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Old 05-08-2014, 03:28 PM   #1
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Need advice on leveling

I have a small coachmen clipper ultralight. 20' total exterior single axle with 4 stabilizers. My question is depending on how uneven the ground is, do I need to use wood blocks/leveler blocks under tires for side to side leveling and leveling blocks under stabilizers for front and back leveling? I can never seem to get completing leveled by just using the yellow level blocks under stabilizers. I wasn't using a impact drill, just a regular drill and the stabilizers only go down so far. Do I need impact drill, do I need an add'l 10pck of yellow level blocks, and should I have some wood blocks for tires and if so what is a good size for my small 13' tires. Do I even need to be completely level if it doesn't bother me? Thanks for any help.
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Old 05-08-2014, 03:34 PM   #2
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RV Leveling is Quick and Easy

Leveling a RV is actually a fairly quick and easy process once you get used to it. For the lucky elite, they push a button that said "level" and the rig uses an automated system and levels itself (even to the point of raising the RV off of it's tires if need be). For the rest of us, we're stuck with doing it by hand. It's still pretty easy, though - if one side is lower than the other, you raise that side. You do this side to side first and then front to back. The end. (Seriously, it's that easy!)

Our Leveling Process
  1. Finagle the camper into position on the site where the boss ultimately wants it to be
  2. She grabs the 2' level and places it on the floor inside of the door for a side to side measurement
  3. In her head, she somehow turns that into how many blocks she needs to stack together and lays them out beside of the tires
  4. I either pull the truck and camper forward or backwards, depending on clearance and my mood
  5. She slides the stack of blocks to where the tires were
  6. I then pull the truck and camper onto the blocks
  7. Go to #2 and repeat until "level" has been achieved
  8. I then unhitch from the truck (always ensuring that the wheels are chocked!) and pull the truck out of the way
  9. She moves the level so that it's measuring the front-to-back level-ness
  10. Using the tongue jack or front landing gear, we raise or lower the camper until the level reads level (say that 5 times fast)
  11. Finally, we lower our rear stabilizers and get them "snug"

How to Raise the Low Side

You have 2 products for leveling side to side:
  1. Plain old lumber
  2. Plastic "Lego"-like Lynx Blocks
They both work. They both have advantages and disadvantages and neither is better than the other - seriously.

The advantages to wood is that it's usually readily available and if you have scraps, it can be very cheap (aka free). You usually don't care if it breaks or even in a pinch, you can burn it (both good and bad here!). I try to carry a few 2x10 pieces and a couple of 1x6 pieces and even a piece of 1/2" plywood. I haven't used the 1x6 or 1/2" plywood with the fifth wheel, but it was handy for dialing levelness for my pop-up.

The advantages to the Lynx blocks are that they're compact, lightweight and interlock (because they're like giant Legos). The disadvantage is that they can sink into soft ground, break in the cold and are fairly expensive (buy them from Walmart, not your local RV dealer if you want to save money). I'm up to 3 packs of these now because I can build a ramp that spans my 2 tires up to 4 blocks tall. The "ramp" is really nice and makes it a lot easier to drive up onto.

What *NOT* to Do

Many people look at the stabilizers hanging off of the back of an RV and think "levelers". There's a distinct difference. Stabilizers are not made to level the rig. Doing so can cause damage to them and to your frame (by twisting it as you raise the corners of your RV).

Don't be tempted to grab your drill or impact driver and torque away at these until you raise that corner. If you have done so already, undo it, hitch up and level the way that I described above.
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Old 05-08-2014, 04:17 PM   #3
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ependydad-Thanks alot! I will use this method. Very helpful. So do I need to put any blocks under stabilizers at all for front and back leveling or just using the tongue jack? I assume just if need be due to a gap to fit snug? So using a regular drill just to mildly lower stabilizers is good enough, no need for an impact drill since I would have to purchase? And for the stackables for tires, I need to stack gradually higher to create a ramp, dont just stack single blocks say 3 high?
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Old 05-08-2014, 04:26 PM   #4
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Your front to back leveling is only the tongue jack. You get level side to side and front to back before putting the stabilizers down at all.

