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Old 01-26-2015, 10:58 PM   #1
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Newbie fed up with so much misinformation on proper set up of a travel trailer

2010 Eagle 318RLS: Uggggggggggg!!!! My eyes grow weary of reading so many articles on how to properly set up the travel trailer. I don't know who to believe anymore. I don't know what to believe anymore. Even videos contradict each other. Here are my questions.

1) When leveling out left to right, put blocks under tires. Problem? Some say to always leave one tire on the ground, other say to roll both tires on blocks. Very confusing, which one is correct? I would think both tires to get level.

2) Yes I know stabilizer jacks are not meant to lift the trailer. Still, even the manufacturer says they are "only used to level the trailer" In order to level the trailer left to right, you have to be able to pick up the weight of the trailer with the jacks. Which again, goes against what everyone tells you to do.

3) And if the above is correct, that the stabilizer jacks are meant to level the trailer, then why use wooden blocks under the tires at all?

4) The stabilizer jacks are the most confusing thing to me. I know you are only supposed to crank them down to firm ground, and then another turn or two, in order to stabilize the trailer. At the same time, if you're on an uneven lot, that's simply cannot take place without applying weight to the jacks, and from what I understand, these things have more than enough lifting capacity to do so. I know, I have been able to lift the whole trailer off of the ground with them alone.

Lots and lots of articles refer to the stabilizing jacks on travel trailers as leveling jacks. A contradiction of terms it seems. I understand that if you put too much weight than this could create a sag in the middle, but can't you just use the stabilizer jacks to jack it up even, and then put a couple more scissor jacks under the frames in front and behind the tires?

5) Which brings me to question five, even when properly set up, tires on the wooden blocks, stabilizer jacks down, wouldn't it be best to ALWAYS use scissor jacks under the frame in the middle? Nobody ever says to do that. As a contractor, this thing is on a suspension, and I would think that it should ALWAYS be insisted that jacks be used to give better support, and less movement.

6) Even though it does work, I can't really figure out why? If the trailer sits on the springs and you lift the tires up, won't the trailer just squish down more on the springs on the side of the tires that are jacked up? Kind of like pushing the tires up into the frame? Which means it would kind of self level back to the original position?

Any help would be nice, as I am totally and irreversibly irritated and frustrated in reading about something as simple as to how to set up a travel trailer.
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Old 01-26-2015, 11:34 PM   #2
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You are right there is a lot of miss information on the Web.

1. Leveling blocks, you can put blocks under however many wheels needed. I use 2x6 primarily. If you put one block under each wheel you will get the full lift height of the blocks. If instead you put one block under just one wheel you will get only half the lift. So depending on the situation depends on the number and placement. Some say always put equal number of blocks under each wheel, due to stress, on the axle, I say b.s. going down the road is way more stressful.

2. Stabilizers are only stabilizers, do not lift with them, they are not built heavy enough to jack up to he unit.

Adding an extra stabilizer in front of the axles under the frame will add incredible stability. Lots of option in what can be used. It just takes the bounce out of the frame flexing.

One more thing, purely optional, I like to place a board under the stabilizer pads to increase the surface contact with the ground. This can be helpful on softer soils. I also will tighten up the stabilizers the next morning.
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Old 01-26-2015, 11:35 PM   #3
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Level side to side by driving up on blocks on the low side. If you are going down the road and hit a bump, sure, the wheels bounce up toward the trailer. But the springs are pushing down and they restore the gap between the tires and the trailer. Believe me, when you drive up on leveling blocks you will change the side to side level.

After you are level, crank down the jacks. I don't know why some call them leveling jacks and some call them stabilizers. Think about it. If you don't use the jacks the weight of the trailer is supported by tongue jack and the tires/axles/suspension. If you walk around in the trailer it's going to be a little bouncy because of the springs. Lower the jacks (I use 2x6s under mine to spread out the weight) until they hit the board or the ground, then go a little more so they are supporting a little weight, but not to where you are trying to lift the trailer. If it's still a little bouncy inside put a little more tension on them. You won't get it as solid as if it were on a foundation, but you will develop a feel for how you like it.

I've found you can read too much about some of this. Just go out and do it. You're not going to hurt anything (unless you really do try to level with just the jacks). Most of this stuff is just common sense and you'll figure it out after you do it a couple of times.
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Old 01-26-2015, 11:37 PM   #4
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As newbies, we have found copious amounts of vodka to be quite helpful in leveling the trailer . . . or maybe it's just that we no longer notice . . . or care . . . or are laughing too hard about how crooked the dog is sitting.

Our second time out (and first boondocking foray), we arrived after dark at 41 degrees in a state park where our allotted site was on the edge of a cliff. The Big Guy had relocated the flashlights (maybe to Zambia) . . . so we were working by the bright torch of my iPhone. While trying to level our TT, the wheels of the trailers "pinched" the Lynx leveler blocks something awful, and they were last seen flying over the edge of the precipice.

We look forward to seeing others answers to your questions but, yes, the vodka does seem to help . . .

Good Luck!
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Old 01-26-2015, 11:43 PM   #5
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Right or wrong, this is what I do and my reasoning behind it.

