How To Install Scissor Jacks on a Travel Trailer

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 Content Strategist. 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.

Some lightweight campers have only two stabilizing jacks, like the Coleman Lantern LT 17R and its bunkhouse counterpart, the Lantern LT 17B. Others may not include them at all. Stabilizing a trailer with only two jacks is difficult, and you’ll want to level and stabilize your RV properly every time you reach camp. 

This is especially true if you’re camping with kids, as everyone’s movement inside the camper will cause your trailer to rock and sway. Stabilizing jacks can also break over time. Some of the common causes include: 

  • Improper use (i.e. using them to LIFT and not just to stabilize)
  • Corrosion
  • Damage from contact with road debris
  • Lack of maintenance (i.e., ensuring the threaded rod stays clean and properly lubed)
  • Failure to keep the framework clean. This may require periodic repainting with rust-resistant enamel. 

Whether you’re seeking to replace damaged stabilizing jacks or supplement your existing jacks, you’re in the right place. Let’s learn how to install scissor jacks on a travel trailer.

Tools Required for Installing Scissor Jacks on a Travel Trailer

tools-how-to-install-scissor-jacks-on-a-travel-trailer-12-2023
Photo by Camping World

These are the common tools you’ll need to install scissor jacks on a travel trailer: 

Technician Tip: Refer to the owner’s manual that comes with your new scissor jacks for recommendations on the proper tools required for a successful installation. The exact tools required may vary based on the manufacturer’s recommended installation method.

  • Power drill
  • Ratchet wrench
  • Drill bit (sized for compatible mounting hardware)
  • Socket and/or nut driver (sized for replacement mounting hardware)
  • Paint marker
  • Center punch
  • Cutting oil
  • New jack(s)
  • Manual crank handle
  • Leveling blocks (to help support the new jack if working alone)
  • Safety glasses (you don’t want metal shards falling into your eyes!)

Technician Tip: Scissor jacks are either bolted or welded to an RV’s frame. Those that are bolted are easy to replace. If your jacks are welded to your frame, we recommend visiting a Camping World Collision Center to have damaged jacks removed and replaced.

How To Install Scissor Jacks on a Travel Trailer

Here are the four basic steps to install travel trailer stabilizing jacks:

Step 1: Acquire the Right Scissor Jacks

acquire-how-to-install-scissor-jacks-on-a-travel-trailer-12-2023
Photo by Camping World

You’ll need to acquire scissor jacks that will work with your travel trailer. You’ll need the following information to help you make the right decision: 

  • The weight rating of your existing jacks. 
  • The extension height on your existing jacks (usually 24” or 30”, but some trailers are equipped with 20” or 28” jacks).
  • The dimensions of the mounting plates that secure it to your RV’s frame.
  • The layout of holes in the mounting plate.

Technician Tip: Unless you upgrade all jacks, stay with the same make and model as your existing jacks. This ensures the same stroke, gear ratio, capacity, and operation method. Camping World Retail Specialists can help you find compatible replacement or supplementary scissor jacks for your trailer. Have your trailer’s year, make, and model ready when you call to inquire about scissor jack inventory at your local retail store. 

Explore Camping World’s complete selection of RV stabilizing jacks.

Step 2: Remove Old Jack(s), if Needed

remove-old-how-to-install-scissor-jacks-on-a-travel-trailer-12-2023
Photo by Camping World

With your new jacks ready to install, start by using these steps to remove your old scissor jacks: 

  • Use your socket and drill to remove the damaged jack’s mounting hardware.
  • If your old jacks are secured with self-tapping screws, you may need an impact drill with a nut driver or socket and ratchet wrench to remove them.
  • You may need a second set of hands (or something to hold up the jack) to keep it from falling when you remove the hardware.

Step 3: Prepare to Install the New Jack(s)

We recommend using new mounting hardware over repurposing the old hardware if replacing a damaged scissor jack. If installing new jacks where others weren’t previously mounted, you’ll need to pre-drill mounting holes into your RV’s frame.

Before drilling, measure the distance from the outside of the frame to the mounting locations on existing jacks (if so equipped). Scissor jacks are typically installed near the frame’s outer edge. 

You should also note the approach and departure angles using a string greater than your trailer’s length. Place the string under the tire and pull one end tight to the bottom of the rear bumper. Pull the other tight to the bottom of the front coupler. Then verify the new scissor jack won’t extend past the spring when in the retracted position. This ensures you won’t drag the jacks off in transit. See the image below for a visual example: 

Example of String Test for How To Install Scissor Jacks on a Travel Trailer
Example of String Test

Extend the new jack into the desired position and use a marker to mark the hole locations (usually 3-4 locations) based on the mounting plate layout. Then retract the jack enough to move it aside. 

Drill mounting holes using your power drill and a properly sized drill bit. It won’t hurt to center punch your hole locations before drilling, as you’ll likely be lying on the ground for this step, making it harder to apply pressure to the drill bit to keep it from slipping. Cutting oil also helps when drilling the mounting holes for your new scissor jacks. 

Step 4: Install New Jacks

Now use these steps to install scissor jacks on a travel trailer:

  • Set your new jacks back into place under the pre-drilled mounting locations. 
  • Extend the new stabilizing jacks so they hold themselves in place against the frame. 
  • Install mounting hardware using a ratchet, wrench, and the properly sized socket. Use at least one nut, bolt, and washer set during installation as opposed to all TEK (self-tapping) screws. 
  • Utilize a crank handle to test the operation of your new jacks and ensure they’re fully retracted before moving your RV. 

Technician Tip: Always ensure you have a manual crank handle that fits your jack. Read the owner’s manual that comes with the jack to determine if it is okay to use a power drill to operate the jack. Never use an impact driver.


If you’re uncertain of the right stabilizing jacks to choose for your travel trailer, your local Camping World specialists can help you find what you need. And our service department can even complete the installation for you. 

Find the Camping World location nearest you. 

Have you installed scissor jacks on a travel trailer? Share your tips and advice in the comments below.

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