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Old 08-03-2020, 06:36 PM   #1
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What is the best order for unhitching and leveling?

I'm wondering what the best order of steps is for leveling (both side-to-side and front-to-back) and unhitching. i.e. Do you first level side-to-side, then unhitch, then level front-to-back? Can someone post their step-by-step procedure here?

I have Camco curved levelers (similar to the Anderson ones I've seen mentioned here) and I'm considering purchasing the LevelMate Pro device.
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Old 08-03-2020, 06:49 PM   #2
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I would first back into the site and find my ideal parking spot. Then check across the floor left and right sides to see how it is sitting. Most sites tend to slope away at the perimeter. using a circular bubble level in the middle of the floor at the trailer door, I would determine how much I need to add to one side or the other to level the trailer side to side. Once the leveller is in place, I would lift the tongue and disconnect the truck and move it away from the trailer. Using the tongue jack, I would lower the tongue jack till in was slightly lower in the front. Then I will set my rear levellers to snug on the ground or on blocks if there is a distance to cover.now using my front levellers I would crank them up and give them an additional turn once they have snugged up on the ground or block.

Then I would double check my level to see that the bubble was in the middle in both directions, sided to side and front to back.

That is how I do it. Completely manual and using a bubble level.

I am sure others will do it differently but that seems to work for me.
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Old 08-03-2020, 07:10 PM   #3
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Assessing a trailer parking spot is a bit like reading a golf green. Where is the slope or high spots.

Position the trailer where you read the most level area is. Then get your levels out and see where the interior floor is telling you to add height to gain level.

Front to rear level is a piece of cake with the tongue jack. Don't worry about that until you are ready to unhitch.

Use your Camcos, or lego blocks, or 2x6s to gain side to side reasonable level.

Then chock those trailer tires! before you unhitch. I unhitched once and had my Airstream head for the lake. It moved a foot or so. Scared the heck out of me. I always chock the tires so the trailer can't move forward or backward.

Now you can get level front to back.

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Old 08-03-2020, 07:15 PM   #4
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Then chock those trailer tires! before you unhitch. I unhitched once and had my Airstream head for the lake. It moved a foot or so. Scared the heck out of me. I always chock the tires so the trailer can't move forward or backward.
That would be freaky, I have never run into that before but safer is better!

I guess the Andersen leveller would help the trailer resist the temptation to go for a dip
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Old 08-03-2020, 07:49 PM   #5
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Only on one direction, Muchacho.
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Old 08-03-2020, 08:04 PM   #6
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So our typical set-up when we arrive at a campsite has several variables. The “key” variable is the “level” of the site. If there is a bit of a slope the first thing we do is pull out the “BeechLane Leveling Kit” and place them under the tandem wheels as appropriate to level right/left, then pull the Airstream forward until the unit is ‘level’ (more or less). We then put the BL chocks under the levelers to secure the system. Next we then place the Heavy Duty Rubber Chocks on the opposite side. We then unhitch (leave the chains attached to the tow vehicle these are the last thing to disconnect until chocked) then using the jack, level front to rear. Once the unit is level, we then take the “Ball X Chocks” and install them between the wheels, lower our Airstream stabilizers and enjoy!!

We use the RV4Level System bluetooth to Cell and Hopkins 08201 RV Battery Powered Smart-Level. Leveling the AS is about comfort and the Dometic Refrigerator funtion.

Now, if the campsite is more or less level we can for-go the BeechLane Leveling Kit. Just chock both sides, unhitch (leaving the chains attached as last thing to disconnect from the TV), level front to rear with the jack, insert the Ball X Chocks, drop the stabilizers and enjoy!!

The important thing is NEVER FORGET WHAT TO DO and WHAT YOU HAVE DONE

Things we also do including when we are at a full service site:

Before we do the leveling/chocking bit we make sure we can “reach” the site services with our power cord, sewer connection and water hose.
After leveling/chocking and disconnecting from our TV we connect to the site services.
Open the LP Tanks (If Required)
Unlatch the Stove Vent

NOW we can bring out the camp rug, chairs, BBQ etc and enjoy!!!
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Old 08-04-2020, 07:34 AM   #7
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Thanks, everyone.

Question: when you level front-to-back, and you find you need to add leveling blocks under the tongue jack in order to raise it up higher, how do you do that?

