Caravan stabiliser legs; can you use a drill?
We’ve all heard it; whirr, then ugga dugga dugga. Caravan Stabiliser legs are hugely appreciated by many, and with the rise of portable tools more people than ever are taking to them with drills and even impact drivers to make the setup and pack down easy. The thing is though, should you really be using a drill on the stabiliser legs, or are you slowly making them die an early life?
They are called stabilizer legs, not jacks
Lets start right at the beginning. The very name of these legs is to stabilise, not to take the weight. They are there to stop the van from moving when you are parked up (which makes some people seasick, believe it or not!).
People who wind them up until they are ready to ping are doing the wrong thing. If you want jacks, you can get them. I’m deadly serious; you can unbolt the stabiliser legs and install Boss hydraulic legs which will pick the van up however you like and level it, and a lot of people love them. Don’t use your stabiliser legs to level, or take the weight of the van if you want them to last.
What does your van come with?
A lot of caravans come with a handle and socket on the end, which you can turn (painstakingly slowly) and eventually the stabiliser legs will touch the ground, and you nip them up and then move onto the next one.
Impact guns are a bad idea
I’ll start off by saying that using a half inch (or any size for that matter) impact gun is not a good idea. The internal mechanics of a stabiliser leg suggests that using an impact gun will 100% shorten its life. These run gears that are not that strong, and the continual hammer motion that an impact driver applies to a gearset will eventually cause the gears to strip, split or snap the pin off inside and you’ll be left with a leg that no longer goes up or down.
If you are very cautious, and stop quickly when the leg starts to take some weight you’ll get away with an impact driver, but they are not the right tool for the job, and that applies to tek screw drivers too.
Drills are fine when used sensibly
A normal 18V drill with a clutch that is set to a reasonable tension (not full power, as many today have enough power to hurt your wrist when they bite) is perfectly fine to use on caravan stabiliser legs, and in actual fact can be helpful as it will apply the same tension every time, to all 4 legs.
What do we do?
Honestly, we hardly use our stabiliser legs on our Lifestyle Reconn R2. Sarah likes them down, and I’ll oblige if we are staying for more than a couple of days, but on many of our trips we don’t even detach, and the need to put them down is lessened hugely. I don’t even have an adaptor to a 19mm socket to use a drill, but should probably get one.
As I speak, our stabiliser legs are so caked in mud that if I tried to drop them down it would probably take half an hour, and I don’t mind!
Do you use a drill, or impact driver on your stabiliser legs?
You aren’t wrong there; its certainly an annoying noise. The hand cranking method is certainly valuable; its nice to feel how tight things are.
These days we seem to hardly put the legs down, and if I do, I make sure it doesn’t dugga dugga dugga loudly, or for long
All the best
Rattle guns or hammer drills or whatever would be one of the most annoying and invasive noises in a camp ground. I use a short (500mm) hand crank on my 25ft van, that way you can feel how much pressure you are putting on the legs.