When driving a travel trailer, you’ll have probably guessed that not every spot is worth parking. Ground which is soft, uneven, and heavily blistered is unsuitable for parking a large vehicle. Stopping here can result in the trailer shaking when your move. And the tires can begin to roll on their own, leading to disaster. And if you’re packing for a long stay, you’ll definitely need to balance your trailer.
This is where stabilization systems come in.
Stabilizing systems, including jacks, sockets, and pads, work to keep your trailer balanced. They inhibit side to side and front to back shaking. Some accessory stabilization tubes work to keep the jacks grounded and stable. And some pope makes use of X-chocks to prevent tire movement. And if your RV parks on a swamp, you’ll need jack pads to provide solid ground.
A decent stabilizer jack can also be used to level the RV. No, they don’t lift the vehicle. But they prevent the 5th wheel kingpin from leaning downwards. If your travel trailer shakes when walking, then a stabilizer jack is the only solution for you.
We have listed down everything you need to know about RV stabilization. And we’ve listed down 7 of the best travel trailer stabilizer jacks and accessories. Take a look for yourself.
Why Does Your Travel Trailer Shake?
Travel trailers shake a lot when you walk around on them. However, a trailer on the level ground shouldn’t sway from side to side. So how do you stop your travel trailer from rocking? The problem isn’t in how you move across the trailer. It’s in how well you’ve grounded it and how to level the trailer is.
If the trailer is resting on uneven ground, say a hill or ditch, and then the movement will make it shake. The best way to combat this is to use a stabilizing jack. Stabilizing jacks go under your trailer’s wheels, but some go in between them too.
Shaking can also be caused by the uneven placement of furniture. In this case, simply adjust the furniture to keep a balance in weight. This type of shaking can actually be pretty dangerous, as it stays during driving. A slight imbalance, especially on tight mountainous roads, can result in disaster.
However, if the trailer is on level ground but the axels remain to misalign, then shaking can also occur. This issue can combat using a stabilizing jack. But the recommendation to get the RV or trailer checked. Discrepancies in the axles can not only be inconvenient but also dangerous. This can also be a sign of a loose axle that can come out at any time. And if you’re driving on a steep road, this can pose more than just an inconvenience.
If your trailer parks in a muddy area, grounding the jack can be next to impossible. Especially when you’re on a swamp, where the hard ground is almost non-existent! In that case, blocks of stone, plastic, or wood under the jack are required. They give a hard surface for the jack to hold on to.
When To Use RV Stabilizers:
The best way to stabilize the 5th wheel is by using a stabilizer jack. RV stabilizers should use whenever you’re on uneven ground. This includes floors that are too soft to fully anchor into. RV stabilizing jacks are the easiest way to get rid of any declines or inclines inside your RV.
If your RV is unstable due to the imbalance of furniture, then the recommendation is to first balance the furniture. This type of imbalance will stay once you store away the jack. So a jack can be a temporary solution in this case.
Similarly, if your axles are wrongly aligned, you’ll want to fix that first. The jack will only balance everything out temporarily. But when you’re on the road, the imbalance will stay with you. And sometimes, it can even be dangerous to drive an unstable vehicle on the highway.
When parking your trailer on soft ground such as mud and swamps, make sure to use a pad. These pads go under the jack and provide solid ground for the jack to anchor on to. You can buy these pads or just use a slab of wood or rock. The recommendation is to always get a stabilizing pad for your jacks. You never know when you’ll need them.
How to Use Stabilizer Jacks:
Once parked, you need to know how to set-up a travel trailer permanently. For this, you’ll need to place a few pieces of wood under the tongue jack. This is the part on the front of your trailer that can connect to your tow vehicle. Stack quite a few wooden slabs under this jack so that it can rest there.
Next, you need to unhitch your trailer. Remove the trailer from your tow vehicle now that you’ve found a place to park. You’ll need to use a level measuring device to see if your camper is level or not. This will also help you when using the stabilizing jack.
