Easy Leveling of the 400

This discussion was created from comments split from: Extending Stabilizer Reach.

Comments

  • AmazonicaAmazonica Member Posts: 124
    Not sure if this is the right place for my question, but I did a discussion search of "automatic" leveling and the only place it brought me is here.  :)

    I have seen Dalehelman's wonderful scissor jack leveling mod for the 320s, but nothing along those lines for the 400. I have a 400 BD, am solo, and would love an easier method of side-to-side level. Has anyone done an "automatic" level or put scissor jacks on a 400 BD or seen a thread on those topics please?

     Although I have mainly stayed at campgrounds, I find that either the spots are consistently terribly "unlevel", or my ability to locate and succesfully back into a level portion of the site is severly lacking. I have an Andersen which (most of the time) works great. Being solo it does require much in-and-out of the vehicle, and sometimes 4" of lift just isn't enough. Yes, I *could* carry many more blocks but I'd rather find a cleaner solution. With properly sized "scissor" levelers, I wouldn't need to carry anything extra. No muddy, sandy blocks to store.

    You can probably tell from my questions, I'm no pro, but I am willing to research, ask questions, and experiment to a certain degree.
    2020 [email protected] 400 BD w/Solar, Microwave and Closet
    Towed by 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel 5.7L Hemi 4x4 Crew Cab
  • ScottGScottG Moderator Posts: 3,613
    @Amazonica, the points at which these retrofitted scissor jacks are attached are not necessarily designed to support the weight of the trailer.
    That said, Dalehelman and several others have used them on their 320s for several years without apparent damage. However, the 400 is a considerably heavier trailer so whether or not they would work in that application remains to be seen. I personally wouldn't do it, but I do respect those pioneers who are willing to test such things out on their own equipment.  ;-)
  • AmazonicaAmazonica Member Posts: 124
    That makes sense ScottG, thank you. I don't want to ruin anything. More research is in order.  =)
    2020 [email protected] 400 BD w/Solar, Microwave and Closet
    Towed by 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel 5.7L Hemi 4x4 Crew Cab
  • ScottGScottG Moderator Posts: 3,613
    Sounds good, @Amazonica.
    I'm going to kick your question out to its own discussion in case others have additional insights to offer.
  • AmazonicaAmazonica Member Posts: 124
    ok, thank you.
    2020 [email protected] 400 BD w/Solar, Microwave and Closet
    Towed by 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel 5.7L Hemi 4x4 Crew Cab
  • N7SHG_HamN7SHG_Ham Member Posts: 889
    I would continue with Anderson and add a LevelMatePRO Bluetooth wireless level sensor or similar. That reduces the in and out and makes getting level easier. Of course over 4" of level is still an issue, but jacking the entire trailer off the ground is probably not good either.

    Honestly most parks I have seen out west where I live 4" of lift is plenty adequate that the Anderson provides.
    2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite
  • AmazonicaAmazonica Member Posts: 124
    Thank you @N7SHG_Ham. You are correct, most of the time 4" is sufficent to level. I think I'm getting "mod happy".  :tired_face:
    2020 [email protected] 400 BD w/Solar, Microwave and Closet
    Towed by 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel 5.7L Hemi 4x4 Crew Cab
  • pthomas745pthomas745 Member Posts: 1,348
    "Mod happy" is now recognized in all camper forums as a symptom.
    On my first few trips with the trailer I was awful at finding a level spot.  More and more, though, I manage to get the trailer in a spot where no extra leveling is really needed.  It just takes a bit of practice.
    2017 Outback
    Towed by 2014 Touareg TDi
  • ADRawliADRawli Member Posts: 143
    N7SHG_Ham said:
    I would continue with Anderson and add a LevelMatePRO Bluetooth wireless level sensor or similar. That reduces the in and out and makes getting level easier. Of course over 4" of level is still an issue, but jacking the entire trailer off the ground is probably not good either.

    Honestly most parks I have seen out west where I live 4" of lift is plenty adequate that the Anderson provides.
    I wholeheartedly second this.  I use the Anderson and the LevelMatePRO and leveling is a breeze, provided you need <4” side to side.  Adding the LevelMatePRO remains one of my favorite upgrades. 
    Alan & Natalie       McKinney, TX
    nüCamp:  2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite
    TV: 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk 4x4    
     
    Dream big... work hard... never give up.
  • VictoriaPVictoriaP Member Posts: 540
    edited February 14
    For those not yet ready to spend the $140 for LevelMate Pro, there’s a cheaper app that may get you by for now. I‘ve tested one on iOS called Caravan Level Remote. Does require two devices; I use an iPad and iPhone, sticking one on the floor of the trailer as the sensor. I naturally haven’t had to actually use it since I bought it (doesn’t it always work that way?), but it tests fine in my driveway.

