When I was using the electric jack on my camper a few months back I thought to myself. “why don’t I have one of these on the horse trailer?”
An electric jack can be put on either bumper pull or a gooseneck-style trailer. The primary consideration for converting your trailer is simply cost. On average, an electric jack costs 4 times the cost of a manual jack.
Aside from the cost of an electric trailer jack, there are a few other things you might want to consider before making the jump and upgrading your trailer.
How Much do Electric Jacks Cost?
On average, and electric jack will cost you about $150 US. This depends greatly on the type of check you need to purchase as well as the jacks rating.
If you are looking for a cheaper solution for an electric jack you can usually find one on Facebook marketplace or Craigslist. This last summer I found one that looked like it was in pretty good shape for about $100.
Word of caution, as with any used thing you buy online you want to be sure that it is functioning properly and that it doesn’t have any internal damage. You wouldn’t want the nose of your horse trailer to end up in the dirt after just spending a hundred dollars on a new jack.
In order to get a more definitive answer. I reached out to a local camper repair shop to get an idea of the cost, at least in my area, to have an electric check professionally installed. I told him I had a trailer that did not have any batteries or wiring to support an electric check so the cost of those are included. They told me that all said and done it would cost about $400 US for parts and labor. Personally, I was expecting a little bit more than that so I was a little surprised.
In many cases, your horse trailer may not have any way to power your new electric check. If this is the case for you you’re going to want to factor in the cost of a new battery cabling, and a battery box.
If you’re not comfortable doing the work yourself you’re also going to have to hire someone which is obviously going to add to the cost.
Another thing to consider is how your trailer is currently set up to hold a jack. Some trailers have a jack that is mounted to the side of the frame, while others are mounted in between the two frame bars. Most electric jacks are only built to work with the A-frame style tongue. An example of this can be found here on Amazon.
If your trailer is not designed to work with the A-frame style tongue jack’s and you’re either going to have to pass on the electric jack or replace your trailers receiver with one that accepts the correct jack.
Most gooseneck trailers, however, should be able to be converted with a bolt-on system.
I’ll admit that the images above are not horse trailer’s. In fact the one on the left is my father-in-laws enclosed cargo trailer and on the right is a swing type bolt on jack from my small utility trailer. However, you should be able to get what I’m attempting to describe.
What If the horses start to Wiggle while on the Jack?
Most electric jacks are designed to lift rather heavy campers. The smallest weight that I was able to find online was a 3500 pound jack.
A heavy for her stock trailer can weigh somewhere around the 8500lb range. Using the 15% rule we can estimate that our tongue weight would be around 1275lbs. This means that the smallest electric jack is rated for more than twice the tongue weight of your trailer.
Now the question asked was what if the horses start to wiggle while they are on the jack. You should not run into a situation where your horses are loaded and your trailer is unhooked.
This is actually quite a large safety concern for you and your animals. As these large animals move within the trailer is a very large chance that they will move the trailer itself which could cause harm to not only the horses but to the trailer or even anyone that happens to be nearby the trailer.
Can I still use an Electric Jack Without Power?
Electric jacks generally include some form of backup for this exact scenario. It is not uncommon for the battery to go dead and you wouldn’t want to be stranded somewhere just because you can hook up your trailer.
If your trailer is not already set up with a battery system you will want to have it set up so that the new battery system will be charged by the tow vehicle.
If you have a shop install your electric jack they will most likely do this for you but it doesn’t hurt to double-check. It doesn’t do you any good to have an electric jack installed and only be able to use it for a short while.
What are my alternatives?
With enough knowledge and skill in electric jack should be able to be installed on just about any trailer. As with most things, it seems to come down to cost versus the value add.
If you are trying to do things faster, and electric check probably isn’t the best solution for you. They are actually pretty slow to raise and lower. However, there are several different options to choose from that will help speed up your load and unload times. These also have an added benefit of reducing the effort needed to spin the jack
Be aware that both of the options that I link to below come in various sizes so be sure to select the correct one before you purchase.
First and my personal favorite is a rather creative solution called the fast way flip found on amazon try Khmer wrong – zero. Surgery and endless. This is a replacement foot for you jack that is designed to flip up and out of the way as you raise the jack and flip-down where it’s supposed to be as you lower the jack. Overall it’s a super easy install as shown below and it saves you a ton of time.
Another old-school option is a simple drop leg. Since your trailer jack is essentially a hollow pipe. These are a foot for your jack that are designed to go inside of your current jack allowing you to pull the pin to drop your foot is close to the ground as you can get.