What I mean is that by this point in the process, the tongue jack will typically already be down and the TV unhitched, right? Is it safe to raise the tongue jack to put the leveling blocks under it in this situation? Will the chocks behind the wheels be enough to keep the trailer stationary even with the tongue jack raised?
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Old 08-04-2020, 08:30 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by switters View Post
Question: when you level front-to-back, and you find you need to add leveling blocks under the tongue jack in order to raise it up higher, how do you do that?
First, after side to side leveling, I use the BAL chocks between the tires to chock the unit. Plain chocks can be a problem if one wheel is on blocks.
Then I carry a block I made, consisting of (2) 12" X 12" pieces of 3/4" plywood sandwiching pieces of 2 x 4 on edge. Glued and screwed. There's a 2 x 4 running down the center to support the weight. I added a handle and rope loop on the side to aid in picking it up.
So, before I unhitch, that goes under the jack. I find I don't need to extend the jack as far. It's a big, stable block and the jack never moves.
Then I do the front to back leveling.
Even if I'm not unhooking for the night, I still use the block. I find I always have to raise the tongue to level. (I guess that tells me something)

I'm going to make a thicker block using 2 x 6's. That gives me a 7" lift to the jack foot. Any more and it won't fit under the retracted jack.
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Old 08-04-2020, 08:45 AM   #9
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when having to raise the front a lot compared to the ball height, I leave the tow vehicle in place until it is level in case I need to add more blocks that way I can set it back down on the ball. The chocks need to be able to fully hold the trailer from moving because the tongue jack is not well supported horizontally and will bend if it is subjected to lateral movement.
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Old 08-04-2020, 09:22 AM   #10
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Ok, thanks. It sounds like it's a good idea to put some blocks under the tongue jack before lowering it the first time no matter what. Even if they aren't needed to raise the trailer higher in order to level, there's no downside to having them there since it just means I don't need to lower the tongue jack as much before it is supported.

I hadn't considered special chocks that I'd need if one side of the trailer is on leveling chocks (like Anderson or Camco curved levelers). Are these the ones I need?

EDIT: Bummer, they are out of stock everywhere (along with anything else that is outdoor/camping related)!
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Old 08-04-2020, 09:33 AM   #11
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I never disconnect the chains until after the hitch is off the ball. JUST IN CASE! I have had it move a bit and scared the $**t out of me.
Like everyone else; first level side to side, chock the wheels, I also use my X Chocks at this time, then lift off the ball, disconnect chains, level front to back and the very last thing is I put down my stabilizers. First thing when leaving is to raise stabilizers.
This has worked well for me.
Have fun and travel safe.
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Old 08-04-2020, 09:55 AM   #12
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Level Mate Pro

I've been using LevelMate Pro to level the AS. Pull into the site. Turn the device on inside the AS and then go my phone or tablet. With the app open, the display will show from to back and side to side with the amount of discrepancy in quarter inches. I'll level the AS side to side until "0.00" is displayed. I then chock the tires using the X-Chocks. Unhitch and using the app level front to back until "0.00" appears. The LevelMate app will also allow you to memorize the hitch position when the tongue is about 1/2" above the ball. When I get ready to leave I recall the hitch position and, using the power jack, return the tongue of the trailer to that height. Hitching and leveling is a breeze and LevelMate customer support is outstanding.
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Old 08-04-2020, 09:57 AM   #13
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X2 Mikebrady62 in addition to what I have said (clarified simply) Also I use 10" sq pads under the stabiizers as most of our camping is on soil not concrete. Also, I use a pad under the jack as well - I also carry a couple of 4x4x10" and 1x10x10" wood blocks in the bumper storage - the prinical is "rather have it and not need it as opposed to need it and not have it". FYI we do 95% boondocking)
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Old 08-04-2020, 10:01 AM   #14
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Leveling is made much easier with a pair of stick/on bubble levels that you can buy anywhere. I think I got mine at WalMart. Stick one on the back of the trailer , midline wherever convenient. Stick the other on the curb side of the trailer about in the middle
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Old 08-04-2020, 10:03 AM   #15
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Hi

The un mentioned point so far: WD chains / bars.

This (obviously) only applies to hitches that work this way ....

Most hitch outfits suggest that you unhook the WD part of your hitch before you start into a campsite. There may be sharp turns and bumpy ground to cover. Both will increase wear and tear with a WD setup. They also don't help much with leveling. If you still have them on, take them off before the final level process.

