Jockey wheels usually come standard with your caravan but what if you decide to fit a weight distribution hitch and it’s in the way or you want to upgrade to a better one, such as the power mover, which needs space to use the handle?
Is it a difficult job?
This will depend on the type you choose. If you don’t move your caravan very much, the standard six-inch or eight inch jockey wheel can be clamped to the drawbar and removed for transit.
For a more permanent solution, fixed and swing up jockey wheels can be mounted by welding or bolting directly on to the A-frame or draw bar.
A powered model will usually be attached to the chassis in the same way as normal ones but might need connecting to the vehicle’s 12V wiring system. In this case, the instructions should come with the kit or consult an auto electrician.
How to install your caravan jockey wheel
- Before purchase, make sure the new jockey wheel will hold the weight of the caravan. If you’re upgrading to a larger one, first measure the distance between the chassis rail and the ground.
- If the caravan doesn’t already have a jockey wheel fitted or you want to change its position, work out exactly where you are going to mount it. Ideally, this will be a spot on the draw bar or A-frame, out of the way of any other fixtures or wiring.
- Make sure the caravan is resting on level ground then hitch it up to the tow bar or place it on supports.
- For welding the mounting plate for the jockey wheel, it is best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If you don’t have the experience, equipment or facilities to do your own welding, take the caravan to a mechanic for this step.
- A swing up jockey wheel will have a mounting plate welded to it as part of the assembly. Line the jockey wheel up to the draw bar in the position you want it, then slide a u-bolt over the bar from behind and through the holes in the jockey wheel’s mounting plate.
- Tighten the nuts. Repeat on the other side of the mounting plate.
- Lower the wheel and check it’s in the right position. If it’s a swing up model, test it using the handle. Adjust the height and unhitch the caravan from the towing vehicle.
Jockey wheels have different loadings and designs to suit a variety of purposes. Check the one you’re installing is appropriate to your needs so as not to waste time and effort.
A loaded jockey wheel should be treated with great caution as overloading and rough maneuvering could bend it and cause injury. On swing up models always ensure the latching system is fully engaged before any load is applied.
Likewise, any movement while you’re working could cause injury or damage so always make sure your caravan is fully supported – preferably hitched to the towing vehicle – before working on it.
Want to do more work to upgrade your caravan but not sure where to start? Our guide might be of help.