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Old 03-19-2014, 10:04 PM   #1
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2014 25' FB Flying Cloud
Rochester , Minnesota
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Leveling, chocks and the list for first time out

Hi all,

I was hoping to get some specific suggestions of a few things on my long list of items that I (think) I need. Our 25fb Flying Cloud is being delivered in April and we are towing with a 2004 Suburban.

We have the ProPride hitch ordered and received a suggestion from Sean to purchase the Tekonsha P3 brake controller. Wondering if anyone has any opinions on this. If not, that is the controller we will purchase.

Now, I am on to chocks and leveling blocks. No clue here. I see that the Roto Chocks have lots of fans. Wondering if they stabilize the trailer any more than say the Bal Chocks or X-Chocks. If not, I am not sure that spending twice as much is worth it. Any insight here is appreciated.

Leveling blocks. Wondering if the little yellow pack from Camping World will suffice...say a pack of 10. No idea, have never done this, so not sure even how to go about it. Our driveway by the way has a slightly decent slope to it.

Other items on the list that I am wondering if we need... and if we do, I would appreciate any brand names etc to lead me in the right direction.

-Hitch Lock (For the ProPride)
-Generator Locks (Honda 2000)
-Multimeter
-Awning Tie downs... wondering if there is such a thing, otherwise I am picturing tent stakes and ropes....
-Does anyone actually pack a level for leveling the trailer... if not, do you just *eyeball* it...

I have other items but the items above have all been named on threads around here under the *list* category. Just hoping for some clarification as I have never towed or leveled any trailer before.

Thanks in advance for letting me pick your brain!
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Old 03-19-2014, 10:35 PM   #2
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The Tekonsha P3 has worked well for us in the past and is a favorite of many.

We use X-chocks to stabilize the trailer, easy to use can be locked on. You still need chocks to keep the trailer from rolling, four 4 x 4 doug fir blocks cut to an angle work.

Camping World leveling blocks work to level trailer side-to-side if needed, the tongue jack levels front-to-back.

Lock the hitch coupler and ProPride with a padlock.

We have a heavy 8 foot hardened chain (for motorcycles) to lock things like the generator if needed. Best to put it away when gone.

Many good, compact multimeters.

Screw-type anchors with ropes will secure the awning in breezes, if it's gusting winds put it up, only takes a minute.

There is a level on the tongue jack for leveling, but we carry a small torpedo level as well, mostly to match alignment of the ProPride stinger to the hitch for easy hookup.

No end to the gadgets, try to separate them from the essentials. Start out with minimum gear and carefully add only what you actually need or you will be overwhelmed with "stuff".

Keep it simple.
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Old 03-19-2014, 10:35 PM   #3
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I have the P3 brake controller. I ordered mine with the cable for the Toyota connector. It plugged right into the cable pre-wired with the towing package. It also comes with a cable to allow you to wire your vehicle if it wasn't pre-wired, but you will need to add the round trailer plug if your vehicle doesnt have one.

Operation was pretty straight forward. It was my first time out and I had no problems. The display is bright so mount out of your direct line of site.
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Old 03-19-2014, 10:44 PM   #4
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With your sloped driveway you should take extra chocking precautions, and never remove a chock unless you are hooked up to the tow vehicle.

I am using a combination of the X-Chocks and Fastway Onestep chock on each side.

Fastway 84-00-4840 ONEstep Wheel Chock, (Pack of 2) : Amazon.com : Automotive
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Old 03-19-2014, 10:45 PM   #5
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I have a Tekonsha P3 controller. HUGE upgrade over my older Tekonsha controller. There may be a better unit out there, but I haven't used it. The P3 would be an excellent pick for your Suburban.

I use basic wedge chocks behind the tires. With the stabilizers down, I don't have any stability problems. I have considered switching to a Bal or X-chock so that I can easily chock both sides when using blocks to level.

The orange Lynx leveling blocks are great. I think Camping World's yellow blocks are basically the same thing. I have two sets of ten since we switched to the SUV and I don't want to carry a small lumber yard worth of planking.

