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Old 12-01-2012, 04:48 PM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Idaho
Posts: 87
Default Scissor Jack & other stabilzation upgrades

I looked a bit and did not see any specific discussion on this topic, so forgive me if there is one that I've missed! Found several discussions of frustrations with stabilization issues and a great walk through by Don Bronwyn (webslave), but would like to see some thoughtful discussion on replacement of the OEM Stab Jacks. Don did hit the nail on the head about needing to block up most any jacks because once past 1/2 - 2/3 extension, they just loose functional stability. However ...

I have to agree with several other postings that the lightweight 'stab' jacks on the FFs are junk. The jacks on the FF themselves are just not very substantial and, comparing with the BAL scissors we had on our lighter Trailmanor trailer, they just do not function well. We don't expect to have the rig solid like a sticknbrick house, but these are too weak to act as any kind of extension of the frame and on top of that require a significant number of blocks at times because they are such short jacks.

To compound that, ours are motorized and, tho the motors have not yet failed, we can tell they are starting to poop out already. Our 2012 X214 WSD has only been set up for camping about 8 times since we got it Sept 2011. Now, having jacked the trailer firmly, every time we try to raise them for take down we have to raise or lower the tongue just a hair to take just a bit of weight off the stab jacks because the motor won't even turn and doesn't even make any noise! First time it happened we thought the batteries were gone or lost a fuse! Not! On top of that, the motors are so slow, we'd be faster with a scissor and hand crack! With our previous Trailmanor, one would go around and drop the jacks with the drill, the other would follow with the crank to tighten/firm them up. We could put all 4 down and tight faster than we can do 2 of these electric stab jacks on the FF. And I think the drill (if you want a motor) and crank are more reliable! (I'm wondering if I should check with our extended warranty to see if they would pay for some scissor jacks rather than replace motors!)

So, I think I've decided to replace the front stab jacks that are on the A frame with 28-30" scissor jacks. That is easy, they can be screwed onto the A frame and are still up and out of the way. However, replacement of the rear are a different issue. They should properly be attached to the I frame member of the trailer, but because of design issues, this isn't easily done. The I frame is only 11" from the side of the trailer, but the jack is about 16" from center of mounting plate to outside of jack when folded. Because of the locations of Black/Grey tanks, the fact that they are suspended below the level of the bottom of the I Frame member, and the dump lines on the street side of the FF, there is no other option but putting the jack at the end of the frame where the bumper is attached, as the OEM jack is jury-rigged. I also was looking at the heavier BAL 30" 'Telescoping Jack' ( http://norcoind.com/bal/products/con...stabjack.shtml ), or the C Jack with the connecting channel ( http://norcoind.com/bal/products/con...s/c-jack.shtml ) that would only require attachment at the I frame on the ends because it could be installed at the same location, behind the Black tank, ahead of the bumper and requires no existing trailer-frame cross member for support.

Then another member has mentioned the Steady Fast X-member system, of which there are several types on the market. Has anyone considered adding one of these sets or actually done so? Wondered if those would be advantageous on our smaller trailers. Appreciate any sharing or suggestions! THX
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Fred n' Jeri

2012 FF X-214WSD
2010 RAM 1500 Crew Cab 4x4, 5.7 Hemi MDS, Huskey 1200lb trunnion WD, Prodigy Brake
Yamaha EF2000i
Prion Seayak Kayaks
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Old 12-01-2012, 05:36 PM   #2
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Default

Have to agree with you The jacks used on the newer trailers, are by and large junk. Fortunately, on the 2008 I had sturdy BAL scissor jacks that were quite adequately attached and I never needed anything more. A friend of mine had power jacks on his FunFinder and we ditched those and installed BAL scissors (manual) in place of them. I've never been a big fan of the motorized scissor jacks; either the motors are too weak and the jack winds up being less than effective (as in your case) or the motor is strong, too strong and the user winds up tweaking the frame. Then you run into the "motor just quit on me last night..." syndrome.

Give me a sturdy pair of manual jacks; I don't even need a drill. I use an old fashioned socket brace (a "speed-wrench"; hard to find nowadays) and a socket bit. Nice ball bearing hand grips, easy to spin and a lot of torque, much better than the "speed wrench" that comes with the jacks.

