Whenever we go camping, we have our specific way of proper setup. We were approached by some neighboring campers asking how we like our equipment, specifically our X-Chocks. My wife and I told them how much they have improved our stability and that they should look into them as they mentioned their travel trailer is very unstable. We gave them some pointers on how they can improve their stability and thought I would share.
How to make a travel trailer more stable?The stability of your travel trailer is improved by making sure your RV is level, wheels choked, and stabilizer jacks extended appropriately on a wood or block base and not the bare ground where they can sink. If you need additional lateral support, add X Chocks in between your tires when parked.
Nothing is more annoying than walking around your travel trailer and having it move front and back when you step. It is almost the same feeling of having too much to drink. There are many items that can be helpful with stabilizing your RV. Being level, chocked, and stabilized will go a long way with reducing the lateral and vertical movement within your RV. There are many accessories that can help out with the stability and livability within your RV.
Top Tools to Stabilize your Trailer
- Installed Trailer Stabilizer Jacks (our favorite replacement in case you break yours. Also you can put the block type levelers under your jacks for extra support on soft or wet ground)
- X Chocks (x-chocks eliminate all of the vehicle sway when walking around, these are our favorite)
- Wheel Chocks (properly chocking your wheels eliminates most of the sway)
- Levelers (we like the ramp type as they also chock the wheels, but the block type work great under the stabilizer jacks)
Stabilizer Jacks Explained
What are RV Stabilizer Jacks?
Stabilizer jacks extend from the bottom of your RV frame to the ground and are typically found on travel trailers and fifth wheels. Stabilizer jacks are also referred to as leveling jacks, but it is important to note, stabilizer jacks are for stabilizing not leveling. Do not try and put the weight of the trailer on these jacks in order to level your trailer. This can damage your jacks, RV frame, furniture or the structure within your camper.
Stabilizers are either manual or electric and some electric models have a one button auto stabilize function. Stabilizing jacks are to be used after your trailer is level front to back and side to side, and wheels are chocked. Stabilizing jacks only hold a very small amount of trailer weight and will help reduce trailer movement when you are walking inside your rig.
How to properly use RV stabilizer jacks
Follow these steps below and you will have a properly stabilized trailer:
First, you will want to level your trailer side to side utilizing block type levelers or Andersen ramp type levelers. Read our post on How do I level a Travel Trailer? if you need some tips and tricks leveling your trailer. You can read all about which levelers we recommend on our post about the best travel trailer levelers. Use a handheld level or LevelMatePro to check your work. Next use your electric or manual tongue jack to level your trailer front to back, once again, check your work with the level.
Tip: The refrigerator in your travel trailer or fifth wheel will need to be level to function properly. Make sure not to skip the leveling process.
Once you are level, chock your wheels. If you use Andersen Levelers, these also act as chocks and two wheels will already be done, but you will want to chock the other side of the trailer. Always chock all wheels on your camper just in case.
Lastly, lower your stabilizer jacks onto some leveling blocks, or some 2×6’s to create a solid foundation. If you do not have a solid pad, these jacks have small contact points with the ground and can sink in mud or gravel and will not be effective. When you are camping for a few days, you may need to readjust your stabilizer jacks as things still may settle in the ground.
If you still find that your trailer has some movement, get some X-Chocks. We noticed a huge improvement once we started using them. These are metal ratcheting devices which put pressure from tire to tire on a dual axle trailer or fifth wheel locking the wheels from moving. X-Chocks will not work on a single axle trailer as they would have nothing to press against.
When using your stabilizer jacks, they are meant to hold the weight stamped on them when they are past half way open. Make sure you do not block up too high off the ground with leveling blocks or wood as this could damage your jacks.
How much pressure to put on stabilizer jacks?
When you are lowering your stabilizer jacks, you will want them to have good contact with a leveling block, piece of wood, or if nothing is available the ground.
Lower your jacks completely to the ground, then go another rotation or so until you see your trailer start to lift. Back off a little but keep good contact with the ground. Never use stabilizing jacks to level or lift your trailer as this is not what they are designed for. This may only take 50 pounds or so of weight for each leveling jack off of your trailer.
When to use RV Stabilizer Jacks
Stabilizer jacks should be used at all times when you are staying in your trailer. This not only provides extra comfort, but adds additional contact with the ground to prevent your trailer from rolling in an emergency situation.
We use our stabilizer jacks when we have our RV parked in our driveway for loading and unloading. Taking the extra 5 minutes reduces all the sway when you vigorously are trying to pack for your camping trip.
If we have our travel trailer in storage for extended periods of time, I will extend our jacks as to take some pressure off of the tires. Extending stabilizer jacks will not take much weight off the trailer as they are not designed to do so. Jacks may reduce 200 pounds with the amount of pressure I use.
Tip: Use a drill along with a stabilizer jack attachment to quickly raise and lower your jacks. This will save your arms from going round and round with the hand adapter.
How do I stop my travel trailer from rocking?
To stop your travel trailer from rocking, make sure your wheels are chocked properly, trailer is level, and stabilizer jacks are down and in contact with the ground or a wood 2×6. Add X-Chocks to your travel trailer wheels if you would like extra comfort from travel trailer movement.
Where to place stabilizer jacks?
Stabilizer jacks are located on the bottom of the frame of your travel trailer on all four corners. These should come preinstalled from the factory in these locations. Adding two additional jacks to the center of your trailer can add additional stability.
Helpful Items Mentioned in this Article:
Stabilizer jacks tend to get damaged by curbs, rocks, and other items. Here are our favorite replacements that are stable and good quality as compared to most factory models.
X-Chocks will change your life by bring you the most stable RV you have ever felt. They totally eliminate sway or motion while walking around.
Good quality rubber wheel chocks will last longer and provide a more secure parked travel trailer than cheap plastic models.
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