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Old 07-13-2015, 07:24 AM   #1
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1989 34' Excella
Austin , Texas
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 28
First-Time Leveling

I recently bought my first Airstream, a 1989 34' Excella, which I'm keeping in the back lot at a storage facility for several months while I work on it. It really could use a few inches of side-to-side leveling to make me feel less like a pinball while working on the interior.

I know the preferred leveling method is to pull the trailer onto leveling wedges (and I do have a set of Andersen wedges), but there are a couple extenuating circumstances: First, I don't have a truck that can pull the trailer. (The guy I bought it from pulled it to the storage yard for me.) Second, the tires are old and are already beginning to go flat, and I'm just not budgeted to replace six tires just yet. Third, the tongue jack is electric, but the trailer has no battery and no plug-in power is available at the facility.

So, I was thinking I might use a scissor jack and, jacking against the horizonal axle mounting bracket, place jackstands under the square steel encasing the front and rear axles. I'd use four jackstands, two on either side, to take all weight off the tires (so neither side of the trailer will sink if the tires deflate further).

Once the trailer is level side-to-side, I'd lower the stabilizing jacks to lock everything in place, and maybe do a touch of front-to-back leveling. (I understand the stabilizing jacks aren't for heavy lifting, but I'm assuming a little fine adjustment is okay, right?) The jackstands and stabilizing jacks would all be supported on 2x12 pressure-treated blocks.

Any problems with this approach? Thanks in advance.

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Old 07-13-2015, 07:46 AM   #2
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I would not use the stabilizers to left the trailer any amount. I would go with the jack stand carefully in the correct lifting points. I have a friend that is building a rolling tiny house on a 24 ft frame in his back yard. He is using 2X12s and 6 heavy duty jack stands to lift and level the trailer for the construction. It is rock solid with no movement when working. As a security issue he has removed the wheels during construction to prevent easy theft.

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Old 07-13-2015, 07:56 AM   #3
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Since the tires are old, pump up one side tp max and let air out of the other side.
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Old 07-13-2015, 07:57 AM   #4
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What about filling the tires, pull it onto blocks to level, and just add air when needed. Borrow or rent a truck to pull it.
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Old 07-13-2015, 07:58 AM   #5
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Jack can be operated manually.
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Old 07-13-2015, 08:13 AM   #6
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I would not set the trailer on the axle tubes. Bending the axle tubes is the only way to align the wheels on an Airstream and if by chance you bent a axle during your rebuild you are in for a very expensive repair.

A small bottle jack, 3 to 6 ton, between the rear2 axles will lift the trailer and you can block it in place with cinder blocks and boards place for and aft of the wheels. Use the tongue jack, by hand if not battery is available, to level it front to rear before setting the blocks.

Before you level look at the axles themselves to see what condition they are in. Sight across, to the back of the wheels, from the other side. The trailing arm of the axle should have a downward angle as it goes from the axle tube to the spindle. If that angle is upward you are looking at new axles as part of your rebuild.
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Old 07-14-2015, 06:47 AM   #7
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1989 34' Excella
Austin , Texas
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Thank you all for your thoughtful responses!
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Old 07-14-2015, 09:28 AM   #8
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You can jack under the axle mounting plate to level the trailer, We had to do this on our last trip as the trailer sank in to the soft ground on one side. In this case I jacked the trailer up until I could put a board under the tires then let it back down and then deployed the stablizers. Other times I've used blocks or jack stands under the axle mounting plate to level the trailer.
I normally jack the trailer up for winter storage and leave it on stands with the wheels off the ground (removing the wheels and locking them in the trailer makes it nearly theft proof).

The only place you can lift an Airstream is by the axle mounting plate. The stabilizers are not strong enough the lift the trailer.

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