Simple custom bracket to adjust trailer jack range of travel

Background:

I store my boat in my garage, and I have a downward sloping driveway. This means that the hitch ball on my tow vehicle is lower than normal with the vehicle sitting in the sloped driveway, and my trailer sitting level in the garage. There was only a very narrow window where my trailer could be sitting (pretty much all the way back in my garage) for me to be able to couple to my tow vehicle. Most of the time, I would actually have to wrestle the trailer jack to swing it out of the way, or to swing it down into position, since I didn't have enough height to work with and there was still some weight on it.

Another factor that makes my situation a little worse is the swing-away tongue, which has a little bit of extra play dropping the tongue slightly further still when resting on the hitch ball. When I'm on level ground, the trailer rides perfectly level, so I'm pretty confident that my hitch ball is the proper height. I had thought about just getting a hitch with a higher adapter to solve my problem, but then the trailer wouldn't ride properly on the road.

So, I decided to try to raise the mounting position of the trailer jack, so that I could get two more inches to work with when swinging down the jack. After searching online for a while, I couldn't find any off-the-shelf solutions, so I made a custom solution. Relatively speaking, this wasn't a very difficult project.


Instructions:

To start with, I ordered a 12"x12"x5/16" piece of aluminum from Amazon.com (believe it or not) for $20. Part# 6061-T6 ASTM-B209. I decided to use aluminum so I wouldn't really have to worry about salt-water corrosion, and since it is easier for me to work with than any type of steel.

I cut the aluminum plate to about 9"x7" using my 10" power miter saw with a carbide tipped blade (standard blade that I use for wood too). It cut pretty easily. You could also use a skill saw with a metal cutting blade, but you won't get quite as clean of a cut.

Then, I raised the trailer jack up, and placed a car jack stand under the trailer tongue, so I was free to remove the trailer jack stand for further work.

Then, I placed my trailer jack mounting bracket on the aluminum plate in order to mark the 4 holes to mount the bracket. I drilled those holes with a standard drill and high-speed drill bit (run at a medium/slow speed). I used 1" long stainless bolts with stainless nylock nuts in these four positions.

Then, I located the 4 holes that would hold the new aluminum plate to the side of my trailer using the same mounting method and hardware as my original jack. The top two bolts also went through the jack's own mounting bracket for extra security. I had to drill a pair of extra holes into the steel mounting bracket for the desired location of these two screws, but I think it was worth it for the extra strength of bolting through both the aluminum plate and the trailer bracket. Again, I used a standard high-speed steel drill bit, and put as much pressure on it as I could while drilling through the steel. I also kept the RPM somewhat slower, and used some oil to avoid overheating the bit.

The rest of the assembly is pretty straight-forward... just bolting everything back together.




I'm very happy with the results, and have already used it about 3-4 times. It seems like a very sturdy solution, and I now have a lot more freedom for positioning my trailer when I couple to my tow vehicle. It doesn't have to be jammed at the very back of the garage any more to just barely be able to get the jack down. I also still have plenty of jack height to be able to raise the jack high enough to disengage from the hitch ball. Another nice benefit of this solution is that it is completely removable, in case you sell your boat/trailer, or no longer have the need for this solution. You can restore the original trailer jack mount since there was no drilling or damage done to the trailer.

I'm not sure if anyone else has a similar problem with their trailer jack, but if you do, hopefully you find this solution useful.
 

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