mistake when operating power tongue jack - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 09-16-2018, 06:08 PM   #1
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mistake when operating power tongue jack

Hi Friends,

We finally got our escape 19 this Summer! It is delivered to our home so we don't have any experience yet. This is our first trailer. Today my husband try to hook up the trailer and our towing truck. He managed to back the truck to the right position, then he used the power tongue jack to cover the ball and secured it with pin. The next step is supposed to retract the power tongue jack until its footplate is full off the ground. However, my husband hit the "EXT" instead of "RET", Power jack is raising but the footplate doesn't raise. He tried a few times and since the ball is securely pined with hitch he finally heard some cracking sound then he stopped and realized it was a mistake. By using another button, he was able to successfully retract the jack.

We didn't find any manual for power tongue jack - guess it is common sense...

Now we worried that this mistake will damage the truck, or the trailer? What is that sound of cracking? We are terribly worried now...

Should we go to Truck dealer for check up? It was a brand new 2018 Toyota Tundra we bought just for this trailer.

Please help!
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Old 09-16-2018, 06:53 PM   #2
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Well there's noises and there's noises and at best, they're subjective. So without hearing them it's hard to say whether you damaged anything.

However, with my manual tongue jack, I routinely jack the tongue up for two reasons; one to reduce the tension on the WDH hitch so that I can use fingers only to put the chains on and two, to sometimes raise the tongue a bit when leveling for night without unhitching.

Some sounds are associated with the jacking up process but it's hard to say if your's were "normal" or really bad indicating damage. Personally, I'd raise it up again, just a couple of inches and listen and watch for any abnormality. Or, if you're not comfortable doing that take it to mechanic and get them to check for damage.

Ron
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Old 09-16-2018, 06:55 PM   #3
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I have no idea what the cracking sound would be, but simply extending the jack and lifting the truck a bit by the hitch ball is unlikely to hurt anything. Of course there's a limit to how hard you can pull up on the hitch with the trailer jack without damaging the coupler or other hitch components, but for the parts used with an Escape the standards for hitch construction require all parts to withstand lifting with a force of at least 2,500 pounds... probably more than the jack is capable of doing. The Tundra's hitch is probably rated for 10,000 pounds of trailer, so it would be required to handle even more: 5,000 pounds of upward force. Many people actually lift the tow vehicle with the tongue jack (to a moderate extent) deliberately every time they hitch up, to make it easier to install the spring bars of a weight-distributing hitch.
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Old 09-16-2018, 07:24 PM   #4
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As you know nothing about them I'd suggest you take the truck and trailer combo to a local RV shop to have it looked at, probably need an appt. An option would be to find a mobile rv tech to come to the house to look at them. Even a good car mechanic could look them over if they are familiar with hitching and such.
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Old 09-16-2018, 07:30 PM   #5
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tongue jack

If we still lived on Valley Trails drive I would be right over to help. Unfortunately we moved years ago, but as others mentioned, I also lift my vehicle and trailer tongue to make it easier to set the WDH bars in position. The Loudest noise I usually hear is the ratcheting noise by the jack as it has hit the end of travel. Ask someone to take a look and give a little introduction to the process. Then head out to Del Val for a night or two.
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Old 09-16-2018, 07:57 PM   #6
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Like Jack, I lift the rear end of the truck to hook up the Anderson chains and to check to make sure the coupler is firmly seated on the ball. I’d be very surprised if anything is truly damaged by your actions but without experience, you might want another friend camper to look it over for a first opinion and if really worried have a shop check it out. Dont grey. Everything can be put back right if need be.
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Old 09-16-2018, 08:10 PM   #7
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Machine gun noise

An electric jack has an override clutch, which is a safety for the mechanism. If you reach the end of travel going up OR going down, the clutch will by design disengage and reengage - which produces a ratchet noise that sounds like a machine gun - to avoid breaking the drive gears.


In other words, it's probably fine. I must have done this more than half a dozen times trying level on a really really steep slope.
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Old 09-16-2018, 08:20 PM   #8
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Good point, that too. I heard it do that last summer when I was at grand Coulee dam and it does sound serious but isn’t.
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Old 09-16-2018, 10:06 PM   #9
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All good points made above. Also, what kind of surface was the foot of the jack sitting on when this happened (concrete slab, wooden block)? It might have just been the foot of the jack "skipping" a bit across a hard surface (like a concrete or asphalt driveway) as the angle of the jack shaft changed as the tongue rose (foot "skipping" can and will happen as the angle of the jack shaft changes if the wheels are chocked so solid that the tires can't roll just a bit to accommodation the pressure generated by the angle change of the jack shaft). The further the jack is extended, the more likely the foot will skip. Based on the same principle, I've also heard a metallic slap from the two shafts (outer stationary, inner extending/retracting) banging against each other as the foot slipped on a wood block. If it was the hitch coupler, given the pressures the hitch components experience while in tow, I'd tend to think it was more likely something snapping into better position/alignment than something cracking or breaking. But given that it's your safety that we're talking about, and you are new to this, it would be prudent to have someone with more knowledge and experience take a look at it. Just for the peace of mind, if nothing else.
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Old 09-16-2018, 10:52 PM   #10
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I think that sound is probably the override as mentioned above.. I've done it a few times by accident.. if the jack operate normally (sounded the same) going forward you shouldn't worry too much. I think we are close enough if you'd like to compare the jack noise (we have one too) or if you need other helps with using the trailer.
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