Leveling with jack stands

Discussion in 'Camper Restoration Projects' started by Mamie, Apr 17, 2018.

  1. Mamie

    Mamie Active Member

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    Sep 11, 2017
    LA - Lower Alabama
    Well, my sideboards are in worse shape than I thought - it split. I think it was due to stress. And, it looks like I will be doing this in the driveway because I don't think I can lower the roof. The camper and roof need to be level for me to do any type of repair so I've gotten some jack stands. When I used the scissor leveling jacks I learned through members here that I could bend the frame and I got the camco leveler.

    I want to raise the camper and use the jack stands to hold it level without bending the frame but I'm not sure where to place the stands. I can level underneath the jack stand and lift the camper with the scissor jacks like it would be in a service center where you drive over the lift. I thought of using 2 2x4's from front to back with a brace at each end that I raise with the scissor jacks - one on the front and one on the back brace and then place the jack stands under the 2x4's at each corner.

    I want to use the jack stands so I can use my scissor jacks to hold up the roof when I replace the sideboards. I don't know where to place the 2x4's where I won't bend the frame. I just remembered there are some 14 to 16 2x6 or 2x8's in the backyard if I can dig them out.
     
  2. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    Ontario
    You have to level off the main frame rails.. so level side to side with the tires and front to back with the tongue jack.. tires/axle are mounted to the main frame and so is the tongue..
     
  3. Mamie

    Mamie Active Member

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    Sep 11, 2017
    LA - Lower Alabama
    Thanks for your reply. This is what I was thinking and what I think you were saying about the frame rails.

    If I put a scissor jack on each corner of the frame, I will have an uneven lift from side/side and front/back. If I put a brace, I can level the scissor jack on some 5/4 fence boards that I have and make an even lift either from the front/back or the sides without twisting the frame. From what you said, instead of putting the jacks underneath the chassis, I can put them at each corner of the frame rails?

    I can't find anybody to do the repairs and it appears I won't have any help, but I know to repair the roof I have to have it completely level and I can't do that if the box is level and square - the beds won't slide, the door won't shut and the roof will not go up and down right.


    jack points.png
     
  4. SteveP

    SteveP Active Member

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    May 21, 2015
    Your 2x4 idea will not work. The boards will bow and possibly break. The best I could understand your diagrams above, either one could result in damage to your frame.

    The main frame is the two heavy rails that the axle is attached to. You have to get under the camper to see it.

    If you feel that you have to level the trailer with a jack, Put the jack on the low side of the camper, on the main frame, right behind the axle or rear spring hanger, just like you would if you are going to change a flat. If you are working on gravel or dirt put a wood block, at least 6x6 inches under the jack to keep it from sinking. Jack up until it's level side to side. Then put a jack stand right behind the jack. Leave the jack in place.

    Using your tongue jack, or a jack under the front coupler, level the pup front to back. Raise the top and put your stabs down, in whatever order your manual prescribes.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018
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  5. jnc

    jnc Welcome from New Hampshire

    ^^X2^^
     
  6. Mamie

    Mamie Active Member

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    Sep 11, 2017
    LA - Lower Alabama
    I will have to think on this. My camper has been set up since December. If it was down it would be easier for me to level. But with the tear in the sideboard, I'm afraid to try and lower the roof. When y'all did your repairs, did you level the camper?

    If I can get past the sideboards and sidewalls and crank, the inside will be a piece of cake with the most difficult part being the curtains. I have mattresses on both ends and will get air mattresses. I don't have any plumbing and there is no stove. The only connection is the furnace but I don't know if it works or not. The PO's told me not to use it but didn't tell me why. The electrical receptacles don't work, but I think that's something I can fix later.
     
  7. SteveP

    SteveP Active Member

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    May 21, 2015
    I don't understand what you are trying to do. Are you trying to work under the camper? Is there a reason you can't put the top down?
     
  8. Mamie

    Mamie Active Member

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    Sep 11, 2017
    LA - Lower Alabama
    There are a couple reasons why I can't put it down. On the driver side, the sideboard is fastened with bolts sticking out a couple inches. There is a fence board bolted to the front of the sideboard. The back also had the bolts but that has pulled a part. I'm not sure if it will go down properly or if it could be raised again. Another reason is I don't know if I can crank it back up. I am going to get something where I can raise and lower it with a drill.

    The sideboards on both sides need to be replaced. I am going to have to remove the door and try to get it back square. Also, the bed slides are hard to get in and out. I don't know if it's because the slides are bent or what.

    I just need everything level and square. Even then, I'm not sure if I can get everything back together and working like it should. I guess I look at it like wallpaper. If the walls aren't straight, when you get to a corner, you've got a problem and need to make adjustments.
     
  9. SteveP

    SteveP Active Member

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    May 21, 2015
    Using the procedure in post #4 you can get it dead level. If you want to remove the jack you're going to lose a little when the camper settles on the stand, unless you use the screw type jack stands which can be tightened up before you release the jack.

    You're going to have to lower the top to a comfortable working height before you begin. That will be a combination of working from the outside of the trailer and crawling around inside. You don't want to have to be working on a ladder when dealing with long, cumbersome sideboards by yourself.
     
