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Alko Chassis and Trolley Jacks


Simple Life
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All I want to do is lift one side of the caravan so I can rotate the wheel to attach the Alko wheel lock.

My simple question is:-

 

Can I put the trolley jack lifting head, with rubber insert, straight onto the Alko chassis rail ?

 

The rubber insert fits into the cup of the head giving a flat protective surface that lifts.

 

I've read via search previous posts about jacking but havnt found an answer to this question.

Edited by Simple Life
Age!
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I use a trolley jack placed carefully under the Alko chassis, without any problems.

(I'll be interested to see the other replies!)

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I have used a trolley jack, but only under the end of the axle and not under the chassis itself.  I think it would be okay to jack the chassis close to the axle, say about a foot away but I've never tried it.  The Alko scissor jack brackets are mounted fairly close to the axle.  Do Alko say anything in any of their literature?

John.

Edited by Leedslad
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from what I have read jacking via the chassis is a no no despite as mentioned Al ko jacking points are fitted to the chassis. I guess location is key, close to axle or far away.

I would either use the Al ko jacking points or the axle close to the chassis

 

macafee2

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It's not good to lift the van on the chassis where the Al-Ko jacking bracket would be.   Even though the channel section at that point is strong enough the Al-Ko jacking bracket has an L shaped piece at the top which rests on the caravan floor, this L shaped piece is to stop the channel section twisting outwards from the bottom where your jack sits, it can't twist inwards due to the shape of the channel section also facing inwards. The other issue is you could bend the the lower edge of the channel section.

I have made my own jacking brackets as the Al-ko ones don't seem to be manufactured very well, plus expensive for a couple of bits of folded metal.

Mine are made from 50 x 6mm flat bar with a 25mm L shaped piece welded at the top to stop the chassis twisting outwards, also the flat bar protrudes by 20mm beyond the chassis at the bottom so you are not lifting on the lower edge of the channel section.  The mounting point is the same as the Al-Ko bracket, by two M10 bolts using the pre-drilled chassis holes.

If you have no lifing brackets fitted I would only lift on the axle beam as the chassis can be very easily damaged by jacking in the wrong place.  The only issue using the axle beam is it's hard to get the jack underneath.   

If you bought or made jacking brackets using the Al-Ko chassis jacking points you could any type of jack, as you are lifting from exactly the same point as you would with a genuine Al-Ko jack, probably a tad safer with a trolley jack opposed to the Al-Ko jack, especially if not connected to the car, as the van can pivot on the opposite wheel and roll of the Al-Ko jack.    

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You can jack the caravan up with a trolley jack provided you lift under the reinforced chassis where the caravan axle is bolted to the chassis. Look under your caravan behind the wheel and you will see what I mean is obvious.  In any case, you should jack the wheel up while the caravan is still attached to the car so that there is no risk of the caravan pivoting and falling off the jack.

I appreciate that you didn’t ask about using the ALKO wheel lock, but I use one and never ever have to jack up to rotate the wheel. It’s a doddle to fit if you do it the right way. I’d be happy to explained if you want?

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I've used a trolley jack on two occasions myself and the mobile tech' that does our annual service does the same thing. The tech' and I both put the jack under the axle without any packing.  

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50 minutes ago, Flying Grandad said:

I've used a trolley jack on two occasions myself and the mobile tech' that does our annual service does the same thing. The tech' and I both put the jack under the axle without any packing.  

The OP is asking about jacking up on the chassis not the axle

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Using rubber pad stops any marks but the issue is the chassis is made from 3 mm material that has no strength when a force is applied to a small area . The chassis could buckle and also lifting at one point can twist the chassis and twist the caravan structure opening seals . Always jack under the axle as the caravan and chassis is designed to take the weight on the axle .

 

Even more important if under warranty as a damaged chassis could cause issues if evidenced that it has been jacked incorrectly .

 

Dave

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Good advice from commanderdave.

Use the approved jacking points or the axle or the reinforced area as per Ern.

An owners manual for an older caravan I once had said as much.

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Thanks to all for replies.  

We are on a seasonal pitch and the site require the caravan within the hardstanding, as such we have no wiggle room to attach the Alko lock with jacking being the only option.

I've looked at the Kojak which seems better than the Alko scissor lift, but being a tight Yorkshire man I'm hoping my spare cheapo trolley jack would do.

Twisting outwards of the chassis never occurred to me so thanks for that information.

Next weekend is jacking day so I will report back.

I've no intention of attaching the caravan to car too much faff.   I will be using the mover! If I was changing a wheel then that would be another story.

 

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I jack mine behind the wheel on the strengthened bit, no problems, just take care and be aware that the caravan could slip off the jack ;)

Paul B

. .......Mondeo Estate & Elddis Avanté 505 (Tobago)

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As AL-KO told me back in 2013, recommended jacking point is under the L-shaped axle bracket. Ok, the photo shows a t/a set up but the same bracket/s are on s/a 'vans.

