Learn How to Level Your RV Before You Do Damage
What We Didn’t Know
Turns out we have been pretty lucky so far and the campgrounds we have visited have all had fairly level campsites. We never thought about how we would level the camper if we had to. Until this past weekend. We arrived close to dark, hungry, tired and ready to settle into our weekend. As we came around the corner and got the first sight of our home for the weekend, we were very happy. It was a large site along the lake and a pull through which was a nice little surprise. We got to work unhooking the hitch, putting down the jacks, hooking up the water and electric. I went inside to turn everything on and realized right away that the camper was so unlevel that I felt like we would totally roll right off the bed at night. It really was so bad that I had trouble standing up. Okay, no worries we would just get it level with the jacks right?
The Completely Wrong Way to Level an RV
We went to work cranking all of the jacks a million times trying to get the camper level. We got it somewhat level from front to back but the back left was way too low so we jacked that scissor jack up so much that the back tire left the ground. Success! It was level enough that we didn’t feel like we were going to end up falling out of bed so that seemed good enough. It was really about comfort and not safety. The camper seemed stable enough so all was good.
We went inside and tried to settle in. It really did not seem completely level but we were tired and tried to ignore it. Plus, the refrigerator wasn’t working correctly so we needed to figure out what we were going to do about keeping the food from spoiling. Dangit. We really just wanted to start our fun weekend. We went back outside and adjusted the jacks one more time and decided to just be okay with how it was.
The weekend went well and we did not roll out of bed but the fridge never really worked correctly. I figured we would worry about that for the next trip.
As we were driving home I thought I remembered reading something about refrigerators not working if the camper is not level so I did a little research and realized how wrong we were in our approach to leveling our camper.
Turns out that a camper that is not level can cause damage to a refrigerator. RV fridges don’t use compressors but use a chemical reaction flowing sodium chromate through the pipes. If the camper is not level the chemicals can gather, pool and settle which can cause blockages and weaken the fridge in as little as a half an hour. Oh great!
The Correct Way to Level and RV
So now that we know what not to do, let’s talk about how to properly level your camper so that you don’t do any damage.
First, when you arrive at your campsite check to see how level it is. If it is not at all level you might be better off asking if you can move. But, there may come a day when you just have to take the uneven site and make it work. Leveling your RV is not hard but you do need to make sure you have a few very important items with you. Go ahead and order these now and always have them with you. The last thing you want to do is arrive at a campground late to a site that is crooked and have nowhere to move and no tools to help you get level. I wish we had known about these things last weekend and really hope that we didn’t do any damage. I guess we will find out on our next trip.
ABSOLUTELY MUST HAVE ITEMS FOR LEVELING YOUR CAMPER
I am very sorry for shouting but this is important…..
Okay, so first you need some leveling blocks. From what I have read the Tri-Lynx Leveling Blocks are the easiest to work with.
You will also need a mounted level if your camper does not have one. This will save your from needing to go in and out of your trailer to make sure it is level. These will even tell you how many inches you need to raise/lower to level making it so much easier to adjust how many level blocks you need.
Level Camper From Side to Side First
You need to level your camper from side to side while it is still hitched to your tow vehicle. You will level front to back later.
If one side of your camper is lower than the other, place RV leveling blocks under the tires. These blocks allow you to raise your RV one inch at at time and are wide enough for your tires to sit on safely. If you use blocks that are too narrow, you risk damaging the belts in your tires, You can make a “ramp” in front of the tires on the downhill side and slowly pull up on them.
Now Level From Front to Back
Once you have your camper level from side to side you will level from front to back. Before you do anything else chock your wheels to keep them from rolling. Then unhitch from your tow vehicle.
Use the front leveling tongue jack to level your camper, not the stabilizing scissor jacks. The stabilizer jacks are meant for just that “stabilizing”. They will take some of the pressure off the trailer’s suspension and helps keep it from bouncing when you move around inside. Never extend them so much that your tires are off the ground like we did last weekend. You run the risk of damaging your frame if you do.
I really hope we did not learn a very expensive lesson. We will find out on our next adventure. Hopefully everything is fine with the frame and the fridge works normally again. Cross your fingers for us please.