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  10. Mamie

    Mamie Active Member

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    Sep 11, 2017
    LA - Lower Alabama
    Thanks for the link of the stands. The ones I bought aren't like that and I wondered how I was going to be able to adjust it without losing leverage. Plus, those look lighter weight too and I can use them just as stabilizers, so you solved two problems for me. I will take the ones I bought back and get these. These will work great on another project that I have.

    I learned with my chicken house about handling 4x8 sheets of decking. I always have an epiphany once I'm finished doing something the hard way, but if there's a next time, I will have the sheets cut down.

    I will have to keep going over your directions until I can figure out where to put the scissor jacks. In the pics on etrailer.com, they used the SJ on the frame. But they were using them as stabilizers and not to level, so I'm guessing not to use them there.

    jack stands.jpg
     
  11. SteveP

    SteveP Active Member

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    May 21, 2015
    Lay out a rug, blanket, tarp, or (my favorite) a flattened cardboard box big enough to lay on (a washer or dryer carton is perfect) behind one wheel of the pup. Lay on it and slide slightly under the trailer. Look at how the axle is attached to the main frame rail.

    There are two types of commonly used axles, torsion axels and leaf spring axles. If you have the first put the jack stand right behind the plate where the axle is mounted to the frame rail and the jack right behind that. If you have the leaf spring axle put the jack stand right behind where the spring is attached to the frame rail and the jack right behind that. The reason I switched placement of the jack and the stand is that the stand will now be carrying the full weight of the pup instead of the jack. Make sure you have blocks under both the jack stand and the jack so that they won't sink into the ground.
     
  12. Mamie

    Mamie Active Member

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    Sep 11, 2017
    LA - Lower Alabama
    Thanks. I have considered getting one of those folding creeper pads 'just in case' the need arises. But I've got a lot of cardboard boxes that I can break apart and stack together. The bottom of the camper looks pretty low to me, but maybe there won't be a problem.

    I've looked underneath before when I was trying to see how the stabilizer jacks were attached and I think it has leaf spring axles.

    You would think it would be easier to find pictures of jack points, but for some reason I can't seem to find much. I did find one and it appears that the jack is under the spring and the jack stands are on the frame.

    Spring Axles.jpg EZFlexinstalled.jpg
     
  13. SteveP

    SteveP Active Member

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    May 21, 2015
    You can put the jack directly under the spring, centered between the 4 bolts, but if your pup is as low as mine you'll have a hard time winding the jack. Unless you need to pill the wheel that doesn't buy you anything anyway. Do not put the jack under the axle tube, it is hollow and you can crush it that way. the main frame rail is plenty strong enough
     
  14. Mamie

    Mamie Active Member

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    Sep 11, 2017
    LA - Lower Alabama
    Mine is pretty low. I would like to remove the front stabilizer jacks if I can and possibly keep the back. If not, I can remove all of them, but I don't know if I can get under there to do it.
    I think I've found pics of what you're saying. If I put my scissor jacks there, I can level it side to side and use the tongue jack to level front to back. Then I can use the jack stands on the frame to keep it level?

    36axleadjustwithscrew.jpg 28adjusteronaxle.jpg suspension_IMG_0632.jpg
     
  15. 1380ken

    1380ken Well-Known Member

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    You should probably have someone who understands the basic laws of physics there to help you when you jack up your camper. The camper is heavy and you could get injured.
     
  16. Mamie

    Mamie Active Member

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    Sep 11, 2017
    LA - Lower Alabama
    Trying to crank up myself about did me in - health issues and my age didn't help any.
     
  17. 1380ken

    1380ken Well-Known Member

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    Nov 7, 2013
    Mass
    Not trying to be harsh but a camper is big and heavy. Sometimes people forget and think it is a toy when it is almost as heavy as a small car.
     
  18. SteveP

    SteveP Active Member

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    May 21, 2015
    If I had a second crank for my scissor jack, I'd cut it off so that I could chuck it into my drill. It can lift the camper on the BAL so it should do fine on the scissor if I can get the chuck tight enough so it doesn't slip. In the meantime, put some 3-In-One oil on the threads and bushings of the screw to loosen it up a little.
     
  19. Mamie

    Mamie Active Member

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    Sep 11, 2017
    LA - Lower Alabama
    It's big, but not as big as a travel trailer. I'm glad I gave up that idea.

    The scissor jacks that I have actually have a socket for the drill. But those are too big and too heavy. Thanks to the link you gave me, those jack stands can be used as stabilizers. That was good, but they also stack and store easily.

    I got a reprieve today when I went to the tag office. I asked if they could send somebody to inspect my camper. There's so way I could get everything done to hook it up. I was asked 'why' I needed an onsite inspection and in addition to the repairs needed, I told her I didn't know how to pull it. After that she did a request and they will come next week. So now I won't be so rushed trying to get anything done.
     
  20. Mamie

    Mamie Active Member

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    Sep 11, 2017
    LA - Lower Alabama
    I've been thinking on this. Are you talking about the threaded rod in the scissor jack?
     

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