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Author Topic: Spining camper using tongue jack wheel  (Read 6981 times)
Hemlock3156
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« on: August 02, 2009, 08:22:54 PM »

I was wondering if any of you spin your camper when you arrive at the grounds using the wheel that goes on the tongue jack.  I can spin mine at home if it is on smooth concrete and a level surface.  I should mention I have a highwall model and it has a GVW of 3770 lbs.  I have been wanting to spin my camper a few times when we arrive to give us more privacy or to take avantage of a good view, but was affraid it might get away from me if it is not level.  I still my have youth and athleticism, but not sure if I can win a battle with 3770 lbs.  I see the smaller and lighter units spun all the time, but have not seen may High Walls spun unless it is an ideal situation.

Also, are those wheels good to use on any other surface besides asphalt / concrete.  I just don't see  how it would work well on dirt or gravel.  I figure using it on sand is a no brainer - not a snowballs chance with that. 

My other concern is that if I try and muscle the tounge on a surface that is less that smooth and level, and the wheel gets in a position where it won't move ( like a small low spot or a rock), I will either bend the jack tube or the wheel will come off of the jack tube.

I have been contemplating fabricating an air tire to fit the tongue tube instead of the solid hard plastic one that came with the unit.  Figured this would roll much easier and almost be all terrain, and long as the jack tube would hold up. 

Curious what you have done in the past and how you successfully utilize this tounge jack wheel.

Thanks -

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Unstable Tripod
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« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2009, 08:59:14 PM »

I have a 1550 lb. (dry weight) Yuma and I move it all over the garage by hand all the time but that's on smooth concrete.  At the campsite the PUP goes where I can put it with the TV and that's it.  I would not try to roll that tongue jack wheel on any unpaved surface.  (I'm usually alone and I don't have my youth and athleticism any longer.)
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Kona12
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« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2009, 10:55:23 PM »

When I was younger my dad used to this all the time. We always camped in the baccountry and he picked spots that were to tight for the tv. For the most part he used a trailer caddy (not sure if this is the right name). His had two inflatable rubber tires on it and the extra leverage it gave him helped. You should check one out.

In some of the tighter spots that had inclines he would chock the tires and inch the trailer into the spot using a come along. He was the master of the choice spots!
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Ed n Max from Jax
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« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2009, 11:02:33 PM »

I was going to add nuts to the bottom side of the three bolts that hold the jack in place on mine and mentioned it to my friend at work (towing guru) and he reccommended not to as it is designed as a weak link, meant only for up and down travel, but not strong enough for exerting sideways forces, there is a dolly from harbor freight that uses the ball socket on the tongue that might? work? though, your results may vary,, Ed
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gijoecam
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« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2009, 04:44:35 AM »

If  you can, I see no reason not to.  That's why it's there and it swivels.  If it wasn't meant to swivel and roll, it would have a landing pad instead of a swiveling wheel.

Personally I always put it in it's final place with the tow vehicle.  I'm not one for trying to muscle around a 3500lb anything.  I've never camped anyplace where the TV couldn't get it to a happy place.  :)
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bolivar
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« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2009, 05:01:00 AM »

I muscle my trailer around occationally.  It isn't as heavy as yours, but it is pretty heavy.  I would do three things if I were you:  First carry a trailor dolly, second have someone near a back wheel with a block of wood in hand and third carry a comealong.

The trailer dolly will save your jack.  Here is an example of one:
http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_6970_200312193_200312193

The person with the block of wood can toss it behind the wheel if need be.  This is really not that important because you should really only do this on level ground, but sometimes you can be fooled (I have been).

The comealong is in case the trailer gets stuck in a position where you can't hook up the TV.  Worse case you can tie one end to a tree and use it to spin the trailer to where you can hook up to the TV.
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rabird
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« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2009, 05:19:15 AM »

Use a dolly.

If not, have a few folks hang on the spare/bumper to reduce the tongue load.
Lower the jack as low as possible before any move.
Beware of gravity.
Use a skinny plywood runner.
Jack stand to change wheel directions.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2009, 08:58:57 AM by rabird » Logged

The Becks
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« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2009, 05:27:50 AM »

Have not tried to spin my highwall.  Have had it start to run away.  Didn't like it.
Have often moved things way to big to stop with body weight, though.

IMHO bolivar has the right idea.  Never give it a chance to get away, and have a way to move it, other than by muscle.

In addition to bolivar's suggestions.  
Start with chocks under the wheels.  Chain the trailer to the TV.  
Remove only enough chocks to make a turn, giving enough slack on the chain for the trailer to go where you want.  But not so much the trailer can get away from you.
When ready to leave, I would hook up the come-along every time.  Moving each chock in turn to control the trailer at all times.

