Over the Memorial Day weekend, on my first outing of the year, I did a rookie mistake and then compounded it. When we got to our destination I forgot to chalk my trailer wheels before opening my hitch. The second mistake was using those orange plastic leveling plates under my landing legs. The trailer landing leg foot SLID on the plastic and my driver side leg broke internally. The internal leg now fell to the ground, but was to long to pull out from the bottom. Mistake number three, I used self tapping screws to hold the leg up until I got home,and three of them had the heads break off (they are impossible to remove once broken, at least for me). I made a dash to town and got a 10 ton screw jack and wood to support the one front side of my 5th Wheel.
Things got worse when I went to load back up. Almost a fatal mistake was made when I used those plastic level plates again. I would raise one leg up about 1 inch, then used a floor jack to raise the other side. I was within 2 inches of getting it high enough to back under so I had the truck in place. The plastic plates slid again and this time cause the trailer to shift about a foot to the side. The trailer came to rest mostly on the one good leg and a Pop-Up tent on that side, then on my truck bed rail (barely) on the broke side. On closer inspection I saw that "frame" I had the screw jack on really was not frame, rather a tact welded in plate which bent...the screw jack literally exploded out from under the trailer at high speed (no one hurt!). I made a panic call and a new friend came to the rescue with timbers and knowledge. With Dennis's great thinking and know how, we were able to safely load the trailer onto the truck.
Once home, the real education came into play. I decided to remove the broke leg. The top horizontal rod connecting the two legs was easily remove by removing the shear pin bolt. The motor was held on by a lock screw and a second shear pin. Took about 1 minute to remove. Oh, I had previously removed the landing foot which is held on by a simple pin set up. Next, inside the front compartment was a piece of trim at the base of the leg which easily pulled up by cutting the chalking holding it in. Third, there are two pinch brackets that have a 1/4" bolt hold the leg in place to the frame of the trailer. I removed these two bolts. From inside the trailer front compartment, I pulled the top of the leg towards towards the other side and the leg came free of the pinch brackets and the leg came out (could have gone out the bottom or into the compartment with equal ease. Took less than 5 minutes total to remove...wish I knew that on my trip as it would have saved a lot of grief.
Once off I saw that at the top of the leg there is a light medal cap that easily pops off, so I did. I could see that the gears were in good shape, but a retailing ring had broke. On closer inspection, the horizontal shaft had cracked as well. These gears need to be greased at least yearly (I never knew that before) and there is almost no room to get to them, so a grease zert is mandatory IMHO. Parts will have to be ordered, may take a long time, no one can get to it until much later, yada yada yada.
I went on-line and did research. I decided to "upgrade" to dual motors, each rated for 6,000# while my whole old system was a total of 6K. Direct drive and does not have the 90 degree gear turn. I found Amazon had UltraFabs for about $550 total, shipped directly to my door. I ordered on Tuesday and they were here on Friday. Installation was a snap, great instructions, and so simple even this Retired State Employee could do it ;-) I had to remove my single operating switch and install dual switches...this took a lot longer as I wanted to do a custom install in a recessed box...it looks great. The new system has all 10 gauge wire, not like the 14-16 gauge on the old system. I wired it directly to the battery (each switch came with its own in-line fuse). Installing the legs took about 5 minutes total. Doing the electric took about 10 minutes as I used connectors that require a flame to seal them and make them water proof. Re chalking the interior will take the most time as I want the interior compartment 100% waterproof.
Multiple lessons learned. Those orange plastic level plates are for under the wheels ONLY! Landing legs are simple to remove. Replacing them is even easier. Never leave home without a couple of spare jacks and 4x4 or 6x6 or 8x8 timbers to shore up your rig in case of a problem. Always use wood timbers under your front landing legs. UltraFab off Amazon is a fantastic company to deal with