Friday, September 17, 2021
Friday, September 17, 2021

Ask Dave: Options to stabilize a parked 5th wheel

Answers to questions about RV Repair and Maintenance from RV expert Dave Solberg, author of the RV Handbook and the managing editor of the RV Repair Club. This column appears Monday through Saturday in the RV Travel and RV Daily Tips newsletters. (Sign up for an email reminder for each new issue if you do not already receive one.) Today Dave discusses stabilizing a 5th wheel.

Dear Dave,
We just transitioned from a travel trailer to a 5th wheel trailer and notice more movement in the trailer when set up on site, even with the factory stabilizer jacks deployed. In reading about further stabilization, one option is a tripod under the pin. What is your opinion of this option and what other options might you recommend? —Sam

Dear Sam,
The jacks that come standard with most 5th wheels are just for assistance in leveling and don’t provide much stabilization as they are typically small. So the wheels actually provide some support and you will experience movement unless you add additional support. You could add additional side support such as the photo shows here which would help with side-to-side shifting.

Another option is the larger back stabilizers shown here:

I would highly recommend the king pin tripod as there is quite a bit of weight on the front end and as you walk around the unit, there will be front-to-back movement. There are several on the market. BAL RV Products Group seems to be one of the most popular as it is easy to set up even on unlevel ground. Simply slide the pin of the 5th wheel into the top bracket and each leg is adjustable to the ground height. Use gravity to slide the leg to the touching point and the handy ratchet jack to adjust the height. There is also the ability to add a lock to protect it from getting stolen. If applied to soft ground, you can readjust the legs if you experience a shift later.

This will help stabilize the rig from teetering front to back. However, since the wheels are still on the ground, tandem axle units might still experience some sliding or shifting front to back. The suspension system and tires of your rig are designed to provide a cushion while traveling, which is not good at the campground. If that is the case with your unit, it’s wise to stabilize the wheels with an X-shaped jack as well. This is placed between the wheels and extended so the feet of the mechanism press against both wheels and provide additional stabilization.

 

Yesterday’s post: Is it OK to store an RV with the slide room out?

Read more from Dave here

Related:
5th wheel stabilizers on Amazon

Dave Solberg worked at Winnebago for 15 years developing the dealer training program, as marketing manager, and conducting shows. As the owner of Passport Media Creations, Dave has developed several RV dealer training programs, the RV Safety Training program for The Recreation Vehicle Safety and Education Foundation, and the accredited RV Driving Safety program being conducted at rallies and shows around the country. Dave is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club.

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Ray
1 month ago

One might consider adding additional intergrated jack pads to reduce the extention of each jack, thus reducing its tendancy to sway. It also enables one to better address the multitude of unlevel sites one comes across and they are hard to steal.

Bill Fisher
1 month ago

We have a 35’ Montana fiver with the six point hydraulic leveling system and it is very stable with virtually no movement when inside and moving around. We have felt no need for any further stabilization.

Dan and Benet Kruger
1 month ago
Reply to  Bill Fisher

We have an 28 5C Artic Fox 5er also a six point hydraulic auto system. NO movement as well…We see a lot of tripods in use but with only 4 point leveling systems. Some like them and some say it helps some….our 2 cents on this.

Leonard Rempel
1 month ago
Reply to  Bill Fisher

Agreed. My 35′ Monty is very stable with the six jacks. I only notice some shaking when the washer is on spin cycle! First world problem to be sure!

Curt Rissmann
1 month ago

I use the tripod at the 5th wheel pin, the scissor Jacks between the wheels and the stabilizer jacks at the rear. Works well, however still some very slight movement or vibration when “bigfoot” comes to visit. Thinking about installing the crossbars on the front landing legs or not allowing bigfoot at happy hour.🤦‍♂️

RvTester
1 month ago
Reply to  Curt Rissmann

Crossbars made a difference after installing on my 5th wheel but a tripod pin did not. Have heard about the x-jack if your suspension system is better (more flexable) than basic.

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