The RV Forum Community

RVing message boards => Trailers & Fifthwheels => Topic started by: Boonieman on August 24, 2017, 06:56:03 PM

Title: Are automatic leveler REALLY automatic?
Post by: Boonieman on August 24, 2017, 06:56:03 PM
We are toying with the idea of trading our toy hauler for a newer one. I have convinced myself that it should have automatic leveling, but some posts I've seen suggest you still have to do a little blocking even with auto leveling. I can understand a really whacko campsite, but in general is it a push button deal? Leveling the one we have now is manual, but generally a 5-10 minute job, no biggie.
Title: Re: Are automatic leveler REALLY automatic?
Post by: scottydl on August 24, 2017, 07:48:25 PM
So, the question becomes... how much $ is that 5-10 minutes worth?  ;)

I think you'd find automatic leveling to go both ways... sometimes it'll end up great, and many times you'd want/need to do some fine tuning.
Title: Re: Are automatic leveler REALLY automatic?
Post by: Boonieman on August 24, 2017, 07:55:05 PM
Thanks Scott, that's what I needed to know. At least I won't be surprised if I have to actually exert a little effort to go camping. 👍🏻
Title: Re: Are automatic leveler REALLY automatic?
Post by: Lou Schneider on August 24, 2017, 08:05:57 PM
If the automatic levelers don't have jacks near the trailer axles, you'll still want to drive the low side wheels onto a set of blocks if the site slopes side to side.  Trailers are designed to have most of their weight on the axles, not supported by jacks on the four corners.
Title: Re: Are automatic leveler REALLY automatic?
Post by: SargeW on August 24, 2017, 08:08:17 PM
I had a 2012 Forest River fiver with electronic jacks. There was some pre blocking necessary.  The leveling system on that rig was from Lippert components.  My biggest complaint about that system was that if the pad was more than a few inches out of level, the system would go "out of stroke" IE not enough jack to level itself, and would just stop. You either had to start over, or accept it like it was.  And it was a 6 jack system. The middle jacks would be the last to deploy, and if the system went out of stroke, you couldn't get the middle ones down at all.

Not all systems work the same I am sure, but the Lippert system did.
Title: Re: Are automatic leveler REALLY automatic?
Post by: Boonieman on August 24, 2017, 08:19:59 PM
This is good info to know. As usually, everything isn't always as presented by the sales guys. But sticking a couple blocks under the wheels beats setting up and breaking down a tent, although in my younger years I totally enjoyed that style of camping.
Title: Re: Are automatic leveler REALLY automatic?
Post by: steveblonde on August 25, 2017, 07:21:55 AM
I have hydrallic levelers on my 2015 Voltage and yes they are automatic and yes they are awesome i have only run into issues when camping in the mountains where the campsite had a huge slope to it front to back, then i used blocks on the front two jacks, but never have i had to run it up on blocks for side to side leveling. I would never buy another rig without them - push a button its done amen thank you sir its beer oclock lol
Title: Re: Are automatic leveler REALLY automatic?
Post by: 8Muddypaws on August 25, 2017, 02:22:42 PM
I don't back onto blocks at all.  I raise the rig higher than necessary, slide the blocks under the wheels and lower it down.  Much easier and safer.
Title: Re: Are automatic leveler REALLY automatic?
Post by: keymastr on August 25, 2017, 04:00:19 PM
Seems like the biggest advantage would be when doing maintenance or changing a flat.
Title: Re: Are automatic leveler REALLY automatic?
Post by: 8Muddypaws on August 25, 2017, 04:35:30 PM
With our fifth wheel I used to spend up to 45 minutes getting it level in a place we went at least 3 times a year.  Backing it up on a stack of blocks over a foot high was never easy.

Now that we have the motorhome with automatic leveling jacks I put blocks under the jacks with more than about 8 inches of clearance, hit the switch and in less than 2 minutes I'm level.  Then I put a stack of blocks under any wheel that's off the ground.  That makes it about 12 minutes total.  And that's one of the worst places (level wise) that we go.

We only go there once a year now but I'm not about to give up my levelers.
Title: Re: Are automatic leveler REALLY automatic?
Post by: blw2 on August 28, 2017, 02:37:54 PM
I had auto levelers on my strong "want" list when we were shopping.  As it turned out the rig we found and liked didn't have them.  Not on my "must have" list so ok....

I seriously thought I'd add them eventually.  Fast forward a couple years....I've found that FOR THE PLACES WE GO it hasn't been too much of a problem.  I've had to break out the boards a few times but usually not too big of a deal.... one time though, it was a battle and we even ended up moving to a couple different sites

Still, if I could have them I'd love it...but have gotten by without just fine so far.

Based on what I've seen and read, I suspect many folks are very careful about putting down boards or pads under the jacks every time....even when not absolutely necessary (to protect the jack feet?)  For those folks, definitely not push and forget...
Also, I get the idea that often the "auto" part gets it close, then some folks tweak it to get it better.
So to answer your question....I suspect a lot of it depends on what type of personality you are..... can you live with it being just a bit less than perfect?
Title: Re: Are automatic leveler REALLY automatic?
Post by: Memtb on September 21, 2017, 10:08:39 AM
Boonieman,
I realize that we're responding to a quite old post but thought we would give our findings and opinions.  Please understand, this pertains to our 5th wheel and the Bigfoot leveling system.    Our Bigfoot is fully automatic and has been very reliable.  The only time I contacted Bigfoot was on a weekend immediately after purchasing our used unit and needed some adult supervision on how to operate it.  The customer support was great and remember this was on a weekend. 



In looking at your name, I presume you do some boondocking.  If so, I will offer this as a suggestion - as most toyhaulers are pretty heavy and most jacks have a fairly small footprint, when camped on fairly soft terrain, we place a large wooden pad under each jack.  I laminated two 12"x12"x 3/4" plywood pieces together with a nylon strap for a carry handle.  I have never had one of these sink into the ground yet. 

Should you find yourself camping in freezing temperatures, I place a small piece of tar paper beneath each wooden pad.  This way I can pick up my pads and bring them home rather than leaving them for the spring thaw...or someone else.
Title: Re: Are automatic leveler REALLY automatic?
Post by: Boonieman on September 21, 2017, 05:16:04 PM
Thanks all for taking the time to reply and offer advice. BTW, I use the name Boonieman because we actually do live in the middle of the woods, my mom says me and my better half are throwbacks in time and  refers our place as the boonies. We have decided for this year at least, to keep our Fuzion, we have overall been very happy with it.  I have read where it is a buyers market, but we haven't found that to be the case, across multiple states. Anyway, it doesn't takes us long to set up without auto leveling, and we did start out in tents, so spoiled we are not. 😄 But we sure do enjoy the nicer side of camping. Sounds like to me, auto leveling for us would be nice, but not a necessity. Thanks again!

Boonieman