Using a Drill on the Tongue Jack

PopUpSteve

Administrator
Staff member
Gold Supporting Member
Dec 22, 2002
21,124
Southeastern PA
With the success of using a drill to lower/raise the stabilizers, I figured I'd see what can be done with the tongue jack.

First, I want to leave the crank handle on for several reasons.
  1. So it doesn't get lost.
  2. To allow me to make minor adjustments.
Of course this means that there will be a spinning crank handle of death as I use the drill to lower/raise the tongue jack, but I don't drink and a long enough shaft from the crank-head, up to the drill, should keep me safe.

So, the only thing I need to do is to take a long socket, cut an opening on either side to allow it to fit between the arms of the crank handle, and not lose any fingers in the process.

Thoughts?

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bondebond

Super Active Member
Aug 14, 2008
2,330
Having done this mod to make the tongue jack usable by drill, I seriously would recommend NOT keeping the handle on. Remove it but keep it handy in case the drill battery runs out or the drill dies for whatever reason. I used a cotter pin to replace the bolt that holds the handle on.
1389655

The Socket Jenie fits right down on top of it and uses the pin of the cotter pin to spin the tongue jack, the ring around it keeps it from falling off. If the drill dies, you pull the pin, put the original handle back on and put the cotter pin back in. It works - I've tested it in the field.

I did place a few small washers under the cotter pin as the screw shaft wanted to drop and make it harder to keep the socket jenie on the pin. I have used the mod for over 10 years.

No spinning crank handle of death needed.
 

J Starsky

Super Active Member
Aug 3, 2017
1,285
East Central MN
We're blessed by having a used tools store in our town, Another Man's Treasure. https://www.facebook.com/amtnorthbranch
A deep well socket, picked from a bucket, would be a couple bucks well spent. I'd try to start with an impact type socket, deep well, and cut your slot with an angle grinder. Maybe a padded handle on the ball, so when / if it strikes you, it tickles more than mames?
 

PopUpSteve

Administrator
Staff member
Gold Supporting Member
Dec 22, 2002
21,124
Southeastern PA
Ordered a socket on Amazon over the weekend.



Bit the bullet and took the crank handle off, I found the perfect place to store it too. In the upper bay of the fridge vents. I attached a rack-clip to the sidewall and once the handle was in, I use some wire to make sure the handle wouldn't pop out of the clip. Photo to come, it got too dark by the time I was done for a good shot.

I do need to get some pins as @bondebond suggested.
 

kitphantom

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
13,827
Albuquerque, NM
I will admit, I was never tempted to use the drill on the tongue jack, the ergonomics would have been hideous, among other things.
I resisted the idea of an elecgtric jack for a very long time, but with shoulder issues resurfacing this year, and other joint issues, we decided it was time. We both like it, a lot. I was leery of how it would work manually, they provide a crank, and there's a place to attach it under a cap. We've cranked it some, since we have had to learn to watch the "do not retract past this line" marking. It moves easier than the original tongue jack did.
 

davido

Super Active Member
Jul 17, 2014
1,392
The spinning crank handle of death would get me sometime. If you are very careful with every use why not? I can see that handle taking me out though. Lol
This is a valid concern, but it's worse than just having the handle catch you.

Last fall I was using a drill-attached auger for planting bulbs in soil. The auger was designed for this purpose. As I was running the auger, it caught a root, suddenly twisting the drill. The twisting motion of the drill broke my finger.

The issue with the spinning handle isn't that the handle could catch you and hurt you. It's that when it catches you, the drill will suddenly twist, and could break one of your fingers.

It wasn't all that painful, but it has taken a long time to start feeling normal again.

When I'm using the drill to raise and lower the stabilizers, I keep its pressure clutch set to 12 or 14. But the amount of force needed to turn the tongue jack is greater. It may require setting the drill's pressure clutch to one of its stiffest settings, which increases the potential for the drill to do harm if the handle stops suddenly.
 

PopUpSteve

Administrator
Staff member
Gold Supporting Member
Dec 22, 2002
21,124
Southeastern PA
When I tested this last night, I could not believe how much the tongue jack jumped off the blocks (Lynx Levelers). I definitely will have to watch where I'm standing so it doesn't come down on my foot.

On the plus side, the only reason I was using a stack of Lynx Levelers was to lessen the cranking. I guess I won't need so many Lynx Levelers now.
 

campfire Joe

Active Member
Jan 27, 2015
385
peru new york
The reason i went the socket and drill combo for my tongue jack was that the raising and lower the jack took forever. Seemed like i'd crank on it and very little change up or down. Lowering the tongue on my hitch then retracting the jack wheel all the way up so it won't hit the ground while driving took forever. Now the operation just takes seconds. Not that much stress on my drill. More stress on using my drill to raise the roof. Definitely have to get a firm grip on my drill. Use my Makita 18.2 for everything now Lower the stabilizer jacks, raise the roof and raise and lower the tongue jack. I'm old so i need to find was to make things easier on my body.;)
 

PopUpSteve

Administrator
Staff member
Gold Supporting Member
Dec 22, 2002
21,124
Southeastern PA
Yup @campfire Joe I totally agree. Although I do have a power lift system, I can see that if I didn't I would be using the drill for that too. It is nice to have a 2nd backup now.

The tongue jack and the stabilizers were very time consuming. I can raise/lower all 4 stabilizers in less time with the drill now than it took to just raise/lower 1 with a hand crank.

The only drawback is the noise. I'm very self-conscious of others, so the sound that I'm making during setup/take down does make me cringe. So I try to do it as fast as I can and keep the disturbance to a minimum.
 

campfire Joe

Active Member
Jan 27, 2015
385
peru new york
The only drawback is the noise. I'm very self-conscious of others, so the sound that I'm making during setup/take down does make me cringe. So I try to do it as fast as I can and keep the disturbance to a minimum.
Yeah it is noisier to use a drill, but we usually camp during the week as opposed the weekends. Not too many people are around and we get their middle of the day to set up. Most people are up and around doing their thing and don't pay attention to the noise. The noisiest it gets is when i raise the roof, but it just takes a few seconds and when i used to crack it up it was fairly noisy anyways, and took a little longer.
 

bondebond

Super Active Member
Aug 14, 2008
2,330
By noise, are you using the hammer drill or impact wrench feature? If so, please don't, especially when cranking the roof up or down. That's unnecessary impacts that the roof mechanism was never designed to encounter.

My 19.2v drill is not that much noisier than whatever I'm operating. I clearly need to lubricate my stabilizers.

I hear the impact wrench all the time from others and just cringe when I think about what they are doing to roof mechanisms or stabilizer jacks. But thankfully, that's not my concern.
 

Oldspurs

Active Member
Jan 2, 2022
228
Central Texas
Yeah it is noisier to use a drill, but we usually camp during the week as opposed the weekends. Not too many people are around and we get their middle of the day to set up. Most people are up and around doing their thing and don't pay attention to the noise. The noisiest it gets is when i raise the roof, but it just takes a few seconds and when i used to crack it up it was fairly noisy anyways, and took a little longer.
We also camp mostly during the week, and arrive middle of the day. As far as noise setting up our rig, there is none. Of course I generally take out my hearing aids, quite as can be. lol
 




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