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

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008

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

    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.


    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.
    "Young enough to know it all, Old enough to know better"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Sunnyvale, CA
    Thanks for posting this. Great info. I've been wanting a setup like this for a long time.
    My 06 Tacoma with ATC Bobcat

    Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear. - Mark Twain

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Republik of Kalifornia
    Very cool.
    A camp proper is a nomads biding place. He may occupy it for a season or only for a single night, according as the site and its surroundings please or do not please the wanderers whim- Horace Kephart.
    ETAV8R's Build-The Gini

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    North Olympic Peninsula
    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. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    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.

    2004 Four Wheel Campers Hawk

    2012 GMC Sierra 1500 SLE ext. cab, standard bed
    5.3L V8, 4x4, Z71 off-road package
    TorkLift Quick Disconnect StableLoads

    "When you come to a fork in the road, take it!" - Yogi Berra

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    E. Sierras
    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 - cheap and strong. two mount holes line up with the foot, other two i sandwich with a 1/4" plate over the foot.
    '87 4runner
    '10 4runner
    '10 Tundra/NorthStar650TC
    CRF450x Plated
    NEW TOY!! '08 4runnerV8Ltd.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    On the move...
    Stellar post, Prybry. Thanks!
    Alright, this is just fancy car camping, people. Move along, move along.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Pagosa Springs, CO
    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.

    1993 Dodge W250 CUMMINS 4x4
    1985 Toyota FJ60 Landcruiser....soon to be powered by a 4bt Cummins
    1985 FWC Grandby Rebuild Thread
    2010 Yamaha WR250R
    2005 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by Bucky View Post
    Great minds think alike!

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

    I would definitely like to see your pictures

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Boulder, CO
    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.

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