What to do if the back of the camper is too close to the ground to use stabilizer? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-22-2019, 07:36 PM   #1
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What to do if the back of the camper is too close to the ground to use stabilizer?

A couple of times, in order to level the trailer front to back on a slope, the back of my 16' Casita was too close to the ground to allow the stabilizers to deploy. These are the ones you pull sideways and then they swing in an arc and lock, then you typically release the leg to go down to the ground. When the back of the trailer is too close to the ground, the stabilizer can't swing down in an arc because it hits the ground too soon. Any bright ideas on what to do to make the stabilizer work in this situation? Is it OK to use the trailer without the stabilizers? It definitely is a little more swimy back there as you move around in the trailer without the stabilizers. Any chance I'm going to damage the trailer? I'm imagining the steel frame is strong enough to support my weight (135#) without the help of the stabilizers???
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Old 09-22-2019, 07:46 PM   #2
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Many (most?) trailers can tip back if you dont have the stabilizers out and put to much mobile weight (i.e. people) in the back. You can leave it hitched to the tug to prevent that. If that makes it not level and you need level for the fridge, then move or dig a hole for the stabilizers.
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Old 09-22-2019, 07:47 PM   #3
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Old 09-22-2019, 07:51 PM   #4
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I've got 100lbs on you and haven't had any problems without the stabilizers. But that's always been while it's still hitched to my TV. When it's unhooked or my wife and I are together, I always use them.

As a solution to get them extended, maybe carry a couple of 12" 2x6s to back over and raise the tires off the ground?
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Old 09-22-2019, 09:12 PM   #5
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Either dig a hole, or lower the front of the trailer enough to deploy the rear stabilizer, and then raise the front to level. Then deploy the front stabilizers. Or, you can run the trailer tires up onto a 2X6 board, to raise it a bit, as you position it. I always carry some lumber, cut to size, to level right to left or simply raise it a bit.
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Old 09-23-2019, 05:32 AM   #6
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Use the jack from your TV under the bumper.
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Old 09-23-2019, 07:20 AM   #7
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We always carried a couple cheap scissor jacks to slide under the frame in these situations. They slide in almost flat and then raise up to stabilize.
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Old 09-23-2019, 08:31 AM   #8
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A couple of small scissor jacks would work well, especially where the clearances are less than ideal, as in the case you mentioned above. You don't have to permanently mount them to the trailer frame, but I did. I installed 4 of them, all the way around. Much easier to use than the old drop-down Atwood stabilizers which I have since removed. I just use my cordless drill and a 3/4" socket, and I can set my trailer up or run them up again in no time.

If you want to buy mounting plates for the scissor jacks to permanently mount them, Little House Customs makes some weld-on plates that are pre-drilled for the bolt holes on the head of the jacks. This way you only weld the plates onto the frame, and if you ever need to replace a scissor jack, it will only require unbolting it rather than burning or grinding off a welded on one.

https://littlehousecustoms.com/store.html#gen (and then scroll about half way down.)
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Old 09-23-2019, 10:13 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Lisle View Post
A couple of times, in order to level the trailer front to back on a slope, the back of my 16' Casita was too close to the ground to allow the stabilizers to deploy. These are the ones you pull sideways and then they swing in an arc and lock, then you typically release the leg to go down to the ground. When the back of the trailer is too close to the ground, the stabilizer can't swing down in an arc because it hits the ground too soon. Any bright ideas on what to do to make the stabilizer work in this situation? Is it OK to use the trailer without the stabilizers? It definitely is a little more swimy back there as you move around in the trailer without the stabilizers. Any chance I'm going to damage the trailer? I'm imagining the steel frame is strong enough to support my weight (135#) without the help of the stabilizers???
Buy shorter stabilizers.
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Old 09-23-2019, 10:17 AM   #10
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Thanks for these helpful responses. Currently parked on a friend's driveway which is asphalt, so can't dig a hole. If parking on a slope, it seems now that it is best to park with the front of the camper up the slope, which will allow the stabilizers to deploy, if that is possible. Not an option in this driveway. I do have 2x6's for leveling R to L which I could put under the tires to raise the whole camper up enough to use the attached stabilizers. And I think I'll invest in a couple unattached scissor jacks to use when they are the only option.
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Old 09-23-2019, 10:22 AM   #11
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What to do if the back of the camper is too close to the ground to use stabilizer?

