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Level makes trailer re-hitching easy

By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Folks who tow travel trailers and fifth wheels often struggle with hooking back up after setting up their trailer for livability. The problem is this: You unhitch and level the trailer; when it’s time to hitch up again, getting the front of the trailer to the right height to hitch up can be a pain in the neck. Well, here’s just the thing to make trailer re-hitching easy!

Simple level is the key

Get yourself a simple bubble level from the RV supply or hardware store. Or stay home and buy a pair from Amazon. The one pictured is a bit more complex that needed. You only need a level to show “left-right,” but when we went looking for one, this is all that was on hand. Mount it on the side of your trailer at the front of the rig. Fifth wheel folks will like this one – just mount it close to the switch that controls your “landing gear.”

Don’t use the double-stick mounting tape included with the level. Rather, run a screw through the top center portion of the plastic above the level tube. Snug the screw down only far enough that you can push either end of the level up and down with some amount of force required. The trick is this: When adjusted, your “trailer re-hitching easy” level will stay set where you move it to.

Here’s how to use it

Now when you unhitch, raise the front of the trailer high enough to unhitch – just off the ball in the case of a pull trailer, or just off the fifth wheel saddle plate. Now adjust the re-hitching level to where the bubble is showing level. You can now level up the trailer for livability – just don’t touch the “hitching level.” When it’s time to hitch up again, raise or lower the trailer until the hitching level shows “level” again. In the photo, the front of the trailer is to the left of the level. So, to re-hitch, the trailer would need to be raised. Now your trailer is at just the right height to roll right under, hitch up, and go.

##RVT1018

 

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Robert N. Cordy
1 month ago

I don’t do what I’m suggesting here, I’ve never found this to be an issue for me. But, if it was, I would put a small piece of masking (or electrician’s) tape on my existing securely attached bubble level at the “hitch disconnect” height. Then when it comes time to reconnect, raise the hitch so the bubble is aligned with the tape. Viola!

Jere
1 month ago

glue the level to a magnet and stick the magnet on the metal of the hitch. Magnet will stay on as you travel and it is easy to adjust to level when you unhitch. Used it for years on the 5th wheel

Ray
1 month ago

I like it. Nifty little trick. I typically just walk up to the 5th wheel hitch and match it to my solar plexus for appropriate rehitching height. But I like this idea better. Thanks.

RGM
1 month ago

Seems like a lot of trouble, a measuring stick, such as a yard stick, that we always carry will tell you the hitch height after you unhooked. KISS method is always best and the yard stick is useful for obtaining many other measurements. This also seems more like an advertisement for an Amazon product than and informational article.

Scott R. Ellis
1 month ago

I don’t understand why it is “difficult” to reestablish tongue/plate height. Back up close and have a look.

Tommy Molnar
1 month ago
Reply to  Scott R. Ellis

I totally agree, Scott. When we unhitch our travel trailer it is already level. So I pull the truck up and we adjust the forward/rearward level and that’s that. When it comes time to re-hitch I back up to the hitch, wifey adjusts any change needed in height, and we hook up. I have no outside levels attached to the trailer. “Easy peezy”. I have no idea of a 5th wheel routine.

Ron V
1 month ago
Reply to  Scott R. Ellis

Scott, I agree. But some people like to be able to back in and have the trailer ready to be hitched.
Me, I use the same method you use. Back up close and then adjust to the proper height.
As Tommy Molnar said, “Easy peezy”

Stu N
1 month ago

A tape measure does the trick, too.
If you can remember:

  1. The height
  2. Where you put the tape measure

Personally, I use my knee. ( I have it with me all the time.)

Carl
1 month ago

I do not believe this would work if the trailer is on a site that slopes front to back, either uphill or downhill. On a level surface, it should be accurate.
On the other hand, I use a yellow plastic chain attached to a magnet that attaches to the underside of the pin box. Both are readily available; I bought mine at Lowe’s. The first time I unhitched, I attached the chain and cut it so that the last link was just touching the ground, and provides a clearance gauge at the point of connection that does not rely on the level of the ground. It is lightweight and stores easily in the compartment with the landing gear controls. It would work equally well on the tongue of a bumper pulled trailer.

Al Hubbard
1 month ago
Reply to  Carl

Carl, you might want to look at this again. All the level is doing is indexing, if you will, the point at which the hitch is properly positioned in relation to the height of the ball. Add a Hitch Camera from Tadi Brothers, and, you just turned the entire hitching process into a complete yawn. The camera is pricey, but it requires zero hookups: turn on and position the camera with its magnetic base, plug the monitor into the cigarette lighter socket, turn it on, and you’re good to go. First time I used it I was backing a 16’ U-Haul truck under a car trailer in a rough field. Hit it first shot, no problem. This little trick with the level gives you the vertical reference, the only thing that’s hard to see with the camera. Happy Camping!

Dennis A Hogan
1 month ago
Reply to  Al Hubbard

You move the level to any position that you need it to before you unhitch. That’s the reason for the screw being SNUG and not tight.

Al Hubbard
1 month ago
Reply to  Dennis A Hogan

Maybe just after you unhitch? But, right, it allows you to set where you need to be when you re-hitch. You can do it by measuring, too, but I’d forget the measurement before I got it written down! Or lose the note! Lol!

HappyCamper7424
1 month ago
Reply to  Carl

I also use a fine metal chain permanently attached to the trailer A-frame with a carabiner. After use, the bottom of the chain is also attached to the carabiner to double it up so it doesn’t drag on the ground. Also useful to determine how high the A-frame needs to be before installing the spring bars. I do like the T-level which I mounted at the coupler to allow quick side-to-side leveling followed by front to back.