Travel Trailer Trouble

View from above of Ford Expedition with Micro Lite hitched up.

The day had finally come. After five months. We would be bringing our travel trailer from the storage yard to our home in preparation to leave on Friday. We had a short 5 day trip planned to a campground not too far from home. Kind of a shake down trip for the new camping season.

When we got to the storage yard, our automatic jack wasn’t automatic anymore. It was dead as a door nail, whatever a door nail is. The jack had power as its light could be turned on and other components in the RV, such as the slide, were working fine. So, I did a search on Google and found it could be one of three things: a bad fuse, a bad switch or a bad motor.

Dan ran up to the gas station and bought a pack of fuses. We found the fuse for the automatic jack and replaced it with a new fuse. For us to even get this far was pretty remarkable. It was all thanks to Youtube. However, the automatic jack still wasn’t working.

Since we knew we couldn’t fix a bad switch or motor, I found Youtube instructions on how to operate the automatic jack in manual mode. But there was another issue. Actually two.

Close up of Jack-It bike rack over the automatic RV jack.

Our Jack-It bike rack sits right above our automatic jack. Back to back Jacks. But not good like in a baseball game. The Y part of our Jack-It bike rack sits right above the point where the tool is inserted to manually raise and lower the RV jack. However, even with the Y removed, the rest of the Jack-It’s frame still sits above the entry point. With the Y portion removed, a tool can be inserted through the Jack-It frame into the automatic jack to manually raise and lower the RV jack; however, the tool has to be straight. Our tool was the kind with two 90 degree turns.

First things first. Dan tried removing the Y frame, but our cordless drill with the socket wasn’t strong enough. Dan walked up to our storage yard’s office to borrow a screwdriver (for another effort that wouldn’t work). I waited at the trailer and said a prayer. Because I sure didn’t know how we were going to get out of this mess.

When our screwdriver plan didn’t work (don’t even ask), I walked back to the office to return the screwdriver. The owner of Roberts Quality Storage, Auggie, was there, and he asked Kurt, an employee, to help us. Kurt turned out to be the answer to my prayer with his bucket of tools and his cheerful willingness to help us.

Kurt manually raising our RV jack.
Service with a Smile!

Kurt had a more powerful drill to remove the Jack-It’s Y frame. And then he had a straight tool with the right socket that he could insert to manually raise and lower the RV jack. With his help, we got all hitched up, including putting on our sway bars. My prayer was answered. Thank you, God, and Thank you, Kurt!

Dan gave Kurt some cash which he didn’t want to take at first. We insisted, knowing it would have cost us so much more if we had to call a mobile RV repair service. You don’t know how happy we were to be hitched up.

Dan and I also discussed the Jack-It bike rack. We’ve decided we are going to ditch the Jack-It for three reasons. First, we want it out of the way of our automatic jack in case we ever have this issue again. Second, we are always bumping into it when we hitch and unhitch our trailer. And third, it is difficult to put our bikes on and off. It is high up there and difficult to maneuver our bikes to get them in the right position. Adios, Jack!

However, we still want our bikes with us when we travel, so we are just going to lay them down in the back of our Ford Expedition. Kind of like a couple of dead horses. We just have to put them in before we hitch up and take them out after we unhitch. We also will have to put everything else in the trailer when we travel, but that’s okay. The only thing we have to have with us in the car is snacks. I can always find a place for snacks.

We had an appointment to get our trailer dewinterized, so we added checking our automatic jack as well as removing the rest of the Jack-It bike rack. Our dealer is Middleton RV in Festus, Missouri, and we appreciate their service department accommodating us with these additional requests. We’ve been happy with Middleton RV; they have always done right by us.

There’s a couple other lessons here.

  1. A shake down trip is a good idea not just when you get a new camper, but every year at the start of camping season.
  2. Because rain was predicted on Thursday (we were leaving Friday), we actually brought our trailer over to our home on Wednesday. So, be aware of the weather forecast, be flexible, and allow yourself plenty of time. Just think if we had gone there on Thursday in the rain and if Kurt hadn’t been around. We might have had to cancel or shorten our trip.
  3. Say your prayers. And then be sure to say your thanks to all.
Dan and Kurt shaking hands.
Thank you, Kurt!

