By Peter Calabrese
Two years ago I was reintroduced to RVing. I was a full-timer of sorts back in 1978-1981, having lived in one in a mobile home park. At that time I did not tow the travel trailer — I had it as a permanent residence. This time, I am towing it around the mid-Atlantic region.
Needless to say, leveling the trailer was new to me. I’m a do-it-yourselfer— not so much for money savings as for a creative release. I had some 2″ x 8″ treated lumber for outside projects laying around in the garage, so I went to work creating. I measured the inside clearance of the tire/wheel area on the ground and sawed two lengths with a hand circular saw so they slide in between the tires. I set the saw at the most angled position to get a ramp on both ends. I then measured the tire surface that actually made contact with the ground and cut another piece of the 2″ x 8″ with the same angled ends, making sure to leave about 3 inches on both sides.
Next was how to make a slip connection to stack the pieces. I found some 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ carriage bolts I had in my old project pile of scraps with rounded heads so as to not have sharp edges that could damage the tires. I drilled a slightly smaller hole than the bolt size through both pieces at the same time. To guarantee alignment, I “C” clamped them together for drilling. I also made sure to do this in an extremely obvious different pattern for both sets, so as to not spend time trying to figure which top went with which bottom and in which direction. I then force-screwed the carriage bolts into the top blocks so they stayed in place, then drilled open the holes in the bottom block so it dropped in and out with ease.
I now have a leveling block set that I use as follows:
• One bottom block under a tire gives 3/4″ lift.
• One bottom block under both tires gives 1-1/2″ lift.
• One bottom block under one tire and a double block under the other tire gives 2-1/4″ lift.
• Two double blocks gives 3″ of lift.
Also, one set fits between the tires and one on the rear or front of the tire to pull the trailer into position.
This worked well in grass, but in some campsite ground conditions, mostly paved and stone, these blocks slid while trying to run the trailer up on the blocks. I stopped at a tractor trailer repair shop and asked if they had a used throwaway tire inner tube (automobile tubes would also work). They gave me one at no charge. I cut two pieces out of the tube larger than the bottom block and stapled them to the bottom blocks. These blocks do not slip under any surface condition, and the trailer just pulls right up on top.
I recently saw a class C motorhome try to pull up on plastic levelers on a paved parking lot and they kept sliding out on them. They tried to hold the plastic blocks in place with their foot while someone else pulled forward — this did not work (Editor’s note: and it’s incredibly dangerous!). After about a half hour they gave up and parked un-leveled. I am going to cut the rest of the inner tube to carry along to give to other campers when I run into people with the same struggle.