Fluke offers a number of very nice multimeters, but for RV purposes, this unit will serve you well at a fraction of the cost. It's auto-ranging so it's very easy to use and offers a large, easy to read display.

For leveling, I use a round bulls eye level in a frying pan on the cook-top. Can't have those pancakes and eggs sliding off to the side!

Congratulations and happy Streaming!
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Old 03-19-2014, 10:49 PM   #6
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Hi there. I can't speak to the brake controller (I use the one integrated in my truck).

As for other stuff - here's advice worth everything you're paying for it :-)

Chocks - not sure those expensive ones are worth it. You have stabilizers you'll set on the ground when you camp and that does a pretty good job keeping things, well, stable. Regular chocks to keep your wheels from moving are required but you can get those for $10.

Leveling blocks. Sure - those yellow ones are fine. You can probably get them cheaper at WalMart. It's all new now by you'll pick it up quickly. When you get to your site, you level it side to side (yes, use a real level near the fridge on the floor) by driving up on those levelers once you know how much you need to raise one side of the trailer. Then you level it back to front with the electric jack. Both adjustments need a level. You don't have to be perfect, but eyeballing it isn't accurate enough. Search the threads - there are some fun tips on leveling with beer cans which are to be opened upon accomplishing level. :-)

Your driveway slope may be another issue. That sound like a front to back issue and if very severe, I'm not sure you'd want to put all that weight on the jack.

-Hitch Lock (For the ProPride)

Likely not needed. It takes 2 hours to install :-)
Added benefit is the hitch itself is a bit of a theft deterrent.

-Generator Locks (Honda 2000)

Not sure that's necessary either but search here for that phrase. There's a string in here somewhere with someone selling kits.

-Multimeter

I bought one on Amazon for less than $25

-Awning Tie downs...

Camping world has them - again, not necessary in my experience (but I've only been camping a year).

Keep asking. Lots of advice here. Once you get out there a few times, it all clicks! You may want to postpone those purchases (except the levelers, wheel chocks and a level) until you get some experience and see why you think is necessary. There are also some essential list threads here somewhere.

Good luck!
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Old 03-19-2014, 11:07 PM   #7
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Longmont , Colorado
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Nice choice on the 25FB. We have the 2013 version.

Chocks: We use the plastic ones from Camping World (the heavier-duty model).

Blocks: We have two sets of the camping world leveling blocks. We like to camp at state parks and forest service sites with unpaved/uneven sites, so we have had to use both sets at once. Also, a set of 10 of these is just enough to use as a ramp for changing a flat tire.

Meter: any cheap one will give you a valid voltage reading. But we got a more expensive one that has a clamp-on mechanism for reading DC current. This lets us do things like read the current draw on each brake. Ours is made by Klein. And note: Many of the lower-priced clamp-on type meters can only read AC current with the clamp, not DC. DC is important.

Level: We find the level provided on the jack to be of little value--the jack mount flexes somewhat. We use a separate level.

Enjoy your Flying Cloud!
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Old 03-19-2014, 11:52 PM   #8
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Chocks and blocks

SSquared makes a good point about the usefulness of blocks. We have the orange Lynx blocks, and the integrated chocks make a very secure and level platform for the low-side wheels.

When we are just about in place in the campsite, Lynn checks the side-to-side level. With experience she has learned how many blocks we need to raise the low side. She checks the level we've attached to the side of the trailer, then she builds a pyramidal platform, interlocking all the blocks. She raises both wheels, not just one. She then sets a chock on the end of the top platform on the downhill end. I either back or advance (always downhill) onto the platform and nest the wheel against the chock. Now the trailer is really set. Then I level front-back with the tongue jack, lower the stabilizers and put a bit of tension on each, and we are set and stable. I also use the BAL chock that clamps between the wheels.

