Gear review: BOS 3 Rib Long Jockey Unit Kit - Caravan World Australia

Gear review: BOS 3 Rib Long Jockey Unit Kit

Written by: John Ford

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BOS old and new

We have been using a BOS Jockey Unit since I saw one in action at the Sydney Caravan Show around four and a half years ago and promptly bought my own. I have been delighted with it across two vans and some 40,000km, and over the years we have recommended it to many other caravanners who have been impressed with how good it is. Sadly, on our recent travels to WA, I did not secure it properly and bent the bottom leg as a result. As an aside, I'm calling the BOS system a jockey unit rather than a standard jockey wheel because my variety has a baseplate rather than a wheel.

The BOS is a practical and easy-to-use way to remove the van from the hitch and set the correct north-south level for overnight stays. The Jockey uses a 2.5:1 gearbox to wind a shaft up and down using either a cordless drill or a handle. There's 400mm of lift in standard form, but extra extension sections can slot into place if needed. The jockey units have been load tested to 1800kg, suitable for larger vans designed for offroad travel.

BOS Jockey Wheels is a family-owned company that started making its patented jockey units in 2013 to solve the problem of inefficient wind-up jacks on the market (the hand winder being one of its greatest source of annoyance). Demand was almost instant when people saw how easy and fast the Australian-designed product was, and the company now manufactures 500 units per month. The range is assembled and key components are manufactured in-house with worldwide patents at the BOS factory at St Marys, in Sydney’s west.

When I called BOS to replace the inner pipe of the jockey unit that I had bent, they suggested that we try their new version, designed to stay in place on the A-frame by winding the inner pipe and removing the simple baseplate. The latest version also has a locking pin that sits in a slot when you wind the inner pipe up and keeps the inner pipe from unwinding. It's a significant improvement on the older version.

Slot for the pin

Our new jockey system is the more extended three rib unit designed for high offroad vans with either single clamps or double clamps on the A-frame. The machined gearbox has a unique 12mm square input, not 1/2in, for added security, and BOS supplies a 12mm drive piece for your drill and a large and sturdy handle as a backup. The swivel base plate is also upgraded to heavy-duty, non-rusting nylon that turns through 30 degrees for a firm grip on the ground surface. BOS even supplies a weatherproof cover to protect the gearbox from UV.

BOS recommends an 18V lithium battery drill (not an impact driver), and you must use the clutch mechanism to ensure that you do not lock up the inner pipe when retracting or extending. Raising the coupling off the DO35 hitch is effortless, and with 400mm of lift, there has never been a problem, even on sloping, uneven ground. 

Lifting the van is easy and fast

The 3 Rib Long Jockey retails for around $415 and has a five-year warranty. Call BOS on 02 9623 6922 or head to its website to check out the different options available in the range.

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