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Open Roads Forum  >  Beginning RVing

 > Beginner Trailer Leveling Questions

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BeerBrewer

Long Island

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Posted: 03/24/19 07:01am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Let me start by apologizing for all of the dumb questions that I've been asking.

As the "pick up our new trailer day" nears the number of questions/concerns grows! I was going thru my "still need to buy for the RV" list and came across stuff needed to level the trailer. So I started looking at all of the different ways to level a trailer.

Before I get into what type of leveling blocks to buy etc, I'm wondering how off level most campground campsites are? How high do you typically need to raise the trailer (side to side)? Do I bring enough levers to raise the trailer 4", 5", 6", etc.?? I just don't know. Obviously, when you boondock all bets are off.

What type of leveling blocks do you folks use? I see some use plastic Lego like blocks, some use plastic ramps, some use wooden boards. Is one better than another? Pros and cons? Do the plastic lego like blocks hold up and how many should we carry? I've seen people use wooden boards with and without putting slanted edges or them. Does anyone use the Hopkins kit, where you attach plastic pieces to the wooden boards making it easier to drive up and keep from driving off? Does anyone use the curved levelers made by Andersen and others? These seem interesting, but I was wondering how well they work and what happens if you ride too far and fall off them? How easily does the trailer tires climb these? I can see them acting like skis and sliding me across the campsite.

Does anyone use the electronic leveler like Level Mate Pro, Revo Leveler or Hopkins RV Smart Level? Are these worthwhile investments? I like the fact that the Level Mate Pro has an App that you can use in the truck.

I know that you aren't supposed to lift the trailer with the stabilizer jacks, but I was wondering if there was a limit to how far they should be lowered? I assume that I should buy a some square leveling block to put underneath, but I'm not sure how many to buy. Is one enough or should I figure more?

What happens if we get a flat tire? Should I bring an extra scissor jack or get one the curved gadgets that you put under one tire to lift the other?

Lastly, I'm sorry for all the dumb questions.

Bob

NMDriver2

New Mexico

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Posted: 03/24/19 07:35am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Most camp sites will only be 2-4 inches off level side to side. Rarely (2-4 times in 15 yrs) have I needed more than that. Most of the time, in a commercial park, the pad was level or only a inch or two off. A little shovel work can help in even a bad site.

Keep it simple. Start with four or five 2x8x12 planks with beveled ends and two or three 1x8x12. They will last longer if you glue and screw a 1/4 inch chip board or similar composite to them to avoid cracking and splitting.

Carry a bottle jack and a shovel to change tires. There will be times when the axle will be to close to the ground, after a flat, and you will need to dig a hole for the jack. The shovel is good for other things around the camp site and can even help getting you level.

Generally the taller the stabilizers are the more wobble you will get. I try to lower them as little as possible and carry spare leveling boards just for the stabilizers to land on.


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Fizz

Ottawa, Canada

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Posted: 03/24/19 07:52am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

^^^^^
Couldn't have said it better.
Don't overthink it, keep it simple, learn as you go.

SoundGuy

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Posted: 03/24/19 07:53am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BeerBrewer wrote:

As the "pick up our new trailer day" nears the number of questions/concerns grows!


How you level your trailer will determine how you also chock it so it doesn't inadvertently roll away. Unfortunately nowhere in your post do you indicate just which trailer you're talking about, what it is (popup, travel trailer, 5th, whatever) or whether it's single axle or dual axle. Include this info in your SIG and the answers you get will be much more useful for your particular application.


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Lwiddis

Hearst San Simeon State Park

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Posted: 03/24/19 08:21am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

NMD is right when he says “A little shovel work...” will usually solve the problem when dirt camping.


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BeerBrewer

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Posted: 03/24/19 09:06am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sorry, we purchased a Grand Design Transcend 26RLS. It's a dual axle trailer that is 32' long (bumper to hitch) and the GVWR is 8495 lbs. We will be towing it with a 2018 Ram 2500 diesel and a Hensley Arrow hitch.

Sorry, as retired engineer and an ex-boy Scout I tend to over think things. That said. I'll probably start off using wooden boards to level the trailer until I learn more.

George3037

Central Square, NY

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Posted: 03/24/19 09:24am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

After many years of camping listed below is what works for me every time. There are no dumb questions Bob. When I started camping there was no internet to ask questions. We saw or asked other campers what they used.

1) For changing a flat I carry a small 2T floor jack (about $30 at HF). IMO it is safer than a bottle jack. I've had a bottle jack kick out before. Not fun to happen once the wheel is off.
2) To prevent trailer from rolling I use super grip X style wheel chocks (about $80 at Etrailer) that go between the tandem axle tires. Also use HD rubber chocks front and rear of tires (about $8 each at HF).
3) To level I carry several 2x8x12" and 1x8x12" planks for under the tires. I tried the lego style plastic blocks but they cracked and broke the first time I drove onto them (planks left over from home projects).
4) for stabilizers I carry 2x8x12" and 5- 6x6x8 blocks (4 for stabilizers and 1 for tongue jack. Using the 6x6's the stabilizer jacks don't have to extend so far as mentioned in post 2.
5) to read level I use cheap stick on bubble levels. 2 on each corner (about $2 each at most RV stores).

My TT is 32' long and GVWR is just over 11K.

1320Fastback

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Posted: 03/24/19 10:01am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

For overnight stays I rarely take leveling serious. If it's a KOA or quality campground I'll pay the little extra for a solid surface site and just go with that. I'll lower the tongue to take a little weight off the truck and then drop the corner jacks to take the bounce out of the floor and be done with it.


At home it's parked sideways on a large sloping driveway so it's backed up onto 2x8 that have a ramp angle cut into each of them. The longest is 8' (so it fits in bed of the truck) and the other two are 12" shorter each. I line up the square ends at the back and this allows 10" or so of flat area between each bevel. I tried just lining up all the bevels but it's so steep they just pushed out if the way as the trailer touched them.

I have no experience with older RVs but have read they (refrigerators) were much more sensitive to being out of level than what we have now and would not work unless near perfect.


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drsteve

Michigan

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Posted: 03/24/19 10:14am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Once you are level side to side, chock the wheels. Do this before you unhook the TT from the truck. When breaking camp, do not pull the chocks until the TT is hooked back up to the TV.


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Lynnmor

Red Lion

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Posted: 03/24/19 11:00am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I use the cheap stick on levels, but scrape off the useless foam tape and replace it with VHB 3M tape. Find a reasonably level place and use a large level under the frame to get the trailer perfectly level by shimming under the tires and adjusting the hitch jack. Now you can stick two levels on opposite corners so that in the future you can depend on them as well as watch for twist.

You probably know to use the stabilizing jacks lightly and not to do any significant leveling with those.

I carry wood blocks about tire width and 1-1/2" thick about 10" long. Also 2 blocks 3/4" thick and two blocks made from 4 x 6 posts.

I also carry a set of the legos for when it really is bad.





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