How to Repair My Trailer Jackby Rachel Steffan
Many trailers have a jack attached to the tongue that is used to lower and raise the trailer hitch onto the vehicle's hitch receiver. This jack is often overlooked, and may sit unused for weeks and even months at a time. Over the years, the jack's internal lubrication loses effectiveness. The jack becomes stiffer until it finally seizes up completely. At this point, you'll have to take the jack apart and repair it.
Unbolt the jack from the trailer frame and remove it. Some jacks are welded to the trailer; for those, raise the front of the trailer with a taller jack and support it on jack stands to work on the jack. Remove the pin or bolt attaching the jack handle to the body of the jack with pliers or a socket wrench and take the handle off.
Slide the interior screw assembly out of the tubular body of the jack. Pull the bearing and washers off the top of the screw assembly and clean them with mineral spirits, then polish with steel wool. Inspect the parts for damage and replace them if necessary.
Apply grease liberally to the threads of the screw assembly with a grease gun. Place the thicker of the two washers over the top of the screw assembly, add more grease. Place the the bearing over the thick washer with the open side facing up, apply more grease. Place the thin washer over the bearing and apply a final coat of grease over the washer and handle attachment.
Insert the screw assembly into the tubular body of the jack. Slide the handle into position and attach it with the pin or bolt.
Bolt the jack to the trailer frame or lower the front of the trailer if the jack is welded in position. Lower and raise the jack through its full range of motion to check for smooth operation.
- Support the trailer tongue by attaching it to a tow vehicle or placing it on concrete blocks while the jack is removed.
- A local bicycle shop may have appropriately sized replacement bearings and washers for the jack.
- An unsupported trailer tongue can crush hands or feet if it falls. Keep the trailer safely supported at all times.
Items you will need
- Socket set
- Jack stands
- Mineral spirits
- Steel wool
- Grease gun
- red horse trailer image by studio vision1 from Fotolia.com