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Aftermarket Jacks?

  #1  
Old 12-06-2018, 02:44 PM
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Aftermarket Jacks?

I am restoring a 1979 something old truck camper. It came with three (eek) jacks that detach when driving, and only seem to be good for when camper is off the truck.

Anyway, I want to find and install four jacks, has anyone upgraded or installed the four corner jacks? I think electric is way out of my budget.
 
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Old 12-09-2018, 09:48 AM
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Maybe you can find a used set from a camper that was beyond repair?

There are only two manufacturers left for new jacks - Happijac and Rieco Titan. Until last year, there was also Atwood. Out of these, Happijac has the bigger market share, but maybe not the better product. However, in my experience, most issues are with the electric motor heads and the controller units, not so much with the jacks themselves.

If you upgrade to 4-legged jacks, you will obviously need to fabricate 2 of the jack mounts (on the side that only has one now). Probably you need to modify the other two mounting points as well. Maybe if you find a salvage camper you could get all the necessary parts, or a good idea how it should be done.

I have seen it done on an older popup camper. After the single third leg had folded under on a patch of ice...
 
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Old 12-09-2018, 01:16 PM
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How big - heavy is the camper?
What type of reinforcement do you have on the camper corners to mount the jacks to? You'll most likely have to rebuild all 4 corners reinforcing them.
If your current camper has the old removeable 3 points like an old Totem we had, those lifted from underneath the sides and not the corners.
Rieco Titan does make manual crank corner jacks. Rieco Titan Products makes all types of Camper Jacks, Camper Jack Systems, Electric Camper Jacks, Linear Actuators
If your camper has any size or weight to it, I would sure check with the local RV shop to see if there are any RV / Camper bone yards anywhere close where you might be able to pickup a full set of electric (remote) jacks for something less than the price of a new set.

After having had campers with the 3 point system, 4 mechanical crank and 4 hydraulics, I would give strong consideration to scrapping campers and going back to the tent before I gave up my electric corner jacks. With the electric you can control the lift on 1, 2, 3 or all 4 corners. Size and weight will make a difference on deciding how you want to approach this.

With the manuals you have to make multiple trips to each corner. Hydraulic can be tricky getting that right feel for letting out just a little pressure, but not too much. Not to mention you are always in harms way with the manuals if something should go terribly wrong.
 
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Old 12-10-2018, 02:21 PM
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Two suggestions for selecting aftermarket jacks:

1) Spec the jacks to be able to support a loaded camper, not an empty one.
2) The loading on the jacks is not evenly distributed. Figure on the front jacks carrying ~2/3 to 3/4 of the camper weight.

For example, I wouldn't spec jacks rated at 600 lbs. each for a 2400 lbs. dry/empty camper (2400 / 4 = 600). Instead, I'd estimate the loaded camper might weigh 3300 lbs., with ~2200 lbs. on the front jacks and ~1100 lbs. on the rear jacks. This would mean jacks rated for at least 1100 lbs. each (2200 / 2 = 1100)

HTH,
Jim / crewzer
 
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Old 12-10-2018, 07:09 PM
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We are definitely building up the corners (inside and out) as the ones I am replacing are indeed under the edges. Your comment about the single one buckling is what I am afraid of and why I am looking to change this. None of this current design makes sense, since my goal is not to die.

I never knew there were RV scrap yards! This is something I will definitely look into.

Now that the roof repaired and the gutting finished and the rebuilding is finished, it is time to go get weighed, then I can shop for the right jacks. This thing is a monster, but I am hoping I eliminated some weight.

Thank you for the tip about the distribution also.
 


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