This can be a confusing issue as everyone has their own opinion on how to get those tasks done. They also have their own way of doing things. Then the manufacturers don't help when they too ignore the warnings laid out on the owner’s manuals.
Can you jack up a travel trailer by the axle? Yes, you can jack up a travel trailer by the axle and many people do this all the time. The axle may be one of the easiest locations to use to get the clearance you need. However, with today’s axle designs and components, it may not be the best place to jack up your travel trailer.
To learn about other location options for jacking up your travel trailer, just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about in order to protect your trailer from any possible damage.
Yes, you can jack a travel trailer and the way to jack it up is under some heavy debate at the moment. Some people have found that using their way, although it goes against what the owner’s manual says, is the best alternative you can use.
They may have a point as the warning placed in many model’s owner’s manuals may not be accurate. According to some dealers, that warning was placed there to keep novice repairmen from jacking the travel trailer up at the center of the axle. That location could damage the axle.
Other people have no choice but to jack up their trailers at the axle because their skirting is blocking every other alternative. They do not want to damage their skirting as that will happen and they would have to pay for some expensive repairs.
You may not have a choice either but if you can, it may be best to look for a better location that still gets you the right clearance.
According to Forest River, their trailers should be jacked up at the backing plate. If you have no clue what the backing plate is, here is an image:
One reason you are supposed to avoid using the axle tube is that most travel trailers come with a torsion design and the weight on the axle could damage it. However, some people do ignore that advice and use the axle section that is closest to the wheels without any problem.
If your trailer has a torsion axle, the best location to jack it up would be between the wheels with the jack on the sub-frame where the axles are attached. Another good location would be under the leaf spring mount and some owners do that very thing.
Even dealers ignore some locations and place their jack stands under the axle. The reason given why they do that is because of the skirting issue we already mentioned.
You can but it may not be the best place to do it. A lot would depend on the size of your trailer. The bigger it is the more weight will be placed on those elevated axles and damage could occur.
That possible damage may not happen to everyone or all the time. It could happen years down the road as the axle gets worn and older. The best solution would be to avoid using the axle if you can.
The better spot would probably be between the 2 axles if your trailer is large enough to have dual axles at the rear. There is an I beam that rests there and it is a very easy-to-access spot that is safe for your trailer.
When someone else is going to do repair work on your trailer, you can show them where to jack up the trailer and avoid having them damage your axles.
This will depend on the size of your trailer, if it has 2 rear axles or one, and the make and model of the trailer. We have already mentioned several good spots. Some dealers place the trailers on jack stands and others have suggested driving the trailer up a ramp and placing the axles on wood blocks.
Both of those options would also depend on how heavy your trailer was at the time. Lighter trailers probably give you more leeway than heavier ones. That brings up an interesting issue. Some owners have enclosed underbellies on their travel trailers.
Those underbelly materials are not designed to handle any real weight. If you jack your trailer up using those materials you will cause yourself a lot of damage. Sometimes, all you will have is are the axles to use.
Basically, where you jack up your trailer will be up to you, not as an escape to the issue, but you know your trailer the best and know the strongest points that will give you the best clearance. Use those points.
The biggest issue is not really the location although that may be a close second. It is the type of jack you are using that will be the most important aspect of this process. There are a lot of good jacks you can use but you need to make sure they will fit in the right spot correctly and then give you a big enough lift.
The rolling hydraulic jacks are good but they may not fit in all locations that well. Another good option would be to use a bottleneck jack that can be maneuvered into tight spots.
Next, make sure you have at least 2 jack stands to hold the trailer in place while you work. Make sure those stands are strong enough to hold the gross trailer weight. When you are ready with the tools, make sure your trailer is on level ground.
A trailer aid may help lock the wheels but you still want to be level whenever possible. Chock all wheels that are not being lifted, and keep your tow vehicle attached but turned off. Chock those wheels as well.
When all is ready, place the jack so that it hits the frame just behind the axle and start pumping. Pump the jack so that the trailer raises above the height of the jack stands and place those in the proper location. Lower your jack until the trailer rests on those stands and then change your tire or do other maintenance work.
There are actually quite a few good choices of jacks you can choose between. Most of them are quite small and should not take up a lot of storage space in your compartments.
One good selection would be the Unijack as they are small but strong. These jacks are capable of handling up to 6000 pounds. They are similar to a bottleneck jack but with a square design.
Another good option would be a good scissor jack. They fit into tight spaces and can easily be manipulated. Their weight capacity reaches 5000 pounds making them a nice alternative.
The traditional hi-lift models can hold 70000 pounds approx and can give you up to 48 inches of clearance when you need it. Then there is the standard garage mechanic’s floor jack. It is on wheels and can be maneuvered into the perfect spot to ensure good clearance as well as working room.
Finally, the hydraulic bottleneck jack is a good option as well. These come in different sizes and can hold between 2 and 50 tons.
First off, forget about using your trailer-stabilizing jacks to help you lift. They are only designed to stabilize the trailer and are not meant for lifting. Those are not an option.
Second, the size you need will depend on the weight of the trailer and how much clearance you will need. Some jacks only hold up to 2,000 pounds and only give you 14 inches of clearance. While other models will hold 6,000 pounds and raise the trailer 21 inches.
You would have to check the gross weight of your trailer and the location of the best jack point on it to make this determination. It is always a good idea to get jacks that hold more weight than you need to be held.
It will ultimately be up to you where you place your jack. Sometimes you may not have any options and must use your axle but if you can avoid using that part the better for you. Look at your trailer’s design before you decide.