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Trailer Landing gear

The landing gears primary function is to support the trailer when uncoupled from the
tractor. It must also be able to raise or lower the trailer to allow it to adjust for
differences in fifth wheel heights.
Depending on the type of trailer it may have more than one set of landing gear. The
main gear and a pair of drop legs mounted at the front of the trailer.

There are three basic types of trailer landing

Drop legs.
Two speed gear crank support legs.
Air powered hydraulic landing gear.
Drop legs are generally mounted on the front of the
trailer and are used to stabilize the trailer when the trailer is loaded nose heavy
ahead of the main landing gear. Without them
the trailer may nose onto the ground as the
tractor uncouples if forward loaded they also
may be used while unloading to support the
weight of a fork lift inside the trailer. Drop legs
usually consist of an inner and outer square tube
with holes drilled through both the inner and
outer leg at variable positions. A holding pin
constructed of high strength steel is used to
locate and support the inner leg.

Two speed gear crank support legs are

the most common form of landing gear
in the trucking industry. Some of the main
components are:
Inner and outer leg (inner leg not shown)
Foot or base, (shoe)
Cross shaft
Crank handle
Lifting screw (inside leg)
The inner and outer leg of a heavy-duty
landing gear can support up to 200,000
pounds of static load, and have the ability
to lift about 62,000 pounds. This is by
the operator applying a 100 lb (45kg)
force at the crank handle with the gear box in low
LIFTING ABILITY: is determined as a function of the gears, ratios and the grade of internal lubricant used.
Lifting ability is defined as the maximum load that the landing gear can raise or lower with a 100 lb (45kg)
force being applied at the crank handle in low gear.
STATIC LOAD: is a function of overall leg construction as well as the strength of the leg tube and footwear
used. It is the load that the landing can support in a vertical position with no dynamic shock load applied to it.
Legs can be sold individually or in sets. There is always a drive leg (gear box leg) and a driven leg.
Legs can be constructed of round or square steel tubing. They may be mounted on the inside or outside of the
frame using brackets to extend a flat mounting surface beyond the upper and lower frame flanges. In a unibody
or monocoque application large brackets called wing plates are mounted perpendicular to the cross members.
These brackets may be bolted or welded to the cross member flanges. This arrangement will spread the weight
of the trailer out between multiple cross members.
Foot bases come in many styles: they may be wheeled, square or circular and may or may not be of the cushion
foot variety. The foot base may also be referred to as a sand

The cuff is located at the bottom of the outer leg. It is an extra piece of metal that is wrapped around the leg to
give extra side support when the legs are fully extended. They are usually about two inches wide and are welded
continuously around the leg.
The gearbox provides the mechanical advantage to
raise or lower the trailer. There are single and
double speed gearboxes. A typical high-speed ratio
is about 3.5 crank handle turns to one inch of leg
movement. A typical low-speed ratio is about 33
crank handle turns to one inch of leg travel. The
gears are made of high strength ductile iron for
reliability and long life. High range is to be used
only for quick up and down movement of legs and
is not intended to lift any load. All lifting must be
done in the low range or damage to the gearbox will
The cross shaft connects the drive leg to the driven leg and transmits the rotary motion to the driven leg. The
cross shaft is also used to time the two legs together it is important to note that the bolts that hold the cross shaft
must not clamp the shaft too tight. The shaft has to have some lateral movement or binding of the gear will
The crank handle is used to turn the gears in the gearbox. Handles should always be kept in good condition to
prevent injury to operator. Replace or repair as necessary.
The lift screw winds and unwinds the inner leg up
and down.
The grease that is used in the landing gears should be
rated to at least -40 F (-40 C)