Leveling side to side - I drive both wheels on the low side onto blocks as necessary to get side to side level. I figure it is better to keep close to the same weights on each axle than to have them torqued differently from one another. If the raised side is not too high to get a chock in place, I go ahead and chock a wheel toward the downhill direction front to back. Both sides of the wheel if it's too close to call. I then chock the other side the same way. I like the chock to be on a tire where even if it was ran completely over then the other tire has to get over it as well. I can't imagine that will ever matter but somehow I feel better chocking it that way. Also, if I cannot chock the raised side at all because it is too high up, then I chock my other side tires... both of them... on both front and back. That way, I have that one side as secure as I can get it.

Since side to side leveling can create some torque on the ball, I will begin to raise the tongue off the ball until there is some pressure. Then, I will put the truck in neutral to relieve and pulling / pushing. Then, park again, and finish raising the tongue off the ball. This usually prevents the tongue from popping off the ball and jolting the trailer... sometimes screwing up my side to side leveling job.

Next, I adjust the tongue jack to level the trailer front to back. Once level, I lower the stabilizers to just sufficient pressure to minimize bounce. On some trailers, all four stabilizers are lowered independently. On mine and I assume your's too, the front stabilizers lower together and the rear together. For both, as soon as one foot hits the ground it stops moving while the other foot continues to work its way down. Once they are both touching ground then you start getting pressure and you can pretty much hear it as the electric motor sounds differently as it is working against the ground. I never assume that the stabilizers have the strength to carry the actual weight of the trailer. They probably can but I don't know if that would fatigue the metal and eventually they would fail or bend.

I have to think that scissor jacks might be stronger and perhaps can really do the job of lifting and leveling the trailer. I still wouldn't trust it myself. Meanwhile, the kind of stabilizers I have are screw driven straight legs that come down at an angle. Since they are motor driven, they are more convenient to me than scissor jacks. However, they seem like they would be too weak to be relied upon to lift the weight of the RV vs. just adding some pressure to stabilize it from bouncing.

Perhaps leveling jacks and stabilizing jacks are terms that are referred to as the same thing when in reality there might be a real difference dependent on the type and strength of the "jack" involved.

In any case, this is what I've been doing with my trailer since I bought it new in 2013 and I've not had any issues. I had an event where my tongue popped off the ball so hard that it knocked the trailer right off the jack cone. This was in Florida in soft sand and the jack was nailed into the earth until the tongue was sitting on the ground. This is when I discovered that I might want to put the truck in neutral to relieve that pressure from now on. For me, I can tell it makes a difference. No more popping off the ball at all. Nice and smooth.
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Old 01-27-2015, 01:51 AM   #6
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Vodka? Who needs leveling for a reason to do that!!!

Cool. In other words. It just doesn't matter? Guess I am sooo worried about "bending the frame" that I read so much about. Why I was thinking middle support.

Problem is WHERE is level? Even front to back level on the freaking floor is diff by the door, in the middle and then by the other side!!! Never could figure out this level thing, because that would reside on the fact that the floors are exactly level, which I doubt they are, I say, depending on where I put the level the floor all has different readings and thats the floor alone. Stove, countertops, fridge door, all different. So is the trailer unlevel by a full bubble, or when they installed the countertops, were THEY unlevel? These are the things that drive me crazy about "level". Where the heck do you put the level to know for sure?

The craziest part is the V-shaped in front by the tongue. Put the level on one side, it shows level. Put it on the other side it shows a full bubble up. I can't even tell what is level by the trailer frame itself. I hope that doesn't mean my frame is tweeked... I assumed it was crappy craftsmanship on the frame.

Bottom line? WHERE do you check level to make sure it's level Guess that's what's really
Bugging me after all
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Old 01-27-2015, 02:06 AM   #7
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It's camping.. close is good enough...heck after a few days it won't be level anyway. And at this point in my life, if the trailer rocks a little i just say thanks, I can use the help Besides, not sure if it's the trailer rocking or me rockin as I walk. And, i try to spend as little time inside anyway....
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Old 01-27-2015, 04:30 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheaperrooter View Post
... WHERE do you check level to make sure it's level Guess that's what's really Bugging me after all
The only thing that has to be level is the refrigerator, and that does not have to be perfect. What I do is to use a torpedo level in the freezer compartment and level to that; chances are the floor and countertops will then be level enough to be comfortable.

Once you have decided that your trailer is level for you, you can place levels similar to those in this link levels. Apply them to the outside of your trailer, one on the side and one on the front, someplace easy to see; apply them with the bubble centered. Then the next time all you have to do is get the bubbles on those two exterior levels centered and you're all set.
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Old 01-27-2015, 04:34 AM   #9
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Smile

At my age, if the trailer is rocking, that just makes me look good!
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Old 01-27-2015, 04:36 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by RVhiker View Post
The only thing that has to be level is the refrigerator, and that does not have to be perfect. What I do is to use a torpedo level in the freezer compartment and level to that; chances are the floor and countertops will then be level enough to be comfortable.

Once you have decided that your trailer is level for you, you can place levels similar to those in this link levels. Apply them to the outside of your trailer, one on the side and one on the front, someplace easy to see; apply them with the bubble centered. Then the next time all you have to do is get the bubbles on those two exterior levels centered and you're all set.
This is the same thing I did...
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