Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Let's Get Level Headed About This

In all the years that we have been camping, one of the the most dreaded jobs to do is to level our unit. We first started with a pop up which was so small I had no problems leveling that one. The next one was a motor home which was tail heavy so that one took a lot of boards to get it level. Our travel trailer wasn't too bad but still took some doing. Now the fifth wheel that we are in is the largest and most difficult to level but we have a system.

The fifth wheel has been a learning experience from the word get go. Hitching up and unhitching, pulling, making turns, braking, backing in and leveling. On its maiden voyage we went to one of our favorite spots which was the Indian Reservation just outside of Livingston, Texas. We pulled into our spot, leveled the unit and started to unhitch. When I pulled the release it wouldn't move. I pulled real hard and the truck and trailer both moved. I looked at Sherry and she looked at me and we both said, "What the hell was that?"

Since then we have developed a system for leveling and unhooking. But why is it so important to level the RV? Well besides the obvious it comes down to your refrigerator. That's right the fridge. The fridge works partly on gravity so all the liquids and gases can perform efficiently. If the fridge is not level then their is a possibility for damage to happen. How the fridge works in detail is a whole other post. So let's level this puppy!

Once you pull up to your site, what we do, is get out and take a look around. Look and see how level the site is and don't forget to look up for those low lying tree limbs. From this point I will explain how Sherry and I get level. After looking at the site, I will tell Sherry where I want the tires to be. Once I have the trailer where I want it to be, straight, centered that sort of thing, we discuss how many boards or what we use, the orange blocks. Sherry will start to get the set up on the blocks and then she guides me onto them. I always try to backup onto the blocks. The reason is that the trailer hitch pin will be far enough away from the locking jaws and no pressure so I have an easy release. If you pull forward onto the blocks and then try to release the trailer there is pressure from the hitch pin on the locking jaws and this will make for a difficult release. This is what happened to us at the Indian Reservation.

Sherry guides me onto the blocks and stops me just so she has enough room to place the wheel chock on the other side. Then she continues to have me backup into the wheel chock so she can place the other chock in the front. After this I will unlock the jaws to release the trailer and Sherry starts to lower the front legs. I move the truck out of the way and place a x-chock between the tires. When this is done I will lower the stabilizer legs in the back at each corner. Now remember that the stabilizers are for stabilizing the trailer not for leveling, they are not designed for leveling. I have a tool that can be used to lower the legs but instead I use my cordless drill with an adaptor to except a socket. This makes the job easier and faster. Once this is all done I am confident the the trailer is level and secured.

I must stress safety at this point. If you use good common sense and think safety first you won't have any problems. There may be times when you might forget something during your routine. We were in our TT when I started to unhitch from the truck and the trailer started to roll backwards. I quickly lowered the trailer back onto the ball hitch and started to see why it would roll. To my surprise I forgot to place the wheel chocks at the tires. You have all the time in the world so don't forget a major item like I did.

Now that the trailer is level and the fridge will work fine it's time to go fishing.

Until Next Time...............Be Safe.


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