Depending on how high you need to lift the 'van, just remember that a trolley jack needs to move on its wheels as the lifting part goes up, otherwise you're not lifting vertically and the 'van will start to move away from the trolley jack cup. Made this mistake only once when the 'van dropped off the trolley jack.

 

003 - Copy (2).JPG

Edited by Pebble
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As others have said the chassis can get distorted by jacking under the bottom flange.    My own method is to use a scissor jack in conjunction with Alko brackets.    I've made up a small device which slots into the bottom of the bracket but also sits in a groove in the jack head.  

P1010894.JPG.e475eda7661ca82198f2206ffc1d0baa.JPG

Citroen C5-X7 Tourer+Avondale Rialto 480/2
https://jondogoescaravanning.com

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Well I've taken all the advice on board, looked under the caravan at the chassis, decided it would be too much trouble to use the trolley jack at the points recommended, we have a mover fitted forwards of the wheels, so went down to the caravan shop and bought the Kojak jacking kit.   £81

Looks ok apart from the rubbish handle. Fit it Saturday

Cheers again for the advice.

Edited by Simple Life
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The danger when lifting one wheel if the caravan isn't attached to the car is that you have to lift the caravan body quite high to take up the suspension. As the weight of the caravan is lifted, the centre of gravity is moving and this can cause the jockey wheel to roll laterally. if this happens you will not control it. When one wheel is lifted the wheel on the ground can still swivel whether its braked or not.   As the caravan swivels the jack will rock and possible collapse sideways. Been there! Got the tee shirt!

 

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14 hours ago, Ern said:

The danger when lifting one wheel if the caravan isn't attached to the car is that you have to lift the caravan body quite high to take up the suspension. As the weight of the caravan is lifted, the centre of gravity is moving and this can cause the jockey wheel to roll laterally. if this happens you will not control it. When one wheel is lifted the wheel on the ground can still swivel whether its braked or not.   As the caravan swivels the jack will rock and possible collapse sideways. Been there! Got the tee shirt!

 

Yes I understand the risk.  

What we are doing this year is using a seasonal pitch but also taking the caravan off site 4 times a year, so the problem we have is locating the caravan onto the hardstanding so there is no overhang when the alko lock is used, a piece of kit I wont compramise on, which would cause the "Grass Cutters" issues.

When it comes to the van I hate hassle and time spent setting it up, that's why I've dumped the trolley jack idea, as posters here have suggested where to jack without damage to chassis, for me to get to that point from the rear of the wheel is way under the van, therefore too much trouble.

We have had our first weekend away and it's interesting the diferent kind of problems a seasonal pitch has brought, this being just one. Our van length wise just fits on, so we are either too big, or the pitch too small but that's what we chose.

The other issue slightly off topic is how to equip it, mainly with personal stuff so we can leave home with only having to pack fresh food ( only bringing food because wife works in a supermarket ), clothes and clean towels, the cupboards are stocked with toiletries, make up, basic food stuff, even the dog has a caravan bed, the aim is to have it like a second home, just turn up open the door and instant relaxation, to that point when we left yesterday the inside is as if we where still in residence, so next Saturday morning on arrival we, well I, can plug into mains, water and drain and that's the van set up! (Fully serviced pitch). The other issue is our water pipe is way too long as is the EHU lead, so I've ordered for the water pipe a brass straight coupler and connectors,so I will cut the pipe to the exact length for the pitch, and  plug and socket for the lead with the same intent. This means a neater pitch but also a quicker set up and pack up time, just going to dump all in the front locker. A straight waste coupler from Wickes will join the caravan waste pipe on itself to stop any crud coming out.

 

All good fun. I think 😀😀😀

Edited by Simple Life
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Oh I forgot to add I will take some paving flags,  they are not huge, I have 5, but I want to try jacking up without it attached to the car as I motor mover it onto the pitch.

So plan A would be what? All 5 slabs at the jockey wheel? 

I have some block paving bricks too, perhaps one each side of the opposite caravan wheel? I can cut them into wedges if you all think that would be a good idea?

I suppose I can then use the flags under the corner steadys, hmm sounds good and not too time consuming to do.

Edited by Simple Life
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15 hours ago, Simple Life said:

Well I've taken all the advice on board, looked under the caravan at the chassis, decided it would be too much trouble to use the trolley jack at the points recommended, we have a mover fitted forwards of the wheels, so went down to the caravan shop and bought the Kojak jacking kit.   £81

Looks ok apart from the rubbish handle. Fit it Saturday

Cheers again for the advice.

I bought one of those the other week (€85 Obelink), took 10 mins to fit and torque up. Looks the part but hope I'll never have to use it.

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2 hours ago, Simple Life said:

Yes I understand the risk.  

What we are doing this year is using a seasonal pitch but also taking the caravan off site 4 times a year, so the problem we have is locating the caravan onto the hardstanding so there is no overhang when the alko lock is used, a piece of kit I wont compramise on, which would cause the "Grass Cutters" issues.

When it comes to the van I hate hassle and time spent setting it up, that's why I've dumped the trolley jack idea, as posters here have suggested where to jack without damage to chassis, for me to get to that point from the rear of the wheel is way under the van, therefore too much trouble.

