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Old 08-27-2009, 06:09 PM   #1
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2009 25' FB International
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second day boondock experience/questions

So we pulled into our spot. Took 30min and a lot of surveying to get down this windy road. Once there we needed to level. It took us 3 hours to level it. Countless hunts for appropriate wood hooking up the trailer to tv pulling forward adding wood backing up
leving etc etc. I saw on our book there may be 2 hydrauluc jacks on each side for leveling. Is thaty true? Couldn't find em. Are the stabilizers used for fine tuning leveling or can you put a good load on them?

Our black water tank shows full but we haven't used it once? Is that normal when empty?

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Old 08-27-2009, 06:43 PM   #2
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The stabilizers are used just for that, stabilizing. They are NOT used for leveling. You need to use 2x6's or the store bought lego units to level your trailer.

Your black tank sensors sound like they're dirty. If you have that black tank spray feature I would try that when you get to a dump station or at your house.

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Old 08-27-2009, 07:12 PM   #3
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There have have been numerous reports of the black water tank sensors being defective, inaccurate, or improperly calibrated. We have, and routinely use, the spray feature, and have still never put any solids or paper products in the tank. We took ours for repair while still under warranty, and it still sporadically shows full when empty. When we have any doubt, I just turn off the water pump, and look down the hole with a flashlight.

I'd get it checked while still under warranty.

Here's a link to a thread:
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Old 08-27-2009, 07:32 PM   #4
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NO, don't use the stabilizers for will do damage. Before you next trip get some lego-like leveling blocks...they make it easy...two sets should be all you need for your rig. Buy some good chocks, too. Your black tank sensor might need re-calibrating... that or it needs to be cleaned...but if you bought it new, I doubt that's the problem...if you bought it used, well, it may be.
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Old 08-27-2009, 07:36 PM   #5
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Invest in a Tarmarak level gauge . . .

. . . unless you already have one installed on the front of your trailer.

There is a fore & aft/side to side level bubble on this leveling gauge. I believe that the side to side gauge markings represent 2" , so if the side to side bubble is on the first mark to the port side, you need to ramp up the wheels on the port side by 2".

We use the leveling blocks that look like Leggo - have two sets so we can build a ramp if we have to build up several blocks.

Experience is a great teacher - having a properly installed leveling gauge speeds up the process!
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Old 08-27-2009, 07:46 PM   #6
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If you get the level gauge that mounts on the front of the trailer, and I advise it, it makes everything much easier, note that the front to back bubble will be wrong. It is made for trailers that are straight up and down, but an Airstream is not. We find that bubble should be in the middle of the rear mark, not the center, for the trailer to be level.

Some people use the legos, some use wood scraps. 2x10's are good because it's easier to get the entire tire on it. I bevel cut the ends to make it easier for the tires to climb up, but we use the legos first unless the site is really way out of level. The legos will eventually break. The wood is heavier. Your choice. Either is good if you have to change a tire—roll the good tire up on a couple of pieces of 2x to raise the flat off the ground. The legos may not go high enough. If it isn't off the ground, adjust with the power jack to get the axle higher.

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Old 08-27-2009, 10:56 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
If you get the level gauge that mounts on the front of the trailer, and I advise it, it makes everything much easier, note that the front to back bubble will be wrong. It is made for trailers that are straight up and down, but an Airstream is not. We find that bubble should be in the middle of the rear mark, not the center, for the trailer to be level.

Hi, Gene. Check your level and see if it is like the ones I have seen, but haven't bought yet; The front to back part of the level is adjustable with a screw.
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Old 08-27-2009, 11:35 PM   #8
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Three hours to level? Not bad for a first time.

We have 2x6 scraps we use to level. After a few trip you'll be able to eyeball the trailer and stack up your wood and be good to go. Like everything in trailering. Practice and experience trumps.

Don't worry about the fluid level meter. They rarely work well. We don't even look at ours. We just know roughly how many days to one tank empties and the others fill up.
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Old 08-28-2009, 07:34 AM   #9
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Good ideas from everybody. The level Robert shows on post #7 I use religeously for side to side. I do not rely upon the front to back small level. I carry a 12" torpedo level and when it shows leve on the door threshhold then I am good.

