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Old 08-21-2019, 09:25 AM   #1
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Leveling Best Practices or Rules of Thumb

Not sure if we are being too anal about the whole leveling process, so looking for some guidance from those with lots of experience.

We have auto-leveling on 40' MH, but try to get as level as possible using blocks under the tires before deploying jacks.

Some questions, and for the sake of argument, please assume that just moving to another site is not an option. You have to work with what you've got.

1. If you use a bubble level to see how off-level you are when you arrive at a site, how do you translate the position of the bubble to use of blocks under the tires? Like, bubble half out of center = 1 leveling block under tires, or something to that effect.

2. If you are unlevel both front-to-back and side-to-side, do you let jacks do all the maneuvering or do you put blocks under just the corner tire or something else?

3. Is it possible to over-correct with blocks making it more difficult for the jacks to do their thing?

All best practices and rules of thumb gratefully accepted!

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Old 08-21-2019, 09:31 AM   #2
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If you have a residential fridge, then level is merely a preference not mandatory.... that being said, I let the jacks do their thing. I do keep the tires in contact with the ground at least a little bit.

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Old 08-21-2019, 09:34 AM   #3
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A lot of opinions are going to come forward on this, I bet. It is always a good idea to have leveling blocks (like the Lynx system) or homemade wood setups with you because you are going to run into those instances of uneven terrain that will be difficult to achieve level on. If we are somewhere that does not have a poured, level pad, then we use a level (can be bubble, small carpenter level, or Smartphone App) to see initial position. Based on level condition, and terrain, some cases may not require blocks at all, but if you are real uneven - half to full bubble, it can take 2 - 5 or 6 inches of additional lift support to achieve level. Now, the downside of this is that much can often cause the jack to raise the tire(s) off the ground which you really do not want to do as shifting can cause bent jack(s), big expense. Sometimes, you may have to put blocks under both wheel(s) and jacks, so it can be a trial and error thing until you become more familiar with the characteristics of your coach. Generally, I hope this gives you some ideas, and welcome to the site.
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Old 08-21-2019, 09:40 AM   #4
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I use the bathroom door swing method. Once the system shows we are level I open the mid bath door. If it stays in position we are level. If it swings one way or the other it's time to tweak things a bit. I've checked that against a bubble level and it's right on the money. I don't block the tires and if I can't level by moving we just live with it if it's only for a day or two.
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Old 08-21-2019, 09:41 AM   #5
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We've been doing this nearly 20 years, so we pretty much can gauge just by eyeballing the RV on the site whether or not we'll need blocks under either tires or jacks (or both) to reach level/reasonably level. That works ~95% of the time. For the other 5%, we let the jacks attempt to auto level & if any of them get to the end of their run & we're either barely or not near level, then it's jacks up, boards down & try again.

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Old 08-21-2019, 10:20 AM   #6
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We have a pair of graduated bubble levels within view of the driver's seat. So I do know the starting point before doing anything. The fridge needs to be "close" but not perfect. Norcold says 3 degrees side to side and 6 degrees front to back. 3 degrees is quite a lot and more than we would want ourselves.
What I try to achieve is to get within 1 degree and still have all the wheels touching the ground. I can do that manually more easily than with auto-level. If the ground is soft, I put pads under the jacks. If I can't get within a degree without any wheels being off the ground, I use blocks under the wheels.
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Old 08-21-2019, 10:41 AM   #7
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"DustyMom".....First, you need to put the type of RV you own in your signature line, or at least complete the "About You" part of your profile, so we know what information to provide, based on your coach.

There aren't too many 40 gas coaches, so I'm guessing you're discussing a diesel pusher. Soooooo…...the question is, why are you using blocks to level your coach, when you have an automatic system??

No matter what coach brand you have, the leveling system is designed to do a couple of things. First, it drops the coach (deflating the air bags) to get the coach as close to the ground as possible and shorten the "throw" of the jacks and height of the entrance step. The jacks are designed to not over lift the coach and possibly lift the coach tires (rear in particular) off the ground. By using blocks/ramps, you're lifting the coach higher in the air, than the jacks were designed to correct or can extend, defeating the purpose of having jacks.

