Posted on 18 March 2018

 Tags: blog 

Having got it on the back of the truck I thought it best to have the means to take it off again. For this, four tall jacks - one on each corner - was needed to lift it a couple of inches. Just enough to be able to drive away, leaving the camper in place.

Jacks 14

Updated pic with additional support on jack body

It's more conventient to work on it here and refit the interior before taking out properly. Here's how that went.

A few weeks ago I bought 4 trailer jacks from eBay with a view to modifying them to suit. They cost £130 for four. To convert them, each needed:

  • Extending another metre or so (to reach the ground)
  • Brackets added (to connect them to the camper)

Extend the Legs

Cutting off the feet and measuring the internal width revealed that 45mm box tube would fit nicely inside. Instead of welding in more steel, I got 4x1000mm aluminium box section, 3.2mm gauge. This has square edges which needed rounding off a little so thay fitted inside the feet of the jack. After drilling a hole on each side, the feet were secured with 6mm rivets.

Jacks 1Jacks 4

At the top end, I removed the jack handles by drifting out the small pin that kept them in place with a punch. Then used an M12 die to cut a thread so I could screw on a couple of nuts instead (and later weld them on). I also cut about 2" from the outer body to make room for the bolts that will pass through the aluminium box. These off-cuts came in useful later for the brackets.

All that was needed after that was to drill through the jack legs to fit some zinc-plated cap screws. There's enough overlap to add more screw holes if needed.

Jacks 3Jacks 5Jacks 2

Fitting Brackets

I had mixed feelings about the aluminium brackets used to secure the camper on the truck. They were fine for bolting the camper down, but it needed something stronger for jacking points.

For this I got a length of 50x30x2.5mm steel box section. A 4" length was welded on each jack.

Jacks 7Jacks 6Jacks Welded

The offcuts from the jack body fit nicely over the tube, but needed 15mm removing. So this was cut out and the seam welded. Finally these were welded onto some backing plates of the same thickness from scraps I had lying around.

Jacks BracketsJacks 9Jacks 12

Fitting them on

Before fitting I got out the paint and primer otherwise the sleel bits would be rusty in days! Then while the wife wasn't looking, I drove the truck into the garden to set it up.

Jacks 18Truck in GardenJacks 19

Using a drill on the nuts, the camper lifted easily off the back. It will stay here now for a few weeks until a couple of water leaks are fixed and the steps are on, etc.

Jacks 13Jacks 15

It moves about a bit more than ideal. There's little play where the jacks slot into the new brackets but you can move the camper about 6" - by hand - in any direction! A second bracket may be needed to keep the legs vertical and keep it steady.