People put blocks under the stabilizers to so that they aren't extended so far. This is supposed to help with the amount of movement you feel inside of the camper and help them stabilize better but aren't required.

A regular drill or hand crank are fine for your stabilizers. You want "snug" not "overly cranked". At most half a turn after the stabilizer makes contact with the ground.

And yes, you want a ramp to make it easier to get your camper pulled up onto the blocks. Like they show in their product picture:
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Old 05-08-2014, 04:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsalsa06 View Post
I have a small coachmen clipper ultralight. 20' total exterior single axle with 4 stabilizers. My question is depending on how uneven the ground is, do I need to use wood blocks/leveler blocks under tires for side to side leveling and leveling blocks under stabilizers for front and back leveling? I can never seem to get completing leveled by just using the yellow level blocks under stabilizers. I wasn't using a impact drill, just a regular drill and the stabilizers only go down so far. Do I need impact drill, do I need an add'l 10pck of yellow level blocks, and should I have some wood blocks for tires and if so what is a good size for my small 13' tires. Do I even need to be completely level if it doesn't bother me? Thanks for any help.
I've only been at this for a little over a year, but here's what I've found to be the best method. Buy a bubble level for inside the fridge. Note: the fridge does not work well if it's not level. Level up the TT in a parking lot or driveway or some place fairly level to start with, using the bubble level in the fridge. Once you are level at that point, install some some small levels, one on the front and one on the side of the drivers side front corner of the TT so that they also represent level. That's your starting point. The fridge and therefore the TT are level.
Now go buy a "Camco Tri-Leveler" and some lego blocks. I got two packs of the blocks and did need to use more than one pack once.
Now the fun part. When you get where you are going and the DW has the TT right where she wants it, look at the level you installed on the front of the TT.
You'll see there is a low side. Put the Tri Leveler either in front or behind the wheel on the low side and move the TT up the Leveler until the level on the TT is in the center. Now CHOCK THE OPPOSITE WHEEL...BOTH DIRECTIONS.
Unhitch the TT, move the TV out of the way. Check the side level and use the tongue jack to level front to back. You should now be level side to side and front to back. Lower the stabilizers onto the lego pads and you're done. Whole process should only take about 10 minutes
All items I mentioned can be bought at Walmart and are very reasonable.
Happy camping!!
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Old 05-08-2014, 04:27 PM   #6
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When using wood- you want to do the same ramping up technique with multiple pieces of wood. Some people will actually cut angles into the ends of the wood to make it easier to drive up on. I've never had an issue getting my tires up onto 2x10 wood.
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Old 05-08-2014, 04:43 PM   #7
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ependydad-ok great! One more question, do you usually only need to put blocks or wood under just the 1 tire (low side) or have you ever had to put something under both sides of tires?
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Old 05-08-2014, 04:49 PM   #8
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I've never had a need for something on both sides- I only ever deal with the low side.

That said, your camper might be light enough that you can get away with a BAL Leveler. It goes around your tire and lifts it. Back when I had my pop-up, I would have gotten one (if I hadn't gotten rid of my pop-up to go for this camper that is a little bigger).

Or, like Canonman posted- there are other options. That ramp has graduated spots for raising the low side up. And, a new popular thing that I've been reading about is the Andersen Levelers.
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Old 05-08-2014, 04:55 PM   #9
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Maybe something to consider for the future. As for now, I think I'm good to go and feel much better with the knowledge I now have. Good thing I asked here before I ruined my stabilizers and frame! My last trip, I was kind of cranking it a little too much without anything under the tire and thought something is wrong here. I guess now I just need to buy a 2' leveler, I just have the small one but that might work I suppose.
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Old 05-08-2014, 05:08 PM   #10
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And now for something completely different....

New product hit the market recently - a tad on the pricy side (especially if you need 2 like I do - dual axels GSalsa06) For your lightweight though this might do the trick:

Amazon.com: Andersen-3604 Camper Leveler: Automotive

Unbelieveably easy to do side-side leveling (The trickiest one)

Fore-Aft leveling as was described.

Next trip out I plan on "forgetting our lego blocks so my thrifty 6 Actual (DW) will let me buy this amazing toy
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