How To Jack/Block/Level Up A 38' Park Model?

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How To Jack/Block/Level Up A 38' Park Model?

Postby Dave1 » Sat Mar 13, 2010 8:35 am

First post.

What is the proper way to jack up and raise, block up, and level an older (1989) 38 foot park model RV trailer for a permanent installation?

I have seen it done three ways. 1) lower tongue jack as low as possible raising the rear of the trailer, block the rear of the trailer, raise tongue jack to raise front of trailer, block and level. 2)starting at one end using two jacks, jack up one end of the home, place pads/blocks, etc. and working your way from one end of the trailer to the other. 3)the other way I have seen it done is to use 3 or 4 jacks and jack up one side of the home 8" (one concrete block height) at a time, then move jacks to the other side of the home, jack that side up and block, alternating from one side of the home to the other until the desired height is reached.

With an older and weakened from age trailer, I am worried about stressing the home, possibly opening leaks in the roof, etc., so I want to be careful and get if jacked up, blocked, and leveled without excessive stress or excessive "bending" of the home so to speak from side to side or end to end.

What is the best type of jack for this purpose, auto style floor jack, bottle style hydraulic jack??

Thanks for any information.

Dave
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Re: How To Jack/Block/Level Up A 38' Park Model?

Postby Greg » Sat Mar 13, 2010 9:45 am

Hi & welcome. Depending on the weight of the home I would use a hyd. bottle jack I would guess a 10 ton minimum ( I use 20 ton on full size mobiles) you may need more than one.

If you are putting it on blocks you may want to make cement pier supports in the ground before you place the trailer, this will keep the blocks from sinking and shifting if your ground freezes.

You should be able to start by leveling it by eye with the tongue jack with it fully on the ground before you start blocking it up. You really should not have to go up too high off of the ground more than a few inches unless you want more room should you need to work under it. I don't like to jack any spot more than a few inches at a time to keep from damaging the interior walls. You will need hardwood blocks & shims when you do the final level. Use a water level to make sure it is level, a carpenter's level does not work over long spans.

Mark, the site owner has a book that covers leveling a mobile home available in the Books & parts section. Greg
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Re: How To Jack/Block/Level Up A 38' Park Model?

Postby Dave1 » Sat Mar 13, 2010 10:08 am

I am in Central Florida so frozen ground is not an issue. Most mobile homes I have seen have been blocked using a 4" thick by 16" square concrete pad and 8"x16" concrete blocks, and 1x6 or 2x6 boards between the frame and concrete block. I am not sure why, but many have the concrete blocks and boards positioned crosswise/perpendicular to the trailer frame.

My main concern is how to jack the trailer up without stressing the walls as you mentioned and/or the roof. In my installation, I will need to raise the trailer about 14"-18" to get the 4" thick pads, 1 or 2 8" block(s), and boards under it. It seems like using multiple jacks and raising one side of the trailer xx inches at a time would be best as that would seem to not bend the trailer excessively at any one jacking point.

Would two hydraulic bottle jacks positioned a little ways in front of and behind the trailer axles safely lift the trailer on that side without causing excessive bending/flexing of the frame, walls, roof, etc.?

Thanks, Dave
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Re: How To Jack/Block/Level Up A 38' Park Model?

Postby Greg » Sat Mar 13, 2010 1:30 pm

I would use 2 jacks as you said. If it is movable, could you build a set of hardwood ramps and get it on the ramps to gain some of the height? Is there any code requiring a tie down system? Greg
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Re: How To Jack/Block/Level Up A 38' Park Model?

Postby Dave1 » Sat Mar 13, 2010 5:21 pm

The trailer is being placed on private property and there is no permit or inspection required, no code, etc. Just want to do a good job and not cause myself any problems, leaks, etc.

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Re: How To Jack/Block/Level Up A 38' Park Model?

Postby Yanita » Sun Mar 14, 2010 9:10 pm

You may not have to follow any town/city codes...but check with your insurance company, sometimes they have rules/regs that need to be adhered to.

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Re: How To Jack/Block/Level Up A 38' Park Model?

Postby Harry » Mon Mar 15, 2010 3:40 pm

Hi Dave

I'm in central Florida also. Citrus county. Here you can not install a park model on private land. The smallest MH allowed here on private land is 600 square feet. Park models are allowed in MH/RV parks only. I would check with the county.

My 2 cents.

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Re: How To Jack/Block/Level Up A 38' Park Model?

Postby Dave1 » Mon Mar 15, 2010 7:38 pm

Thanks for all of the replies and information. Just for clarification, my question is about the technical aspect of how is the best way to jack up, block, and level the trailer. My concern is this being an older RV park model trailer (1989), I don't want to excessively bend/flex the trailer during the jack up process because that can pull and separate roof joints (causing leaks), loosen interior walls, etc.

Dave
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Re: How To Jack/Block/Level Up A 38' Park Model?

Postby Harry » Tue Mar 16, 2010 7:53 am

Hi Dave

Two 10 ton bottle jacks should do it. I would use jack plates to protect the beams.

Here's a copy of a popular manufacturers installation manual for single wides as it pertains to jacking.

The jacking procedure is as follows:

1. After the home is located in its fi nal position, you can
preliminarily level it by using the hitch jack but only after adequately
wheel blocking the home so it does not roll.

2. Jack up one side of the home by placing one jack just
forward of the front spring hanger and the other just behind
the rear spring hanger. These two jacks must be operated
simultaneously to raise the home. Jack low side of the home
fi rst. Install footings and piers; one just forward of the front
jack and another just behind the rear jack (taking care not to
exceed the correct spacing selected from Table 1 or 2).

3. Next, jack the main I-beam at the front and position a pier
within 2’-0” of the end of the I-beam. At the completion of this
step, this side of the home should be approximately level.

4. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 for the other side of the home. At
the completion of this step, the home should be roughly level
from front to rear and from side to side.

5. Place the remaining pier supports under the main I-beam
on each side taking care to maintain a maximum distance of
no more than the spacing determined from Tables 1 or 2 with
piers located with 2”-0” of each end of each I-beam.

6. Level the home within reasonable tolerances, using a 6
foot carpenter’s level, water level, or similar equipment. The
fi nal height adjustment is obtained by jacking the I-beam
and placing hardwood shims between the piers and I-beam,
or other approved methods such as adjustable piers. THIS
LEVELING PROCESS IS IMPORTANT FOR APPEARANCE
AND IS ESSENTIAL FOR THE PROPER OPERATION OF
DOORS, WINDOWS, AND THE DRAINAGE SYSTEM.

7. Place additional supports at each side of sidewall door and
window openings over 4’0” wide.

8. Within 90 days after initial set-up, the home should be
releveled, if necessary to compensate for any pier settlement.

Hope this helps.

Harry
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