BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
This invention relates to supporting devices and in particular to devices for supporting heavy structures such as mobile homes.
2. Description of the Prior Art
In the conventional semi-permanent installation of a mobile home, cement blocks and the like are provided under the frame of the mobile home to provide a positive firm support thereof. The use of such blocks and the like presents a number of problems. Such blocks are frangible and at times are broken and must be replaced. Such blocks are relatively heavy and substantial work must be done in moving them below and out from the mobile home frame each time the mobile home is moved. If the user does not wish to buy new blocks at each installation, he must further transport the relatively heavy blocks. Where new blocks are purchased upon moving of the mobile home to a new location, delays in the obtaining of the blocks may present substantial inconvenience and difficulty. Where the blocks are moved with the mobile home, they must either be placed in the mobile home, which presents serious damage possibilities, or must be hauled in a separate vehicle, presenting additional cost problems.
The blocks may be made of wood. Thus, the blocks require periodic maintenance to maintain a reasonably attractive appearance and when made of wood, present the serious problem of decay because of the normal dampness in such an installation.
The use of blocks further presents the problem of settling without simple means for readjusting the level.
In certain cases, such as in the sale of such mobile homes by a dealer, it is desirable to temporarily set up the mobile home many times at different locations. The use of blocks to stabilize the temporarily set up mobile home raises serious labor and cost problems. Further, there are times in the transfer of such mobile homes when it is desired to temporarily set up the mobile home and the use of the normal blocks presents a serious problem in such short term installations. Further, such blocks may crack from heat and cold fluctuations and the subjection thereof to normal weathering. The normal use of such blocks further effectively requires the use of more than one man in setting up the mobile home. Further, in installing the blocks, the installer must pass under and from the frame, raising a safety problem as well as a substantial labor problem. To install such blocks, a substantial amount of time is required. Shims, such as boards and the like, have been used from time to time to make final adjustment in the support arrangement, and such boards have the serious disadvantage of cracking, deteriorating, etc.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention comprehends an improved means for supporting a structure such as a mobile home or similar house trailer. The support means includes extensible elements secured to the frame of the mobile home and means for selectively disposing the extensible elements either in a retracted position above the level of the bottom of the wheels, or in an operating position extending between the frame and the subjacent ground surface. Means are associated with the extensible elements for forcibly extending the elements to transfer the weight of the mobile home from the wheels thereto and adjustably support the mobile home in an effectively permanent manner. If at any time subsequent to the original installation, settling of one or more of the supports occurs, they may be readily readjusted to provide a desired horizontal installation of the mobile home.
More specifically, the extensible elements may comprise manually operable means, such as jacks, having a lift portion swingably carried on the frame and a base portion removably secured to the frame to swing from a retained position subjacent the frame downwardly to the ground surface to dispose the jack in a vertical position for supporting the house trailer. Manually operable means may be provided for releasably securing the base portion in the retracted position subjacent the frame. The jack may be provided with a sufficient mechanical advantage as by the use of a relatively long operating handle so that the setting up of the mobile home may be effected without the need for greater strength and, in fact, may be accomplished by women as well as men.
The mobile home may be positioned while still attached to the towing vehicle and the jacks swung down to the operating position. The jacks may then be adjusted to the supporting arrangement and the towing vehicle disconnected in a matter of minutes. The base portion may be provided with a relatively wide base so as to spread the downward forces over a substantial area of the subjacent ground while yet the remainder of the extensible elements may be relatively thin whereby the extensible elements may be relatively light in weight while yet providing the necessary strength for positively supporting the house trailer in an effectively permanent manner.
However, when it is desired to move the mobile home, the towing vehicle, such as a conventional truck tractor, may be reconnected and the jacks quickly manipulated to return the support to the mobile home wheels whereupon the jacks may be swung to the retracted position and locked therein by the releasable locking means permitting the mobile home then to be towed in the normal manner.
The support means of the present invention is extremely simple and economical of construction while yet providing the novel features discussed above.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING
Other features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawing wherein:
FIG. 1 is a side elevation of a mobile house trailer provided with selectively positionable support means embodying the invention;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary enlarged side elevation thereof illustrating the arrangement with the support means supporting the mobile home;
FIG. 3 is an end view of the supported mobile home;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged side elevation of the support means in the retracted position;
FIG. 5 is an enlarged side elevation of the support means in the operating position;
FIG. 6 is an enlarged fragmentary vertical section taken substantially along the line 6--6 of FIG. 5; and
FIG. 7 is an enlarged horizontal section taken substantially along the line 7--7 of FIG. 5.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
In the exemplary embodiment of the invention as disclosed in the drawing, a mobile home generally designated 10, which may have a length of approximately 40 feet or more, is provided with a frame 11 normally movably supported on wheels 12. The frame is provided with connecting means 13 for removably connecting a towing vehicle, such as a truck tractor, 14 thereto for use in transporting the mobile home to different locations as desired.