Now adjust the tongue jack by cranking it by hand. Lower or raise it so the camper is level from front to the back. You’ll need to put the stabilizing jacks on each of the four corners of the trailer. Simply place the jack on the ground with the top part touching the wheels or the 5th wheel hitch. Crank the jacks up manually and check every so often to see if the trailer is level.
Once you’ve adjusted the jack, lock the jack in place. Now you know how to use RV stabilizer jacks. You might also need to place pads or wooden blocks under the jacks to give them solid ground.
Types of RV Stabilizers:
RV stabilizing jacks are mainly of two types: manual and hydraulic. Manual jacks need to crank up and down by hand. Or they might have a lever that you can turn in order to jack up your motorhome.
Hydraulic jacks, on the other hand, are pretty much automatic. All you need to do is move the lever of the jack. The lever will push the jack-up and level the RV for you. It’s a pretty simple device, and it’s closely related to the hydraulic jack used in cars.
With regard to shape and working, stabilizers are of various types. There are tripod stabilizers that have three legs. These provide more surface area and stay more stable. Tripod stabilizers usually go under the 5th wheel kingpin. They have an expansion of up to 60 inches. But they are less secure as the legs can slip at any time, even with a strong locking cable.
Then there are the steady fast stabilizers, which are the easiest to use. They are the strongest and most secure, but they cost a lot. They eliminate jiggling and bouncing in the RV.
X-chock stabilizers go in between your tires. They stop your wheels, so they aren’t used for leveling but only for stabilizing. These prevent wheel movement, which may help in removing the side-to-side swaying. X-chocks are pretty common in the market. So you’ll have no issue in finding them.
A universal stabilizer can be used on almost every vehicle. Normally, stabilizers come specified for your camper or RV. These are recommended for travel trailers and 5th wheel trailers. A single stabilizer may support as much as 250 lbs. Most have an adjusting range from 14-28 inches. There are also plug-it right stabilizers, but those aren’t that common.
Best Way to Stabilize a Travel Trailer:
Stabilizing jacks are a temporary solution to stabilizing your travel trailer. These jacks are of various types and they do well to stop your trailer from swaying. The correct way to stabilize is to first disconnect your trailer from the vehicle. Then run your tongue jack down to level the camper. Now you need to place the stabilizing jacks under points of contact of the trailer. You can place them anywhere, but it is best to place these jacks under four corners of your trailer.
Jacks for stabilizing travel trailers are temporary as they can be stored at the back of your RV. They require frequent maintenance, as they are in contact with mud and water. Rain on these jacks can also degrade the quality. A temporary solution is good if you don’t want to invest in a permanent one.
Permanent stabilizers installed at the back of your RV. They usually don’t come pre-installed. You need to press a button in order to release them. They stop when they make contact with the ground and stabilize the RV. These are perfect for campers and trailers that aren’t mobile. As in, you don’t plan on moving them much in the future. These aren’t exactly permanent, but they stay in place for longer. They are stronger, sturdier, and waterproof.
A permanent solution can install by online dealers and automotive shops. They cost a bit more though. So you’ll need to invest in one. Additionally, you can buy the stabilizing system and install it yourself. Some only require a few bolts and nuts. But if this is your first time with a trailer, then seek professional help.
When you’re hitching up an RV using a hand jack, how do you stop the jack from sinking in? The answer is the Camco RV stabilizing jack pad. This pad goes under your jack and prevents the jack from sinking into the ground. A jack is as strong and sturdy as this is especially useful when on mud or a pile of sand.
This pad is all about ergonomics. It features a very neat interlocking design that keeps the jack in place. On one side is a handle to hold and carry the jack pad. This handle becomes extra useful when handling multiple RV jack pads. Moreover, this jack pad has a hand strap for storage. Simply hold the pad from the strap and store it away in a cabinet or a shelf.
