Add/convert to leveling jacks? - Dutchmen Owners

Go Back   Dutchmen Owners > Dutchmen Brand RVs > Ultra-Lite
Click Here to Login
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 04-20-2017, 01:27 PM   #1
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: Lexington
Posts: 15
Arizona
Add/convert to leveling jacks?

One of the things I was surprised at with the travel trailers is that the corner jacks are only "stabilizers" and apparently the normal method for side to side leveling is just to use some boards/blocks/ramps under the wheels.
To the engineer/perfectionist in me this just seems annoying
I've been around some high $$ motor homes before and recall the auto leveling systems where you just push a button and viola! Even to the point of lifting wheels off the ground etc.

I found those retrofit systems but they cost almost what we paid for the trailer so nope! But I do see places that sell scissor jacks like what some cars come with.. Is there any reason those couldn't be used on an ultra-lite to level it out side to side?

I'm thinking for our ~5klb trailer, something like 1 5k jack on either side (maybe 7500 jack, as I like safety margins), perhaps just behind the axles.

Level it out, then use the corner jacks to stabilize everything. Or could just get 4x jacks and have one for each corner but I still gather fore-aft is best managed via the tongue jack.

Now technically the above seems obviously fine, my question is, can the trailer frame handle that, or are there any considerations I'm missing?
__________________

mackguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2017, 03:41 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Helena, MT
Posts: 455
Montana
Our 2012 Aspen Trail came with scissor-style stabilizer jacks, so I'd think retrofitting like you've described would be fine on the frame. We strictly boondock and finding a relatively side-to-side level spot to park the axles over is first priority for picking a spot to setup. 2x6 blocks under the tires and scissor stabilizer jacks take care of the rest.

I'd say the logic behind equipping a camper with those minimal stabilizer jacks is because they expect that most campers will only be used in an RV campground where parking spots are already relatively level by design.
__________________

__________________
2012 Aspen Trail 2710BH | 280 watts of solar on the roof | 2x6V GC batteries | 100% LED lighting | 1500 & 300 watt PSW inverters | so far strictly boondocking
ewarnerusa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2017, 04:16 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
DesertRat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Desert Hot Springs
Posts: 1,760
California
Quote:
Originally Posted by mackguy View Post
One of the things I was surprised at with the travel trailers is that the corner jacks are only "stabilizers" and apparently the normal method for side to side leveling is just to use some boards/blocks/ramps under the wheels.
To the engineer/perfectionist in me this just seems annoying
I've been around some high $$ motor homes before and recall the auto leveling systems where you just push a button and viola! Even to the point of lifting wheels off the ground etc.

I found those retrofit systems but they cost almost what we paid for the trailer so nope! But I do see places that sell scissor jacks like what some cars come with.. Is there any reason those couldn't be used on an ultra-lite to level it out side to side?

I'm thinking for our ~5klb trailer, something like 1 5k jack on either side (maybe 7500 jack, as I like safety margins), perhaps just behind the axles.

Level it out, then use the corner jacks to stabilize everything. Or could just get 4x jacks and have one for each corner but I still gather fore-aft is best managed via the tongue jack.

Now technically the above seems obviously fine, my question is, can the trailer frame handle that, or are there any considerations I'm missing?
Scissor jacks are only used to stabilize the RV not to level it. I haven't seen a auto leveling system on a travel trailer. Check out
__________________
Mike
2002 42' Monaco Signature Triple Crown tow 2014 F-150
2014 Voltage V3605 Sold 5/3/17
2012 F-350 6.7l CC 4X4, Sold 10/10/17
DesertRat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2017, 04:54 PM   #4
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: Lexington
Posts: 15
Arizona
Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertRat View Post
Scissor jacks are only used to stabilize the RV not to level it. I haven't seen a auto leveling system on a travel trailer.

But why is that? We use scissor jacks to lift vehicles with more weight than the TR (our 04 Navigator has a curb weight over 6,000lb vs trailer GVW of 4800, and comes with scissor jack for spare)

Was really confused on etrailer site they indicate the capacity of a jack is that it can "stabilize but not lift" a trailer of that weight. I've only seen jacks rated by lift capacity before so this seems bizarre to me. Also what do you do to put the spare tire on?



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
mackguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2017, 05:09 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Helena, MT
Posts: 455
Montana
I don't know why, either. I suspect that since the stabilizer jacks are located on the outer extents of the frame, they offer the longest lever arms for torquing the frame which could potentially do damage. I personally don't fret one bit about using the stabilizer jacks to get things just right as far as level, but I do try and use 2x6 blocks under the tires to get it as side-to-side level as possible first. Then once disconnected I use the tongue jack to get things front to back level. Then I get to work using the scissor jacks.

To change a flat, you can use a bottle jack to lift at the axles or drive the wheel next to the flat one of a dual axle setup up onto something like shown in the video above. That leaves the flat one suspended in the air.
__________________
2012 Aspen Trail 2710BH | 280 watts of solar on the roof | 2x6V GC batteries | 100% LED lighting | 1500 & 300 watt PSW inverters | so far strictly boondocking
ewarnerusa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2017, 04:41 AM   #6
Member
 
vincent.boyd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Calgary
Posts: 23
Alberta
Add/convert to leveling jacks?

The reason you can't level using scissor jacks is not because they can't take the weight. They can. It is the rocking back and forth while moving throughout the trailer would cause the jack to collapse under the weight of the trailer. If the jack is perfectly perpendicular and no motion in the trailer, it will be fine. I had one collapse when my friend setup up the trailer for my wife and used the stabilizer jacks to level the trailer. After the weekend when I finally noticed the jack was bent in a curve.
vincent.boyd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2017, 10:43 AM   #7
Member
 
thehoffmans4's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Warrington
Posts: 49
Pennsylvania
It's my understanding that you can bend your frame. My 2017 Aerolite has the automatic leveling system. I can only load about 1100 pounds into the trailer, I'm assuming that is because of the extra weight for the auto leveling system requirements.


TH4
thehoffmans4 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2017, 01:06 PM   #8
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: Lexington
Posts: 15
Arizona
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehoffmans4 View Post
It's my understanding that you can bend your frame. My 2017 Aerolite has the automatic leveling system. I can only load about 1100 pounds into the trailer, I'm assuming that is because of the extra weight for the auto leveling system requirements.


TH4
That's interesting, and with our cargo capacity of ~350lb another reason the auto-level system won't work well for us.

Guess we will just have to do it the old fashioned way. Maybe I'll look into it more if we swap trailers in a couple years. That's one disappointment on the 214 is crazy low cargo capacity.
mackguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2017, 12:20 AM   #9
Member
 
vincent.boyd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Calgary
Posts: 23
Alberta
You're cargo capacity has more to do with the axles, suspension, and frame design and less to do with any kind of auto leveling system.
vincent.boyd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2017, 12:33 AM   #10
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: Lexington
Posts: 15
Arizona
Quote:
Originally Posted by vincent.boyd View Post
You're cargo capacity has more to do with the axles, suspension, and frame design and less to do with any kind of auto leveling system.


Yes but an auto leveling system must have some weight, that if added to a trailer that didn't have it to start with would detract from the cargo capacity.

According to the sticker we have <400lb cargo capacity (assuming full water, propane etc) and I'm guessing an auto level system easily checks in at 300+lb


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
__________________

mackguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Dutchmen RV or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.



All times are GMT. The time now is 10:28 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright 2012 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.