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Troubleshooting 5-Year-Old Electric Jack That Works Sporadically


jack 5 years old and works and quits. my jack works and quits at random. when i take the manual tool and turn it a little the electric will then work again for a while. the white plastic housing has not been waterproof and the 2 screws under the top rubber access were rusted badly. thanks for you help


Expert Reply:

Your 5-year-old electric trailer jack working sporadically could indeed be caused by loose or corroded internal wiring inside the housing. The presence of rust on the screws certainly suggests the possibility that corrosion could be at the heart of the problem.

You could also have a loose ground connection. Some A-frame jacks use their mounting plate to make the ground at the trailer's steel frame. Sometimes that mounting area can get rusty and create intermittent operation. The force from using the manual crank can sometimes put enough pressure on that ground point to enable the motor to function. Other jacks that might use a wired ground could have that ground wire loose or attached at a point on the trailer where there is rust, grease, primer, paint or other material that prevents a good ground.

You really want to have bare metal to bare metal contact for your ground. You can clean and/or sand off the grounding point to ensure a strong and consistent ground connection.

You could also have loose connections to the motor or switch within the jack housing. If you can get access to the motor power terminals you can apply 12V power and ground directly to the motor to see if bypassing the switch and frame ground gives reliable operation. If so, then you know that you need to make a more secure ground connection.

If you can remove the jack cover to allow air and sun to warm and dry out any internal parts that might not be a bad idea either. Silicone rubber sealant like # LT37464 can help provide some degree of protection from water.

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