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Tricks for cable jacks?

four wheel camper cable jacks jacks

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#1 AWCO

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Posted 15 July 2020 - 11:33 PM

I recently bought a rebuilt 1983 Fleet after a couple years of looking for a used FWC, and I'm fired up about it.  Among other supplemental purchases to get going, I bought four cable camper jacks to take it on and off my truck (https://www.etrailer...ASABEgIoUfD_BwE).

 

However, I used these for the first time last night to take the camper off, and it was super sketchy.  I found I had to position the front set of jacks such that I needed to drive over at least part of the stand legs in order to get out from under the camper.  The jacks shifted a bit when I drove out, and although the camper didn't come crashing down, it was very precarious.  Once I had the truck out from underneath, I had to get my wife to push against the opposite side of the camper while I nudged the front jacks in until the camper was fully and securely resting on the brackets.

 

I'm wondering if anyone with more experience has some practical solutions to this issue that I haven't thought of yet.  Hard to imagine having to more/less risk dropping the camper every time I want to take it on or off....


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#2 CoreyTrevor

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Posted 16 July 2020 - 12:51 AM

I would love to have four. You should see me loading/unloading my Eagle with just 2 jacks! It is pretty light though.

 

I had to bend the legs so the tires wouldn't run onto them. 

 

When I had a large shop area, I could roll the truck by pushing it w/o the engine running, so I could control what was going on really well, like if the truck started to rub the camper. No shop at the moment and steep driveway, so it's not much fun now.

 

To me, the thing that makes the jacks (kind of) safe is that they can tip toward the truck but not away from the truck, so it's not really that likely to tip if you get the COG right. It would take a lot for it to fall off the jacks sideways. Just keep them as close to the truck as possible, to minimize side-to-side sway. With 4 of them you should be safe if you don't make a major mistake.


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#3 JaSAn

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Posted 16 July 2020 - 03:27 AM

I have 4 cable jacks; I would be a nervous wreck with only two.  It is shaky enough when jacked up high.

 

The support legs are at 100º, 0º, -100º (the tire side legs are 160º apart), so they barely miss the tires.

 

 - Make sure they are vertical (not leaning).

 - I have two people watching, one on each side.  They can also push the side a little if I'm not exactly lined up.

 - Having two people to help enables me to jack one side (front/back) at the same time while another watches the camper.  I only do a little at a time and try to keep the camper close to level (and equal weight on all 4 jacks).

 - One modification I made was to add two 1/4-20 bolts to each jack, sticking up a half inch, on the part that goes under the camper.  This gives the jacks some 'bite' to keep them from moving.  I have an old camper so I don't care if it dimples the plywood.  It keeps the legs from walking out (this seems to be a problem for me if the jacks are not vertical).

 

It's always stressful putting the camper on each year.  I spend the most time lining things up before jacking the camper up off its cart.  A good rolling cart on 4 pivoting casters makes lining up easier.

 

jim

 


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#4 Stan@FourWheel

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Posted 16 July 2020 - 04:36 AM

We have always bolted or welded a steel extension plate on to the lip of the cable jacks.

 

Works great.

 

Gives you more clearance, and they seem a bit more stable.

 

Still wobbly, a little sketchy, but workable.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Cable Jack with Extension Plate.jpg
  • cable jack with extension plate (bottom view).JPG

Edited by Stan@FourWheel, 16 July 2020 - 06:02 PM.

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#5 AWCO

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Posted 16 July 2020 - 06:33 PM

I would love to have four. You should see me loading/unloading my Eagle with just 2 jacks! It is pretty light though.

 

I had to bend the legs so the tires wouldn't run onto them. 

 

When I had a large shop area, I could roll the truck by pushing it w/o the engine running, so I could control what was going on really well, like if the truck started to rub the camper. No shop at the moment and steep driveway, so it's not much fun now.

 

To me, the thing that makes the jacks (kind of) safe is that they can tip toward the truck but not away from the truck, so it's not really that likely to tip if you get the COG right. It would take a lot for it to fall off the jacks sideways. Just keep them as close to the truck as possible, to minimize side-to-side sway. With 4 of them you should be safe if you don't make a major mistake.

Thanks for the feedback.  Did you bend the legs on these Brophy jacks specifically?  Also, did you bend such that its flush across the front side now?


