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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Jacking up a small RV is harder than you'd think | Hagerty Media

A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece about safety requirements for using floor jacks and jack stands. In it, I stressed the importance of: Always using a jack and stands rated for the weight of the vehicle (e.g., don't lift a truck with equipment made only to lift a small car) Only lifting on a hard level surface (e.g., concrete, not asphalt) Always double-jacking the vehicle (leaving the floor jack in place once the vehicle is resting securely on the stands).
https://www.hagerty.com/media/opinion/the-hack-mechanic/jacking-up-a-small-rv-is-harder-than-youd-th...
12 REPLIES 12
TBirdRider
Pit Crew

Those old steel floor jacks are simple machines and can be rebuilt very cheaply, sometimes just needing an O-ring or two. Worth a try before scrapping.
Tinkerah
Technician

Don't give up on the sinking jack just yet - top off, or replace some of the fluid with brake fluid. It'll rejuvenate the seals and you (or a thankful donee) will get another 30 years out of it.
whiteZ
New Driver

I have had success with jacks when I replaced the fluid also. Although by using the pliers to tighten valve may have deformed the needle and or seat also.
I notice your rubber donuts on top of jack stands, I had good luck cutting and old bike tire (I prefer off road nubby ones) to over hang each side of the stand top and securing it with zip tie so as not to move (much) and will deform to the shapes squashing it together. doughnuts are sometimes prone to slide off stand tops, and get lost in the shop between uses. .
Maestro1
Instructor

Rob, I don't do any of this any more because of a Stroke and age, but I always enjoy reading your articles for Hagerty. Thanks and stay well.
GRP_Photo
Advanced Driver

I use 3' or longer pieces of 2x12 lumber. Works very well and they can stay out in the rain a long time before they begin to deteriorate. Even longer if they're pressure treated.
hyperv6
Technician

Nothing is difficult if you use the proper tool. 

centerpunch
New Driver

Hey Rob, I bought one of those Arcan jacks on Amazon- nice jack, but check all the fasteners. Six months later mine had several VERY loose bolts. I ended up adding locktite to all the fasteners.
E36_forever
Pit Crew

All things I learned the hard way over the years (or failed to learn according to my wife).  Hopefully the current generation will heed your advice.  Thanks for all the great articles!

richard2
Pit Crew

Sorry Rob, but your cheap metal plates are way too thin. At a minimum I'd never go less than 1/4 steel for something that heavy, but I totally agree with the writer who suggested 2x12 pressure treated boards.
2019GrandSport
New Driver

Many years ago, my late father in-law tried to jack the rear axle of his 9,000 pound RV with my pair of Harbor Freight 3,000 pound Aluminum "racing" jacks. This happened when I wasn't home, and I was informed later that both of my jacks were "defective" because they slowly leaked down, and he couldn't do the work he wanted to do. I checked the jacks and both had fractures in the cast Aluminum round saddles, so I ordered replacements. I suppose he was very fortunate, but I kept access to my garage and tools locked up after that.

I try to drain and flush the fluid in my jacks every few years with the left-over hydraulic fluid from the 5 gallon bucket I bought to fill the hydraulics on my 4-post lift. I also drain and refill these jacks when they first arrive, because you never know what sort of corrosive p*ss-water they're being filled with at the factory.
JSievers
Detailer

Let me put in a recommendation for the yellow 3-ton heavy-duty Daytona jack from Harbor Freight. All steel, dual pumps for fast rise when unloaded, excellent construction quality and less than $200 on sale. This jack is a BEAST!
corvairden
New Driver

DO NOT do any of the above without installing heavy duty wheel chocks!! My 32 foot Class A that was parked on a slight slope rolled off the stands with me underneath!. I scrambled out from underneath while it was rolling towards the neighbors car, managed to get inside and applied the brakes just in time thwarting death and an even bigger catastrophe of a 32 foot RV continuing to roll down a steeper hill and causing no end of mayhem from an out of control 14,000 lb

RV. Moral of the story: Work safely or die.