Why Is My Power Tongue Jack Not Working?

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.

Many RVers love the ease of a power tongue jack over the physical cranking of a manual tongue jack. However, the downside is having an additional electric motor with an added risk of failing. If it does, or other issues arise, you’ll find yourself asking, “Why is my power tongue jack not working?”

If your travel trailer has a power tongue jack, you need to know how to troubleshoot it. Let’s explore simple checks you can do yourself and identify when you’ll know to take your RV to a service center

Check for Power to the Tongue Jack

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Photo by Camping World

Most tongue jacks have a light that displays when there’s power to the unit. Ensure the switch is turned to the ON position and check that the light turns on. However, that small light only requires a small amount of power. The electric motor requires more power to operate the tongue jack. 

So, if you turn the power tongue jack’s switch to the ON position and the light doesn’t come on, you potentially have two issues. Either the bulb has simply burnt out, or the unit isn’t getting enough power. 

It’s easiest to check the status of the latter first. Do so by checking the operation of other 12-volt components, such as your interior lights or power awning. If those components aren’t working, there’s a good chance you have a dead battery.  

If they are working, but your power tongue jack won’t extend or retract, it’s possible it’s simply not getting enough power. So you can move on to the next check to determine if a lack of power is your major issue. 

Plug into your Tow Vehicle

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Photo by Camping World

Next, you can plug your trailer’s 7-pin connector into your tow vehicle and start its engine. This will pull power from the alternator through the charge feed line to power the tongue jack. 

If this works, there are a few issues that could be present: 

  1. The battery that powers the tongue jack isn’t being charged in transit.
  2. The converter isn’t charging the battery.
  3. The battery has been discharged so fully that it’s no longer taking charge.

If the power tongue jack works when connected to your tow vehicle but no longer operates once you disconnect, move on to the next check. 

Check the Power Tongue Jack’s Fuse or Mini Breaker

mini-breaker-troubleshooting-your-power-tongue-jack-05-2023
Photo by Camping World

Most power tongue jacks have a single power cord running from the head of the unit down and along the trailer frame to a mini breaker or fuse. There’s only a single cord because the unit is grounded through the bolts into the frame. 

Follow that power cord down and back until you locate the fuse or mini breaker. If you find a fuse, pull it and check that it isn’t broken. If it is broken, replace the fuse with one of equal amperage. 

Trace your power cord back. If you locate a mini breaker, you’ll need a multimeter for testing. With your multimeter in hand, here are your testing steps: 

  1. Ensure the battery is fully charged or the trailer is connected to a running tow vehicle. A fully charged lead acid battery should read 12.6 volts DC, and a fully charged lithium battery should be around 14.4 volts DC. 
  2. Set the multimeter to the Volts DC setting. 
  3. Test by placing the negative lead on a known ground and the positive lead on the BAT side of the breaker to confirm power to the breaker. 
  4. Test again by keeping the negative lead on a known ground and moving the positive lead to the AUX side of the breaker. 
  5. Compare the readings to confirm power passes through the breaker with minimal drop. Most tongue jacks should work at voltages above 10.6 volts DC as measured while the jack is running. 
  6. If testing properly and finding a significant power drop from the BAT side to the AUX side, you may need to replace the breaker.

Technician Tip: The BAT label designates the stud for your power connection. The AUX label designates the stud for connecting the auxiliary device the breaker will protect.

When It’s Time to Take your RV to a Service Center

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Photo by Camping World

If you’ve eliminated issues with your RV’s 12-volt system – battery charge, converter output, breaker output – you may be dealing with an electrical or mechanical issue inside the power tongue jack. 

Some common examples include loose internal spade connections, faulty switches, or a failed motor. 

Regardless of the exact cause of the problem, it’s time to bring your RV into a service center to have your tongue jack inspected. 

Contact a Camping World service center to schedule an appointment.

How to Manually Operate a Power Tongue Jack

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Photo by Camping World

With your appointment time scheduled, you’ll still face the challenge of retracting your tongue jack to tow it safely. You’ll need your jack’s manual crank handle to accomplish this. 

With that crank in hand, here are your next steps: 

  1. Remove the rubber cover on top of the tongue jack. *Some jacks have the manual crank spur on the side. 
  2. Insert the crank handle onto the top of the driveshaft and turn counterclockwise to retract the jack leg. Reverse direction if you need to extend the jack for any reason. *Some jacks crank counterclockwise to extend.

If you experience significant resistance or your tongue jack simply won’t move when attempting to operate it manually, you could have a more significant mechanical failure. Examples include a bent ram tube that prevents the jack from sliding into the housing tube or a bad thrust bearing or bevel gear inside the unit itself. 