We have had our first weekend away and it's interesting the diferent kind of problems a seasonal pitch has brought, this being just one. Our van length wise just fits on, so we are either too big, or the pitch too small but that's what we chose.

The other issue slightly off topic is how to equip it, mainly with personal stuff so we can leave home with only having to pack fresh food ( only bringing food because wife works in a supermarket ), clothes and clean towels, the cupboards are stocked with toiletries, make up, basic food stuff, even the dog has a caravan bed, the aim is to have it like a second home, just turn up open the door and instant relaxation, to that point when we left yesterday the inside is as if we where still in residence, so next Saturday morning on arrival we, well I, can plug into mains, water and drain and that's the van set up! (Fully serviced pitch). The other issue is our water pipe is way too long as is the EHU lead, so I've ordered for the water pipe a brass straight coupler and connectors,so I will cut the pipe to the exact length for the pitch, and  plug and socket for the lead with the same intent. This means a neater pitch but also a quicker set up and pack up time, just going to dump all in the front locker. A straight waste coupler from Wickes will join the caravan waste pipe on itself to stop any crud coming out.

 

All good fun. I think 😀😀😀

That sound great. I would want the installation "spot on" too if I used a seasonal pitch. Here's  an idea for you which you may be able to use - As its a seasonal pitch why not dig a small hole say 6" deep (which you can repair perfectly at the end of the season) for the jockey wheel. motor moving into position should be precise and the hole will be in the right place every time. When your jockey wheel has dropped into the hole, jack up for the wheel lock and be confident the jockey wheel cannot swing round. This is jut an idea which may remove the safety hazard and make life easier.

 

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Ok so the Kojack is fitted and had its first use.

Well fitting it on my own was an absolute pain, extra pair of hands would have been good.  

So all I did was apply the motor mover, place a paving flag under the near side jacking point and lift away. Lifted the caravan just enough to rotate the one wheel so I could fit the Alko lock.

I did notice that when I lowered the van back down the wheel rotated and has probably caused the lock threads to be too solid to undo without moving the caravan first.

But anyway in use the kojack is a doddle, the brackets could have done with ridges moulded in to hold the bolt heads, which would have made single person instalation a lot easier.

For £81 the kojack is a worthwhile addition to my kit.

Whilst under the van having read what others have said about the viability of using a trolley jack direct on the chassis, I had a good look and could actually move the chassis members with a firm push of one hand, so all in all I think using a trolley jack isn't advisable.

Edited by Simple Life
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  • 2 weeks later...

I also looked at the Kojack but didn't need the bottle jack that comes with it as I already have a couple. The other thing was I wanted the bracket to be able to use a scissor jack as well as the bottle jack, so it protrudes 20mm beyond the chassis rail.

Due to the weight the bottle jack it will stay at home and be used for when I put the van up on axle stands between trips or for maintenance, this only takes seconds to lift the van as it's a 3 ton jack.

The scissor jack lives in the AlKo wheel lock bag in the front locker and will be used in case of a puncture and to level the van on a side sloping pitch.   The issue with using any hydraulic jack for the sloping pitch is they all tend to creep after a day or so, I have also seen some reports of the Kojack bottle jack having had some oil seal issues due to the complex telescopic piston arrangement.

If anyone is interested in making a pair (50 x 6 mm flat bar and a welding set) Let me know and I will add the drawings with the sizes later.

 

Jack1.jpg

Jack2.jpg

Jack3.jpg

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Can you still get the spare wheel and hanger out from underneath the van with the brackets protruding under the chassis?

Mine is an "only just" with a fully inflated tyre, and I'd have no chance of getting the spare out with a flat without jacking up, and with the brackets there, it would be a bit of a conundrum!

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Would love to see the drawings for the brackets I have been thinking of making some for a while but haven't got round to doing the measurements yet!

J

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46 minutes ago, AlwynMike said:

Can you still get the spare wheel and hanger out from underneath the van with the brackets protruding under the chassis?

Mine is an "only just" with a fully inflated tyre, and I'd have no chance of getting the spare out with a flat without jacking up, and with the brackets there, it would be a bit of a conundrum!

The jacking bracket uses the same pre-drilled Alko chassis jack mounting holes, yes it's a tad tight but it will come out with an inflated tyre, but if you drop the front of the van by winding up the jockey you get plenty of clearance, obviously the spare  won't come out with a flat tyre without jacking as the spare wheel carrier hits the ground when you try to slide it out,

With a punctured wheel as soon as the tyre is jacked clear of the ground you get plenty of clearance as the jack raises the back of the van where the spare wheel carrier is located, however if you had a puncture on the nearside then the curb could be an issue for sliding out the carrier, but that would be the same however it was jacked up, you would just have to pick the right spot before you start.

We used to have a 2004 Avondale Argente and the spare was in a well sunk in the van floor which you accessed via a trap door in the van, the spare was always like new, plus you could also put your cans of beer in there to keep them cool.  

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