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Using Your RV : RV Systems

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Leveling a trailer or fifth wheel: Not difficult
By Jerry (RiverGuy) Brown

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Leveling blocks and rotochock
Leveling a fifth wheel or travel trailer is something we have to do just about every time we park our rigs. But it's not difficult. The basic principles apply to all trailers. We'll cover those, along with some hands-on tips, and we'll suggest some tools and other items that can make things easier.

As we said, the basic approach is the same for all trailers: first level side-to-side, then front-to-back. As you back or pull into your campsite, driveway or parking lot, stop when you are about where you want to be and take a first level check. You can use a bulls-eye level or a carpenter's level on the floor or a counter inside the trailer or you can rely on externally mounted level indicators. External indicators save you having to enter the trailer for each level check; they are inexpensive accessories available at camping supply stores. Check side-to-side across the trailer to determine if your rig is level or if you need to raise one side or the other.

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Planks and 4x4 chock
You can use wood planks, interlocking plastic leveling blocks or even inflatable levelers to raise the low side of the trailer. Lay them on the ground, pull the trailer onto them and check your level again. You may need to repeat a couple of times, adding or removing blocks to get closer to level. With practice, this will get easier as you learn to calibrate the amount needed. We don't need perfection, but try to get within about a half inch from one side to the other.

Now you can chock your wheels and prepare to unhitch. Always chock, even on a level surface. You don't want your trailer moving while unhitching.

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Stack of blocks supporting stabilizers
At this point make a first level check front-to-back. It your rig is high in the front, you may to need to extend your landing gear or tongue jack before you unhitch so that you have room to retract them again for final leveling. On the other hand, if you are quite low in the front, you may need to use blocks under your landing gear or jack to avoid over-extending them to reach level.

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External bubble levels
Now unhitch. Then raise or lower your landing gear or tongue jack to reach your final front-to-back level. Congratulations! You're ready for the final step. Lower your stabilizer jacks. Again you may need to use blocks if that part of your trailer happens to be too far from the ground. Snug up the stabilizers; use them to nudge the level slightly, but don't over do it. They aren't designed to carry the weight of your trailer, only to reduce shaking.

Suggested leveling toolkit   
* Assortment of wooden planks and or blocks of various thicknesses
* Or one or two sets of plastic interlocking leveling blocks
* Wood, plastic or mechanical chocks.
* Externally mounted level indicators





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