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.
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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Say your prayers. And then be sure to say your thanks to all.
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!