Camco is dedicated to the best quality service. These pads come in a set of 4 and can put to use right away. Each pad measures about 6.5 inches in length and 9 inches in width. Moreover, the pad is as high as 1 inch. So you can stack multiple pads to get a higher loft.
These pads are made of a resin that is UV resistant. Leaving them in the sunlight won’t affect their composure. Similarly, rain, mud, and heavy dirt are no match to the Camco. This is the best RV stabilizing jack pad for fighting against the elements.
- Standard 1 inch size. Can be stacked on top of each other.
- Very strong and durable construction.
- Easier to store and pick up.
- UV resistant and waterproof. Fares well against the elements.
- Interlocking design that ensures a firm grip on the ground.
- Somewhat flexible. May bend under the weight of the RV.
If you’re looking for an RV stabilizer with a unique design, then the Valterra should be your go-to. This stabilizer goes under your RV jack and keeps the jack from slipping into the mud. Especially in off-road terrains, where the elements prevent RV jacking and stabilizing! Choose the Valterra if you want a bigger, stronger, and more durable stabilizer.
The Valterra travel trailer leveling jacks are made entirely of stainless steel. They’ve been coated with an alloy to prevent rusting and corrosion. The steel used is of industrial grade and doesn’t bend under the heavyweight of the RV. The exact weight capacity is unknown. But it works on most standard-sized RVs.
Moreover, this stabilizer eliminates the wobbling effect whenever you step onto your RV. It levels the RV with the ground and doesn’t let it jerk up and down. The Valterra can also be used to keep the RV level whenever you’re parked on a slope. This product features a tight cable in the middle to keep the two legs from slipping away.
The best part about using the Valterra is easy storage. Simply fold the Valterra up and tuck it away in a bag. It’s that easy. The Valterra can be stored anywhere in your RV. It’s quite a big product, but worth the strength and rigidity. It’s durable against the elements and fares well against high stress. Together with foldable legs and the steel construction, you’ll be getting an experience worth the trouble.
- Strong and sturdy steel construction.
- Protected from corrosion, rust, and stains.
- It does not bend under the weight of the RV.
- Cable prevents the legs from slipping away from each other.
- Very easy to store and tuck away.
- Bigger than most stabilizing pads.
This stabilizer from BAL RV Products Group comes in a pair. You can place them under your RV’s wheels to get an even level. And they can also be placed under jacks to stop them from sinking into the mud. These stabilizers are X-chocks, which means they are X-shaped. X-chocks work in favor of the wheel’s movement and don’t create any unnecessary friction. They don’t restrict movement, so they make for the perfect wheel stabilizers.
The X-Chock stabilizer applies force opposite to the tandem tire’s movements. This prevents shifts in the tires and keeps the RV stable. The best part about an X-Chock is flexibility. This stabilizer can work at even the tightest conditions. You can tighten the chock to 1 and 3/8th of an inch. Or you can expand the choke to up to 10 inches. This high range of flexibility is what makes this the most personalized stabilizer.
Apart from that, the X-Chock stabilizer also has a rust proof coating. The underlying metal is steel, but the coating is of another alloy. In this way, the X-Chock can survive rain, mud, and dust. And the best part is that you can lock down the X-Chock. So you won’t need to worry about slips and collapses. This chock is very small and portable, weighing only 11 pounds. It can fit in between your tires to keep them lifted up.
- Prevent tires from shifting and moving.
- Highly flexible. It can be collapsed or expanded to your desire.
- The locking mechanism ensures a safer stabilization.
- Small and portable. Multiple chocks can be stored in your RV.
- Rust and waterproof. Holds up against the elements.
- Longer trailers are harder to stabilize with these chocks.
The BAL is a fast kingpin stabilizer that will keep your RV stable when on uneven ground. This stabilizer has a very simple design. It features a head where you let the RV rest. And it has three tripod legs that extend towards the ground. The three-legged feature is a great upgrade from the bipedal design of most stabilizers. It provides equal support in all directions and prevents slipping.
