Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Leveling our RV the First Time

[ Note. This article is PLUMB wrong. This is part one on Leveling and it is an example of a bad assumption. I'm leaving it here because I think it is important to know that as you tow/park/live in a recreational vehicle, you're human and you'll make mistakes. Long time RV'ers can be very TOUGH on the newbies. Anyway, read on and excuse the EGG on my face! All details here are left so that you can say he was an honest man. ]

I'm guessing this won't be the ONLY post on leveling the recreational vehicle (RV). As you know Puma is the name we call our Palomino Puma travel trailer. It is a 29 foot Front Kitchen Super Slide (29 FKSS). Sheri bought it to live in and that is just one great thing that makes me love her. She beats to her own drum.

I can't comment on ALL RV's, but I can comment on ours and my observations. I'm thinking that many do not have automatic levelers. Right now, I don't think that is a big deal, but check w/ me after our Thanksgiving week fun.

Most, if not all RV's have to be level. Case in point : We did not have ours level and Sheri said it felt like she was walking on the moon. So, it isn't just for good water management, it is truly for comfort.

So being level matters.

Some other quick notes. An RV can only be leveled by 'just so much'. So you might really need to think about the idea of level, especially if you are 'dry camping'. For Sheri and I, we probably won't do too much dry camping because we don't have a generator. We'll save that for when we get a fancier 5th wheel or a motorhome.

Just like an RV can only compensate so much for un-level ground, it is actually very amazing that someplace that LOOKS level really isn't as level as you think. Good for drainage, but hard to get level.

When I do this more, I'll let you know more on what I learn about leveling.

So, after we pulled into the spot, and arranged ourselves on the pad the best we could, we then hooked up our utilities. As I think back, maybe we should have leveled FIRST, just in case we found out we needed to pick a different orientation. Not sure. But we leveled last.

The next thing we did, was to unhook Puma from Mr Big. Honestly, I think you can't even think about leveling when you are hooked up. I DID see a fifth wheel the other day that looked lived in AND level while parked at a friends house. But I can assure you that I don't think the travel trailer would be level by keeping Mr Big connected. Plus we needed Mr. Big.

After disconnecting Mr Big, the next thing we did was use a carpenter's level to check for the level. Sheri keeps one in the trailer and I would argue that is needed on the list of things to have with you at all times.

It told us what our eyes told us. That the front by the hitch needed lowering.

So we lowered like crazy. The leveling jacks got into arguments with the hitch jack. I think the correct thing to do is to lift the hitch jack all the way out of the way. The front lowers quite easy as the trailer leans on the hitch just a little bit.

By the way, we lowered the back leveler jacks too, just to be safe. Also we chocked the wheels so that the trailer did not roll. I don't know what other people do, but that seems like common sense to me.

What we found was that we really had to crank the back completely as high as we could go, and then we even had to get some extra boards to go higher and the front almost as low as possible. Surprisingly, we got the left/right fairly level and then Sheri checks the doors. When they close easily then you've got it. If they don't close, then the frame is warped just a little bit.

Anway, if you look at the picture you can see how high the back jack is even though the ground didn't look that level.

I can see that we need to keep 2x12 for the jacks with us at all times and I'm already thinking about electronics to help level the darned thing.

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