Truck Camper Magazine asks Doug Bakker, Product Designer for Rieco-Titan Products, about the proper use and maintenance of Rieco-Titan camper jacks.
Rieco-Titan Products has been manufacturing truck camper jacks for more than four decades. In fact, Rieco-Titan is the only company still manufacturing every type of camper jack including mechanical, hydraulic, tripod, and electric remote jacks.
Today there are eight truck camper manufacturers installing Rieco-Titan camper jacks at the factory; Alaskan, Arctic Fox, Camp Lite, Chalet RV, Four Wheel, Palomino, Six-Pac, and Travel Lite. That means every year there are a few thousand more truck campers being produced with Rieco-Titan jacks.
Like all truck camper jacks, Rieco-Titan camper jacks need to be properly operated and maintained to ensure safe operation and product longevity. While we were at the Rieco-Titan factory in Frankfort, Illinois this past spring, we talked to Doug Bakker, Rieco-Titan’s Product Designer, about exactly how to operate and maintain their jacks.
Regular Camper Jack Maintenance
According to Doug, all truck camper jacks require annual maintenance. Doug recommends performing this annual maintenance in the spring before camping season begins.
The first thing you should do to maintain your Rieco-Titan jacks is raise your camper all the way up and wash each inside and outside jack tube with soapy water. If there are any rust spots, take a piece of sandpaper and sand it off. After sanding the rust off, you can apply a coat or two of RustOleum paint or metal silver spray to freshen up your inside jack tubes.
The outside tubes should be waxed with a liquid wax such as Mercury’s Corrosion Guard, Mother’s Polish, McGuires, or Turtle Wax. If you live in high maintenance areas where you are exposed to sand, salt, and high humidity, you will need to wash and wax your jacks more often. You should also regularly exercise your jacks by raising and lowering them at least once a month. This spreads the grease around and keeps the jacks healthy.
Winterizing and Jacks
If you are leaving your camper on your truck for the winter, fully retract your camper jacks. If you will be leaving your camper off the truck for the winter, it is best to keep the camper low to the ground on a wood platform or saw horses with the camper jacks raised. This removes stress from the sidewalls of your camper and puts the camper weight on the floor.
Properly Using Remote Electric Jacks
Rieco-Titan has some recommendations for safely raising and lowering your truck camper. First, Doug explained that truck campers are heavier in the front than the back. This front to back weight difference causes the front jacks to work harder and slower than the rear jacks.
Before you press, “ALL LIFT” on the Rieco-Titan remote, make sure that your front nose is approximately three inches higher than the rest of your camper. When you have achieved this, raise your camper about a foot at a time using the “ALL LIFT” button. Each time you raise the camper another foot, raise the front nose another three inches to allow the front jacks to catch up the rear jacks. Then resume raising your camper with the “ALL LIFT” button and continue this process until your camper is at the desired height. Doug reminded us several times to never allow the rear of the camper to be higher than the front of the camper.
The advantage of having a wireless remote is that you can walk around the camper and monitor the raising and lowering process from a safe distance. Follow the same process described above when lowering your camper.
If you reach the end of your jacks’ travel, you will hear the jack clutch ratcheting. This ratcheting is the jack clutch engaging and disengaging. According to Doug, this is not a bad for the jacks, but you need to stop raising your jacks when you hear the ratcheting sound to avoid stressing a clutch.
One interesting detail that Doug mentioned is that Rieco-Titan electric remote jacks use about fourteen amps when raising a camper and six amps when lowering a camper. These numbers are based on raising and lowering a 4,000 pound camper.
Maintaining the Remote Receiver Box
Truck campers with Rieco-Titan remote electric jack systems feature a remote receiver box located inside an interior compartment or cabinet. The remote receiver box has two power switches, one on the box itself and another on the remote access panel located just inside the camper entry door.