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How To Level Your Caravan Or TrailerArticle by Peter Smith - Caravans Plus
Why is it important to be level?
Apart from the feeling that your RV is unlevel, there are very real reasons to set up level every night.
- Your sink and shower will not drain correctly
- 3-Way fridges will not operate correctly
- Items will roll off surfaces
Before your first trip.
You will need a 2-way or bulls-eye level or a smart phone with a level app. We don't recommend a builders level, because they are too accurate and only cause frustration as well as being hard to store.
One very inexpensive idea is to level your caravan at home, then place a blob of silicone on your A-frame and set a 2-way level exactly level and let it dry. One level must line up with your axle.
Above: Glue a 2-way level onto your A-frame when the floor in the Caravan is level both ways.
We have a number of spirit levels and even electronic levels in different configurations. Click image below.
The sequence is important at the camp site.
The level between your wheels it the first thing to get correct.
If you have the option to park on ground that is level between the wheels, this is the easy option. On slopes this will usually mean pointing the RV directly up or directly down the hill.
Many camping sites do not allow you to change the direction you park or you may want to point your awning to provide the best view. In this case you should drive onto a piece(s) of timber or use the commercially available levelling ramps.
If you have the option, it is better to pull onto the levelling ramp, rather than back-up. The reason is that after pulling up the ramp the hand brake will operate better. Reversing tends to leave the brake shoes less engaged and also a coupling that contains a spring will be under pressure when you uncouple.
Before you unhook from the car check the level across the caravan. Your helper can inspect the cross bubble before you switch off the car. If your caravan rolls when uncoupling, it is best to roll away from your car to prevent damage. Leave the safety chain on while uncoupling to prevent a roll-away.
After you have fully unhooked, move the car if necessary, then set the correct height with the jockey wheel. The second bubble on the A-frame is your guide here. I usually go an extra turn on the jockey wheel, because my next job is to lower the rear corner steadies and that tends to lift the rear a small amount.
For a single axle caravan or trailer that parks on reasonably level sites, the following single ramp with chock is great value.
For those that want to level-up after you stop, you can jack the side up and insert a ramp or block of timber.
Tandem wheels will need two levelling ramps on the same side. Depending on the distance between the wheels, it can be impossible to get some ramps in between the wheels.
The clever Haigh ramp splits and can be put between the wheels in 2 stages. If you have a helper, you need to stop on the red section, while the black section slides in. It takes good communication with the driver to not move during this bit.
After stopping at any point on the ramp, before unhooking it is essential to use a chock.
Above: It is best to get a matching brand chock and ramp as they interlock at various positions.
Do you ever need a ramp on both sides?
You may need to lift the whole caravan up if you are pointing up hill, and the slope would otherwise prevent you fitting a jockey wheel, or if you want to leave the caravan attached for an overnight stop.
In this case, the general rule of pulling onto a ramp has been disregarded because of the direction the slope. It would make it a really steep climb if the ramp pointed the other way. This is the safer option.
Jockey wheel too short or too long.
There will be times when the slope prevents the jockey wheel being clamped at the best height. In this case you will need a portable stand to transfer the caravans weight while you reposition the jockey wheel in the clamp.
This is a three stage operation:
- Use the jockey wheel as normal to uncouple
- Rest A-frame securely on a portable stand
- Re-clamp jockey wheel at a higher position. After removing the stand, the A-frame can be lowered much further.
You do need to be carefull doing this, because if the caravan moves while the jockey wheel is not attached the A-frame can drop and cause injury. A safer way is to have an additional clamp and adjustable stand.
If the jockey wheel needs to be fully extended to get the caravan level, it is better to use the above method, to lower the jockey wheel in the A-frame clamp for a safer setup.
Above: Stakka Jack can be used, or a steel car stand if you have one.
The Trail-A-Mate with a flat base gives more adjustment than a standard jockey wheel and can be used as your caravan jack. These are a very popular replacement to the standard wheel because of ease of use, longer lift and use as a hydraulic jack.
- Level across the caravan by pulling onto ramp.
- Apply the handbrake and/or chock wheels,
- Disconnect wiring then uncouple towball
- Remove safety chain last.
- Move vehicle if necessary, before adjusting front to rear level with jockey wheel.
- Wind-down rear legs
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