How to Repair or Replace Airstream Travel Trailer Leveling Jacks

Updated on January 17, 2019
Randy Godwin profile image

Randy is a lifelong lover of the outdoors and especially camping. His articles are intended to help the RVer save money and time on repairs.

1986 Airstream Sovereign (31 feet)
1986 Airstream Sovereign (31 feet) | Source

How to Replace Airstream Leveling Jacks

Owners of Airstream travel trailers know they can depend on these well built RV’s for a lifetime of enjoying the outdoors and traveling across America. But as the years roll on, even these classic camping units need some maintenance and repairs. Like any high end product, the repairs can run into quite a bit of expense unless you are a hands-on type person.

This article shows how to replace the leveling jacks on an 1986 Airstream 31-foot Sovereign travel trailer. Many models of older Airstream travel trailers used similar leveling jacks.

Forgetting to raise one or more of the leveling jacks will result to damage to the jack in most cases. Leaving the jack lowered or raised while in an area close to the ocean can cause it to rust and malfunction. Whatever the reason, eventually one or more of the leveling jacks will need to be replaced.

A Classic !954 Airstream Globe Trotter
A Classic !954 Airstream Globe Trotter | Source

Off With the Old Jacks

Badly corroded leveling jack
Badly corroded leveling jack
Removing the old leveling jacks
Removing the old leveling jacks

Replacement Jacks May Have Extra Holes

What should be a relatively easy job of unbolting the old leveling jacks and installing the new ones unfortunately does not always turn out this way.

In most cases, some of the bolts will refuse to budge. They will either break off into the steel beam they are attached to, or the edges of the hex will round off leaving the bolt still attached.

I ran into both scenarios while installing the four new leveling jacks on the Airstream Sovereign and on older models where the Airstream jack stands are original equipment.

Obviously, this is a common occurrence for Airstream travel trailers as the new leveling jacks, which fit in the same spot, had offset holes which allowed drilling new holes in a different location on the support beams.

Make sure there are no obstructions if you move your jack stands to a slightly different spot.

Removing Old Bolts

It was actually easier if the bolt broke off in the beam as only a little grinding was required to level the area where the leveling jacks fit against the bottom of the beam.

Otherwise, the entire head of the bolt had to be ground off with a side grinder. The use of a cutting torch is not recommended because of the close proximity of the aluminum skin covering the bottom of the unit.

Be very careful so as not to scratch the exterior metal covering any time you are working around it.

Repairing Damage to the Aluminum Skin

Often the aluminum skin beneath the leveling jack attachment area is corroded or even absent because of the contact between steel and aluminum metals.

Now is the time to make sure it doesn’t get any worse by patching it before installing the new leveling jacks. There are several methods to ensure the deterioration doesn't get worse.

I used an aluminum backed rubber adhesive roofing repair product sold at Lowe’s or Home Depot building supply stores, but other materials and sealants will do just fine.

After cutting a strip of the repair product to fit the attachment point of the jack, I raised the jack until it was firmly pressed into the correct position against the bottom of the unit.

Damage to aluminum beneath old jacks
Damage to aluminum beneath old jacks

Completing the New Jack Installation

Adding a strip of roof repair product allowed new holes to be drilled without fear of the leveling jack moving. A high quality bit is needed as this is hard steel.

Run self-tapping bolts into the new holes until they are snug but not tight. Check for proper placement and a firm fit before removing the bolts and applying a thread locking substance to the bolt threads.

You may now tighten the bolts as much as desired for the final step in replacing the leveling jacks. Torque these bolts snugly but don't overdo it.

Attaching new leveling jacks
Attaching new leveling jacks
Completed replacement of new leveling jack
Completed replacement of new leveling jack
Good as new and good to go!
Good as new and good to go!

Buying Replacement Parts

Airstream accessories are often expensive to purchase but are worth it for some aspects of safety and durability.

Be sure to examine aftermarket replacement Airstream parts well before using them on your Airstream travel trailer.

Enjoy your vintage Airstream and keep your investment in good shape for many years to come by keeping it in tip top shape and using good replacement parts during repairs.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


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    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      8 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Mitch, the guy I installed them for ordered them, so I have no clue. Check Amazon.


    • profile image


      8 months ago

      Hello, great article! Can you tell me where you purchased your new stabilizers? I can't find the aluminum/gray ones anywhere... I can only find black after market.

    • Randy Godwin profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Godwin 

      10 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Yes they can, Fox. Coating the jack threads with a good quality grease should be done each year. The new jacks come already coated with grease on the threads. Thanks!

    • profile image

      Fox Jones 

      10 years ago


      Can older slightly rusty jacks be oiled or greased in the meantime to free them up a bit and make it easier to turn? Or would that compromise the stability of the jack?

      - fox


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