How do you level a fifth-wheel trailer on uneven ground?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: How do you level a fifth-wheel trailer on uneven ground? Besides explaining how to level your trailer, we will also discuss the importance of parking your fifth wheel correctly. 

How do you level a fifth-wheel trailer on uneven ground?

Here are the steps to level a fifth-wheel trailer on uneven ground:

  1. To level a fifth wheel start by finding a spot that is already somewhat level and that has enough room to extend slide-out rooms, awnings, TV antennas and any other amenities you may have. 
  1. If your fifth-wheel trailer has an auto levelling system, lower the landing gear, disconnect your tow vehicle, chock your tires and auto-level your trailer.
  1. If you have a hydraulic or electric manual levelling system, lower the landing gear, disconnect your tow vehicle, chock your tires, use a carpenter’s level or other level measuring tools to find which sides are too low and use your leveling system to raise those sides. 

Please note that both manual and auto-levelling systems require 12-volt power to operate. Never use a powered leveling system while your fifth-wheel trailer is still attached to your car. Doing so could result in damage to your trailer or tow vehicle. 

  1. If your fifth-wheel trailer does not have any levelling system, keep your tow vehicle attached and use a carpenter’s level or other level measuring tools to determine which sides of your RV need to be raised. 
  1.  To level from side to side, place levelling blocks in the path of the lower side tires and drive onto them. Check your levelling tool again and make the necessary adjustments until your trailer is levelled from side to side. 
  1. Next, chalk all your tires on both sides of your trailer and lower the landing gear.  

Now you can disconnect your tow vehicle. With your trailer level extend your slide-out room. 

  1. With your slide-out room extended it is time to extend your stabilizing jacks. If you have electronic stabilizers press the button until the jacks are firmly on the ground.
  1.  For manual stabilizer jacks either hand crank or use the appropriate drill bit to extend your jacks. Do not over-crank your jacks; this could cause damage to your trailer’s jacks or frame. You may also want to place leveling blocks under your stabilizer jacks.  
  1. If the ground is soft, always extend your slide out before you extend your stabilizer jacks, as they are not designed to adjust to that much of a shift in weight and can cause damage to your Jax frame and slide-out mechanism.

Do not use your stabilizer jacks to level your fifth-wheel trailer. Their purpose is to firm the trailer up and help prevent it from rocking, they’re not designed to lift or level your fifth-wheel trailer and can cause damage to the frame. 

  1. Repeat this process in reverse when leaving your campsite and make sure you keep your landing gear down until your trailer is recalled with your tow vehicle. Also, measure the pin box ground clearance and adjust your landing gear. 

More tips on how to level a fifth-wheel trailer on uneven ground

Once the fifth-wheel trailer is in place, it should be leveled and made so that it is horizontal to avoid slipping off the bed at night. Before we start, we take a few boards, which are part of the basic equipment, which serve to support the wheels or, in case of unstable ground, to stabilize the four support legs. 

As an alternative to home-made boards, parking chocks for the wheels and support plates for the crutches are widely available. In addition, a simple spirit level can be useful, which we will place on the ground at the entrance.

  • First, it’s about aligning the cross axis. To do this, you can either place one or two boards in front of the left or right wheel, on which the fifth-wheel trailer then slides, or use the “professional” parking chocks.

In the worst case, if the terrain is particularly uneven (which is fortunately very rarely the case today), then we will need a jack to lift the trailer and then stabilize the wheel. 

  • Thus, experienced campers always equip themselves with a compact hydraulic jack, which can be placed directly on the axle of the fifth-wheel trailer by means of a suitable support, or even at the level of the frame using a support. special. The jack must not in any case come into direct contact with the bodywork or the sill, which can cause substantial and costly damage. 

Usually, the frame components under the trailer also do not lend themselves to jacking. Before going on vacation, it is therefore best to consult the manual or consult the specialist dealer when purchasing the fifth-wheel trailer.

  • The crank brackets fitted to the four corners of the fifth-wheel trailer still cannot be used for balancing the fifth-wheel trailer either. They are not strong enough and their only job is to support the trailer once it is balanced.
  • When the transverse axis is fairly aligned with the spirit level, turn the spirit level 90 ° and balance the longitudinal axis, which is usually easily done with the drawbar support. One person observes the level and another turns the tiller support wheel up or down – voila.
  • Now the crank brackets at all four corners of the trailer can be lowered to support the balanced vehicle. We start with the two rear supports, before lowering the other two at the front. Depending on the quality of the soil, place large plates or boards under the crank supports to stabilize them. 

As an alternative, you can also order large support plates when purchasing the fifth-wheel trailer or install them yourself – this only takes a few minutes and costs a few bucks. Then, using the level, check one last time that everything is in order and, if necessary, readjust the four crank supports – voila, your fifth-wheel trailer is perfectly leveled.

  • After a day or two, it is usually necessary to make a final readjustment, as either crank mount may sink slightly into the ground due to moving around in the trailer.

Now all you have to do is hook up the electricity, so the refrigerator can run at 220 V. After all, we’re on vacation and deserve a break with a cold beer!

Conclusions

It’s not much fun walking around or trying to sleep at an angle when your fifth-wheel trailer is not level. An off-level trailer can even damage your appliances. 

Most trailers usually come with powered hydraulic levelling brackets to aid in this process. This requires balancing your motor home as easy as pressing a button. However, older models do not have this feature, and you must level your fifth-wheel trailer yourself.

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!

FAQ on How do you level a fifth-wheel trailer on uneven ground?

Should my trailer be level when towing?

Yes, your trailer should be level when towing to improve your driving stability, braking performance, ground clearance,  and ultimately to prevent unwanted movement.  Swaying is one of the main causes of accidents when towing a trailer. Using a sway control system can help tremendously with towing any trailer. Accidents occur when trailers begin to sway due to a change in load or suspension problems. 

What happens if your trailer is not level?

If your trailer is not level when towing, it will affect your braking performance, handling and it will cause your trailer to wear out more quickly. Another danger when your trailer is not level is that it can sway, causing unnecessary accidents. 

How do you adjust the height of a trailer hitch?

It is possible to adjust the height of a trailer hitch in just a few simple steps. The hitch system between a towing vehicle and a trailer needs to be configured correctly so that the two can work together safely. The towing vehicle must be capable of supporting the weight of the trailer. 

Will my RV fridge work if not level?

No, your RV fridge will not work properly if not levelled. Its cooling fluids flow through the ducts using gravity. If it is not arranged properly, it can overheat and be damaged! Some compressors only carry out their task when they are located in a perfectly vertical position. 

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