bottom corner has been pushed forward resulting in possible structural damage to that corner of the camper.

What happened to me was that one jack started to buckle because of unknown dry rot. We were loading it for the first time after winter storage in the tractor pole barn. (78 King of the Road) The entire camper began to rotate taking out or bending the other 3 jacks. The corners where the jacks mounted were simply 2X2's and 1X2's and the one corner reached the point where it wouldn't support the weight. Fortunately, we were putting the camper on the pickup and it only had 3 inches or so that it fell to the bed of the pickup. It was sitting at a weird angle, but haulable so we could get it to the RV repair shop. We had just finished doing almost a complete rebuild on my sisters camper, and I was in no mood to take that kind of project on again. I'm very gun shy around campers up on jacks now. We took the insurance money and they got the camper.

You have a 95 Lance Squire and I still have a 96 Lance Legends 880 although it was the victim of arson and has been totaled. An attorney is handling that now.
While I don't know that our two campers internal construction follows the same pattern, I'm presuming they had ought to be pretty close since they are both Lance and only a year apart.

Inside the skin there is wood paneling and blocking. There is (at least on mine) a very light metal sheet that wraps the wood where the jacks mount on. If anything has been leaking, it can get pretty nasty under the skin and you should use extreme caution when you jack it up. The earlier suggestion of getting cribbing under it (pallets? as you pull out). You are most likely going to have to pull the jacks off and take a look at what is going on underneath the mounts.,

On our 96 Lance Legends, it started out with panel separation on the wing. Thought all we would have to do was replace the wood on that wing and that it would be a pretty easy fix. Everything else seemed be O.K..


As we pulled skin on the Lance, it just got better and better...



But more specifically to the jacks, I found that even the metal under the jack mount had corroded out. The jacks still seemed to be rock solid and never noticed a problem, but obviously there was a problem waiting to happen.




After Repair...….





Just 2 years (nearly to the day) after making these repairs and nearly rebuilding the wing and lower sidewalls on this side of the camper, it was collateral damage to an arson caused fire.

Good luck and be safe.
 
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Old 10-10-2018, 11:58 PM
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Thanks for the guidance.
I carefully raised the camper on the jacks and I drove the truck out from underneath.
I lowered the camper down onto the pallet-based cribbing safely.

I wasn't too worried about the right front corner as it had been previously damaged and solidly rebuilt by the previous owner.
Looks like I'll have to do something similar to the rear two corners.

Yes, that is a tin can replacement for the lost plastic cover of the jack. Also in the picture is a piece of 3" x 4" rectangular tubing to space out the jack to clear the dual rear wheels.
 
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Old 10-11-2018, 04:10 AM
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I am glad you got the camper off the truck!

The repair of the front jack mount looks nicely done, if a bit creative. But if the underlying structural problem (see Seabiscuit's pictures) was not fixed properly, or the cause of the rot was not eliminated (or has reappeared), you may well be in for an unpleasant discovery once you tear into it. The camper is almost 30 years old, so anything is possible.

The wood framed campers are not difficult to repair, but it is a lot of work. Usually much more than what it initially looks like.
 


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