Happijac Engineer, Gary Scothem, flew-out to the Mid-Atlantic Truck Camper Rally to host a seminar and install a set of Happijac 4800-HD jacks for an install story, and review.
The stars lined up in the late winter of 2014 and I had one of those big ideas that I later wonder if I should have kept to myself. I was on the phone with Aaron Rasmussen, Happijac Company’s General Manager, talking about their Happijac 4800-HD jacks. I was giving him a hard time because (a) he didn’t tell me about the 4800-HD jacks, (b) he didn’t tell me about the 4800-HD jacks, and (c) he didn’t tell me about the 4800-HD jacks. We had learned about these new jacks from Greg Tucknies at Adventurer Manufacturing, who later got a TCM Gold Star for his assistance.
In the middle of giving Aaron a hard-time, I got the idea that we could have Happijac send us a set of their new 4800-HD jacks for an installation and article. Surely we could find an aging multi-slide truck camper for the install. But who did we know who had an older multi-slide that needed upgraded jacks, and might be actually willing to let us perform the operation?
I know, the Goodes! Carl and Kay Goode are two familiar and friendly faces for anyone who has been to the East Coast rallies over the past seven or so years. They happen to have a beautiful 2008 Okanagan 117DBL double-slide, the very camper design that launched a thousand sofa-slide truck campers. For the record, no camper sofa has beaten the comfort of the camper sofa in the Okanagan 117DBL. If you have the opportunity, sit in one. Just please ask first. Breaking, entering, and sofa sitting is not something we condone.
Above: Kay and Carl Goode with our cat, Harley, before the Happijac 4800-HD installation
Side note: I can literally hear some of you mis-pronouncing Okanagan in your mind. In respect for the truck camper brand that is no longer with us, repeat after me, “oh-kah-nah-gen”. It sounds like “bump-your-noggin”. Most Americans say, “oh-can-a-gan” like we’re longing for another can of something. This makes Canadians laugh at us, so try to avoid this pronunciation faux pas. Now back the article.
Despite my giving him trouble, Aaron liked my idea and sent four Happijac 4800-HD camper jacks to Tall Pines Harbor Campground in Sanford, Virginia, home of the Mid-Atlantic Truck Camper Rally. Aaron also committed Happijac Engineer, Gary Scothem, to fly out and help us install the jacks (sorry Gary). Gary was instrumental in the design of the 4800-HD. He has also been with Happijac since it was two guys in a garage.
We later called Carl and Kay and told them the good news. They reacted as if they had won the lottery. As we already knew, their 2008 Okanagan 117DBL was in clear need of a higher capacity jack system.
Happijac 4800-HD Facts and Figures
With a 2,800 pound ANSI load rating, the Happijac 4800-HD was specifically developed for the weight of multi-slide truck campers.
Above: The self-lubricating bronze nut utilized in the Happijac 4800-HD
To achieve the higher load rating, the 4800-HD utilizes a self-lubricating bronze nut, larger Torrington thrust bearings, and is three inches longer than Happijacs other camper jacks.
Above: The larger Torrington thrust bearing from the Happijac 4800-HD
The new Acme screw-based design eliminated the need for roll pins and brake plates to increase the reliability of the jack and allow the jack to be fully disassembled in-the-field for service and maintenance.
Above: The inner leg of the Happijac 4800-HD showing one of the screw holes that allows the jack to be disassembled in-the-field for service
The 36-inches of lift offered by the 4800-HD also give the jacks a lower starting point lifting a truck camper higher for more clearance when loading and unloading.
Above: The outer and inner legs of the 4800-HD are zinc plated. The outer leg is then powder coated for durability
Finally, the 4800-HD features all of the updates Happijac announced in 2012 including zinc plating for corrosion resistance, built-in wiper systems to prevent water intrusion, upgraded powder coating to improve durability, and higher tolerances for quieter operation. For more information on these updates, see, “Happijac Announces Next Generation Jacks”.
Above: The Happijac 4800-HD on a 2014 Adventurer 116DS
Adventurer Manufacturing was the first to employ 4800-HD jacks for their Eagle Cap 1160 double-slide and 1165 triple-slide starting in 2013. They’ve been featured on those models and the Adventurer 116-DS double-slide ever since.
The Happijac 4800-HD was announced in a April, 2014 TCM article cleverly titled, “Happijac Announces 4800 Heavy Duty Jack System”. Put bluntly, the 4800-HD is Happijac’s tour-de-force camper jack, and their state-of-the-art camper jack statement product.
Gary Presents Happijac at MATCR 9
Every year, Ron and Michelle Humphress, Founders of the Mid-Atlantic Truck Camper Rally, host what has to be recognized as the biggest truck camper rally of all-time. They also put together a calendar of events including wild games, gluttonous feasts, and a possibly quite dangerous fireworks show. Despite the expanded waist lines and risk of singed eyebrows, it’s always one heck of a good time.
Above: Gary’s Happijac seminar at the Mid-Atlantic Truck Camper Rally was well attended
On the docket this past year was a presentation by Gary about Happijac products. Now it takes a brave soul to fly-in, walk-out in front of rally-full of truck campers, present your wares, and take questions. Truck campers can be quite analytical, and all too eager to wrestle any technical subject to the ground. With his decades of experience at Happijac, Gary was more than up to the challenge and quickly earned the respect of the attendees.
