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Old 08-24-2011, 10:07 AM   #1
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The ultimate 5er stabilizers!

I believe I have discovered the ultimate home-made 5er stabilizers! I was at a Love's Travel Center and found the S-Line SL125-HT Ratcheting Cargo Bars at $19.95 each. The bar expands from 40 to 70 inches. It is very easy to convert to RV stabilizers as you will see in the pics below. Aside from the easy installation, the big advantage of these is the ability to use the ratchet to get the maximum pressure after the jacks are in place, thus making the 5er more stable. When you're ready to pull out, you simply move the ratchet to the free-moving position, releasing the pressure, and raise the jacks! See what you think.

This is what the bars look like before modification



The first step is to use a wheel grinder to grind off the head of the rivet which is securing the foot on the large end opposite the ratchet. Drill out the hole where the rivet was to 1/4 inch. One caution here, on one of my bars the rivet hole was too close to the end of the bar so I had to drill a new hole 90 degrees over. I had to use a small drill press to drill the holes in the bar as a hand drill kept grabbing as the bit went through. Below is what you have now.



Now you will need to drill two 1/4 inch holes in the foot at the other end of the bar to mount it to the landing jack. Check the hole spacing on your landing jacks to determine the spacing of these holes in the foot. The holes in my jacks were 1 inch apart, but I don't know if that's a standard. Next you make the brackets to secure the bars to the underside of the 5er. You have a choice here. You can leave the bars full length and use two brackets, crossing the bars in the middle, or you can use one bracket and cut off the bars to fit your 5er. I didn't have the shop facilities to properly cut off the bars so I took the simple way and used two brackets.
I made the brackets from a piece of U-shaped steel bracket. It should be at least 1 1/2 inches inside, as the bar is 1 inch in diameter. CAUTION..when you drill the hole through the sides for the bolt that goes through the bar, be SURE to measure from the SAME end of the bracket to mark the holes in the two sides! I learned this the hard way! Use a 1/4 inch hex head bolt with locking nut to secure the bracket to the end of the bar.Below are the finished brackets and the bracket attached to the bar.





Next, you want to determine the correct position for the mounting brackets on the underside of the 5er. First, release the ratchet on the bar and slide it to it's shortest length. Then, place the remaining foot on the bar all the way up against the inside of the landing jack, and secure temporarily with cable ties, tape, etc. You need to determine a center line between the two jacks. Measure from the inside center of one jack to a reference point towards either the front or back of the 5er. This could be the front edge below the storage doors, a cross member underneath, etc. Raise the end of the bar with the bracket up to see about where it will touch the bottom, then at that point make a mark on the bottom at the measured distance. In other words, this mark should be on a center line between the two jacks. Now, measure 1 inch from the center line forward or backward and make another mark. This will be the inside edge of the mounting bracket. One bracket should be 1 inch FORWARD of the center line, and the other bracket should be 1 inch BACKWARD from the center line. This is to give the two bars some separation where they cross in the middle as they move up and down. You may have a situation where there is nothing to mount the brackets to directly between the two landing jacks. These mounting brackets DO NOT have to be directly in line with the jacks! You can move several inches forward or backward to find a suitable surface without affecting performance. Just be sure to move both brackets forward or backward! Go ahead and bolt the brackets to the bottom. Now, remove the foot of the bar from it's temporary mounting at the top of the jack. With the ratchet in it's free moving position, move the foot down to the bottom of the jack and use the 1/4 inch hex bolts to secure the foot in the lowest possible position on the jack. The ratchet can be rotated to whatever position you prefer by a small clamp using a #2 phillips screwdriver and a 8mm socket. YOU'RE DONE! You'll leave the ratchet in the free-moving position while you lower the jacks to level the 5er. When it's level, move the ratchet handle to the center position and apply pressure. You'll find that you will probably only get one "click" of the ratchet but that's enough. The handle can now be folded to the closed position. There is a small bar under the handle that has to be pulled to move the handle through the different positions. One last and very important suggestion...print a warning label in LARGE letters and place it near your switches that control the landing jacks. If you forget to release the stabilizer ratchet before you start raising the jacks, IT AIN'T GONNA BE PRETTY! Good luck!











