Trail-A-Mate Hydraulic Jockey Wheel

By: Peter Quilty


Experience ultimate camping convenience with the Trail-A-Mate jockey wheel that transforms into a jack.

Travelling with the Trail-A-Mate hydraulic jockey wheel

The versatile Trail-A-Mate is a hydraulic jockey wheel that transforms into a jack by interchanging the wheel for a solid base plate. This two-in-one system is easy to assemble and user-friendly to operate.

Importantly, the Trail-A-Mate fully complies with the Australian Mandatory Safety Standard for trailer jacks. Each year in Australia numerous accidents are caused by the incorrect use of vehicle jacks. Deaths and injuries (ranging from amputation and fractures to crush injuries) result from vehicles falling off vehicle jacks – so don't risk using an unapproved jack.

The Trail-A-Mate is designed so that it is operated from a standing position using a minimum amount of effort, preventing you from having to climb underneath your camper. This makes it not only an easier, but a much safer option.

When you are jacking the camper using the Trail-A-Mate, you are not lifting the entire weight of the camper, you are lifting approximately one-third or less of the vehicle's weight at each of the jacking points (If your trailer has an ATM greater than 2,900kg you will need the Trail-A-Mate MkII).

The Trail-A-Mate includes a base plate, lifting clamp, jacking bracket, jacking handle, wheel, extendable wheel brace and a built-in safety lock.

SHIFT TO STANDARD

Many modern campers are designed to suit this equipment

In recent times, the majority of camper manufacturers have fitted brackets which create jacking points for the Trail-A-Mate as standard equipment.

Subsequently, most if not all campers, pop-tops and vans now have a facility to incorporate the Trail-A-Mate jack into a plate secured at right angles to the chassis.

When installed, this becomes a secure jacking point to lift an RV wheel from the ground, in order to either change a wheel or to check the wheel rotates freely for peace of mind. In addition, it's used as a replacement for a jockey wheel.

Let’s take a look at both scenarios:

FOR USE AS A JACK

Trail-A-Mate provides a sturdy platform to lift the RV road wheel from the ground due to its unique lifting tongue design, plus its high lift capability. When used for this purpose it's advisable to also use a jack stand (positioned under the chassis rail) for additional safety. Never place any part of your body under the RV when it's only supported by the Trail-A-Mate or any jacking device.

FOR USE AS A REPLACEMENT JOCKEY WHEEL

Trail-A-Mate can also be used in place of the standard jockey wheel and can remain in this position during transit by lifting it vertically and securing the jockey wheel clamp. A separate wheel is supplied in the Trail-A-Mate kit to affix to the lower leg.

IMPORTANT INSTRUCTIONS

- The jack should be used on level firm ground wherever possible

- It is recommended that the wheels of the trailer/RV be chocked

- No person should remain in a trailer/RV supported by a jack

- No person should place any portion of his or her body under a trailer/RV supported by a jack

- The trailer/RV should be attached to the towing vehicle

- The Trail-A-Mate can only be used as a conventional jockey wheel when placed in the jockey wheel clamp located on the A-frame. In this position it must not be used as a jack, otherwise it may bend the A-frame; it must only be used as a jack when coupled to the mounting plate located each side of the chassis.

STEP BY STEP GUIDE

The below step-by-step guide depicts the simplicity of using a Trail-A-Mate 1,000kg hydraulic jockey wheel/jack. The steps were performed by The RV Repair Centre foreman, Paul Hewat, in Bayswater, Victoria.

STEP 1

Step 1

The Trail-A-Mate kit is comprehensive, so read through the notes before attempting to use it for the first time. The two steel plates on the right side of this image will need to be welded to the caravan, pop-top or camper trailer chassis if they are not already in place. It's strongly advised that this procedure is carried out by an RV repair specialist.

Handy hint: Most camper trailer manufacturers have for many years installed these plates to each side of the chassis when it was constructed and this is the case for this specific DIY article.

STEP 2

Step 2

This image displays the jacking point steel plate already installed on a tandem-axle chassis. Check if your RV has this already installed before attempting to move to the next steps.

STEP 3

Step 3

Here is the Trail-A-Mate with the jockey wheel installed and the jacking plate to the right side of this image. Remove the jockey wheel and replace this with the jacking foot plate when using this as a jack only. Never use the wheel attachment when using this as a jack.

STEP 4

Step 4

Place the Trail-A-Mate locking clamp under the steel plate as shown and adjust the jack (up or down) so that the clamp wraps around the silver tube. Ensure the ridges (non-slip raised edges) on the silver tube align/engage with the clamp, avoiding any chance of slip. The clamp, when positioned correctly, must be fully tightened before attempting to raise the RV.

STEP 5

Step 5

Here is the Trail-A-Mate locking clamp firmly tightened around the silver tube prior to reinstalling under the steel plate protruding out from the RV chassis.

STEP 6

Step 6

With the Trail-A-Mate now placed under the jacking point check to ensure the grooves are aligned between the mating surfaces of the clamp and steel plate affixed to the RV. When you are satisfied these grooves are aligned and that you have a firm ground surface, your next step is to check that the actual Trail-A-Mate jack is as vertically positioned as possible.

Handy hint: use a sturdy timber support plate if the ground surface is soft.

As the jack is hydraulic, use the red-coloured valve tap to either lock or release the internal fluid. In this case we are intending to raise the RV; turn the tap clockwise until it stops. Do not use force.

Now you're ready to install the jacking handle as shown. Ensure the RV is on a relatively flat surface and that the jockey wheel and road wheels are chocked and handbrake fully activated before raising the RV.

STEP 7

Step 7

Raise the jack so that the road wheel is just off the ground (as shown), should you be attempting to change a punctured wheel or to rotate a wheel to ensure it moves freely.

When lowering the Trail-A-Mate, just turn the red-coloured valve anti-clockwise very slowly. Always retighten road wheel nuts when the jack is removed.

You can find the full article in Issue #131 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine. Subscribe today to discover more bright ideas such as this one, as well as the latest camper trailer reviews and travel inspiration.