Now to your situation... His was a lot like yours...easy to put the new BAL scissor jacks on the front, lots of room. In the back was a story similar to yours. IIRC, we wound putting some angle iron kitty cornered across the back from the frame to the "I" spud that the bumper was welded to. We could then mount the BALs to that and the frame. Seems to me the mounting base plate of the BALs that we used was ~4" long. That was a couple of trailers ago for both of us, so I may be "confused" about the baseplate width, but, it was either using the span plate (angle iron) or we'd have wound up with a weak attachment point.

Edit: 12/2 I remember now why I didn't need braces on my 210WBS. It had the BAL "C" type jacks on it...if you look at the design of them, they have a "built in" diagonal brace between the leg and the frame; served much the same purpose as the Steadfast or StrongArm type bracing and all four of them were mounted "kitty cornered" across the frame corners (diagonally; not a single one was aligned with a frame rail). That made the jacks push against each other diagonally across corners. We couldn't get those to fit on his trailer due to the tank positioning. If you look at how a scissor jack is built, it has a single contact point at the ground (the foot) and a single contact point at the frame which gives you two pivot points. Not as stable a design, much more compact and easier to find a frame point to mount to, but, inherently not as stable. The same thing I have on my 5er and, IMHO, the reason I'll probably wind up either changing them for the "C" type jack or I'll have to put the Steadfast system on it in order to get "stable".

End Edit

As for cross braces? They, by all accounts work, but, on my FF, I never felt the need for the cost or the extra work in setting up the trailer that they entail. In order for them to be most effective you need to put the stab jacks down (after loosening the cross braces), then tighten the cross brace handles then go back again and put some additional tension on the stab jacks to "tension" the whole affair in order for them to be "at their best". Of course, they are an extra step in packing up, too. Along those lines, I have looked into them for my 5er; much longer and heavier and I can definitely benefit from the additional bracing with this trailer. I'm a minimalist and the fewer braces that I have to fool with the better and I've decided on the Steadyfast system. Uses only three braces as opposed to 4, 6 or 8, the handles are much easier to get a grip on (no wrench required, either) and I've yet to find a bad "review" of them or their company. Still haven't decided if I'm going to go the "brace" route or just deal with the little motion we have; there's only the two of us and it isn't like we a boatload of kids running around the trailer, so, I've yet to decide if the extra setup and breakdown steps are worth it If I were you, I'd go the better jack route first and see what you've got; you can always add braces later...



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My 2 cents, your mileage may vary...

Don
Bronwyn
2 Cats; J-Lo and Ragamuffin :R

2014 Thor Tuscany 40RX DP
2011 Ram 2500 Longhorn CTD HO
2011 Keystone Cougar 318SAB (now gone)
2008 FunFinder X 210WBS (Sadly gone)
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Old 12-02-2012, 10:51 AM   #3
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Default Great minds think alike (or something...)

THX for the confirmation on my thinking (not that confirmation of two minds makes it correct, but ... ). Yes, I was thinking I'd do whatever jack upgrade first and see how that works before beefing up and spending beyond the necessary! We're not all that wobbly most of the time anyway, once we finally have it 'set', but it is difficult on this FF (a lot of tweaking) to get the unit stable in some situations and the fact that these jacks are so light weight just exacerbates any wobble factor if the ground is not perfect. I also use the BAL X Chocks that do pretty much eliminate any fore-aft suspension wobble.

I appreciate your read on this. As I was researching options yesterday, I was thinking that the C type, being a more substantially made product than the OEM stabs, would yield a better frame/ground connection for the very reasons you note. Good to be able to bounce the ideas off others!

I've sent a note to BAL to get some input before thinking about ordering .. and we'll see if anyone else on the forum has any thoughts we haven't considered! THX again!
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Fred n' Jeri

2012 FF X-214WSD
2010 RAM 1500 Crew Cab 4x4, 5.7 Hemi MDS, Huskey 1200lb trunnion WD, Prodigy Brake
Yamaha EF2000i
Prion Seayak Kayaks
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