How to lift a 14.5k lb trailer by hand

After several days at Fort Davis we decided to head east.  So we got around in the morning (takes us forever) but were on schedule to hit the road at 10:00.  One of the last steps is raising the front end of the fifth wheel using the powered landing gear so we can hitch up.  All was going fine until I heard the motor start struggling and then the clutch started clicking and we weren’t going higher.  We were still a few inches from being high enough to hitch up.  So I started investigating and realized that I had sheered a pin off the shaft of the front left landing gear.  So the right leg was trying to do all the work and started getting the trailer cattywompus and bind up the landing gear.  I started thinking “well, at least this is a nice place to stay a few more days”…but at the same time I got into McGyver mode.

I started looking for something I could use as a pin.  Stubby screwdriver?  Nope, didn’t fit.  Some wire?  Doesn’t seem strong enough.  I had some wood screws so I stuck one in and it fid dit!!  I wrapped some electrical tape around it to hold in in place and hit the motor button.  Click click click click.  Crud!!  Then I remembered the guy we bought the trailer from said “don’t loose this bar/crank…its for manually operating the landing gear.  But I sure hope you never have to use it!”  Well, it was my day to use it.  I started cranking…it was HAAAAARD.  And its geared so low you can’t even tell its moving.  But after awhile it started getting easier…”maybe I’d gotten past the binding point!” I thought.  So I hit the button and the sweet sound of a happy motor hummed along as it lifted the trailer.  WHEW!!  By the time the gear was up my screw had been completely chewed up and spit out in 3 pieces. So much for leaving at 10:00…but, we don’t have any schedule or reservations so we just go with the flow!  Glenn came over to say goodbye and wish us well.

We swung by an Ace hardware on the way out of town and I got a couple bolts to use for a more permanent solution.  I installed the new bolt while we filled our guts with lunch at a rest stop on I-10. I think the landing gear is back in business.

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