We've all been there. You back into the campsite, disconnect the unit from the tow vehicle, level things up front to back, using the front jack(s) and drop the stabilizers, only to discover that the unit is two bubbles out of level from side to side. Common sense (and your user's manual) tells you that your unit and it's components will function better and last longer if set up nice and level in both directions.

Therein lies the rub. Unless you own one of the more expensive motor coaches, your unit came with no built in method of establishing a level East/West set up. Contrary to popular belief and much to the chagrin of many who put faith in that popular belief, scissor stabilizer jacks are NOT capable of lifting or leveling your unit! They are ONLY intended to grip the ground and keep the thing from wallowing and rocking around while you're doing ... whatever. You'll bend them if you put too much pressure on them and, while replacing them won't break the bank, it's a less than fun experience.

Several commercial products are available to address this need but I have yet to see one that tops the performance of this little home-made ramp. If you are minimally handy (and all RV'ers should at least be minimally handy) you can construct this simple device to ensure a nice level set up at the campsite. By th way, I'd love to take credit for inventing this little device but I'm afraid that I've been relegated to making only slight modifications to someone else's design. Day late ... dollar short ... story of my life.

Materials List
1 - 10 foot, untreated (I'll explain later) 2" x 10"
12 - 1-1/2" Dry Wall Screws
Good Quality Waterproof Paint

Construction
Cut the first piece to 3 1/2 feet long, with a 45 degree bevel at one end. Cut the second piece to 2 1/2 feet long, again with a 45 degree bevel at one end and cut the third piece to 1 1/2 feet long and bevel one end to 45 degrees.

Stack the 2 1/2 foot piece on top of the 3 1/2 foot base, line up the sides and the butt ends and attach using 8 drywall screws spaced two across and evenly distributed (make sure the screws are countersunk into the piece to avoid tire damage). Stack the 1 1/2 foot top ramp at the top of the stack, line up the sides and the butt ends and attach with 4 drywall screws, again, countersunk. Sand thoroughly to remove any splintered surfaces and protect with a good quality waterproof paint.

Note: I do not recommend using treated lumber to build your ramp. Treated lumber is soaked in arsenic or other hazardous preservatives to slow decay and/or discourage infestation by termites and carpenter ants. These preservatives are poisonous and are not safe for use around small children or pets. Also, treated lumber tends to be heavier than untreated stocks and does not provide a good surface for the adherance of paint. Plain old pine will work just fine.

Many RV'ers build these ramps out of 2" x 6" stock. While this works OK and is a bit lighter, the 10" stock provides a more stable base and allows for support across the entire width of the tire. Refer to your owner's manual, but most manufacturers recommend that the entire width of the tire be supported when leveling to avoid tread separation or sidewall damage.

To use your ramps, position the unit at the optimal location and, while still connected to the tow vehicle, check the East/West level by placing a torpedo level across the floor at the entry door. After determining which side needs to be raised, move the unit forward or back far enough to accommodate the ramp. Place the ramp behind or in front of the wheel to be raised and roll the unit up onto the first platform. Re-check the level and, if needed, move to the second or third level.

I often get the question "what if I need to go higher than the top level?" The top of the ramp is 4 1/2" high. If this doesn't get you pretty close to level, Bucky, you don't need a taller ramp ... you need a better campsite!!

Properly constructed and with reasonable care, this ramp will last a lifetime.

Views: 1119

Tags: advice, camper, leveling, ramps, setup

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Comment by Barry McCurry on August 20, 2008 at 1:36pm
Pat, the rope handle would be an excellent addition to the ramp, particularly since the wider base does tend to add a bit of weight. Thanks for the suggestion! I'll try to post a pic of the set up in the near future.
Comment by Pat Daly on August 19, 2008 at 3:24pm
Barry, just what we need! We just got back from our Colorado trip and decided that a simple!! leveling system is just what we need for our good old rv. Frankly, i'd rather use em that hydraulic leveling jacks ... which are a big pricy to fix. Post a pic of your levelers when you can. Also, how about adding a simple rope handle lke the trucker use to the back?? thanks pat

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