What Hitch/Jack Combination Allows an Open Tailgate - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 09-24-2020, 01:35 PM   #1
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What Hitch/Jack Combination Allows an Open Tailgate

Hi,

We tow our 2014 Escape 21 with a 2017 GMC Sierra and an Anderson weight distribution hitch. The trailer has an Atwood AT80718 electric tongue jack.

Problem: I would like to be able to open the truck tailgate while hitched, but the tongue jack head does not provide sufficient clearance for this.

I've read about different electric tongue jacks that allow sideways installation (controls on the side rather than the front), but I am unsure whether or not this will provide the clearance I need. The Atwood cannot be modified to support this. If I choose to replace the jack, I do not want to have to modify the new jack in any way (e.g.: drill and tap new head mounting holes). Does anyone out there use a Bulldog BD500200 (or BD500199) on a 21 towed by a pickup? Will this jack installed sideways do the trick for me?

Optionally, since I am also considering a hitch setup change, if you have a hitch and electric tongue jack setup that allows you to open your truck tailgate when hitched, I would appreciate hearing from you. But, I am very reluctant to only lengthen the shank ("stinger") to get the clearance...I am fearful of moving weight off of the tongue which might create sway issues. If a longer shank is part of a whole hitch system replacement, I would be open to that.

I know the easy answer is to make sure you don't need to open the tailgate while on the road, but having just returned from a 5,000+ mile road trip, I would really like to be able to open the tailgate... :-)

Thank you in advance for any pointers!

Fletch Dobbs
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Old 09-24-2020, 01:44 PM   #2
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Does it hit the tongue jack handle or the tongue jack body? There are ways to remove the handle and reinstall when needed. There is also a neat thing called "Jack-E-UP" where you can remove the jack. This of course involves switching to a manual jack or installing a quick connect on the power jack. https://jack-e-up.com
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Old 09-24-2020, 01:48 PM   #3
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HI Jim,

Thank you for the quick reply! The tailgate hits the jack body. I looked a Jack-E-Up but didn't see the quick-connect option...I'll look again for that. I do like the idea of getting the jack entirely out of the way too. Thanks!!

Fletch
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Old 09-24-2020, 01:53 PM   #4
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The quick connect would be owner installed, here is an example https://ads.midwayusa.com/product/10...84963492142880
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Old 09-24-2020, 04:48 PM   #5
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I rotated the jack head 90 degrees and used the anderson fwd hitch hole and now my tailgate will open. I'll get some pix when it stops raining here in Atlanta
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Old 09-24-2020, 05:23 PM   #6
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Hi Rotorbudd,

Is your jack the Atwood model I mentioned? After using the longer Andersen shank, did you still need to rotate the jack or is the longer shank alone sufficient?

Thanks for your reply!
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Old 09-24-2020, 05:49 PM   #7
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Fletch,

Try a call to Andersen. I notice in their catalog that some of their shanks have two holes where it slides into your receiver. It might be that they would have something that could get you that extra inch or two by using a different hole in a two hole shank.
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Old 10-04-2020, 07:46 PM   #8
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Had the same issue with my F-150 for awhile. I talked to Tiger in Anderson parts department, guessing two plus years ago and order an extended shank which is 13.5 inches long. Problem solved - wasn't cheap.... but well worth it.
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Old 10-05-2020, 07:29 AM   #9
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Thanks for the suggestion! The longer shank from Andersen places the hitch ball 2.5 inches further away from the truck, so I'm hoping it will do the trick. I'll post here again when the new shank is installed...
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Old 10-05-2020, 12:43 PM   #10
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Hi Fletch,

The tailgate/jack interference issue has been discussed in a number of threads, including here:

https://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f...ck-9298-2.html

and here:

https://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f...lbs-12126.html

I have a setup similar to yours (2015 E21 and 2007 Toyota Tundra), and experienced similar issues. Had used the Jack-e-up previously with a Casita and manual jack, and it worked great. Used it also with the current rig. Still worked but not as well; more difficult to install because quick disconnects are required for the wiring, jack is heavier and more bulky to store.

I had contacted Andersen about a longer shank, but at the time it was a custom item and quite pricey. Then a little over a year ago I found that the longer shank had become a stock item for them (must have gotten lots of requests in addition to mine) with the price cut nearly in half. So I got one. Used it on a long trip about a year ago (pre-COVID) and it worked great. Solved the tailgate interference issue with no noticeable change in towing characteristics.

One word of caution: with the rig straight and on level ground there is ample tailgate clearance. But angles will change in the wild, and occasionally will cause obstruction. Most common is a downhill ramp onto a level parking pad that is short enough so as to leave the truck angled uphill. If you find yourself at such an angle, don't just drop the tailgate without checking the clearance.

Hope the longer shank works as well for you as it has for us.

Paul
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Old 10-05-2020, 01:36 PM   #11
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I have the same issue with my F250 SuperDuty and E21, I just got a longer tow bar and the tailgate clears the jack. there's no reason I see to use a WDH with my truck until the trailer is over 6500 lbs or something. If I had a 150/1500 class truck, I'd probably add airbags to the rear suspension if you find the truck suspension droops too much.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0007M308U
plus a tow ball,
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0009T6EA2
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