Nearly all of the questions Gary took are covered in previous Happijac articles including, “Maintaining Happijac Tie-Downs and Turnbuckles” and “Maintaining Happijac Camper Jacks”. He also showed the audience the internals of the 4800-HD. For detailed information about the Happijac 4800-HD, check out, “Happijac Announces the 4800 Heavy Duty Jack System”.
When Gary concluded his presentation, he announced that he would be installing the 4800-HD jacks on the Goode’s Okanagan. A few minutes later, we were all gathered around the Goode’s truck camper ready to watch Gary’s install.
Installing the Happijac 4800-HD Jacks
The Goode’s 2008 Okanagan 117DBL had Happijac 4500 jacks installed from the Okanagan factory. The motor assembly on the 4500 are identical to the motor assembly on the 4800-HD, so the existing motor assemblies were used for the 4800-HD installation.
Above: Happijac’s diagram showing the assembly of a Happijac camper jack and a Happijac motor assembly
The process of installing the Happijac 4800-HD was relatively straight forward. Gary started by removing the 4500 jacks from their Happijac Z-brackets using a 9/16” wrench.
He carefully placed the four 4500 jacks on a table along with the associated hardware. In the above photo you can see the old Happijac 4500 (black inner leg) next to the new 4800-HD (zinc coated inner leg).
Gary then removed the motor assemblies from the 4500 jacks with a 3/8” wrench.
Once removed, he installed the motor assemblies onto the 4800-HD jacks using the same 3/8” wrench.
With the 4800-HD jacks now assembled with the motor head assemblies, Gary mounted the 4800-HD jacks to the camper using a 9/16” wrench and the already installed Happijac Z-brackets.
He was careful to route the motor pigtail wires inside the corner of the Z-brackets behind the studs as shown in the Happijac diagram above. Happijac specifies tightening the nuts and bolts to twenty-five pounds torque to avoid stress failure.
Once all four 4800-HD jacks were installed on the Okanagan, Gary and Carl tested each jack using the remote. One of the motor assemblies exhibited a sound that Gary was concerned about, so Gary removed the motor assembly, and gave it a detailed inspection.
With the top plate removed, it was clear that the gears were worn from normal use, but in good working order.
Gary determined that the motor itself should be replaced.
The entire process took about an hour, and that’s with plenty of talking, presenting, and photography interruptions. Of course Gary has been doing this kind of work for decades, so it’s safe to say that your time will vary.
The Goode Report
Following the installation, we asked Carl and Kay Goode to evaluate the Happijac 4800-HD jacks. The Goodes are almost full-time truck campers spending upwards of 200 days a year on the road. That said, they don’t remove their truck camper very often, so we had to wait until they had sufficient experience with the jacks before reporting their findings.
Here’s the Carl Goode’s full report:
Our previous jacks were Happijac model 4500. The 4500 jacks came installed on the camper from the Okanagan factory. We have a heavy camper, a 2008 Okanagan 117 DBL with two slides. The jacks would lift the camper for unloading okay, but would then appear unsteady when fully extended.
The Happijac 4800-HD jacks have performed well and are more stable when fully extended than the previous 4500 jacks. The 4800-HD jacks also seem to lift the heavy camper with less effort. Overall, the 4800-HD jacks are more robust and stable than the previous 4500 jacks.
I believe the combination of the larger bearing mechanism and longer support legs has provided a more sturdy and stable platform when unloading the camper. Our camper doesn’t wobble when fully extended as was the tendency before the upgrade.
The zinc plating and outside powder coating is a definite improvement over the 4500. During the time the jacks have been used this year, there has been no rusting evident on the inner leg and no flaking or rust on the paint coating of the outer support leg.
Part of Gary’s demonstration of the 4800-HD jack upgrade included the transfer of the jack motors from our 4500 jacks over to the new 4800-HD jacks. This transfer is a simple process that can be performed with common hand tools. The motors appear to handle the upgraded 4800-HD jacks very well with no problems experienced.
As I have previously said, the camper is more stable when the jacks are fully extended to lift off from the bed of the truck. The longer legs of the 4800 also come in handy if the truck has air bags installed. When the jacks are lowered to the normal position, when off the truck, the camper is almost as stable as when on the truck. I would recommend the 4800 jack upgrade for anyone with heavy truck campers, especially those with slides.
Wrap It Up
It should be pointed out that all electric and manual Happijac camper jacks and motor assemblies can be upgraded to the 4800-HD jacks. Based on the ease of installation, and the Goode’s positive report, the 4800-HD is a highly recommended upgrade for anyone with a full-wall slide or multi-slide truck camper, and older Happijac jacks.
We want to thank Gary for flying out for the presentation and installation, and Carl and Kay Goode for allowing us to use their camper as a test bed. We’ll follow-up with the Goodes and report anything further they learn during their experience with the 4800-HD down the road.
For more information on the Happijac 4800-HD jacks, visit Happijac’s website at www.happijac.com.