    Don’t know if there’s an Android equivalent, but I expect there is.
    2019 320s BD Lite, white with blue (“Haven”)
    2015 Subaru Outback 3.6r (being replaced, not recommended!)
    Pacific NW—stuck at home this season
  • AmazonicaAmazonica Member Posts: 124
    Thank you all. I'm going to have to check out the LevelMatePRO, and the Caravan Level Remote app. I have an iPad, but an Android phone. This is all great info! I never knew these options were out there.

    I did see this warning on my current Stabilizers when I was under there checking them out. "Do not use jacks to lift tires off ground". I'm not saying others are wrong, just that this is what mine say.


    2020 [email protected] 400 BD w/Solar, Microwave and Closet
    Towed by 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel 5.7L Hemi 4x4 Crew Cab
  • VictoriaPVictoriaP Member Posts: 540
    Amazonica said:


    I did see this warning on my current Stabilizers when I was under there checking them out. "Do not use jacks to lift tires off ground". I'm not saying others are wrong, just that this is what mine say.


    Yes, your stabilizers are strictly for keeping the trailer from rocking while parked. They are not for leveling.
    2019 320s BD Lite, white with blue (“Haven”)
    2015 Subaru Outback 3.6r (being replaced, not recommended!)
    Pacific NW—stuck at home this season
  • TabbyShackTabbyShack Member Posts: 131
    edited February 18
    I use the BAL leveler to level my 400, but I'm usually in pretty decently level spots that only require about 2-3 inches to level. I'm a solo average-sized female with arm flab instead of muscle and I do just fine. My plan in the event I get a really unlevel spot and I cant crank it any higher....I  have a small bottle jack that I can set up at the jacking point behind the tire for a little bit of lift assistance.  You might also need a block to sit the jack on. 
  • AmazonicaAmazonica Member Posts: 124
    Thank you for the tips @TabbyShack. Sounds like you could have been describing me. ^^😁 
    2020 [email protected] 400 BD w/Solar, Microwave and Closet
    Towed by 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel 5.7L Hemi 4x4 Crew Cab
  • BrianZBrianZ Member Posts: 1,165
    edited February 20
    We have been using the $34 Witmotion device for leveling, as the Android equivalent, along with the free "Remote Level" Android app for bluetooth connection, as shown & described in the link below..
    (I also left a review on Amazon at the link given.)

    https://tab-rv.vanillacommunity.com/discussion/6328/leveling/p2

    We've been using it for a year now, and find it's the best available alternative for us.  I only wish it had a stronger bluetooth connection like those in the Victron battery monitor & solar controller.  Sometimes when using it from the drivers seat, we may lose the connection; but for adjusting the tongue jack or rear L/R leveling jacks, for example, no problems with the sensor mounted under the front cabinets.

    -Brian in Chester, Virginia
    TV: 2005 Toyota Sienna LE (3.3L V6)
    RV: 2018 [email protected] 320S, >70 mods 
  • AmazonicaAmazonica Member Posts: 124
    Very cool solution @BrianZ. I do have an Android phone. 
    I like your "charging station" in your post photos too. Very creative and practical - thanks!  :)
    2020 [email protected] 400 BD w/Solar, Microwave and Closet
    Towed by 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel 5.7L Hemi 4x4 Crew Cab
  • jkjennjkjenn Member Posts: 5,950
    I can't tell you how much easier it is to find that level spot in a campsite when you have the Levelmate Pro. It has saved me a ton of time and aggravation. I especially live this when I am overnight parking and not unhooking from the TV. 

