A Power Tongue Jack Installation Guide

Contributor

Tucker Ballister

Favorite Trip

5 Months Solo on the Road

Home Base

Hendersonville, NC

Favorite RV

2008 Fleetwood Bounder

About Contributor

Tucker Ballister is our Technical Content Writer. He’s a lover of the open road and the proud owner of a 2021 Sunlite Classic travel trailer (his 3rd RV to date). Check out more of his RV adventures, gear reviews, and outdoor advice at thebackpackguide.com.

Whether you want to replace or upgrade your power tongue jack, the following installation guide is a must-have resource for any RV DIYer. We cover the benefits of power over manual jacks, the tools and supplies you need, and a step-by-step installation. Let’s get right to it!

What Is the Difference Between Electric and Manual Tongue Jacks?

RVer using power tongue jack
Photo by Camping World

The biggest difference between electric and manual tongue jacks is that one requires power and one doesn’t. From the user’s standpoint, this means that one (electric) requires much less effort to use than the other (manual). These are the top advantages of choosing a power tongue jack over a manual jack: 

  • Quicker and easier raising and lowering of your trailer’s tongue without manual cranking
  • Easier leveling once detached from your tow vehicle
  • Better durability and longevity (built with heavy-duty, weather-resistant materials)
  • Built-in safety features (like emergency stop and overload protection)

Of course, many traditionalists argue that a power tongue jack creates an additional chance for something to break or malfunction with your trailer. If you need a tongue jack replacement and prefer a manual option, check out these options

Reasons for a DIY Power Tongue Jack Installation

These are the two main reasons to install a power tongue jack on your travel trailer: 

  1. You want to upgrade from a manual tongue jack.
  2. You need to replace a broken or damaged tongue jack (powered or manual). 

The benefits of upgrading are outlined below. If your current power jack is damaged or seized, try these troubleshooting tips before replacing it. 

Tools and Supplies Needed for a Power Tongue Jack Installation

Toolbox of RV technician
Photo by Camping World

Here’s a quick checklist of what you’ll need to complete this DIY installation successfully:

  • New power tongue jack
  • New tongue jack hardware (bolts, washers, and lock washers)
    • Old hardware can be reused if in good condition, but we recommend using new hardware if possible
  • Ratchet wrench with 9/16” socket
    • You may need an impact driver or drill to remove bolts

How To Install a Power Tongue Jack

These steps will help you remove an existing tongue jack and install a new Trailer Life power tongue jack

Before installation, check and match the lift capacity of the jack with your trailer’s weight to ensure safe operation. If you’re installing a new power tongue jack from a different manufacturer, follow their unique installation instructions.

1. Set Up Your Trailer

Wheel chocks on dual axle travel trailer
Photo by Camping World

Install wheel chocks to prevent your trailer from moving and retract all stabilizing jacks.

Back your tow vehicle into place and lower the existing tongue jack on your vehicle’s hitch ball (if possible). If your existing tongue jack isn’t operational, find another method to support your trailer’s A-frame tongue. You can do this using jack stands, leveling blocks, or wooden blocks. 

Retract your tongue jack so your trailer’s weight is supported by your tow vehicle or another safe method. The weight must be off your existing tongue jack, but your trailer should remain at an easy height for installing the new jack (18-24 inches).

2. Remove the Old Jack

RV technician holding bent power tongue jack
Photo by Camping World

Disconnect power to your existing jack (only necessary if replacing a power tongue jack). 

Remove your existing tongue jack. Start by removing the cotter pin (if equipped) that allows the jack’s foot to slide off. Then, using a 9/16” socket, loosen and remove the three bolts securing the jack to the A-frame, along with the regular and lock washers. You may need these to install your new tongue jack, so set them in a secure location.

Lift the old jack straight up and out of the circular opening. Set it aside and gently wipe the area around the opening with a soft cloth and water to remove any residue. If rust was hidden under the original jack flange, clean it with a wire brush and touch it up with rust-resistant paint before continuing.

3. Install the New Jack

Trailer Life Power Tongue Jack
Photo by Camping World

Place the new tongue jack through that opening and secure it with three bolts, along with a lock washer and a regular washer for each. Use new bolts if your jack came with one. If not, you can re-use the bolts that held your old jack in place. Install the foot onto the bottom of the new power tongue jack. 

4. Connect the Wiring and Test

Female RVer testing power tongue jack
Photo by Camping World

Wire the power tongue jack into your RV battery according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. Follow the red and black wires running from the battery back along the trailer frame. These should connect to a junction box on the inside of the frame. 

You can connect the tongue jack’s power cable directly to your battery’s positive terminal. You may need to install an electrical terminal ring at the end of the jack’s power cable for easier installation and a more secure electrical connection. 

Verify that some type of manufacturer-recommended circuit protection is utilized (i.e., fuse or circuit breaker). If not installed on the jack itself, add an inline fuse holder just before the battery connection. Use a size recommended by the jack manufacturer, typically 30 amps. Never place the fuse holder inside the battery box, since sparks could ignite the battery fume, resulting in an explosion. 

Test the tongue jack’s operation (raising and lowering) before using it to support the weight of your trailer.


Learn more about power tongue jacks, leveling and stabilization, common RV leveling systems, and more with these additional resources: 

What questions do you have about doing a DIY power tongue jack installation? Let us know in the comments below!

The information provided in this blog is for general informational purposes only and not intended to take the place of professional service providers. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, or availability with respect to the information, products, services, or advice contained on the blog for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk. In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising from loss of data or profits arising out of, or in connection with, the use of this blog.

  • Comment (2)
  • Lora McHugh 7193390294 says:

    It has come to my attention that some Jack’s are hard to come by especially when using older models. When you replace your jack hinge. Remember to slide the instructions at a 45ndegree angle you will see the difference between the two halves. The signs will be extra small print below that’s okay just take your time.

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