The Lynx stabilizers are very handy for changing a tire. See the photo.
1. Loosen the lug nuts on the injured wheel
2. Back the other tandem wheel up onto a block platform high enough to lift the injured tire off the ground - note the chock keeping it secure.
3. Swap tire and spare, and snug the lug nuts
4. Drive off the chocks, and torque the lugs.
5. Repair or replace injured tire

I too have a sloped driveway, and back the trailer up the slope into position. Once I have the trailer in place I put heavy rubber chocks in front of both front trailer wheels, then unhitch. The jack is not long enough to lift the trailer off the ball, so I place a few concrete pavers under the jack foot and then lift the tongue way up until the trailer is level. This long extension of the jack makes me nervous, so I have cut a 2x6 and slip it under the ball socket and snug it to the ground. Then I take the pressure off the jack and let the 2x6 carry most of the load. This protects the jack and may add to its life.

Another trick - after all is set on the driveway the front of the trailer is right on the sidewalk. That jack toggle switch is very tempting to little fingers. I always disconnect the jack power lead from the batteries, disabling the jack. I also lock the breakaway brake switch with a loop of cable and a padlock. Don't want anyone activating the brakes.
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Old 03-20-2014, 07:00 AM   #9
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I use the bubble level in my iPhone.
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Old 03-20-2014, 07:30 AM   #10
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The other folks pretty much covered your questions but I'll add a couple of comments. P3 is great. Lynx levelers are the way to go, we use them nearly every trip(you would think that folks building trailer pads would have a level) . I keep a small level inside the door even though I have a bubble level on the frame by the tongue. It helps with the side to side level and after you do it a while you can tell from the bubble possition how many lynx blocks you will need and get it level side to side the first time.
Carry several 4x4 blocks or boards to put under the tongue jack when needed. If you get a severe uphill camp site (and sometimes you do) the jack won't have enough extension to get the trailer level. Once in Tennessee I had to put 4 blocks under the tongue and still extend the jack all the way to get things level.
Finally, get one of those folding sewer hose cradle things that extends out and give pitch to the hose. They don't take up much space but sure help keeping things flowing. Many times the sewer connection will be several inches off the ground and things don't flow uphill very well.
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Old 03-20-2014, 08:36 AM   #11
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I put a P3 in my 2006 F150. Bought the adapter cable and it plugged right in. I mounted it down on the joint between the dash and the kick panel over the accelerator pedal. It is visible through a space between spokes in the steering wheel when going straight and within reach for the panic switch. It works great. Don't forget to follow the instructions to set the braking level.

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Old 03-20-2014, 10:40 AM   #12
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Thank you all so very much for sharing! Your responses definitely helped clarify some of questions.

Wondering though what you mean 68_TWind, by this:
Finally, get one of those folding sewer hose cradle things that extends out and give pitch to the hose.

Not sure that googling *folding sewer hose cradle things* is going to get me where I need to be. Anyone have any recommendations on a brand for this. I had read before about something along this line but not sure exactly what we would need.

On one last note, I agree with you Doug when you said the following:
No end to the gadgets, try to separate them from the essentials. Start out with minimum gear and carefully add only what you actually need or you will be overwhelmed with "stuff".

One of the reasons that having an Airstream is so appealing in the first place is so that we can leave home, get out in nature and leave all the "stuff" back at home! I appreciate you mentioning this, it would not take much to get carried away with what is really needed.

Thanks again!
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Old 03-20-2014, 10:42 AM   #13
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Look for "Sidewinder Sewer Support". I purchased mine at Wal Mart.
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Old 03-20-2014, 03:22 PM   #14
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Follow-up: chocks and blocks

In a previous post I described how we finish off our parking in the driveway. We have to extend the jack almost to the limit due to the downslope of the driveway. I use concrete pavers to raise the jack to allow the lift, but I don't like to leave it supporting the tongue weight at that extreme extension.

Once I've raised the tongue I slip the cut-to-length 2x6 under the ball socket and lower most of the trailer weight onto the board, easing the load on the jack. See photo. Then I disconnect the jack's battery lead so no one can activate the jack while it's parked.

I also don't want anyone to be able to pull the breakaway brake actuator while it's sitting so close to the sidewalk, so I fashioned a loop of cable, drilled a hole in the mounting bracket, and lock the actuator to the bracket. See photo. This, of course, is unlocked when we are on the road.
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