Upon disposition of the mobile home in a desired location, the user may quickly set up the mobile home in an effectively permanent manner permitting the towing vehicle 14 to be disconnected therefrom while yet the mobile home is effectively positively supported for normal use. More specifically, the invention comprehends providing on the mobile home, a plurality of support elements, or devices, 15 which are effectively permanently mounted to the frame 11 for selective disposition either in a retracted position subjacent the frame, as shown in FIG. 4, or in a vertical operating position extending downwardly from the frame to the subjacent ground surface S, as shown in FIG. 5.
More specifically, each of the support elements 15 herein illustratively comprise an extensible means in the form of a manually operable jack. Each jack includes a base portion 16 provided with a lower support plate 17. The plate is provided with a hole 18 adapted to receive the distal end 19 of a lock pin 20 having a turned handle 21 at the opposite end. The pin is slidably received in a depending U-bracket 22 secured to the frame as by bolts 23 and is urged forwardly, or to the left as seen in FIGS. 4 and 5, by a coil spring 24 compressed between one leg 25 of the U-bracket 22 and a collar 26 secured to the pin. The spring causes the collar 26 to move into abutment with the opposite leg 27 of the U-bracket 22 so as to cause the distal end 19 of the pin to project through the bracket leg 27 and into the opening 18 in the base plate 17 of the jack, as shown in FIG. 4. To release the base 16 from the retracted position of FIG. 4, the user need merely move the pin 20 rearwardly, or to the right, as seen in FIG. 5, to the dotted line position wherein the distal end 19 is withdrawn from hole 18 thereby permitting the plate 17 to move downwardly.
The jack includes a threaded rod 28 which is threaded to a female threaded portion 40 of base 16 to be extensible relative thereto as a result of the threading operation and thereby disposing a head portion 29 at the upper end of the rod 28 adjustably spaced from the base plate 17. Such threading of the rod 28 may be effected by the use of an operating rod 30 selectively insertable in a hole 31 in the upper end of the rod 28 adjacent the head. As shown in FIG. 6, the upper end 32 of the rod carrying the head 29 is reduced in diameter and passes through a hole 33 in the end portion 34 of a Z-bar 35 pivotally secured by a pivot 36 to a mounting plate 37 secured to the frame by suitable means such as screws 38. Head 29 is positioned by the Z-bar 35 to engage the underside 29 of the frame 11 when the jack is disposed in the upright disposition of FIG. 5. In the retracted position of FIG. 4, the Z-bar supports the rod 28 a preselected distance below surface 39 coordinated with the support of the jack by pin 29 so as to effectively maintain the jack in a horizontal storage position closely subjacent the frame surface 39. The normal spacing between U-bracket leg 27 and pivot 36 is preferably substantially equal to the spacing of the frame surface 39 above the bottom of wheels 12 so that upon a swinging of the jack from the position of FIG. 4 to the position of FIG. 5, the jack is substantially arranged to extend fully between the frame surface 39 and the ground surface S thereby facilitating setting up of the trailer.
At times, the trailer may be set up on uneven terrain as illustrated in FIG. 3, and thus, differential adjustment of the different jacks may be required to effect the desired level installation of the mobile home. The jacks are individually adjusted to raise the frame sufficiently so as to transfer the support of the mobile home from the wheels 12 to the jacks and thereby provide a secure, positive installation of the mobile home in the selected location.
When it is desired to move the mobile home, the mover need merely reconnect the towing tractor 14 and reversely thread the rods 28 of the jacks to retransfer the weight of the trailer to the wheels and permit the jacks to be swung to the retracted positions. As the jack base plate 17 is swung up to the frame, the user need merely retract the pin 20 against the action of spring 24 until the hole 18 in the base plate is aligned with the pin end 19. Release of the pin then causes the pin end 19 to enter the hole 18 and secure the jack in the horizontal retracted, or storage, position of FIG. 4.
In the illustrated embodiment, at least 4 such jacks are provided at each side of the mobile home including one jack at each of the four corners of the frame 11, to provide effectively optimum support of the mobile home where the length thereof is approximately 40 feet. For longer mobile homes, additional jacks may be employed, such as five per side for mobile homes 50 to 60 feet in length, and six per side for mobile homes 60 to 70 feet in length.
While the jacks have been illustrated as mechanical threaded rod jacks, as will be obvious to those skilled in the art, any suitable form of extensible jack means may be utilized having suitable strength for supporting the mobile home as desired. The jacks may comprise relatively low cost jacks and the mounting structure is similarly simple and economical of construction so that the novel supporting means is relatively inexpensive while yet providing the highly desirable features discussed above. While the invention is adapted advantageously for use with mobile homes having effective lengths of 40 feet or more, as will be understood by those skilled in the art, the improved jack means may also be advantageously utilized in supporting conventional shorter recreational house trailers.
The foregoing disclosure of specific embodiments is illustrative of the broad inventive concepts comprehended by the invention.