Chocks belong on the trailer no matter what. Un-level ground is an obvious issue. Great big gusts of wind are a bit less obvious. They may not roll the trailer far. The motion will *not* do your tongue jack any favors.

There will always be the "site from hell" that defies leveling at your first location pick. There won't be a lot of them, but they will come along. Simply accept that you need to hitch up again and move a bit. It's just part of the process.

All this works a *lot* better if there's still sunlight. It also works a *lot* better if you have an extra hour or two before dinner needs to get started. Plan your day to arrive / set up with enough time and it all is a much more pleasant process.

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Old 08-04-2020, 10:51 AM   #16
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I pretty much echo most of the folks here. I try get get the trailer positioned back just a little further than it's final set up stop. From that position I will check the side to side level and needed, I'll put my Lynx Levelers down on the low side of the trailer. Then I'll pull forward onto the blocks. That gets me my side to side level. I also make sure that at that point I can successfully pull out the awnings without other obstructions. Since my Classic has a slide I also make sure that I have enough clearance to allow the slide to push out without hitting any obstacles.

Once done I will put in my wheel chocks on the tires and also place the wheel lock in place that sits between my curbside tandem axle. From there I will raise the hitch jack and pull off the bars on my Equal-i-zer hitch that provide sway and leveling control. I drop the hitch jack down to the point that all the weight of the trailer is on the ball, pull out the hitch pin open up the hitch lever and raise the trailer. Once the trailer clears the hitch ball, I'll pull off the safety chains, the electrical cable to the hitch plug on the tow vehicle, and the breakaway cable. Then I'll raise the trailer just a little more and pull the tow vehicle forward a little. I'll then raise or lower the hitch jack to take care of the front to back level of the trailer. I use a Master Level on the trailer that displays side to side and front to back level of the trailer. Stabilizer jacks come down at this point.

I choose not to remove my leveling/sway bars prior to driving onto my site since that additional weight on the rear of my van causes enough sagging that could cause the tow vehicle to drag or the front hitch of the trailer to come close to dragging on sites that have elevation changes as you enter them.

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Old 08-04-2020, 10:59 AM   #17
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You've got some excellent advice here.

Early on I was told to not engage or let someone engage you in a conversation during the un-hooking and leveling process, (CHOCK the wheels before unhitching!). Same goes for when you are hooking-up, talk later and stick to your routine. I'm smarter than that, so why wouldn't I be a friendly neighbor. Well I've done it and I've made mistakes, like not chocking the wheels, etc.

Now I just politely ask my 'guests' to wait a moment while I finish up, thank you.
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Old 08-04-2020, 10:59 AM   #18
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Ok, thanks. It sounds like it's a good idea to put some blocks under the tongue jack before lowering it the first time no matter what. Even if they aren't needed to raise the trailer higher in order to level, there's no downside to having them there since it just means I don't need to lower the tongue jack as much before it is supported.

I hadn't considered special chocks that I'd need if one side of the trailer is on leveling chocks (like Anderson or Camco curved levelers). Are these the ones I need?

EDIT: Bummer, they are out of stock everywhere (along with anything else that is outdoor/camping related)!
Your Camco levelers should have included a corresponding chock block that will safely hold the trailer from rolling in either direction. the Andersen levelers do as well. If you want additional insurance or more stability while in the trailer, those chocks will help.
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Old 08-04-2020, 11:21 AM   #19
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I have a Reese round level w/screw on lid that has 2 levels inside 1 for side & 1 for front to back, mounted on front of propane loop w/piece of aluminum angle bolted on. It is very accurate, then level side to side w/2x8 long to span both axles, then put semi trailer style heavy rubber chock both front & rear of 1 tire opposite side of raised side, then disconnect chains & breakaway cable, raise w/electric tongue jack [have aluminum jack stand] then disconnect bars, then pull forward level front to back. Place 2 12 inches long 2x6 side by side under each stabilizer. The chocks that I have will not slip unless on boards plus you will not be able to pull w/them in place if forget to remove. [2 chocks hooked together w/chain. Chain little long as they are for large truck wheels]. All boards painted w/blue gloss enamel, reason if muddy or dirty just hose off no ugly looks as plain wood when gets dirty and stained.
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Old 08-04-2020, 11:26 AM   #20
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Switters,
If you are in a site with power, before all else, check the receptacle to make sure it is wired correctly. If good, then proceed with the leveling.
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