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How to Level a 5th Wheel

How to Level Your Fifth Wheel in 3 Simple Steps (manual or auto-level)

If you’ve just begun RV camping, you may have discovered the discomforts an unlevel trailer can bring, as well as the frustration that comes with learning how to even it out when you’re a newbie. Thankfully, the process itself is straightforward, but definitely not one you can skip. We can assure you that all the job requires is a few simple steps and the right tools, and then you’ll be on your way to getting your relaxation on. In This Article
Why Leveling Is CrucialIt may not seem like a big deal, but failing to take the time to properly level your trailer can result in a world of trouble. Crooked walkways, a warped camper frame, and even a stalled refrigerator are just a few examples of the pains of an unlevel trailer. You’d also find it much more difficult to cook or sleep on an incline. With that being said, keep reading for step-by-step instructions on how to properly level your camper. Recommended Tools:

Auto-Leveling Your Fifth Wheel

Leveling your fifth wheel will be much simpler for you if you’re lucky enough to have an auto-leveler. However, it’s important to acknowledge that while leveling systems can be useful tools, they aren’t 100% reliable or equipped to level out severely unlevel RVs. This is why you should make sure your rig is within 3 inches of level from side to side BEFORE you employ your auto-leveler. You can accomplish this by using leveling blocks. If you’re unsure of how to use leveling blocks, check out the section of this article titled Leveling Side to Side for instructions. From here, lower the landing gear by pressing the button or panel on the side of your RV, and then use your level to check that your camper is even from front to back. If it’s not quite even, you might still have to manually level out.
Leveling Panel
Electronic Auto-Leveling Panel
Your auto-leveling system will also take care of the stabilization process for you by extending the stabilizing jacks. After your system employs them, check to make sure you’re fully level, and if everything looks good, feel free to pull out your slides. The system has taken care of the hard parts for you, and now you can spend the rest of your time enjoying your fifth wheel.
Landing Gear Jacks
Landing Gear Jacks

Manually Leveling Your Fifth Wheel

Leveling your fifth wheel manually requires a couple extra steps and tools to get the job done. Regardless of whether or not you have an auto-leveling system, knowing how to level manually is a valuable skill to have. Below you will find three simple steps to accomplish this task with ease.

Step 1: Leveling Side to Side

Leveling your fifth wheel is a matter of ensuring it’s even both from front to back and side to side, but ALWAYS be sure to level the sides first. For now, keep your camper attached to your truck – you’ll need it to complete this step. To check if one side of your trailer is higher than the other, use a bubble level (or any kind of level you prefer) and place it dead center on the floor of your RV. You can alternatively place your level on a straight piece of trim on the outside of your camper. Sometimes, you will be able to tell your RV is uneven just by looking at it.
Bubble Level
Bubble Level (Pictured on the trim of an RV)
If it’s not level, that means it’s time to bust out the leveling blocks. Place them on the side of your fifth wheel that’s tilted lower – either in front of the wheels or behind them depending on if you’re pulling forward or backing up. Typically, you’ll need a block for every notch your level shows you are unlevel. (For example, if you are two notches off, you’ll need two blocks.)
Placing Leveling Blocks
Stack as many leveling blocks as necessary to get your fifth wheel to the correct height.
Pull onto the blocks, frequently checking your level to see when the sides become even. You may need to readjust your truck on the blocks a few times before you’re centered, accounting for the way the vehicle tends to lurch forward/backwards when you put it in park.
Pulling Onto Leveling Blocks
Pull onto the blocks.
After you have leveled from side to side, you can chock your wheels and unhitch.
Chocking Wheels
Chock your wheels.

Step 2: Leveling Front to Back

Leveling from front to back doesn’t require nearly the amount of time or energy as leveling from side to side does. Begin by checking your level to see how unlevel your camper is. Simply employ the landing jacks by pressing the button located at the front of your RV.
Landing Gear Switch
Landing Gear Switch
Check your level and align your RV in the same direction that it indicates you are uneven. Adjust your RV until it’s level. Once you have done this, you will be ready to stabilize your camper.

Step 3: Stabilizing Your Fifth Wheel

Good news: stabilizing your fifth wheel will be even easier than leveling it, thanks to the stabilizing jacks located on the sides of your RV.
Stabilizing Jacks
Stabilizing Jacks
Use your crank handle to extend the jacks. If you prefer, place leveling blocks underneath your stabilizing jacks. This will prevent them from damaging the concrete or sinking into the ground if you’re leveling on soft terrain. As an alternative for the crank handle, you can also purchase an adapter for the end of your power drill to make raising your jacks much easier. It’s up to you if you’re willing to put in the extra labor or if you’d like to spend more money to go for the convenient option.
3/4 Inch Socket Adapter
Power drill with adapter socket
It’s important to note that your stabilizers are designed to stabilize – NOT LIFT – your RV, so be sure to use them for their designated purpose when leveling your travel trailer. You’ll know you’ve gone too far if your stabilizers begin to raise your RV. Too much strain on your stabilizers can cause damage to your camper.Now, you can also extend your slides, but it’s crucial to remember that you can only do this part AFTER you've leveled from front to back. Otherwise, you risk running the slide off its tracks, which requires professional assistance to fix. It’s a real hassle that you don’t want to deal with for the sake of your time, money, or RV.However, if you’ve completed all of the above steps, you’ve successfully leveled and stabilized your RV! The more you do it, the easier it will get to recall the steps, and soon you’ll be moving through them like a pro. For now, however, get out a lawn chair, crack open a cold one, and celebrate your stress-free stay! It’s only the beginning of a beautiful, self-sustained getaway.
Beth B.
About Beth B. When I explain my position at etrailer to the folks back at home, I usually preface with, “Writing is about 15% of my job. The other 85% is research, hands-on product testing, and putting myself in the shoes of our customers (whom we call neighbors).” At etrailer, I have the opportunity to explore the products I write about in person every day, a privilege many writers don’t have. On a Tuesday morning, for instance, you may find me outside of a 5th wheel collecting pictures of its scissor jacks for an article. On Wednesday, I might switch gears to measure leaf springs in our warehouse, while Thursday is when I’ll finally get behind the keyboard (that is, in between driving off-site to film how-to videos with the team). If you have a question, it’s my mission to not only provide you with an answer, but to equip you with the knowledge and resources you need to face real-world challenges like a pro.
Related ContentRelated ProductsWritten by: Beth B. Updated: 8/1/2022


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