With electric jacks loading and unloading your camper can be done in a matter of minutes. However if you don’t observe a few simple rules, it can turn into a nightmare. The large campers weigh upwards of 1200kg so care should be taken.
We always endeavour to give you a thorough ‘education’ in loading and unloading the campers. However if you bought your camper elsewhere, here are a few things to remember.
· The legs on campers are very strong vertically - lifting straight up and down when the camper and the ground are level. However their lateral strength is limited so care has to be taken when the ground is not level.
If you don’t have level ground then you should endeavour to have your vehicle facing uphill before unloading. Proper footpads should then be placed under the jacks with two or more stacked on the downhill side.
Always lift the front of the camper first so that it is approximately 4” or 100mm higher than the back. Try to keep the front higher throughout the lifting process, remembering that the front jacks carry the most weight and often this causes the back to lift faster.
You should use a spirit level to check that the camper is level and slightly higher at the front, which is where the weight is. The spirit level should be placed on the floor inside the camper door as the inside floor is usually the most level part of the camper.
When unloading, be careful when the legs start taking the weight off the truck. If it is not level the truck will move a small amount as the weight is lifted.
Similarly when loading the camper, as the weight goes on to the truck the legs may kick out a bit as the load comes off them, especially on uneven ground. Keeping it level is so important.
· Be very careful if there is a sideways slope, no matter how slight. Lift the low side first so that the camper is level. This is most important. When the legs are extended the camper must be level.
Likewise when loading the camper on uneven ground, keep the camper level at all times. It is more important to have the camper as level as possible, even if it is not initially parallel with the truck tray.
Foot pads should only be used to stop the camper legs sinking into the ground and to build the low side up by around 4” to 6” - 100mm to 150mm. We use treated pine sleepers cut into squares of about 30cm.
You should read and thoroughly understand the jack manufacturers manual and ensure that you maintain the jacks in good working order at all times. That is of course if you have the manual. If not see below.
If you are loading or unloading and the jacks or motors start making any unusual noises then you should check that the camper is level (slightly higher at the front). This can also happen if the legs are not straight or properly aligned.
Never over extend the jacks. They have marks to indicate their maximum extent. If you exceed this they may die, and you have to pay for the funeral.
Likewise never retract them fully, usually an inch from the end is good. Same funeral costs.
Rear jacks will often extend or retract at different rates. This would be due to the load on each jack, with the lighter load going faster. Just keep an eye on them and adjust so that they are even.
The front jacks seem to travel at an even speed but always watch and check the spirit level.
· Never be afraid to phone and ask if you are not sure. It could save you big dollars and save you from ruining your trip. It’s not as if you are asking for directions!
Copyright (c) 2011 Truck Campers Australia
Check all mounting screws and other hardware frequently for tightness and proper jack alignment .
While checking the mounting hardware is secure is easy, not so checking the alignment of the jacks. This is best done with the camper mounted on the truck on level ground. Extend the jacks till they nearly reach the ground. Measure the distance between the top of the jacks and then the bottom of the jacks. It should be the same, or very close. You may need to alter the bracket or fit a washer or two to the bolts where the jack is mounted. Remember a small adjustment at the top will make a large adjustment at the bottom.
If you have a motor making noise while lifting and the camper is level (a bit higher at the front) then there is every chance you have a misaligned leg or jack. This will at best blow the fuse in the control board and at worst, blown the motor.
Wax mounting brackets and both inner and outer tubes of jack with automotive wax every 6 months.
You should only use automotive wax such as Turtle Wax or Meguiars Gold Class Carbauba wax. You can only wax the outside of each steel tube so cleaning the inside of the outer tube is near impossible.
It is important to check for any corrosion on the inner tube. If it is evident, it must be removed. I have done this with fine grade wet and dry paper, being careful not remove any more of the galvanising than is already corroded and not to remove the height indicators from the jack. Once smooth it should be waxed and checked regularly.
Corrosion if left unattended can cause motors to blow. Costly.
Never ever apply grease or oil to the tubes. It collects dust and jams the operation.
Fully extend jacks to red safety line once each year. This redistributes lubrication evenly on the screw shaft. Remove top cap and re-grease gears (if needed) with white lithium grease. Lightly oil bearings
This sounds simple enough but not always so. There are only two screws to be removed to take the motor off but you must be careful not lose any of the springs, washers or other parts that will surely jump out when you are not looking. They must be replaced in the correct order . Adding some lithium grease to the gears etc is easy. If you have to add machine oil to the screw shaft underneath is harder is there is no oil hole in the crank.
Again, only use lithium grease and machine oil
After periods of non-use, or anytime the jack seems to labor more than usual, place a few drops of light oil (ie: 3 in 1R) into the oil hole in the crank socket, then run the jack to distribute the oil.
Most of the newer jacks have a hole inside where the manual crank is inserted. You will find it on one the flat hexagonal surfaces inside. Older models do not always have this hole so you have to get the oil in by removing the cap (manual wind jacks) or the motor for auto wind jacks. (see above)