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Old 12-08-2003, 03:22 AM   #1
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How level does it need to be?


As a beginner to the RV world, I have some questions about how level my unit needs to be when parking for a few hours, staying the night somewhere or staying a few nights somewhere.

Of course, I know it is in my best interest to get the coach perfectly level, but what happens if it's a little off?

I have heard everything from my refrigerator will blow up if its not level for more than a few minutes to my refrigerator will only blow up after it hasn't been level for a day or so.

I know that there has been a lot of discussion online about whether or not you should drive with your gas lines open, so you can keep the fridge on, but let's say you do drive with them open. What happens if you stop somewhere for lunch and the place where you park is not completely level? Can you leave your fridge on or are you supposed to turn it off?

What if you are driving at night with the fridge on and need to pull over for a few hours to get some rest?


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Old 12-08-2003, 03:26 AM   #2
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If you can sleep comfortably you aren't too far off level for the fridge. IIRC according to the what someone calculated out you would have to be over 8" off level in any one direction before the fridge would not want to work. I don't know about you but I can't sleep that far off level


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Old 12-08-2003, 06:41 AM   #3
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Thanks for your response. I would agree with you that it would be hard to sleep if my unit was 8" off of being level. I am still curious to hear what other Airstreamer's think and what experiences they might have.

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Old 12-08-2003, 07:07 AM   #4
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I agree with wahoonc

If it looks level and feels level, you are close enough with modern refrigerators.

Before I had levels installed, I used to place a can from the pantry on the counter on its side in two orientations. If it didn't roll or rolled very slowly, I considered the trailer level enough. In fifteen years of trailering, I never have had a refrigerator problem.

Currently, I have the big level installed that came with the Classic. If it is within 2 graduations, I consider it level enough.

At a seminar I once attended, a rep of one of the refrigerator makers (don't remember which one) said that one wheel could be up on the curb and not hurt the operation.
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Old 12-08-2003, 07:12 AM   #5
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I carry a small level with me and take measurements from several places. I didn't like the idea of sticking stuff to the outside of the coach.

When I park, I usually try to get it dead center on the level. I know it's not required as it might have been in the old days, but I've noticed that I can sense when the coach is even a bit off kilter.

I've also noticed that more times than not, once I get setup, I ususally have to make a few adjustments after the first night since I usually am not on pavement and the coach settles a bit.

To get the coach level, I bring a few 2x6s with me. Now with the Safari and a few more wheels, I may opt go and get those lego type blocks I've seen other folks use.

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Old 12-08-2003, 08:01 AM   #6
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Hope you enjoy the new coach, Josh. The one picture that I saw of it and your new truck (taken at night) looked very nice!

I camped without being level once and woke up with a whopping headache.

I always try to get within a half-bubble of being level now.

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Old 12-08-2003, 08:23 AM   #7
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Thanks for everyone's response. It certainly sounds like it is more important to get the unit level because of a good nights rest rather than worrying about the fridge malfunctioning.

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Old 12-08-2003, 09:06 AM   #8
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My understanding is that it's desirable to level your trailer even when it's in storage and the refrig is not in use.

Anyone have any different info. aabout that?

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Old 12-08-2003, 09:44 AM   #9
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for some ideas, links, and explanations

as noted in this discussion, if you are comfortable in your RV it is probably level enough for the fridge.

The problem with amonia cycle refrigeration off level is the accumulation of deposits on the pipes that will eventually clog the pipes and stop the process. Being off level too far means that the convective flow of gases tends to hit the edges of the tubes more which causes more condensation of the crud on the tube walls. (sorta' some 'teaching license' taken here)

Modern RV refrigerators tolerate quite a bit of off level operation and will automatically shutdown if they are too far off.

There should be no problem as far as I know for storing a turned off fridge off level - I'd be more worried about the tires and wheels.
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Old 12-08-2003, 02:16 PM   #10
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Not only tires and wheels, but water flow off the roof, etc will be affected and you could have a leak where you least expect it since it does not leak when level. I used to store my trailers 1/2 a bubble up in the nose. This made sure that water ran off the roof and did not collect in the belly pan for long.
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Old 12-08-2003, 07:07 PM   #11
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refer on the level

Good question about leveling and refer operation.

I am one of those unfortunate souls that thinks they destroyed their 10 yr. old domestic refer in 350le coach by trying the refer start cycle while on a relatively steep incline. The coach was in fact up on ramps for a differential rebuilt, so 25-30 degrees maybe?

I was impatient after getting shore power finally and then the dreaded ammonia odor appeared. I have been consoled by those who say it isn't so, but... guess I will never know for sure. It could be true.


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