We here at SnapPad get a lot of feedback about leveling systems - jack feet in particular. Because we deal with SnapPad installation questions on a daily basis, we are exposed to a lot of challenges and issues.

Usually, the problems we see are rare or unique. Every RV owner knows there is an almost unlimited number of ways things can go wrong! However, sometimes we seem the same, persistent issues crop which makes us want to share what we’ve learned - especially if you are a current (or future!) SnapPad customer.

The Problem - Bowing Jacks on New Rigs

The current, recurring issue we are seeing right now is slightly curved or bent landing feet/jacks on new rigs (between 2017 - 19). The feet in question are 9” round and are common on many Fifth Wheels and some Class A Motorhomes.

The jacks are not obviously damaged feet that have seen a lot of wear and tear - instead, they are slightly bowed or curved, even after minimal or infrequent use. In fact, some RVers we have talked to with this problem have never once camped with their rig!

To illustrate, here is what the jack looks like fresh from the factory:

RV jack foot being measured

RV jack foot being measured

RV jack foot being measured

Notice how flat and straight the jack is, with only a very minor upturned lip at the edge.

Now, here are some examples of the issue we are seeing:

RV jack feet bent under RV

RV jack feet bent under RV

RV jack foot bent with ruler

Why is this a problem?

As you can see, the jacks are not completely ruined but have seen some bowing, moving them closer to a concave or “bowl” shape and away from the flat plane that is typical of the unused landing feet in question.

It’s common knowledge that the more surface area you can spread the weight of your RV over, the better. Not only for stability reasons, but also to protect the surface you're setting up on (not to mention the leveling system itself). Having thousands of pounds being focused on the 8 points of a bent pad may puncture the setup surface, or worse, completely fold your landing foot, rendering it useless and potentially damaging other systems.

Secondly, for SnapPad customers, the bowing of jacks leads to installation challenges. SnapPads are engineered to form a very tight fit with this lineup of landing feet, which means even a small degree of bowing can complicate or even negate the installation process. It also means that the fit between pad and jack may not be as secure, even if/when the pad is able to be installed.

Solutions to bowed jacks

Shim Installation

For SnapPad customers, there are a few ways to try to install your pads on slightly bowed jacks.

First, install the pads on a hard surface and attempt to use a small piece of wood or shim (¼” thick or less) on a side of the SnapPad when trying to snap it into place (if there is a side of the SnapPad that is “stuck”, place the shim below that side).

Soft surface installation

If that doesn’t work, move your rig onto a softer surface, such as grass. Center the SnapPad below your jack and use the pressure from your system to press down onto it. The softer terrain may help the pad conform to your jack and finally snap on.

If either of these solutions works for you, please keep in mind that the seal may not be as secure as on a non-bowed jack. That means an increased risk that the pad will fall off in transit or due to a physical disruption, like bottoming out or hitting a speed bump.

Bolt on solution

A more extreme solution is to bolt the SnapPad onto your bowed landing foot.

  • Use 1-1/2" long 1/4" bolts (from Home Depot) and small washer for nut side, larger washer for the ground side.
  • Used nylon nuts so don't have to worry about them getting loose.
  • 1/4" fit great with 2 per pad.
  • Tightened the nut until the tip of the bolt came out of the screw.

RV SnapPads bolted onto jack foot

RV SnapPads bolted onto jack foot

**Note - we DO NOT typically recommend this solution. SnapPads that are bolted on to your landing foot assembly can create issues should the jack contact the ground or your rig bottom out. Use extreme caution when applying this solution. Bolting SnapPads onto your rig also voids the warranty.

Replace your jack feet

If your jack is too bent or bowed to install the SnapPads or if you are uncomfortable with the level of the connection between your jack and the pad, we recommend looking into replacing your jacks.

For brand new rigs, you may want to make a warranty claim. Otherwise, many online retailers sell the individual jacks available for purchase the system in question. Once you have brand new jacks, you’ll need to replace your existing, bowed jacks after which you can then install your SnapPads normally.

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