The jacks are also designed to LIMIT how much you lift the coach and twist the frame, that's why they move in pairs. By using blocks, especially in the wrong spots, you risk tweaking the coach beyond it's design. If you don't think the coach is level after running the auto level system, then get it adjusted. There is an adjustment, typically mounted to the roof of the center bay, that allows you to adjust the leveling system.

I have a 40' coach with a full wall slide. If I'm stuck in the last site in the park and it's way off level, I'll do one of two things, either live with the best level I can get from the coach jacks, or on a RARE occasion, use blocks. As I type this, I'm currently staying in an Oregon coast park where I last needed to use a wooden ramp, two years ago. The site I was in, back then, had a huge hole where my left front tire was sitting. It was either fill it in or use a ramp. I carry three ramps, but have only used them once in the last five years.

Lastly, why have a leveling system if you're going to defeat it with blocks?
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Old 08-21-2019, 10:53 AM   #8
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I’m new to leveling. How are blocks under the tires coming into play on a 43’ DSDP, then putting the jacks down? Won’t that go beyond the jack reach at times. Am I interpreting this correctly. I understand keeping the wheels at least touching the ground for overall stability when using the jacks. But if that’s not possible then just put cribbing under the lifted wheel correct?

At what point, if I have a residential fridge, should I be Concerned about not being level?

Will the jacks really bend supporting the coach, if the wheels are just barely touching the ground. That seems very under built especially for Newmar.

Am I missing a concept here, or making a big deal about something simple. Any explanation would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 08-21-2019, 10:57 AM   #9
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If the site seems way off, carry two even lengh sticks, a piece of string as long as the wheelbase tied to the top of the sticks, and a line level that clips on the string.

Hold one stick at the highest point where your wheel will sit, walk out the string to where the low tire will sit and measure how much you need to build up under that stick, to get the line level reading level.

Place your boards and drive up on them.
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Old 08-21-2019, 11:05 AM   #10
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Guess we've been lucky. We've not encountered a campsite where we had to use blocks under the tires, only the jacks & all tires stayed on the ground. I'd think, if the tires were on blocks, that'd make the jacks have to deploy even further on the side that's low.

The only time we've used blocks (actually 2x12 board ramps) is when we've parked on the street in front of our house where, due to the moderate front to back slope of our street & severe side to side slope, we've run the PS front tire up on boards to reach level enough. But I don't deploy the jacks in that instance.

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Old 08-21-2019, 11:14 AM   #11
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Just like most of you, arriving at a campsite, my eye levels show me if i really need to insert blocks under wheels to start with; if so, I'll have to insert blocks under the hydraulic jacks on the same side, the reason being that I hate extending the jacks to their maximum.
When leveling the mh with the hydraulic jacks, i always do it manually instead of automatic; in auto mode, the jacks get a lot more extended then doing it manually.
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Old 08-21-2019, 11:21 AM   #12
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What is the best way to level the camper I have power jacks but there not strong enough to raise all that weight.I been trying to run one set of tires up on a ramp to make it easy to level left to right..should I raise the front first or lower to get it level front to back
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Old 08-21-2019, 11:26 AM   #13
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I don't have auto levelers, but even if I did, I'd swear by the LevelMatePro. It tells me how many inches I need for each corner. So I can move around the site a little to get it as close as possible before deploying the jacks. It tells me how far off I am, without having to interpret a level and without having to leave the driver's seat. If I need leveling blocks, then I know how much and if I have enough. Incredibly helpful little gizmo.

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Old 08-21-2019, 11:27 AM   #14
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I probably overthink and overdo the leveling of my coach but I feel it is in my best interest and best for my coach. I carry a full compartment of boards and blocks at all times.
When I pull into a parking space I check the coach level. If I am not close to level I will put boards under the wheels which need to be raised to get to level and drive up onto them. Sometimes this takes a couple tries to get the coach level enough to satisfy me. Once I have the coach level I place 12" square blocks between the leveling jacks and the ground using different thickness blocks to shim up the space between the ground and the jacks as closely as possible.
Then I deploy the leveling jacks enough to take the rocking motion out of the coach and tweak the jacks enough to obtain the level I seek. I like to keep my jacks extended as little as possible when the coach is level. I feel this applies less strain on the jacks as well as the coach's frame.
I also check the level from time to time knowing boards and blocks will settle if placed on soft ground. Simply extending the jacks slightly will correct any deviation in the level.

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