Power gear is an air powered hydraulic landing gear system that can be
mounted on the front or rear of any trailer. It converts the emergency supply
(approx 100PSI) into 50,000 to 78,000lbs of hydraulic lifting pressure. When
used on the front of the trailer they replace the typical main landing gear.
When mounted on the rear they can be used to level the rear of the trailer to
exact dock height and maintain it. This eliminates the movement of
suspension components as well as dock walk that can occur if the suspension
is allowed to be continuously flexed as forklifts enter the trailer. This type of
landing gear can also be used to level the trailer on uneven ground for loading
or storage.
Trailer landing gear is often an overlooked part of fleet preventive
maintenance programs, since many personnel see it as only a means to hold
up the nose of the trailer when it is uncoupled from the tractor and left in a
parking yard.
The trailer landing gear often suffers damage as a direct result of allowing the
trailer to be parked on an area of soft ground. Consequently, when the tractor
is ready to be re-coupled, the nose of the trailer has dropped, forcing the
driver either to try to raise it with the use of
the landing gear handlewhich places
undue stress on the internal gearing mechanism and support membersor to
take a run at the trailer with the tractor in an attempt to pop the fifth wheel
under the trailer apron. Severe damage to the tractor's fifth wheel, as well as
to the trailer apron and landing gear, can occur under such conditions.
The trailer landing gear should be supported on wooden blocks when it is to
be dropped onto non-paved surfaces. Doing so will alleviate the possibility
of the nose sinking, particularly in wet weather conditions.
Most trailer landing gear assemblies employ a two-speed gearbox within the
gear housing. This two-speed gearbox has high and low-range gears that
necessitate pulling out on the landing gear crank handle to shift into high
range, and pushing in on the handle to shift into the low-range gears.
Most landing gear use shift-able gears but some models are designed with
constant mesh gears this eliminates the damage caused by engaging the low
and high speed gears.
NOTE: After extending or retracting the landing gear legs, always pull the crank handle out. Then fold the
crank, and place it in the crank holder clip. Never leave the crank unsecured since the continuous movement of
the handle can lead to wear within the gearbox. The crank if not secured, it could also come in contact with
other objects causing damage to the crank, the gear or both.
General maintenance of the trailer landing gear involves lubricating both legs through grease fittings provided
in the legs two times or more a year, depending on the severity of service. Also lubricate the two-speed gears
through the grease fitting in the gearbox twice a year for general service, or more often if required.
Problems with trailer landing gear can be traced to non-lubrication of the legs and gearing mechanism, or to
attempting to raise a fully loaded trailer with the gearing mechanism. In addition, bent legs or landing gear
damage can result if a trailer is allowed to sink into soft ground, or by dropping a trailer when uncoupling the
tractor. Typical causes for a common complaint of hard turning of the landing gears include the following:
1. If the cross shaft binds, check that the bolts in the cross shaft are not over tightened since they will prevent
lateral movement of the cross shaft.
2. To determine which leg is causing the tightness, remove the cross shaft and operate each leg individually.
3. Check closely for signs of twist or bending on the legs.
4. Check that both legs are parallel, and extend and retract equally.
5. Check the legs and the gearbox to determine if cleaning and re-lubrication are required.
6. If a crankshaft holder or extension is used, check for proper alignment with the crankshaft.
7. Closely examine the nut and screw assembly for signs of damage caused by the trailer having been dropped
onto its legs.
8. If a through axle is used on the landing gear, check for binding where the axle goes through the legs.
9. If the crankshaft is jammed, closely examine the nut and screw assembly for damage that has most probably
been caused by the trailer nose being dropped onto the landing gear legs.
10. If the problem is that the crankshaft jams or skips as the handle is being rotated in gear, then closely
examine the parts (items 19 and 21 in Figure 22-35), plus all gearbox gears for signs of damage such as worn,
broken, or missing teeth.
11. If the crank refuses to remain in gear during cranking, check the condition of the shifter spring (13) and the
grooves in the crankshaft (1), as shown in Figure 22-35.
Figure 22-36 shows the position of the internal gearbox components in both the low and high ranges for the
Holland Mark V trailer landing gear.
CAUTION: Anytime trailer landing gear is to be repaired, ensure that the trailer frame is suitably and safely
supported on adjustable jack stands before attempting to remove any components.