Technician Tip: When experiencing a failure to retract, soil, gravel, or asphalt may have compacted inside the tube if a jack foot was not used. This can be chiseled out with a hammer and a long screwdriver while the unit is elevated on a jack stand. If the jack is difficult to operate in either direction, you may be able to remove the top cover or cap to expose the main shaft. Applying lubricant may restore functionality.

Beyond lubricating to restore functionality, more significant mechanical issues aren’t repairable, and you’ll need to replace your trailer’s power tongue jack. 


Here are a few more resources to help you troubleshoot other parts of your RV: 

Stumped with a power tongue jack issue? Drop us a comment and we’ll get back to your ASAP.

  • Comment (16)
  • Carl Warner says:

    My jack will rause uo but will not lower. I can lower it manually with no problems. It us as though there is no power going to the jack to lower it. Like I said, it will raise with no problem.

    • Hi Carl,

      Can you tell me more about any troubleshooting you’ve already tried and any results you’ve gotten?

      You can also call our Technical Service Hotline at 1-866-838-5304 if you’re looking for more immediate assistance.

      Hoping to get a little more info so I can hopefully point you towards a solution. Thanks!

  • Sigbert All III says:

    I have brand new power tongue jack lippert brand went to far up with it and won’t work electrically now can manual work it is there a fuse inside casing

    • Hi there!

      Apologies for the delayed reply, as we were awaiting insights from our technical service team. Here are their thoughts:

      There should be an ATC 30 amp fuse in the black rubber fuse holder on the red power wire leading from the battery to the jack, as indicated in the attached photo from Lippert.Lippert Tongue Jack

      Hope that helps, but let us know if you have any follow up questions!

  • Amy Lewis says:

    From your experience, what damage can exposure to rain cause on a power tongue jack? Our trailer is new and we usually cover the jack with a waterproof cover. On a recent trip we got pretty heavy rain for two days and we forgot to put the cover on. When we went to pull out of camp, the power jack would not go up or down and the light doesn’t work. We were able to use the jack manually. What I know is that the 20amp resettable fuse was blown. I replaced it with a new one, turned the trailer battery on, and still the jack doesn’t seem to have any power. When the battery is on, I do hear the resettable fuse clicking, every 10 seconds or so. I turned the battery off so the fuse wouldn’t blow again. Could the rain in that short period of time shorted out the switch or circuit board in the jack? What would cause the fuse to keep trying to reset?

    • Hi Amy,

      My apologies for the delay. I wanted to reach out to our technical service team to get their insights. Here’s their reply:

      “In this case, it sounds as though water intrusion is a definite possibility. While not common, water and moisture intrusion can happen. The fuse or circuit breaker constantly trying to reset could be indicating a short in the system after the over current protection device (fuse / circuit breaker).”

      Personally, I’d recommend contacting our service center to schedule an electrical diagnostic for your tongue jack: https://rv.campingworld.com/rv-service-maintenance

      Let me know if you have any follow up questions!

  • Robin Reed says:

    I’ve tried it hooked to my truck and unhooked. It doesn’t change. I keep my camper plugged into a 50 amp service at home and it want work right then either.

  • Robin Reed says:

    I’ve got a 2019 coachmen 324rlds freedom express. It has a BAL SS 5.1 Stabilizing system tongue jack. When I flip the switch to extend it will only raise the tongue a few inches. If I wait a little bit and push the button again it goes up a few more inches. I’ve replaced the switch but it didn’t help.

  • Debby Van Matre says:

    A friend raised my jack passed the white tape until it stopped. Now my jack won’t lower by power or by manual. Is it broken or is there a way to lower it?

    • Hi Debby,

      Sorry for the delay, but I wanted to reach out to our technical service team to get their insight. Here’s their reply:

      Hopefully, it has simply been jammed too tightly at the end of the stroke range. In this case, you may be able to break it free with the manual operation handle. After freeing it up, check the inline jack fuse since it may have blow when it got stuck.

      Beyond that, you may need to schedule a service appointment to have it inspected: https://rv.campingworld.com/rv-service-maintenance

      Let us know if you have any follow up questions!

  • Brandon p allen says:

    Sure wish I had a manually operated jack. Only used the jack once when bring trailer to storage after buying it. Jack worked once, and I have to manually lower and raise it.

  • Jason says:

    My jack rotates the nut on the top clockwise and counter-clockwise but the foot and shaft are free and can be moved with your hand up and down. There is a disconnect between the two. I do not have a power issue. It is a mechanical failure. Is there a nut that attaches the shaft to the gearbox.

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