Parking on grade, like at Ft Sage or Unionville

When you decide it’s time to park the rig and level it out, you’ll often find that the grade can be deceiving. At Fort Sage, the parking area is estimated to have a grade of 4% or so – about half the limit allowed for freeway construction.
Ft. Sage Parking
Fort Sage
– note how low the noses are!

At Unionville, the grade might approach freeway max. That makes for some interesting leveling jobs.
Unionville leveling
Getting level at Unionville

One way to tackle the leveling problem is to figure the best orientation. You want minimal lift yet you also don’t want the door to get so far off the ground it is difficult to get in and out of the rig. On a 1975 Airstream 29′ Ambassador trailer, the distance between the wheels is 80″, the rear overhang is 110″ and the front overhang is 190″. This means a 4% grade represents a distance difference of 3.2″ between the wheels or 4.4″ at the rear or 7.6″ at the front. At a 6% grade, the distance differences would be 4.8, 6.6, and 11.4 inches.

Or, for side to side considerations, a 2% grade needs one Lynx Leveler pad, a 4% grade needs a 4×6 piece of lumber and a 6% grade is going to need a 6by board.

If that 6% grade is going front to rear, the tongue jack will be pushing its range. If the tongue is uphill, the hitch is on the ground. If the tongue is downhill, the jack has the front lifted nearly a foot past the usual 8 to ten inches, which is nearing its limits for extension.

Whenever you are parking on a grade, keeping the rig from rolling downhill is a big concern. It is very difficult to get chocks that work at steep angles or at significant lifts. You never want to trust just one solution either. You can see how several boards were used both downslope and between the wheels in the Unionville picture. In addition, between wheels stabilizing chocks and the stabilizing jacks at the trailer corners were also used.

Another consideration is wobble and possible falling off of jacks. This is a reason why it is preferred to have the tongue down hill. For front entrance trailers, a low tongue will not only help stability but also help keep the door from getting too far off the ground.

For another effort at leveling, check out this effort from a campout at the Great Basin National Park
Parking level
Owner’s Guide page on leveling your rig.

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