Replacing just the wheel
Firstly, if you just wish to replace the actual wheel rather than the whole assembly, then first check the following (as shown in the two photos below).
If you’re still happy to proceed then you will first need to place an axel stand under the hitch, then carefully wind your jockey wheel up so that the weight of your caravan is supported by the axel stand. You will then need to remove the split pin that secures the tube that passes through the wheel. After sliding this tube out, the wheel should then slide out also…
When refitting with your pneumatic wheel, it may be worth re-fitting a new split pin at the same time. The photo above was taken after I started to tap out the split pin, as you can see it has caused it to deform slightly. Perhaps an ‘R’ clip might be a better option?
Replacing with a complete new jockey wheel
Having decided to fit a complete new jockey wheel, here’s how I did it…
First, I measured the diameter of the shaft of my jockey wheel, as jockey wheels come in various sizes. Mine had a shaft diameter of 48mm…
So off I trundled to my nearest parts supplier and purchased a suitable AL-KO jockey wheel for £39.
On returning home I ensured my caravans’ rear steadies were fully retracted. I then needed to raise the front of my caravan so I lifted the a-frame up and slid an axel stand under the hitch. You may need someone to help you with the lifting, depending on the weight of your caravan and your own physical strength…
Removing your jockey wheel
There are two ways to remove your jockey wheel.
- Sliding it out from below the a-frame as a whole unit
- Separating the two halves of the jockey wheel
If you are lucky (as I was) then you will find that after releasing the jockey wheel clamp, the whole assembly can be lowered through the hole in the a-frame (a little jiggery-pokery may be needed to feed the handle through). You may find that you have to raise the a-frame a little higher to give sufficient ground clearance for the jockey wheel and handle to be passed through the hole.
If yours won’t feed through, then simply loosen off the clamp and lift the jockey wheel up high, then re-tighten the clamp. Now simply unwind the jockey wheel handle until the bottom half eventually drops away to the ground. Then, loosen off the clamp again and lift out the upper half. You have now removed your jockey wheel
As you can see from the photo below, the jockey wheel is greased internally, so wearing a pair of disposable latex gloves is recommended before handling.
The two photos above and below show the two separate halves of my new jockey wheel once the handle has been fully unwound. You can see that the upper half has a threaded rod then simply threads into the lower half, it’s as simple as that.
Fitting your new jockey wheel
You may lucky enough to find that your new jockey wheel will feed up (handle first) as a complete unit through you’re a-frame hole. Unfortunately mine wouldn’t, so I had to separate the two halves of my new jockey wheel by fully unwinding the handle (see above).
I lowered the upper half down into the a-frame hole and secured it in place with the clamp. Then, from below I slid the lower half up, and into the upper half. Whilst holding it in place I slowly wound the handle until I felt the threaded rod bite into the lower half, then I kept winding the handle until it was positioned as needed.
Ensuring the clamp handle was tightly engaged, I lifted the front of my caravan by its hitch and removed the axel stand, before gently lowering the caravan back to the ground. Again, get someone to help with lifting the front of your caravan if required.
Here’s my newly fitted pneumatic jockey wheel…
With the pneumatic wheel now taking the weight of my caravan I noticed the tyre looked a little low of pressure, so I pumped a little air into it using my Joe Blow bicycle pump.
Some Caravan Talk members have informed me that they have sometimes found their pneumatic jockey wheel tyres have deflated whilst the van is in store. To frustrate things further, some have found that it is difficult to attach a pump onto their tyre valve due to restricted space between the valve and the wheel forks, requiring them to have a different inner tube fitted that incorporates an angled valve.
I guess only time will tell as to whether I suffer with similar tyre deflation problems. However, as far as pumping up my tyre goes, I have found that the tyre valve on my AL-KO jockey wheel easily pulls away from the wheel, allowing me to attach my ‘Joe Blow’ bicycle pump onto it. So far so good!
Thanks for reading.
LeadFarmer, Caravan Talk Author