DIY project : The 16 foot gate

Stabilizing the 16 foot gate project

The Spring of 2019, I managed to complete a new picket fence around my property. The project was a push all in so I could enjoy my favorite kind of fence and upgrade the gate I use to get a trailer into the property on the side of the house.

The original gate was only ten feet wide and I always cringed when I was trying to navigate the truck and trailer into the backyard and then park in near the side of the house. Upgrading the fence gate was a pain, I have to admit. I had to crack the cement to get the old posts out and then dig pretty deep to get some 6×6 inch posts in. I decided on 16 feet wide since I typically approach the gate at a slight angle. This allows me to take a tighter turn and reduce the amount of risk of me sliding and clipping the corner of the house. Now, its easier and its almost a direct shot to the side of the house where the trailer is parked.

So, I went out to look over the fence line to see how it was holding up. Looking at the eastern side, where the gate is located, I noticed and remembered that the guy-wire on one side was down, and the other side, although the guy-wire was still up, it was loose. I wanted to experiment with the guy-wires to see if it would work on two eight foot sections of gate, and honestly, it did not. So over the past few weeks I decided to look for something to get that gate off the ground in a permanent kinda way.

Trailer jacks with a side crank vice a top crank are excellent for fence gate use.
A look at the gate before adding the Trailerjacks. The left side guy-wire failed and the right side was loose. End restult, is the gate lays on the ground, stressing the hinges of the fence gate.
The fence gate and the guy-wire design. The swivels, were pretty hefty, but refused to stay tight.
The fence gate and the guy-wire design. The swivels, were pretty hefty, but refused to stay tight.

A few days before Christmas, I was out and about looking for last minute gifts. Driving down a familiar road in the city, I seen that Northern Tool had a unadvertised special going on. Select items were at 50% off. I decided to go inside and see what they had.

I was looking for a trailer jack. The ones I was looking for had to have a wheel on the bottom and offer some type of support for me to mount them onto the fence gate, whether I use U-bolts or other type framing. I go inside and loom around. I see these…

Trailer jacks with a side crank vice a top crank are excellent for fence gate use.
Trailer jacks with a side crank vice a top crank are excellent for fence gate use.

I noticed the pink stickers, and that told me they were on sale. I was kicking the can. I was on the edge of purchasing these. Looking at the side of the package, I had no idea how tall the device would be with the wheels on, and whether or not it would mount well on the fence gate. I decided to pass on them for the moment, and I went to the truck to look these up and see the ratings. I sat in the truck and pondered for about 10 minutes. I decided, what the heck, worse case I just return them.

I go back inside and go to grab the remaining two and one of them is gone. UGH. I look around and I don’t see a sales rep anywhere. There is one at the counter checking people out, but there is a long line, probably 10 people deep. I wasn’t going to bother her…. Wait, a lady with a walkie talkie and a head piece in her ear wisks by. I asked if she worked here and whether they had another of these in stock. She gets on the radio passes the info to another person in the back. About 5 minutes later, out comes a guy with a box of three more. Cool. I grab two, pay and head out the door.

Fast forwarding to today, It is a wonderfully warm and soggy day outside. The last two days it rained, but the sun has broken through and it is 74 degrees. Perfect weather for me to mount these trailer jacks to the fence gate.

Looking at the gate, you can see what side had a guy-wire and which did not. They were both on the ground, but the side with the guy-wire a little less so.
Looking at the gate, you can see what side had a guy-wire and which did not. They were both on the ground, but the side with the guy-wire a little less so.

The first thing I had to do was take one of the jacks out of the box and bring it to the gate. I needed to see if I had to add more wood to support the trailer jack, and if so, how much and in which direction. I decided that the best approach would be horizontal, so that the top bolts would be supported by adding on a small section of 2×4 and then the bottom screws would go right into the bottom 2×6 board.

I used eight screws per 2×4 for added support, and then I added the trailer jacks. I used lag bolts from Lowe’s to secure the trailer jacks to the gate.

Trailer jacks added to the fence gate.
Trailer jacks added to the fence gate.
View of the 16 foot fence gate before cleanup.
View of the 16 foot fence gate before cleanup.

I took my time, and it took me about 2 hours for get the fence gate hardware mounted. I leveled the gate once I had everything done. I noticed that it was really wet and soggy, and the wheels sunk into the dirt a little bit. In the spring, I will add a thick concrete landing area for the wheels. It will have to be pretty thick and wide to keep it stable as the truck and trailer run it over, but that is an easy task.

The fence gate with the guy-wires down and everything else cleaned up. A coat of paint to the 6x6 posts in the spring and it will be complete.
The fence gate with the guy-wires down and everything else cleaned up. A coat of paint to the 6×6 posts in the spring and it will be complete.

It looks a lot better and level, and off the ground ! The jacks costs about $27.00 USD each and it will make the gate last a long time. Another do it yourself (DIY) mission complete !