How to Install a Trailer Jack

by Thomas West

Trailers with a heavy tongue weight need a system to raise the front of the trailer to clear the towed vehicle's hitch ball. This is accomplished with a trailer jack located on the trailer's tongue. By cranking the jack handle, the jack's caster wheel is lowered to the ground, raising the trailer tongue to clear the hitch ball so that the trailer can be either connected to or disconnected from the towed vehicle. Once the trailer is unhitched, the trailer jack can be used to level the trailer from front to back by turning the jack handle.

Hitch the trailer to the towed vehicle for ease of installation. Chock the trailer wheels and use a hydraulic jack to temporarily raise the trailer tongue while the vehicle is backed under the trailer hitch. Lower the hydraulic jack once the hitch ball is lined up with the trailer hitch. Remove the hydraulic jack.

Determine the best mounting location for the jack on the trailer tongue by holding the jack in position by hand. Make sure that the jack will not hit anything when it is swung up to the stowed position. Make sure that the jack will have enough ground clearance when maneuvering over bumps.

Adjust the swivel plate so that the jack is in the lowered position. Hold the jack against the trailer tongue rail where it will be installed and lower the jack until the caster touches the ground by turning the jack handle crank in a clockwise direction.

Attach the jack to the trailer tongue rail with the hardware that comes with the jack. Using a helper, hold the jack to the outside of the tongue rail and hold the mounting bars across the inside of the tongue rail. Run the bolts supplied with the jack through the mounting holes in the jack to the mounting holes on the mounting bars.

Install the lock washers and nuts to the threaded end of the mounting bolts and tighten them in a clockwise direction with an adjustable wrench.

Test the function of the jack to make sure that it does not hit anything when swung up. Make adjustments if necessary and tighten all nuts and bolts.

Tip

  • check Use Loctite Threadlocker (available at hardware stores) on the threads of the mounting bolts before assembly so that the nuts do not come loose due to vibrations from road travel.

Warnings

  • close Always place wheel chocks under the trailer wheels when it is unhitched from the tow vehicle to prevent rolling.
  • close When the trailer is hitched to the tow vehicle, make sure the tongue jack is swung up to its stowed position before getting underway.

Items you will need

About the Author

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