Just because your jacks can make it level doesn’t mean you should!
I had the RV parked on an incline once before… and it never bothered me. But the FRONT of the RV was very close to the ground and the front jacks were only extended about 6-7 inches. In other words, the wheels and the front jacks carried the weight. There was no real chance that the front jacks would give out and even if they did, the distance to the ground was not very far at all. Sure – I’m rationalizing, but I think I’m not that unreasonable here. The only real safety issue was “Are my wheels properly chocked?” Now I’m not saying I was right – any incline is bad incline, but I’m just saying…
But this time was a little different. Read on.
I got the RV backed into where I wanted on my 5 acre piece of land I bought.
I got the sucker disconnected and proceeded to level the unit – more mechanically or robotically than thinking deeply about it. I mean my land LOOKED level with the naked eye (side note, my land is completely on the side of a hill and looks level, but everything is on an incline and you really can’t tell by looking!).
Everything was going fine and then something happened that should have told me something right then, but it didn’t’ hit me until later. The cinder block I usually use to block up the RV landing gear crushed.
Yes the cinder block crushed.
First words of wisdom for the RV’er. Never put much weight on cinder blocks. They crush and I can prove it. I did have the cinder block oriented incorrectly, but I’ll still never use them again. I know too much for comfort now. Again, I admit I had the cinder block oriented incorrectly. But still…
Luckily I was able to get the RV back on the truck and from now until I die, I’ll use solid wood blocks to put my RV upon. Send me your ideas for good blocks.
But I kept on going and that is the embarrassing part. It should have sent a message that the way the RV was parked and the pressures on the unit were not normal. But it didn’t sink in. Not yet at least.
I’m going to put a picture up now that describes what I did. I’m being honest ok so be easy on me :
Why is this different than my original leveling where the front is lower to the ground? It has to do with the center of gravity and the fact that my wheels (see #1) were on a dual incline (unlevel front to back AND side to side). The next fact is that the front landing gear – supporting lots of weight were extended a long ways. Much longer than the picture lets you appreciate.
Here is how I see the problem in sequence and I never noticed until my truck was gone and unavailable until the next day. Numbers correspond to points on the picture above :
- If rain or vibration causes these wheels to slide, even an inch or two to the right, then the landing gear will have pressure applied in a bad way.
- Front landing gear is caused to bend ever so slightly causing a buckling and the center of gravity pushes the unit forward.
- Forward push from buckling landing gear is enough to pull the unit OVER THE CHOCKS.
- Extremely expensive RV crashes a considerable distance into the ground, potentially even smashing basement, front cap, destroying landing gear, and having a really exciting ride inside for everyone involved.
- Panic ensues and a 14,000 pound floor jack support was put in to help keep it from moving in the next 24 hours.
- I didn’t sleep a wink. Not one. I was so tired. Yet I was IN THE RV the entire evening. I guess I wasn’t that worried about that night, but I still didn’t sleep.
- RV was moved to completely different and level spot by noon the next day.
- What a great nights sleep I had the next night!
- I’ll never do this again.
Send in your stories of things you’ll never do again. I’d love to hear then. But I hope this helps. Ironically, the only real leveling story on safety I found was one of those stories that got copied 5000 times on the internet and had no real “meat on the bones”. There isn’t very much out there other than to say “be level – level is good”. I’m hoping that this concrete example with some real concepts helps you know why you shouldn’t do this.
I don’t think you should trust the front landing gear too much or put them in a situation where they could buckle easily.