One man camper loading... using casters on jack stands.

Prybry

Adventurer
#1
I was loading my camper this weekend and thought I should share my idea of adding casters to the camper jack stands to allow one man loading of a light pop-up camper.
I bought casters intended for the bottom of scaffolding. So I just drilled a hole in the foot plate on each jack to fit the shaft of the caster post. Then drilled a cross hole to use a safety lock pin.
The casters are rated for 2000 lbs a piece and my jack stands are rated for 1000# per jack... my camper is only 900# total so I have plenty of safety factor.




Amazon...
http://www.amazon.com/GRIP-scaffold-caster-wheels-tube/dp/B002DIEEBI


This setup lets me roll the camper onto the truck rather than back the truck under the camper... I use a rechargable drill to run the jacks up and down so the whole process takes less than 10 minutes.

I'm very careful when rolling the camper with the jacks fully extended as I'm sure you could twist a jack mounting plate off the camper if you snagged a wheel or something.

The hardset part was drilling the holes in the bottom of the jack legs... finally ended up drilling a rough hole and then hand filed the hole to fit the post.
I did have to remove the brake assembly since it would interfer with the pad on the jack leg. my shop floor is level so I'd never use the brakes anyway.
If you need to use the brakes, you could cut or bend the activation lever to clear the pad.

Once the camper is on the truck, I take the castors off by just pulling the safety pins. If the camper is going for a long trip I take the jacks off too.

When the camper is off the truck I just run the jacks down as short as possible and I can roll the camper around very easily.

One added bonus is that the castors add 8" to the height of the jacks which helps on my lifted truck.

This system has worked great for 2 years now, so I have the bugs worked out...
A heavier camper would undoubtedly take some other precautions.
 

forty2

Adventurer
#4
Good idea. The only thing I'd be wary of is that the camper jacks may not be (and likely are not) as thick walled as scaffolding. Scaffold wheels offset the load placed on them creating a rotational force on the legs with the fulcrum located at the top of the insert. Conversely, the jacks are designed just for a vertical load and not a rotational force. If the jacks are exceptionally light weight it may not take a whole lot of sitting on the wheels to do some damage. Again, I don't know what the jack are made of so it may not be an issue at all, but something to be aware of if the jacks are light weight.
 
#5
Great minds think alike!

I used to back under the camper on the backyard grass, but it always seemed a little crooked in the bed. And shifting a 1200 lb camper on a rubber bed mat just ain't gonna happen. So, I'd make myself crazy manuevering the truck under the camper to get it lined up on the bed.

Then, about five years ago, I had a brainstorm: Back under the camper, drop it on the bed, and cinch down the front turnbuckles enough to to drive onto the asphalt driveway out front. I then used three-wheel furniture casters under the Happijacs, raised the camper an inch, or so, and...wahlah, I could move the camper in small increments for a perfect install.

To describe these casters, think of a 3-pointed star with round points and a small caster on each point. The Happijac's round foot nestles perfectly in the gizmo's stamped steel body. Each caster assembly is rated at 300 lbs.

I just used the casters New Year's Day down here in North Carolina where I now keep the camper (and Lund boat) on a 34-foot covered pad. Now all I have to do is pull out the boat, let the jacks down on the casters, and roll the camper onto the truck.

I've got pics somewhere; will post if I find them.

Re the strength of the jacks, they are very heavy and incredibly strong.

Bucky
 
#6
Casters on the bottom of the camper jacks are great! Been doing it since i got my Northstar.
Can move my camper across the driveway and into my garage solo--- easily!


Be cautious to chock the casters when unloading camper from truck cuz it can/will shift or roll a bit and could hit your truck or head down the driveway.
Also dont roll the camper around with jacks extended. Lower it as low as it will go then move it around. High center of gravity and alot of leverage on your jack arms. SAFETY first.
Dont buy underrated casters- alot of weight ends up on each caster at any given moment. I folded 3 600lb casters while rolling- not fun.

Here are the ones i am currently using. they have a large 5" wheel and 1K load rating http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_40252_40252 - cheap and strong. two mount holes line up with the foot, other two i sandwich with a 1/4" plate over the foot.
 
#8
Excellent Idea...It reminds me of the Pods Storage Containers



Can you tell us a little more about the aluminum steps you have mounted on the back of your camper. I am looking to build steps for mine and I really like the setup you have. More pictures please.
Thanks

 
#10
Genius. Now if only I had a nice flat, smooth garage slab, instead of a sloping driveway. I do plan to utilize this trick both to work on it in a friend's warehouse, as well as an easier way to correct for imperfect loading.


Thanks for sharing.
 

Prybry

Adventurer
#11
Tellturns....

I started a new thread on the heavy duty steps.... should give you what you need.. if not let me know.

Prybry
 
#12
On the topic of moving camper. I've a sloping drive way, there is no way I can push the camper up into garage once it's unload from the truck. I've been looking for a hand winch/come-a-long/boat winch that I can use to pull/lower the camper from garage. Most hand winch/come-a-long are setup to pull not letdown. Boat winch can do pull and letdown but it's going to be very slow pulling the camper up a 20ft drive way. Warn pullzall looks promising but it cost $200! Anyone has any suggestion/experience with winching camper into garage?

Thanks!
 

Prybry

Adventurer
#13
On the topic of moving camper. I've a sloping drive way, there is no way I can push the camper up into garage once it's unload from the truck. I've been looking for a hand winch/come-a-long/boat winch that I can use to pull/lower the camper from garage. Most hand winch/come-a-long are setup to pull not letdown. Boat winch can do pull and letdown but it's going to be very slow pulling the camper up a 20ft drive way. Warn pullzall looks promising but it cost $200! Anyone has any suggestion/experience with winching camper into garage?

Thanks!
Put the winch on your truck and use a snatch block on the wall... just make sure the wall is rigid enough to take the load!
 
Last edited:
#14
:sombrero: Winch on truck is great but that'll never fly with wife. I should clarify a little. Any cheaper than $200 option to pull/lower camper into garage. :ylsmoke:
 
Top