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Old 08-24-2011, 08:39 PM   #2
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Excellent solution; my hat's off to your creativity. You could also add two more bars in the fore and aft positions if necessary.
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Old 08-25-2011, 07:13 AM   #3
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Nice. Have to add to the project list. How is it with road dirt?
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Old 08-25-2011, 08:22 AM   #4
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Excellent solution; my hat's off to your creativity. You could also add two more bars in the fore and aft positions if necessary.
Thanks for your nice comment! Yes, you're right, these can also be put behind the jacks to control the front-to-back movement. I use RotoChoks and they lock the wheels so tight that I don't have any front-to-back movement.
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Old 08-25-2011, 08:24 AM   #5
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Nice. Have to add to the project list. How is it with road dirt?
I don't think the road dirt will be a problem. If you position the ratchet so that the handles are facing the front, and keep the handles in their closed position when traveling, I think that will keep out 95% of the road dirt.
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Old 08-25-2011, 08:32 AM   #6
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I do want to put in a disclaimer here. I just installed the stabilizers this week and have not tried them on the campground yet. After I installed them, and with them unlocked, I stood beside the 5er near the jacks and pushed against the side. I was able to rock it pretty good. I then locked the stabilizers and tried it again. It was rock solid, not detectable movement!
On RV.Net, one viewer expressed concern that the cargo bars may not be strong enough for this application. First, they will only be extended a few inches with the jacks down and I don't believe you can bend them in that position. My only concern is whether the ratchet mechanism is built strong enough. I really believe that it is, but only time will tell. I'm not selling these things, only telling you what I did. You need to look at the cargo bars and make your own decision. Good luck!
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Old 08-25-2011, 10:34 AM   #7
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I think this is an upgrade that I will install on my 5er too. Thanks for the info and keep up the good work. Two thums up !!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 08-25-2011, 01:07 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by jminyard
I do want to put in a disclaimer here. I just installed the stabilizers this week and have not tried them on the campground yet. After I installed them, and with them unlocked, I stood beside the 5er near the jacks and pushed against the side. I was able to rock it pretty good. I then locked the stabilizers and tried it again. It was rock solid, not detectable movement!
On RV.Net, one viewer expressed concern that the cargo bars may not be strong enough for this application. First, they will only be extended a few inches with the jacks down and I don't believe you can bend them in that position. My only concern is whether the ratchet mechanism is built strong enough. I really believe that it is, but only time will tell. I'm not selling these things, only telling you what I did. You need to look at the cargo bars and make your own decision. Good luck!
Oh for the time when people had to see if something would work for them instead of when a lawyer says "he told you it would work?......"
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Old 08-25-2011, 01:55 PM   #9
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One more VERY IMPORTANT point! On another website (RV.Net) where I posted this, one person mentioned in his response about using the landing jacks to put pressure on the stabilizers, which I understand that is the way you use the JT's and others. I THINK THIS WOULD BE A HUGE MISTAKE! If you do that you may exceed the specs of the ratchet mechanism, causing it to strip out! I state again..just lower the landing jacks to the point where the RV is level, engage the ratchet to put pressure on the stabilizers, and LEAVE THEM THAT WAY! I think you will find that the pressure exerted by the ratchets is sufficient to stabilize the RV. Good luck!
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Old 08-25-2011, 01:56 PM   #10
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Oh for the time when people had to see if something would work for them instead of when a lawyer says "he told you it would work?......"
You got that right!
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Old 08-26-2011, 10:57 PM   #11
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This is a really good idea. Those bars are called load locks. They are made to press in between the walls of a semi trailer to hold pallets of cargo in place so they are plenty strong. I might have to try this out.
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Old 08-27-2011, 08:32 AM   #12
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This is a really good idea. Those bars are called load locks. They are made to press in between the walls of a semi trailer to hold pallets of cargo in place so they are plenty strong. I might have to try this out.
Caution! These are not the load-locks that truckers use. These are smaller and designed for pickups & SUV's. I looked at the trucker's load-locks and thought they would be way too big for this application.
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Old 08-27-2011, 11:13 PM   #13
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Oh ok, well they look very similar. Still a really good idea!
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Old 08-28-2011, 02:37 AM   #14
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What a great idea!
That's by and far the best UN-marketed stabilizer I've seen. Good job and thanks for sharing!
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