Having said all that, my experience tells me highwalls are not for moving, just for parking, like big trailers.  So I take what I can get with the TV.

Happy camping,
George
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« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2009, 05:41:46 AM »

I used to move my 81 Sequoia (lightweight) around campsites pretty easily.  My 04 Sequoia (highwall) is another matter.  I tried to spin it once and couldn't do it.  It was on an asphalt surface but the rocks in the pavement and a slight slope to the site made it impossible.  You will find that trailer dollies on the highwalls only work well for straight lines and modest turns as the tongue jack gets in the way of the dolly wheels when you try to spin it.  Bottom line.....it sits where the TV puts it.
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cmj685
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« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2009, 08:37:22 AM »

We've got the Yuma too, and we never put it in a campsite without moving it by hand to get it juuuuussssttt right! Or, in the case of the way the site is laid out and meant to be camped in--all wrong but just right for us. That is the beauty of having a small camper! You can put it anywhere at any angle you want...and move it there by hand. A couple cautions: 1) be sure not to let it get away from you. There are times and sites where we won't do it if the slope could suck the camper down. 2) We are careful in moving it so as not to bend or break off the wheel. It is under a load and we don't want to mangle the jack.
Would I or could I do it with a highwall? I don't know. That's why I bought the little one!
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clemlaw
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« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2009, 09:45:34 AM »

This past week, we had to spin our Palomino (about 1500 lbs, <200 lbs. tongue weight).  We don't have the wheel on the front, so we just lifted it and moved it a few inches at a time.  We only had to move it a couple of feet by hand, since I got it pretty close backing in.  I got it right to the point of being jackknifed, and then unhitched.

To keep it from getting away, I used four chocks.  I left them in place in front of one tire, and behind the other tire.  In the direction of travel, I put the chock about six inches from the tire.  We don't have the tongue wheel in place, so my wife and I just lifted the tongue, heaved it over a few inches onto another board, and then repeated the process a couple of times.

I use the trailer dolly at home to get it into the right spot in the garage, but that would be too bulky to bring with us for the rare times we need to move it by hand.
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erjs05
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« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2009, 02:27:02 PM »

I've spun mine with a dolly and it wasn't easy. One thing that helps is weight on the back bumper. Have some one stand on it or add weight somehow to take weight off the tongue.
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Christine & David
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« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2009, 08:23:25 AM »

You could carry a couple of small sheets of 1/4" plywood to help move the trailer on rough surfaces.  Lower the wheel on the first piece.  Muscle the trailer onto the second piece and play leap frog with the plywood sheets.  I haven't done it but have seen it done.  I don't know, it's just something else to carry along.
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OldViking
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« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2009, 11:54:28 AM »

Sounds like a lot of trouble. Do you sit inside the camper and look out the window at the scenery?
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Beacher
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« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2009, 11:39:54 AM »

I have a 2004 GTE Niagara.  It's a low-walled unit, but it's a heavy beast over 3,500 pounds fully loaded.  It has a side-mounted tongue jack, not a center mounted unit as found on the high walled trailers.

While at Campland on the Bay, (a VERY nice RV Resort right on San Diego's Mission Bay), I performed a 180 degree spin on my campsite for more privacy.  It was on some relatively level, but rutty and cracked asphalt.  Well, there were just enough ruts to get stuck a couple of time but we managed to muscle it around.  Low and behold, my tongue jack was now at an 85 degree angle.  The jack was bent at the swivel mount from being stuck and muscled.  I managed to hammer the steel swivel plate that is welded to the frame of the trailer, and my jack is straight as new again, however, it was bent.

On another occasion, (also in SanDiego county), while camping at a beautiful lakeside campsite at Jackson Lake, we swiveled.  I wanted my front door to face the lake for the view, instead of some hillside bushes.  I figured that  I could always have a new jack welded to the frame, so I tempted fate and swiveled anyway!  Notice that I mentioned hillside!  The campsites are on the side of a hill that slopes down toward the lake.  As we swiveled around the trailer in a sandy dirt, it did indeed start rolling towards the water!!  However, I had planned for that contingency and connected the trailer's frame to my SUV's hitch with a tow rope, (just in case), and I placed the wheel chock to stop the motion.  That time we managed to move the trailer into a nice scenic view position without bending the tongue jack, (even though it plowed though dirt instead of rolling on a hard surface).

The difference was the position of the jack at the time of the swivel maneuver!  The first time the trailer was level, (and all set up - roof lifted), and jack half way extended.  The second time the roof was still down and the jack was all the way down.

Since then, I have swiveled several times without incident! Wink
« Last Edit: August 05, 2009, 11:41:17 AM by beacher » Logged

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