If youíre going to buy different stabilizers, consider swapping the swing-down stabilizers for BAL levelers. They have a wider working range and donít require any minimum clearance to deploy.

Scamp recently switched to BAL for new builds.
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Old 09-23-2019, 10:22 AM   #12
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How about keeping several 2x6 short planks to back up onto, thereby raising the vehicle? Keeping a pair of scissor Jacks handy a wise decision regardless. I dehitched on the road once and when that happens using one to lift the tongue up and back on the ball was the only way it could be done.
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Old 09-23-2019, 10:47 AM   #13
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Usually you can lower the tongue enough to deploy the rear stabilizers through their arc, and then crank the tongue back up. Steep driveways can be a problem if the lowest setting still has the nose too low. In those cases, if you can get your tires higher by using small blocks under them it might give you enough clearance to get the stabilizers to work. Definitely make sure your chocks are deployed to keep the camper from rolling down the driveway, because gravity will be trying to roll it forward, and something that resists sliding under your tongue jack (like a rubber piece) to help keep it from also trying to slide down the driveway when you unhitch would help.
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Old 09-23-2019, 11:13 AM   #14
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my friend did not lower the rear stabilizers. when 3 of us were seated at the table. my friends wife came back to serve pancakes. the trailer tipped back on to its rear end . very exciting .
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Old 09-23-2019, 12:30 PM   #15
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we use the big yellow cube of levelers. drop the nose of the camper down, stuff layer(s) of the cube under the bumper (can be 1 or 2 stacks), then raise the nose up to level.
yes, kenny! when it flips, a whole lot of screaming involved! been there, done that!
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Old 09-23-2019, 12:46 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Radar1 View Post
Usually you can lower the tongue enough to deploy the rear stabilizers through their arc, and then crank the tongue back up. ...
And you can also do some damage this way if you go to far and put too much weight on the rear stabilizers.
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Old 09-25-2019, 04:25 PM   #17
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During one of my stops on a recent trip the guy parked next to me recommended lowering the front stabilizer as low as possible then lowering the rear stabilizers. Once the rear stabilizers were in place then level the tt with the front stabilizer. It worked!! More comfortable have the stabilizers in place. This was my first trip with the 13 Scamp, I want to thank all those who offered advice along the way to make my trip safer and more pleasant.
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Old 09-25-2019, 04:50 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by juanita View Post
During one of my stops on a recent trip the guy parked next to me recommended lowering the front stabilizer as low as possible then lowering the rear stabilizers. Once the rear stabilizers were in place then level the tt with the front stabilizer. It worked!! More comfortable have the stabilizers in place. This was my first trip with the 13 Scamp, I want to thank all those who offered advice along the way to make my trip safer and more pleasant.
The way you have described it (lowering the front stabilizer as low as possible) can put too much weight on the rear stabilizers and cause damage. Instead (after leveling side-to-side) use the front jack to get level fore to aft, then turn the front jack to lower the front but only 2-3 turns. Then deploy the rear stabilizers and extend them to the ground (or pad) but do not tighten them. Return to the front jack and turn the handle the reverse of what you did before and the same amount (2-3 turns). That should put just a little weight on the rear stabilizes to make the trailer steady and it will be level. Then when breaking camp, lower the front just a little, secure the rear stabilizers, and hitch up.
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Old 09-25-2019, 05:13 PM   #19
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I concur, but I don't understand why you wouldn't tighten the rear stabilizers prior to using the front jack to return to level.
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Old 09-25-2019, 05:32 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
I concur, but I don't understand why you wouldn't tighten the rear stabilizers prior to using the front jack to return to level.
1.. its not needed... lifting the front just a little will do it.
2.. if they are tightened before raising the front, then you are putting tension on them twice, and in addition to point number one, it becomes easier to put too much weight on them.
3.. they are the Atwood "Scamp style" which use a rod inserted in the stabilizer and its easy to bend the metal with the holes for the rod, which then makes the jack not extend or retract well.
4.. you have to first find that annoying steel rod. Using the method I described requires no tools.

Of course this mostly applies to the swing out Atwood stabilizers which Scamp uses, since juanita has a Scamp.

Photo is the area damaged by the steel rod:
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