View Full Version : Leveling Procedure with Slide-Outs

05-21-2010, 09:38 AM
This is my first RV with a slide out, so it's a new step for me to incorporate into my setup routine. The owner's manual says to level and stabilize the trailer first. No problem.

What I've been noticing is that after it's been stabilized and I extend the slides street-side, the stabilizers on the curb-side raise off the ground by about 1/2"--I guess from the extra weight hanging out.

The trailer is parked on firm asphalt. When I lower the stabilizers I usually hand crank them one full rotation after they touch the ground. I don't want to risk twisting the frame by raising them too high.

What should I do?

Should I extend the curb-side stabilizers so that they touch the ground again?


Should I raise the street-side stabilizers higher (to make them sit more firmly on the ground) before I extend the slide-outs so they don't "sink" so much?

05-21-2010, 10:21 AM
When I have the 5th level and start setting up, I put the slide out then I adjust the rear stablizers. Just snugging them down and not trying to lift or make anything level. They are not meant to do that. When putting the slide out, I always leave the cord from the truck to the 5th wheel connected so I am sure of getting full power from the battery to the slide motor. Once the slide is out, I then disconnect the cord between the truck and the 5th. Same thing when I hook up --- connect the two and while the truck is running put the slide back in.

05-22-2010, 11:36 AM
I have run into a similar problem. What i do is make it so that the street side is a little higher than the other and it is unlevel (took some practice to figure out how much). Then put the slides out. This settles everything and makes it almost perfectly level with no further adjustments needed. My brother, who used to work for an RV place before it closed, said to run out the slides then lower the stabilizers. I havent tried that because I have my routine down so I can be setup inside of 15 minutes of putting the truck in park.

06-16-2010, 11:53 AM
I personally haven't really had a problem with it. I normally level the trail and put the jacks down before I put my slide out. The one thing I do is put blocks under the jacks even if I am on any type of pavement. This just helps spread the weight out a little bit more. Basically like giving the jack a bigger base.

06-17-2010, 11:07 AM
My problem is when I park the trailer, I put the plastic legos under the tires to raise one side. Now we are level, I lower the stabilizers, we are still level. Next out comes the 2 slides and the tilt begins, off level now. It will take some time to figure this out. Any suggestions?

06-17-2010, 01:15 PM
If both slides are on the same side of your trailer, then I would think that their weight, once extended, would cause the TT to "tilt" to that side. If you have a slide on each side, perhaps one is larger and heavier than the other ?????
When you say it is "off level" are you referring to the slide-out room(s) or the main TT body?
Perhaps you might consider having it slightly off level before putting the slides out and letting the slides, once out, move it back to the level position.

06-18-2010, 06:31 AM
I would have to agree with Festus and that if your trailer is going out of level on the side of the slides then I would make that side off level and let the weight of the slides level out the trailer.

06-18-2010, 11:45 PM
What I've done now that works for me is to crank the stabilizer jacks just a little bit firmer so that the trailer doesn't tilt so much on the one side when the slides go out.

07-10-2010, 11:34 AM
I usually plan for that "sinking feeling", so I just leave the street side about an inch and a half out of level to start with.

I put the stabilizers down and then the 2 slide outs (both of mine are on the street side).

I usually have to go back and re-tighten the stabilizers at least once, and sometimes again after a couple of days.

Slide out supports will help some, as well.

09-06-2010, 05:00 PM
I'm new to all of this, so this is a good discussion for me.

My question is how "level" should the trailer be before opening the slide out portion? In the very few times that I've opened our trailer it took me quite a while to get the unit level, and even then, it wasn't as level as I'm thinking it should have been.

Also, how much should (or shouldn't) I be depending on the stabilizers to keep the trailer level? Are they meant to take alot of weight? I did talk to a guy who uses seperate RV jacks to keep his trailer level as opposed to using the stabilizers.


09-06-2010, 06:42 PM
As I mentioned in my previous post, I level the RV first then put the slide out. It doesn't seem to make any significant difference in the levelness by doing it this way but I would think that different trailers might react in different ways. I think you might have to experiment a bit till you find the way that works for you and your unit.

You shouldn't be using the stabilizers to do any levelling at all. They are intended to help stabilize your RV - no more. Some people add or use separate RV jacks as they don't find the built-in stabilizers do an adequate job.

09-17-2010, 06:22 AM
I agree with the answer that you have trial and error as with most things. We have the laredo 291 TG with only one slide, but we have added a level marker to the front of the trailer and when we park, we always make sure we are at least one inch higher on the street side to allow for the slide. We are old school i guess and still use boards to back up on if necessary. After we are one inch off on the one side, we remove it from the truck and level the trailer front to back all while still plugged into the truck for power to our power jacks. Then we put out the slide prior to putting any stabilizer jacks down. This process usually ends up with out TT being level. unplug it and one round of jacks by hand then we are done. We have noticed that the closer the jacks are to the underside of the TT the more level we stay. We use 5 lego blocks and 4" wood blocks under each jack. Hope this helps someone

10-20-2010, 04:59 PM
I have the same issue. I always level the camper so the side with the slide outs is higher than the other. I drive up on a 1x8x6 when the camper shows it's level to compensate the slides weight. Then I put the slides out after the stabilizers are down.

