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Old 04-06-2012, 06:16 PM   #1
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Jacking 5th Wheel for Tire Change

Hello Forum, A newbie needing advice:

For some of you veterans and experienced folks in here: I need to change all four tires on my 5th wheel.

I am going to do it myself rather than take the rig to a trailer tire shop.

My question is I have a garage floor jack, which is rated to lift 4500 lbs.

I would like to use that to lift the 5th wheel to change the tires. My Rig Weight is 9,000 lbs. so would it be safe to say 4500 is on each side give or take a few hundred pounds? All my tanks are empty and I have the propane bottles removed as well.

I was thinking of chain sawing railroad ties I have into segments the size of the jack base and crisscrossing them for stability. Is this a bad idea?????

The floor jack is low and I am not sure I will get the lift without boosting the jack first before I start to pump it up. (my rig I-beam is 19 off the ground).

Any suggestions other than taking it to a trailer tire shop?

And..

What are all of you do-it-yourself people doing when you want to change tires?

What part of the rig is appropriate to jack on? I am going to assume the I-Beam of the 5th Wheel, Am I correct?

Open to advice on the subject?
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Old 04-06-2012, 06:35 PM   #2
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i would say lift from the axel at the wheel, or where the springs attatch to the axel
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Old 04-06-2012, 06:48 PM   #3
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Yeah I agree with lifting as close to the spring mount as possible
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Old 04-06-2012, 06:59 PM   #4
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I presume there are two axles so can you drive the good tire up on a short ramp to take the weight off the other wheel? I've seen it done this way several years ago and no jack was needed. Rather than putting the floor jack on RR ties you could leave the jack on the floor and use a spacer between the jack and the axle or frame, no?
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Old 04-06-2012, 07:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1ciderdog View Post
I presume there are two axles so can you drive the good tire up on a short ramp to take the weight off the other wheel? I've seen it done this way several years ago and no jack was needed. Rather than putting the floor jack on RR ties you could leave the jack on the floor and use a spacer between the jack and the axle or frame, no?
I suppose I could do it that way rather than make a base for the jack. I am leery of jacking on any of the undertow, my gut instinct tells me to stick to the frame, are other's in the forum ever jacked before via the frame?

And here is another thing I thought of, the trailer is not hitched to my truck so maybe I should brace the front and take the weight off the leveling legs so that I do not but any twisting force on those, I would hate to mess those up while jacking ?????
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Old 04-06-2012, 07:21 PM   #6
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Leave the trailer hooked to the truck, this way it won't roll on you. Be sure to jack from under the spring hanger. If it is a Lippert frame, DO NOT place the jack under the axle. I used a 6 ton bottle jack...lots easier.
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Old 04-06-2012, 07:37 PM   #7
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Never, ever jack on the frame, you stand a chance of twisting the frame. Always jack on the spring hanger. And you are right in your thinking, build a base with your ties and place the jack on top then place that under the spring attachment to the axle. That is the only place designed to hold the weight of the 5th wheel. You will not be lifting both wheels at the same time, just the one you are working on. The other wheel stays on the ground. You only jack enough to raise that one enough (1" off the ground) to remove and replace. Done this many times and this is the only safe way, believe me. If you will be leaving the wheel off for more than a few minutes, place a jack stand under the axle as a safety in case the jack looses pressure.
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:25 PM   #8
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Thank you for the advice. Had no idea you could twist the frame jacking on it. I thought that was the most rugged part of the rig. I am glad I am asking.
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:35 PM   #9
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In the book that came with our fifth wheel (Lippert frame) It very specifically says to place the jack on the frame rail, not more than 18" from the spring hanger. Since trailer axles are bent for alignment, jacking under the axle itself will ruin the alignment. Every travel trailer and fifth wheel we have had, has the exact same instructions for jack placement.
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
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In the book that came with our fifth wheel (Lippert frame) It very specifically says to place the jack on the frame rail, not more than 18" from the spring hanger. Since trailer axles are bent for alignment, jacking under the axle itself will ruin the alignment. Every travel trailer and fifth wheel we have had, has the exact same instructions for jack placement.
So now I am faced with different advice that is conflicting.
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:43 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Palpatine View Post
Never, ever jack on the frame, you stand a chance of twisting the frame. Always jack on the spring hanger. And you are right in your thinking, build a base with your ties and place the jack on top then place that under the spring attachment to the axle. That is the only place designed to hold the weight of the 5th wheel. You will not be lifting both wheels at the same time, just the one you are working on. The other wheel stays on the ground. You only jack enough to raise that one enough (1" off the ground) to remove and replace. Done this many times and this is the only safe way, believe me. If you will be leaving the wheel off for more than a few minutes, place a jack stand under the axle as a safety in case the jack looses pressure.

Have you heard or seen of a rig that the frame became twisted by jacking on it? It sounds like in your caution you have knoweledge this in fact must have happend to someone in the past? I am torn now what to do?
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Old 04-06-2012, 09:03 PM   #12
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The plot thickens: This link from the web speaks of the ubolt method and the frame method. It seems the stronger suggestion is the frame.

Jacking up a fifth wheel

I will do a little more research to see if I can find a pattern of who does what and with what results...

Keep the input coming I want to hear from some others....
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Old 04-06-2012, 09:15 PM   #13
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Sorry for adding to your confusion..

I scanned the page from our owner's booklet. The picture shows a travel trailer, but the manufacturer included it, in the fifth wheel literature also...

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Old 04-06-2012, 09:48 PM   #14
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The "Big Foot" automatic leveling system I have on my 5er lifts all four tires off the ground at one time.
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