This just in: When we bought our travel trailer in October 2018, it came with an 84 month extended warranty. So, when we went to our dealer on Friday, our automatic jack was replaced for just a $50 copay.

Let the camping begin!


  1. There never seems to be a dull moment with you and Dan!
    Nothing is more frustrating than not having the proper tools to do the job. It’s a good thing there are super helpful employees like Kurt.

    It’s exciting to know the Chamber’s are back on the road. I look forward to reading of your adventures, with your bikes lying in the back of the Expedition like dead horses. 😆

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, David! We were so happy that Kurt helped us, and he was so nice about it. We’re excited to be back on the road again, too. I hope you are enjoying the weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a timely post. We are preparing to take a two day dewinterizing shake down trip to start our camping season in the next couple weeks. Our RV will be starting it’s 7th year of use. So far, so good. But we’re holding our breath because of course one of these days ….. stuff will happen. 🙂 Hope your shakedown trip goes well and that your season of camping is spectacular.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! And good luck on your shake down trip,too. This is our 3rd year for our travel trailer, and it feels like we just got it. I look forward to reading about your travels!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We also have a shake down trip before we venture too far in our motor home. There’s a little regional park just 10 minutes from here, so that’s where we do ours. Google and YouTube have been invaluable for us as well. I also belong to a site called RVillage, in which members have been very helpful in many situations, not just repairs. We’re busy planning the stops for our our 6-8 week adventure this summer. Can’t wait! Enjoy your maiden voyage!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I had always thought of a “shake down” trip when a new camper is bought, but I do think it should happen at the start of each camping season. I will have to check out RVillage. I also can’t wait to read about your big adventure this summer. Enjoy your Sunday.

      Liked by 1 person

    • You’re not the only one who was glad! Our next trip will be farther and longer, but I am so glad we planned this short trip. Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a great Sunday!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I wouldn’t let anything stop you! It’s worth it to get out and travel. And I am sure you will get some awesome photos with all your talent! We do have AAA RV Plus, so our next action would have been to call them. Having that gives us some peace of mind. Enjoy your day!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I didn’t realize that there was such a thing. Heading out by yourself requires you to push yourself a little harder, but yes, it will be fun. What I shouldn’t have done was start binge watching Criminal Minds, it’s made me a lot more aware of how vulnerable I am at times. Not that it will stop me…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, thinking ahead is the best strategy with any endeavor! I’m glad Kurt got you going and the dealer took care of you. May you have happy trails!

    This did remind me of the first time we took our new pop-up out. It was end of the season at the dealership, so we got a good deal and a low tire that went flat early into our trip. Putting on the spare was the first adventure. Then we couldn’t find the State Park (this was long before GPS) which made us pull into our spot after dark. Setting up the new, unfamiliar camper in the dark was not easy. Oh, the fun of camping adventures.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s always something. But then again there are also amazing people always willing to help. So glad you were able to sort things out before you hit the road. I’m sure the rest of the week will be a breeze. Looking forward to future blogs of your trip. May you have miles of smiles and many wonderful memories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your good wishes. Yes, there are challenges when traveling, but it’s worth it for the “miles of smiles and many wonderful memories”! Have a great week!


  6. Glad it all worked out. After reading this, I checked to see if I was prepared for a similar situation. I looked over my jack and found where the manual crank attaches and I made sure I have everything I need in my toolbox. Then I reviewed how to manually retract the slide and made sure I could do that too. Thanks for reminding me to be prepared.

    Liked by 1 person

    • One of the main reasons I write a post like this is the possibility that it could help someone else. So, I am glad to know that you took the steps to ensure you are prepared. We’re very glad it worked out for us, too. 🙂 Enjoy your day!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I am too fond of life’s little luxuries to be a camper/caravaner. Plus some of the roads in England are pretty small for towing anything on. 🙂
    Many thanks for following my blog.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

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