10-22-2010, 02:03 PM
My 260 FL has two slides and I get the same problem. combination of the weight of the slides with the stuff stored in them can get heavier. I struggled with this also as I would level the trailer, set my stabilizers, run out my slides, and then the two curb side stabilizers would be loose. Then I would just seat them. The problem is you are probably not level after running the slides.

How I cheated the problem: I put bubble levels on the front and side of the travel trailer. Let me explain in steps to make it easier to understand.

1. I went to a flat, level parking lot
2. I leveled the trailer with a level on the stove with the sides out (operating configuration)
3. Then I pulled in the slides and placed bubble levels on the outside level for that position of the trailer. This is what I call a "false level".

What this does for me is when I pull in and am setting up, I set up for the bubble levels (false level) knowing once the slides are out, the trailer is "true level". The I put my stabilizers down and seat them plus 1-1 1/2 turns even to keep the boat from rocking ;).

10-26-2010, 10:28 AM
As I mentioned in my previous post, I level the RV first then put the slide out. It doesn't seem to make any significant difference in the levelness by doing it this way but I would think that different trailers might react in different ways. I think you might have to experiment a bit till you find the way that works for you and your unit.

You shouldn't be using the stabilizers to do any levelling at all. They are intended to help stabilize your RV - no more. Some people add or use separate RV jacks as they don't find the built-in stabilizers do an adequate job.

It would seem to me that if the trailer goes from normal to tilted upon extending the slides (with no jacks down), the only thing that is controlling the degree of tilt is the suspension of the trailer. As the slides extend, weight is being transferred from the curb side to the street side causing the axel suspension to flex.

If the argument is that the stabilization jacks are not meant for any form of leveling operation, it would be an error to put down the leveling jacks before extending the slides because the slide extension would then cause the street side jacks to carry ever increasing weight as the slide moves out (thus causing them to become leveling jacks). If this is a problem then the only solution is to use the boards to tilt the trailer and then use the slide as a mechanism to untilt the trailer--then bring down the stabilizer jacks. If the jacks go down first, then the slides come out, you would obviously be putting a dip in the middle of the trailer frame because the axel suspension is giving and corner jacks are not.

I am having trouble understanding what the issue is with these stabilization jacks. Are these jacks too flimsy to support the weight of the camper and we need stronger jacks? Do the use of the jacks cause a twisting of the frame of the camper? Is it the case that two corner jacks just doesn't cut the mustard for supporting a long camper with big slides--if so, doesn't it make sense to add another set of jacks in front of the wheels.

It would seem to me that if the axel suspension cannot adequately support the trailer with the slides out, then more support--in the form of additional jacks--would be in order. Has anyone tried adding additional jacks or replacing the Keystone supplied jacks with those sporting a 5000 lb limit?

10-26-2010, 04:37 PM
You have raised some interesting points which caused me to rethink what I have been doing in the past when leveling the RV. My Keystone manual (p.17) "5th Wheel Leveling Procedures" gives the steps to level the RV but makes no mention what to do about the slides once the unit is level or what the correct leveling sequence is with a slide-out.
Also in my manual, it makes reference to the stabilizing jacks and states "Do not attempt to level, raise or otherwise place all of the weight of the unit on the stabilizer jacks". On p49, it further states "they are intended only to stabilize the unit maintaining a level condition."
It also says that "the RV must be level to avoid binding the slide-rooms". So, which do you do first? Level the RV then put the slide(s) out or have it tilted then put the slide(s) out which will then make it level??

Regarding the transferring of weight from curb side to street side.......I am thinking that the weight of the slide, when retracted, is pretty much on the street side so you are transferring the weight further out on the street side when you put the slide out. Much like moving a weight further out on a fulcrum. The more you move it away from the center, the more unbalanced it becomes. So are you transferring the weight from curb side to street side or merely shifting the street side weight further out?

As far as how the slide causes the suspension to flex, I am not sure how this works. I would assume that, as the the slide moves outwards, more and more weight is being placed on the street side front landing jack, the street side stabilizer and the street side suspension/springs. Again, I am not sure if the RV frame starts to flex as well and if it does, how much it is bending and if this is causing too much stress on the structural integrity of the unit.
The manual further indicates that "after stabilizing the unit, be sure the 5th wheel is not twisted, buckled or stressed. Check that all doors and windows operate freely and do not bind".
Again, I am not sure whether the sequence I use is the right way to do it. The steps that I have used over the years have worked for me but this is my first experience with a slide-out. So far, the slide goes out smoothly, it comes in the same way. The doors and windows all close and open without sticking or binding.

I am not able to see any signs of stress, twisting or buckling but that doesn't mean they aren't present. However, the next time we are out, I will try making the unit "unlevel" first by putting a board under the wheels, then extending the slide to see how that sequence works. Always something new to learn and to try.

Thanks for your "food for thought".