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A trailer jack is an important part of safe towing. If you need to add or replace a jack on a trailer, the following information can help you choose among the many kinds to find
the right one.
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Trailer jacks come in different weight capacities and lengths. Remember to consider the length of the jack in both the retracted
and extended positions. When extended, the jack has to lift your coupler high enough for it to clear the hitch ball on the vehicle. And the jack has to
retract far enough to clear the ground when you're traveling. The following information can help you find a jack with the proper weight capacity
and length for your application:
To determine if a jack will work for your trailer, you'll need to know its height, both retracted and extended. These dimensions
are usually given for jacks. They're taken from the bottom of the jack (including any foot that may be present) to the mounting point. The mounting
points can vary, depending on the style of jack. Standard A-frame jacks are usually measured to the bottom of the mounting flange. Pipe mount jacks are
measured to the center of the mounting pipe. Jacks that have a bolt-on bracket are usually measured to the centerline of the bracket.
Trailer tongue weight (TW)
is the downward pressure that the coupler places on the hitch ball. Typically, TW is 10 to 15 percent
of your gross trailer weight (GTW), which is the weight of the trailer when it is fully loaded.
For example, a 5,000-lb trailer has a TW of 500 lbs to 750 lbs pressing down on the ball.
Side-mount jacks either bolt or weld to the side of the frame of a pole tongue or A-frame trailer. The pivoting design lets the jack swing
up and out of the way for towing and down for jacking. Manual crank jacks come in one of two styles - cranking from the side (most common) or top. One type
may work better than the other depending on the clearance around your trailer.
Three mounting styles for side mount jacks:
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