    2021 [email protected] 320 Boondock "Mattie Ross" | 2021 [email protected] Nights: 28 | Total nights in a [email protected] 239 | 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk | [email protected] owner since 2014

  • AmazonicaAmazonica Member Posts: 124
    Thank you @jkjenn. It's good to hear real-life opinions from people with similar set-ups.  :)
    2020 [email protected] 400 BD w/Solar, Microwave and Closet
    Towed by 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel 5.7L Hemi 4x4 Crew Cab
  • BlueespyBlueespy Member Posts: 56
    Pulling a [email protected] 400 bdl and we use the Levelmate Pro and the Anderson level system.  I also started using an Iphone app "Bubble Level".  When I think everything is level, I open my camper door and set my iphone on the door sill with the app open.  If I'm level, I hear a beep.  I then go to the front and hold the phone just under the front window.  Now, I'm sure there is an error level, but thus far the Levelmate and the app have been consistent.  To be honest, I got the app because my wife always questions the Levelmate with her "calibrated eye" and the app just reinforces the accuracy of the Levelmate and I get to say "I told you so".
    2019 [email protected] 400 BDL
  • N7SHG_HamN7SHG_Ham Member Posts: 889
    LevelMate Pro is on my buy list for someday. Already have the Anderson levelers and that is a quick way, even without the LevelMate pro.

    One thing to note is when calibrating any of these devices including a phone app, is what do you want level? The fridge, the shower floor, the counter, the floor? They all are NOT level at same time. So level what you want to with a an actual level the 1st round and then calibrate the level mate pro to show level.
    2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite
  • AirBossAirBoss Member Posts: 413
    $2.95 at Home Depot...just sayin... ;)
    2020 [email protected] 400 "OTTO" (build date 08/19)
    Factory Victron Solar; Norcold 3-way fridge
    '04 Chevy Tahoe Z71 5.3L Dino-killer
    Third Rock from the Sun
    San Diego, CA
    www.vividimagex.com
    www.airbossone.com

  • berggerbergger Member Posts: 79
    AirBoss said:
    $2.95 at Home Depot...just sayin... ;)


    +






    I like the K.I.S.S. principal
    2021 [email protected] 400 BD  "Vixen Gail" 
    2018 Nissan Titan Pro 4X "Big Bird"
    Leadville Colorado
  • ScottGScottG Moderator Posts: 3,613
    bergger said:
    ....
    I like the K.I.S.S. principal
    Me too!  ;-)

    (Seriously, I do like the looks of those Lego-thingies. Gotta add those to the collection some time.)
  • AirBossAirBoss Member Posts: 413
    Going to fall on the proverbial sword here and cop to rookie'ism on two fronts.

    First, when browsing up and down the aisles in Camping World before picking up the rig, among the two shopping carts of stuff I walked out with were these:



    They work fine...but a bit pricey. Could have gone with a cheaper version but so be it. Guess I saved money on the level itself from Home Depot!  :)

    Second point. See those triangular-shaped blocks under the curved red levelers. Those are wheel chocks. Turns out, they're also used to chock the wheels so when you unhitch the TV, the rig doesn't roll backwards towards the ravine! 

    Yeah, I did that. Just as the hitch was about to release from the TV, it crossed my not so giant brain that I didn't have the wheels chocked. Sure enough, gravity proved true to form...the rig slipped off the blocks I had under the footpad and started to roll backwards towards oblivion.  :o

    If there's a video out there, you'll be reminded of Wile E. Coyote. I'm holding onto the jackstand for dear life, squated down almost horizontally, dust flying from under my US Keds as I try to overcome Sir Isaac Newton's most ingeneous discovery. Fortunately, the wheels found a small rise in the ground after about a foot or so. No harm...no foul. Whew...

    Sometimes it's the most heartpounding and difficult lessons we learn that stick with us...forever.

    Bottom line: if you're reading this as someone who's relatively new to RV'ing...don't be me! 
    2020 [email protected] 400 "OTTO" (build date 08/19)
    Factory Victron Solar; Norcold 3-way fridge
    '04 Chevy Tahoe Z71 5.3L Dino-killer
    Third Rock from the Sun
    San Diego, CA
    www.vividimagex.com
    www.airbossone.com

  • Dutch061Dutch061 Member Posts: 83
    Blueespy said:
    Pulling a [email protected] 400 bdl and we use the Levelmate Pro and the Anderson level system.  I also started using an Iphone app "Bubble Level".  When I think everything is level, I open my camper door and set my iphone on the door sill with the app open.  If I'm level, I hear a beep.  I then go to the front and hold the phone just under the front window.  Now, I'm sure there is an error level, but thus far the Levelmate and the app have been consistent.  To be honest, I got the app because my wife always questions the Levelmate with her "calibrated eye" and the app just reinforces the accuracy of the Levelmate and I get to say "I told you so".

    Exactly what I use (except for the I-Phone and App), couldn't be simpler! Had the TAB in my yard, used my 4 foot level for side to side, then set it on the floor for front to back. Set that as my "level positions" in the Levelmate Pro and done.

    Best Regards,

    Brad
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