Front/back leveling a tandem 19' - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 05-17-2013, 11:32 AM   #1
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Front/back leveling a tandem 19'

Our 19 is due to be delivered soon...

I've dealt with leveling a single-axle trailer before. Front/back leveling is easy, even on quite sloped ground, assuming your stabilizers are long and/or short enough for the situation.

But I was wondering how much stress this would put on tandem axles if you need to do "extreme" leveling front-to-back. How much can you raise or lower one end before you feel you need to use blocks under both wheels on one axle?

This generally isn't a concern in the campgrounds we stay at, but I'm curious...
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Old 05-17-2013, 01:27 PM   #2
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I have a question to add..

Doug,

I have a 19 and have a question to add to yours. We are camped right now in a spot with a big side-to-side grade. To level the trailer I had to add a lot of wood to the plastic ramps that I have. I always try to raise both wheels on one side the same amount. Then I got to thinking about it and have to wonder whether it is even necessary to support both wheels in a situation like this. Why can't I just back the rear wheel onto a tall ramp and leave the forward wheel suspended in the air? Has anyone done this before? I know the tire will support the weight so why not??

Steve
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Old 05-17-2013, 02:06 PM   #3
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A couple of comments.
I've dealt with leveling a single-axle trailer before. Front/back leveling is easy, even on quite sloped ground, assuming your stabilizers are long and/or short enough for the situation.
Stabilizers have nothing to do with leveling your trailer. You level it with the tongue jack and boards or other items under your low side wheels. Once level, you lower the stabilizer to stabilize the unit, you could use "X chock" wheel stabilizers to stabilize the trailer or both.
The plastic blocks are handy for those places where the stabilizers have to be extended a large amount of distance, the shorted the distance, the stronger the resistance.

But I was wondering how much stress this would put on tandem axles if you need to do "extreme" leveling front-to-back. How much can you raise or lower one end before you feel you need to use blocks under both wheels on one axle?

Again you do not use wheel blocks to level front to back, just the tongue jack, Wheel blocks are for leveling side to side!

I do not recommend using the trailer with a wheel unsuspended other than to change a tire, certainly not good for the torsion axle and you are placing additional weight on the single axle which is only rated for 2000 lbs, this can cause problems.
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Old 05-17-2013, 04:52 PM   #4
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Jim,

Thanks for the response. I understand that you level with the jack. Once the jack is set, you extend the stabilizers. No worries there.

My concern is that if you have a large front/back slope, once your trailer is level you've got the majority of the weight on one axle. If you jack the front way up, you've transferred most of the weight to the rear axle. If you lower the jack way down, you've transferred a lot of weight to the front axle. This is a less extreme situation of Steve's question.

So, how much is too much? When leveling the trailer, how much can you raise or lower the jack before you've transferred too much weight to one or the other axle?

I don't expect anybody to have a definitive answer, but what's the rule of thumb (if any) that people use?
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Old 05-17-2013, 07:23 PM   #5
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As answer to one part of your questions, I recall that the stabilizers are only supposed to be extended 14" (don't quote me) and we often use blocks under them, maybe one side only. We have blocks on one side now with blocks under the front stabilizer on that side only.

We have two axles because two are needed to support the weight.

We have had the extreme slope a couple of times and actually had to drag off of the wood coupler block, backing in that case due to the set-up, as we could not crank off of the coupler block and other added wood. The crank would not crank any further. We were at a loss as to what else to do. It did not even occur to us to place blocks under two of the wheels but perhaps that would be a good answer. Of course, we did not know we had the problem until trying to leave!
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Old 05-17-2013, 10:28 PM   #6
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Have you noticed that when pulling the 19' trailer up onto a driveway with an abrupt slope that the real wheels come off the ground and the opposite happens when taking it back out? I imagine this happens infrequently when driving on and off the highway into businesses. This is while driving. How much stress can be encountered while stationary and with supporting jacks also deployed....taking a little weight off??

Imaging the trailer weight (in an ideal world) shared between the right side wheels, left side wheels and the front jack....maybe 300 on the front (conservative estimate). I would guess with the average trailer full at 3800 lbs then each side is supporting 1500 lbs. Shouldn't one wheel on one side and axle on one side be able to handle this??
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Old 05-19-2013, 01:39 AM   #7
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The axles are a couple of feet apart; it is perhaps 12 feet from axles to tongue jack. So to get one axle completely unloaded due to the front needing more height, the jack would need to be run about six times as much as the suspension travel, which means a couple of feet. That seems pretty extreme... but with our motorhome I have had to lift the front tires well off the ground to reach level.

Since each axle of a 19' is rated to support 2500 lb of trailer in motion, including bumps of up to double that load, one axle can - at least for a while and I don't know how long that is - safely support the entire trailer at maximum gross weight. Helping this, each axle is rated significantly higher than half of the GVWR... just as advised by the axle manufacturer for this reason. If the front is jacked up, the tongue jack will be carrying quite a bit, reducing the axle load.

In extreme cases, I still think it would be good to put blocks under the tires which would otherwise be carrying little or no load.
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