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Old 04-13-2016, 10:00 PM   #1
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"Stepped" Leveling Block...."Hard Lesson Learned"

I'm a new AS owner of a 22' Sport and I live in the "rocky mountains"....matter fact my home is a half-mile up the side of one of them. The road up to house has 3 major switch backs which are quite steep. Therefore to minimize wear and tear on my TV I prepared a parking area closer to the bottom of our property.

Using our tractor I was able to carve out a spot to park my trailer making sure it won't fall pre to falling tree limbs and the like...and afford a good sun exposure to keep the portable solar panels working.

Soon after scraping the top layer of dirt off to level the area the moisture in the ground started to come to the surface and the tractors wheels were sinking in leaving deep roots. Therefore I used a combination of gravel and sand to finish the pad. And, to provide a good "parking spot" I also used rather large concrete paving blocks to set the trailer on. The finish project looked good....it was a good setup.

The only problem that literally "popped-up" was using a "stepped leveling block" to level the unit.

Two days later it was time to "hit the road", so to speak. The family was in the car, trailer was hooked up and we were ready to go. That's when the problem occurred.

To level the trailer I had set the "leveling block" behind the wheel and "backed on to it" when I first parked the trailer. I then added a 'wheel chock" on both sides of the tire (both wheels). To remove the front chock I had to apply a little pressure (backing up an inch) to remove the chock on the "stepped side". With the chock out of the way I proceeded to pull forward slowly to pull the trailer off the "step block". That's when disaster struck!

Even though I tested and leveled each of the "paving blocks" at the time of their installation and no problems occurred when the trailer was placed upon them, as I pulled slowly forward one of the blocks tilted upward behind the wheel as the trailer moved forward. It "raised" the highest point of the "step block" upwards .....STRAIGHT INTO THE GREY AND BLACK WATER VALVES"! Damage was minimal on the grey water side and the outlet but the "black water/sewer valve was damaged beyond repair and immediately started to leak the contents of the black water tank.... our "camping outing" was over in a "heartbeat"!

The Lesson"
Had I placed the "step block" ....'in front of the tire" and "pulled onto it" and then backed off of it this would not have happened. Even if a paver shifted it would not have "reached up and grabbed" sensitive under body components.

Hope this little illustration helps someone else.
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Old 04-14-2016, 07:04 PM   #2
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So sorry that happened to you .

Thank you for posting. We had our trailer get a bit away from us the first time we were re-hitching after using a block on one side, so I know how that can be.

I appreciate the info.

Hopefully you will be out and about very soon.
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Old 04-14-2016, 07:55 PM   #3
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Don't feel bad - same thing happened to us years ago when we used stacked boards to level. Pulled forward and boards topped up and broke dump valve.
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Old 04-14-2016, 11:43 PM   #4
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Boy, that's a tough one. Sorry your outing needed to be postponed.
I'm continually amazed at all the things that can, and do , go wrong while trailering.
Thanks for sharing so we all can learn.
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Old 04-14-2016, 11:50 PM   #5
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Will the Anderson Levelers flip up too ?
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Old 04-14-2016, 11:53 PM   #6
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Potentially, yes. I suspect that any leveler you back up on can flip up and cause damage as discussed when you pull off it forward. I'm taking notes, and will plan to level only by pulling forward...and retrieve by backing. I have dual axles, so this is of great interest.


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Old 04-15-2016, 09:39 AM   #7
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"Stepped" Leveling Block...."Hard Lesson Learned"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ninanet View Post
Will the Anderson Levelers flip up too ?

Yes they will. I had a problem with that. The leveler flipping up and jamming between the wheels. I fixed that by (per Andersons recommendation) two inches off one if the Levelers. Problem fixed. It has not been an issue behind the back wheel and the plumbing, yet. I do try to full forward on the Levelers when possible.
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Old 04-15-2016, 10:57 AM   #8
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So you cut ? two inches off thin end ? On a Bambi or really any always back in a bit to far then pull up onto Andersen to level ? Leaving back up just enough to get the Andersen out ? No coffee yet , sorry ....Would a beveled edge on the blocks stop the flip up ?
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Old 04-15-2016, 11:41 AM   #9
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As I wrote above the "key" is to "pull" your trailer "on to the levelers" and "not back" on. Should they flip when "backing off" they are going to "flip forward" where chances of damage is minimal.

Thanks for all the responses everyone. I did the repairs myself and the cost of the parts were only $15 bucks and about an hour of my time. "Milly" is "whole again"!
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Old 04-15-2016, 11:50 AM   #10
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One day we were on uneven ground & it was the only spot left at the park. .some how I slipped off my blocks, got them jammed between the wheels and it was getting quite dark. Slept almost rolling out of bed. Had to get help in the morning and was quite embarrassed having to use jacks & sledgehammer to free the wheels up ! Nothing damaged but my pride.
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Old 04-15-2016, 12:10 PM   #11
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Very interesting topic and something I never considered being a new Airstream owner. I am a bit confused by the responses however. On our '16 25' Flying Cloud, the waste ports are forward of the tandem axles. Some people are recommending backing on and some are recommending driving forward to prevent the levelers from flipping up.

Is it that some models have black/gray ports behind the axle and some in front? If so, then would it be appropriate to recommend that the high portion of the levelers whether Andersen, stacked boards or Lego blocks should always be away from the dump valves when moving on or off the levelers?
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Old 04-16-2016, 07:56 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abqdor View Post
Very interesting topic and something I never considered being a new Airstream owner. I am a bit confused by the responses however. On our '16 25' Flying Cloud, the waste ports are forward of the tandem axles. Some people are recommending backing on and some are recommending driving forward to prevent the levelers from flipping up.

Is it that some models have black/gray ports behind the axle and some in front? If so, then would it be appropriate to recommend that the high portion of the levelers whether Andersen, stacked boards or Lego blocks should always be away from the dump valves when moving on or off the levelers?
Yes apparently not all trailers are plumbed the same. Recommend you carefully try different ways and see what works best for you. Situations change and you have to be able to adapt and overcome.
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Old 05-03-2016, 03:28 PM   #13
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Gotta wonder why the drains aren't better protected by a steel skid-plate of some sort.
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Old 05-03-2016, 04:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harryk View Post
One day we were on uneven ground & it was the only spot left at the park. .some how I slipped off my blocks, got them jammed between the wheels and it was getting quite dark. Slept almost rolling out of bed. Had to get help in the morning and was quite embarrassed having to use jacks & sledgehammer to free the wheels up ! Nothing damaged but my pride.
I watched the same thing happen to an SOB owner - so it isn't just you. He however was well prepared - he'd wired external 12 volt circuits by each wheel well. So he got out his little 12 volt tire inflater, deflated one tire then yanked out the blocks, re-inflated it and was good to go.

Don't feel bad, I once wasted several HOURS trying to get my Hensley hitch lined up after parking for a week of rainy weather. The hitch would align, but the both ends were upthrust /\ (not that bad of an angle but you get the idea). Frustrated beyond belief. Then a man walked past and said "I'll be back in 3 minutes with the fix". He and two hefty buddies came back, climbed up on my bumper and sat down. I lowered the trailer hitch and the two meshed together perfectly. Had I thought about it I could have let 20-30 pounds of pressure out of the truck's rear tires too.

Paula
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