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Does this sound familiar? You do countless hours of research finding that perfect site at an RV campground. A few days before your trip, you tirelessly pack your camper with everything you can possibly think you might need. Once you get to your site, you get backed in, set up, and leveled. Then it happens. The first time you step into your travel trailer the rocking starts. You’re not alone. RVers and campers across the country encounter this same issue. It’s actually quite common. The good news is, we might be able to help show you how to stop your travel trailer or camper from rocking. In this post we are going to cover a few reasons why your travel trailer is rocking and provide you with a few solutions that will eliminate or greatly reduce any side to side or front to back rocking. So, let’s get to it, shall we?
Why Is Your Travel Trailer Rocking?
The first step to stop your travel trailer from rocking is to identify the cause. You can’t mitigate the issue if you don’t know what it is, right? Much like your tow vehicle, your travel trailer was built with a suspension system for a smoother ride while it’s being towed. The suspension is made up of springs and, of course, tires. Could you imagine the rough ride you would have if not for these two things? It would be much like riding in a covered wagon of the old west. On top of that, if your camper’s suspension was that rigid, it would have devastating effects on the chassis, as well as the interior.
Most of your travel trailer’s weight is supported by the springs and those bouncy tires. The rest of the weight is supported by the tongue jack that is in the center of the front of your rig. Fifth wheels have a slight advantage when it comes to stabilization. They have two stands supporting the front of the rig, as opposed to the single stand on travel trailers.
With that said, your camper was built to shake, rattle, and roll. (sounds like a great song)
So, how can you stop your travel trailer form rocking? There are a few methods to minimize, if not completely, stop the rocking.
Level Your Camper
The first part of every RV camping trip starts with a level travel trailer. Not only does this ensure proper operation of your refrigerator, but it also keep doors from swinging open or closed. You would think that once you are unhooked and level you are good to go. Not so fast. Leveling your rig is just the first step to stop your travel trailer from rocking. A level travel trailer is the foundation that you will start with. If you would like to read more on leveling, check out, “How To Level A Camper”.
Chock Your Wheels
Now that you have a level travel trailer, you will want to make sure you chock the wheels. Chocks help keep the wheels from rocking front to back when you walk around inside, or if there are high winds. It is a good idea to purchase a quality set of wheel chocks. If you are camping in a lightweight camper or a small pop-up camper, the plastic chocks should be just fine. However, if you have a heavier travel trailer or fifth wheel, I recommend going with a solid rubber wheel chock.
Rubber wheel chocks will have better grip on your tires as well as the ground than their plastic counterparts. The result of the added grip will help keep your travel trailer from rocking.
Stabilize Your Travel Trailer
Now that you have the wheels chocked and secure, the next step to stop your camper from rocking is to set the stabilizers. The stabilizers on your camper are located at each of the four corners. You will either have the scissor type stabilizer or the “C” type, which is an arm that swings down to meet the ground. If you have the type “C” stabilizers, make sure the arm isn’t extended past 45 degrees or so. You might have to add a few stabilizer pads or 6 X 6 wooden blocks to achieve this.
While not completely necessary, it is a good idea to place a stabilizer pad under each of your jacks for added ground surface contact. These stabilizers pads, like your stabilizer arms, are not intended to bear the weight of your camper. They are there to reduce some of the rocking and bouncing by making a physical connection between your rig’s frame and the ground. Be sure to check the ground where you will be deploying your stabilizers to make sure the ground is solid.
Keep in mind that there are differences between stabilizer jacks and leveling jacks. Stabilizer jacks/arms are meant to minimize or stop your travel trailer from rocking, and you will lower these only after your rig is level.
If your travel trailer or fifth wheel is equipped with hydraulic leveling jacks, these are specifically manufactured to handle the weight of your camper. Always check the owner’s manual for directions for your specific RV.
A good rule of thumb to help you remember is this, if it’s hydraulic, it’s for leveling. If it’s electric, or hand crank, it’s for stabilizing. The only exception to this rule is your tongue jack/landing jacks.
Brace Your Steps
If your travel trailer is like ours, the steps are free-floating. What I mean is they don’t extend all the way to the ground when you pull them out, like drawbridge steps. Supporting or bracing your steps is another way to stop your travel trailer from rocking from side to side.
To prevent this rocking, you can either replace your steps with fully retractable steps, like these Glowstep Revolutions, or simply add a step brace. The best part of the Glowsteps is they are a direct, bolt on replacement for your foldable steps.
Use X-Chocks To Stop The Rocking
In addition to wheel chocks, to further stop your travel trailer from rocking, you might consider a pair of X-Chocks. Of course, these only work on multi-axle RVs because you need two wheels for them to work. These chocks mount in between the tires and push outward, preventing the tires from rocking front-to-back.
Now that you know the main causes of a rocking camper, you’re one step closer to being able to stop your travel trailer from rocking. The most important thing to remember about your stabilizer arms/jacks is to make sure they are fully retracted all the way up to the frame before attempting to move or level your camper. With a sturdy and stable rig, your family can enjoy every camping trip without feeling like they’re in a boat on the water.
Do you have any suggestions to stop a travel trailer from rocking? If so, please leave a comment below and let us know.
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