Furthermore, this product is highly flexible. It can be adjusted from 40 inches to up to 60 inches. So your stabilization becomes more customizable. It has a very firm and flat-footing that locks onto the ground and prevents shakes and wobbles. The BAL 25066 has very wide coverage.
If you’re concerned about security, don’t be. The BAL 25066 has a padlock included. You can set the stabilizer to your desired width and lock it in place. This ensures that the legs don’t slip away. And to add to that, you get security cables between the legs for added safety.
What makes the BAL unique is that it doesn’t go under or between your wheels. Instead, this stabilizer goes under your fifth wheel’s kingpin. If you want to use it with a ball hitch, you might need an adapter. Unfortunately, adapters don’t come included, and the BAL might not be adaptable at all.
- Tripod design provides more stability and strength.
- High flexibility range. Can be adjusted to a very high degree.
- Lock and security cables prevent accidental slipping.
- Prevents shaking and wobbling of the RV.
- Grips the ground firmly. It does not shake from side to side.
- It does not come with a ball hitch adapter.
This is not a stabilizer. This is a whole travel trailer stabilizing kit. With the Lippert, you get all the equipment you need for stabilizing your RV. This kit contains multiple stabilization tubes. Simply rig the jack into the ground and attach the stabilizing tubes. You can add up to 3 tubes. These bars attach to your RV’s chassis and prevent shake when you move inside.
Lippert is a very simple device. It doesn’t require any special welding to use. Simply bolt the bars onto the jack and you’re good to go. This immediately erases the need for dealer installation. You can simply install the stabilizers yourself. It works with most types of RV jacks. And it is specially designed to fit hydraulic jacks.
As stated, this is a kit and not just a stabilizer. With this, you get 6 stabilizing tubes and numerous accessories. You also get lug nuts, wrenches, bolts and holders. This truly is the perfect kit for stabilizing the jacks on your RV. The tubes have steel construction and are durable against the elements. These stabilizers give you a firmer grip on the ground by upgrading your jack.
You can use these stabilizers on both the rear jack and the tongue jack. This kit is great as it includes everything you need to get started. You don’t even need a professional. The instruction manual tells you everything you need in order to properly stabilize your trailer.
- Includes bolts, nuts, lugs, and stabilizing tubes.
- It can install manually without a professional.
- Steel constriction that resists rust and water damage.
- It can attach anywhere under the trailer.
- Stops the RV from shaking and wobbling when you move.
- You may need more equipment to fully install these tubes.
STEADYfast is the most famous brand of RV stabilization systems. This system from STEADYfast is a great stabilizer for trailers and campers. It hooks onto your jack and keeps the RV from swaying or bouncing. However, you need to have two jacks in the front and two at the back for this to work. This system comes in the form of stabilization tubes that anchor the RV to the jack.
What’s best is that this trailer stabilizer is permanent. So it’s best for trailers that are going to be rooted for a very long time. For travel trailers, this isn’t a good choice. Travel trailers need to move every now and then. So a permanent system isn’t required for them. This stabilizer is very easy to install. You can even carry out the setup by yourself.
This stabilizer goes right onto your stabilizing jack. It can also connect to the 5thj wheel of your trailer. This kit includes 6 stabilizing tubes and two footplates that are required for installation. Furthermore, some nuts, bolts, and lugs are also included. So you get everything you need in just one place.
The STEADYfast system stabilizes campers and trailers using a sophisticated anchor system. This system uses 3 braces that anchor the system to the ground. With the STEADYfast, you get the most secure stabilization system for your trailer and 5th wheel.
- Includes footplates and other equipment for installation.
- It can install manually without a professional.
- Durable and resistant. Waterproof and rustproof coating.
- The firm anchoring system keeps your RV stable and grounded.
- Very easy to engage and disengage. No professional help requires.
- Requires four stabilization jacks. Not an independent stabilizing system.