I carry 2 sets of the leggo type blocks. They can be purchased at Walmart for about $30 a set.

Good luck.

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Old 08-28-2009, 07:58 AM   #10
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I just found out recently that we have been leveling incorrectly. According to a wise boondocking master you are supposed to level your rig based on how the level reads as it sits in the freezer to ensure your refrigerator is properly leveled. I checked the difference and of course we were off a bit the way we had been doing this. We carry an inexpensive nylon torpedo level.
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Old 08-28-2009, 07:58 AM   #11
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Stefario - I t sounds like you unhitched and then checked the level of the trailer, hitched up, moved forward, backed up onto wood, and then unhitched to check level again. That right? I would suggest that before you unhitch the first time, you use levelers under the tires (1x6's, 2x6's, the lego type blocks, whatever works for you) and get the trailer level side to side. Here's our process:

1. Position the trailer where we want on the campsite, getting as close to level as we can.
2. Level her side to side. We have a level gauge on the trailer, and that pretty much tells us how far off we are (1 block, 2 block, etc.). Depending on the site, pull forward onto the boards/blocks or back onto them.
3. Chock the wheels. I always do in between the axels, both wheels, both sides. So a chock behind each front wheel, and a chock in front of each rear wheel. Unless it's obvious the trailer will want to roll one direction due to the slope of the ground. Then I chock all four tires on the downside of the slope.
4. Unhitch.
5. Level front to back with the tongue jack.
6. Put the stabilizer jacks down.

I carry an assortment of 1x6's, 2x6's, and a set of the lego leveler blocks. Just things I've collected over the years.
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Old 08-28-2009, 08:16 AM   #12
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Lots of good suggestions here.
I couldn't get along without the big level on the outside of the trailer. I have lego blocks and 2 by 4's and use both.
My contribution to this discussion is to add the comment not to sweat it if the trailer is not perfectly level. If you are boondocking, you will be on natural ground, not leveled in any way. It would take me 3 hours also if I insisted on being perfectly level.
I remember a comment from an rv salesman long ago. He said if you aren't falling out of bed your refrigerator will work o.k. Level only for comfort.
I never unhook until the trailer is as level side to side as I can get it. Back up and go forward until you are as level as possible without blocks. Then add blocks. Unhook the trailer after adding wheel chocks or brakes. (If you are up on blocks, your trailer is at risk for sliding off them unless you brake the wheels). After you are unhooked level the trailer front to back with your power front jack. After all that, use your stabilizers only to stabilize your trailer. Save enough lego blocks to put under each stabilizer pad. You don't want to dig them out of the mud if it rains.
Boondocking means you don't have to listen to your neighbors t.v., generator or loud party. It is worth a little extra trouble. Don't give up on the idea.
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Old 08-28-2009, 08:23 AM   #13
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While it's nice to be perfect, it's damn near impossible. I have checked the little bubble level I keep in the freezer against the level thing on the front of the trailer. Thanks, Bob, for the suggestion about an adjustment screw on it—I'll have to check for that as I must have forgotten to read the instructions.

We follow same process described above by handn and Minno. I'm happy if side to side is half a mark on the outside level; more than that I have to walk inside as if I have one short leg. I thought the marks on the outside level each are one inch, not two inches as whitelight posted, but I could be wrong. I try to keep it to half a mark unless I'm tired.

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Old 08-28-2009, 08:56 AM   #14
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Available at every RV dealer or trailer section at farm & fleet stores I've ever been in. I put one of dese guyz on my A-frame between the hitch and the power jack. A bit of caulk and you'll have it right where you need it. I level side to side while still hitched. Half a bubble tilt to roadside is good -- then the biff door stays open as a partition while [TMI spoiler alert]. I prefer this slight lean to my Safari; it keeps splash water around my curbside kitchen & bath sink counters from running toward the wall junction.

The fridge will operate just fine if the frame is level.


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