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#6 AWCO

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Posted 16 July 2020 - 06:36 PM

I have 4 cable jacks; I would be a nervous wreck with only two.  It is shaky enough when jacked up high.

 

The support legs are at 100º, 0º, -100º (the tire side legs are 160º apart), so they barely miss the tires.

 

 - Make sure they are vertical (not leaning).

 - I have two people watching, one on each side.  They can also push the side a little if I'm not exactly lined up.

 - Having two people to help enables me to jack one side (front/back) at the same time while another watches the camper.  I only do a little at a time and try to keep the camper close to level (and equal weight on all 4 jacks).

 - One modification I made was to add two 1/4-20 bolts to each jack, sticking up a half inch, on the part that goes under the camper.  This gives the jacks some 'bite' to keep them from moving.  I have an old camper so I don't care if it dimples the plywood.  It keeps the legs from walking out (this seems to be a problem for me if the jacks are not vertical).

 

It's always stressful putting the camper on each year.  I spend the most time lining things up before jacking the camper up off its cart.  A good rolling cart on 4 pivoting casters makes lining up easier.

 

jim

Thanks jim.  Agreed that something like the rolling cart would be helpful.  Looking to snag an old utility trailer off Craigslist or else build a platform on wheels in the next couple months.


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#7 AWCO

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Posted 16 July 2020 - 06:38 PM

We have always bolted or welded a steel extension plate on to the lip of the cable jacks.

 

Works great.

 

Gives you more clearance, and they seem a bit more stable.

 

Still wobbly, a little sketchy, but workable.

Thanks, Stan.  I think I might do this.  How wide of plates do you use, looks like maybe 5-6"?


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#8 CoreyTrevor

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Posted 16 July 2020 - 07:46 PM

Thanks for the feedback.  Did you bend the legs on these Brophy jacks specifically?  Also, did you bend such that its flush across the front side now?

 

They are Brophy, I think the same ones. They are kind of buried in the garage but I can see the Brophy sticker.

 

I bent the 2 legs so they are pretty much straight across. It doesn't affect the stability, to me, because the outside leg on each won't let them tip that way. The feet on the legs don't sit flat on the floor now, but it doesn't seem to matter. Maybe someday I will cut and weld them up so they look more impressive.

 

With 4, you would have to modify only 2 of them, I guess.

 

Don't ask me how I bent them, I needed it done in a hurry and couldn't figure out a non-ridiculous way to do it.   :blink:


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#9 CoreyTrevor

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Posted 16 July 2020 - 07:53 PM

We have always bolted or welded a steel extension plate on to the lip of the cable jacks.

 

Works great.

 

Gives you more clearance, and they seem a bit more stable.

 

Still wobbly, a little sketchy, but workable.

 

Hi Stan, if you are still looking at this.

 

With those plates on the jacks, can/do you use them with the camper sitting on just the plates? Meaning the jack isn't slid all the way under the edge of the camper. It seems like there would be a lot of extra leverage and friction where the pipe slides over the big pole.

 

I'm wondering now if I could extend mine 3-4 inches to be able to use them to get my Eagle on my fullsize Dodge. Have you guys ever used them like that?

 

Thanks!


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2012 Eagle Shell on 2006 Dodge Quadcab CTD 4wd 6-speed


#10 ckent323

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Posted 17 July 2020 - 04:56 PM

I used two cable jacks to load and unload a 1984 FWC Keystone camper on and off of my 1993 Dodge W250 for years without mishap.

While I never had a problem I was never quite comfortable with just the two cable jacks either. I subsequently bought two more cable jacks and things improved a bit.

 

The cable jacks had removable stands with three legs.  I always made sure I positioned the jack when on the stands so that one of the legs was 90 degrees (perpendicular) to the side of the camper and pointing away from the camper side.  That put the other two legs diagonal to the camper side and minimized the distance between the path of the truck tires and the jack stand legs when backing the truck under the camper.

Pay attention to the cable wear and avoid kinking the cables.  Also wear gloves, if any of the wire cables are frayed or the individual strands break they can inflict serious damage to your skin (punctures).

Our newer 2007 FWC Keystone has 4 corner brackets and four removable screw jacks.  I like them a lot better.


Edited by ckent323, 17 July 2020 - 05:05 PM.

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