From LIBRA, this set of 4 RV stabilizing jacks is the perfect companion for your travels. These are scissor jacks. These look and work pretty similarly to the common carjacks. They are manual and have a wide range of expandability. These jacks from LIBRA can expand up to 2 feet and contract up to 4 inches. In this way, you get a wide range of customization with the LIBRA set.
This kit includes 4 scissor jacks along with one crank handle, 16 mounting screws, and 2 sockets. The self-tapping mounting screws are for the initial installation. The two-socket is for raising or lowering the jack with a power drill. These jacks can hold up to 5,000 lbs (2.5 US tons). This is about the size of a standard trailer, give or take a few pounds. It’s made with the same material that other brands use on higher capacity jacks.
These jacks are a temporary stabilizing solution to your RV. It should note that the scissor jacks from LIBRA are for stabilizing only. They will only hold the RV in place. But they shouldn’t use for lifting the vehicle or changing tires. They are not designed to support the entire weight of the trailer. So don’t use them like regular jacks for repairing purposes.
- Includes 4 jacks, 1 handle crank, 2 magnetic sockets, and 16 mounting screws.
- Has a high weight capacity perfect for RVs and trailers.
- Wide base keeps the RV grounded even to soft ground.
- It can extend as high as 24 inches. Very customizable.
- Easier to mount without the help of a professional.
- It requires a mounting plate, which is not included.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do you level your 5th wheel trailer?
Until you lie down on it, the ground never seems crooked. When not knowing how to level your RV, you must prepare yourself for a number of sleepless nights! Frequently parking on uneven surfaces can also damage your fridge. Refrigerators require properly even surface to operate safely. But you don’t have to worry about it because these stabilizing jacks will assist you in leveling your vehicle and enhance your camping experience.
If you have a short vehicle then uneven surfaces are not going to matter a lot to you. Inside a 24-inch vehicle, you might not feel the difference at all but when you enter a 27-inch rig, you will start to feel that something on the surface is off.
It is important for you to find a leveled campsite first before you do anything else. You can use the bubble levels for this one both on the exterior and the interior of your vehicle. You can also use the leveling app on your smartphone for this purpose if you want.
Furthermore, you also need to level from side-to-side and do it when the hitch is already attached. If you have found that there is a low side of your vehicle then raise it using the blocks by placing them under the wheels. Now you can use the leveling jacks for leveling your vehicle from front to back after unhitching. First, place the front leveling jacks and raise/lower them as needed.
After that place the rear jacks for stabilizing and extend them to prevent any rocking. The primary goal here is to take some weight off the suspension system of the trailer. This will assist in reducing the interior bounce. If you are parking on soft dirt then you will place the leveling blocks underneath the jacks too.
2. How high my 5th wheel hitch needs to be?
You need to set your hitch at a height that not only allows you to level the trailer but also provides you with a room of 6-inch (at least) between the bed rails’ top and the trailer’s bottom. This is where a 5th wheel hitch comes in to play its role as it provides you with a room of several inches to make plenty of up and down adjustments according to your needs.
3. Can I level and RV with slide-outs?
In general terms, you need to level your recreational vehicle first and then deploy those slide outs. If you are trying to level your recreational vehicle with the extended slide outs then it will put unnecessary strain on the leveling jacks of your RV. This means that it will significantly increase the wearing and will damage the leveling components too.
4. What are the best leveling blocks available?
There is a host of different leveling blocks available on the market. But you need to find a reliable product from industry-leading brands. Some of the best leveling blocks come from Camco as they are the pioneers in this product category. The blocks from Andersen, Tri-Lynx, OxGord, and BunkerWall are also one of the top products as well.
5. Do I need to level a camper?
Any of your recreational vehicles need to be leveled properly, especially if it has a refrigerator running in it. Your fridge needs to be on a properly leveled surface to function properly. A general rule your fridge needs to be +/- 2-degrees from 90-degree angle to operate properly.
6. Should I level trailers when towing?
If your trailer is rear heavy then it can cause an extra sway. If you are nearly level then make sure to keep the front down. A leveled trailer will keep the weight distribution equal across all tires and offer excellent stability while towing.
