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.
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
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.
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.
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.
HAVE A QUESTION FOR DAVE?
Ask it here. Please be as brief as possible. Attach a photo or two if it might help Dave with his response.