7. Do I require a sliding 5th wheel hitch?
No, it’s not mandatory to use a sliding 5th wheel hitch for a truck with a short bed. If your truck’s bed is shorter than eight feet then you don’t have enough clearance between the trailer and the truck to go for sharp or tight turns. To tackle this issue a sliding hitch is used.
Short bed trucks are very popular and for this reason, the manufacturers started to make the 5th wheel trailers with an indented nose. This would allow them not to get in contact with your truck’s cab during the turns. But you will also have to give some extra space in the front compartment which is in most cases the closet space in the master bedroom or storage space.
8. Which I better: gooseneck or 5th wheel?
The gooseneck trailer slides right over the ball hitch that is present in your truck’s bed. On the other hand, a 5th wheel links to your truck with the help of a hinged plate. A very similar kind of hitch is also used for semi-trucks as well. A gooseneck is more stable as compared to a 5th wheel but a 5th wheel more user-friendly as compared to a gooseneck.
9. How much clearance is necessary between the truck bed and the fifth wheel?
The recommended clearance between the trailer and the truck bed for 5th wheel towing is five inches from the bottom of your trailer overhang to the top of those bed rails.
10. Is it possible to use the 5th wheel with a short truck bed (6 feet)?
It wasn’t possible in the past but now it is possible to use the 5th wheel on a 6-foot truck bed. The best thing is you don’t need a slider hitch for doing it either. When you are towing using your standard kingpin, your 5th wheel will turn or pivot where you have connected the hitch with the kingpin. A sidewinder hitch will prevent the trailer and the truck from pivoting on the hitch. Instead, they will pivot on the point that will be closer to the tailgate in a sidewinder hitch. This will create some extra gap between the trailer and truck cab on the sharp turns. This gap wasn’t there before so you can use it to place some extra cargo as well. The new pivoting point makes the towing easier because the trailer tracks well behind the truck.
11. What should be the level of the 5th wheel when towing?
The level of a 5th wheel hitch when towing needs to be at least one to two inches. But make sure that it is not more than a couple of inches and the results will be optimal.
12. How can I level my RV?
Leveling out recreational vehicles involves a few steps that you need to follow,
- You need to pick up a flat pace to park your RV. Try to find a spot that is as flat as possible.
- Also, clear out the area before you level your camper.
- Make sure to use a bubble level to ensure the RV’s level from one side to another.
- Now place the leveling blocks under the tires.
- Drive your RV on leveling blocks.
- Now place the wheel chocks under your tires to ensure that the camper stays still.
- Use at least two wheel chocks under the wheels for guaranteed results.
13. Where should I place the chocks?
You must position the wheel chocks downhill and right below your vehicle’s COG (center of gravity). On a grade downhill, you need to position the chocks right in front of your front wheels. Whereas, on the grade uphill, you must position the chocks right behind your rear wheels!
14. Are wheel chocks mandatory?
OSHA is very clear about the need and requirements of wheel chocks. You have to use them under all circumstances. OSHA says that it will enforce the requirement of wheel chock on all trucks and trailers that don’t fall in the category of commercial motor vehicles. In simple words, if you are not a commercial vehicle owner then you must use the wheel chocks.
15. Why do I need to use the wheel chocks?
These chocks are necessary for the purpose of accident prevention and safety. In addition to their use in leveling your trailer effectively, they are very useful devices for preventing your trailers and trucks to move unintentionally. Your vehicles won’t roll or overturn and you can perform a variety of tasks including, hitching, unhitching, loading, unloading or even serving your vehicle.
Stabilizing your travel trailer is critical not only for the sake of the trailer itself but for the appliances inside as well. If you don’t stabilize your trailer, you will start noticing the effects on your sleep and overall comfort inside the trailer too.
There are various tools and devices available on the market that you can use to level your trailer out. Each one of them differs from each other. But finding a good quality stabilizer to solve this problem is mandatory.
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