Levelers needed? Worth the cost?

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debsmg

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I have been debating about getting Bigfoot Levelers put on my coach. Currently just going to state parks mostly but will go full time in next 6-12 months. I plan on going to Alaska next year. Most of the time I have not had to use leveling pads. When I do use them they are a bit of a pain. Last week I had to stack 2 to level up back passenger side but still was not totally level. I have some leveling pads from Northern tools which work well but driving up on more than 2 stacked would be hard. I had those pads that are waffle like but got tired of getting out a screw driver to pull them out of mud they sunk into.

I got estimates for installation at a RV service place not too far away. $4000 to $5000 depending on fully automatic to manual. Debating about whether it is worth the money. I will be traveling alone so it is in and out of rv a few times when I do have to level. By far most sites have been level, but I just got coach last year and not much experience outside of Minnesota state parks. By the way Minnesota has some gorgeous well cared for state parks.

Will once I start traveling more find the need to level the coach more often? Are they worth the investment?

Deb
 

SeilerBird

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St Cloud Florida USA
I full timed it for ten years without levelers. You don't need them if you know the secret. All RV sites are not perfectly flat since water would not drain. All RVs are slanted so the front is slightly lower than the back for aerodynamics. When you find a site you park so that the front end of the RV is on the higher side of the site. The RV ends up almost perfectly level then.
 

JDOnTheGo

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Desert Southwest
debsmg said:
Will once I start traveling more find the need to level the coach more often? Are they worth the investment?

Hi Deb, in my opinion, yes.  My coach is a single button to level and I very rarely stay on level ground.  I VERY much love the ease of setup.  Be aware that some coaches with slides are more sensitive to being level.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I would say yes, but "worth the money" is very much a personal convenience assessment (e.g. see Seilerbird's reply).  There are sites where leveling without them is practical and not too much effort, but I think there are many more of the other type. There are also sites where you could get by without doing any leveling at all, especially if you are not too sensitive to the feel of a slight off-level condition. Some folks find it annoying while others are oblivious.  Do not expect nicely prepared sites in Alaska, though. Most parks there are fairly crude to begin with, plus the ground heaves regularly with frost and thaws.

You already stated that using the blocks is "a pain", so I think that's your answer.
 

butch50

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Arkansas
Deb,

I don't know where you are located in Minnesota you are located in (I assume that by your post) but the factory for HWH levelers is in Iowa City, Iowa. They well install them for you at the factory. They have camping at the factory for a night prior to your install date. That was you are right there so they can start the install early in the morning. If you go through Lichtsinn RV in Forest City, Iowa they give you a discount but well schedule you at the factory for the install. When I was checking on my previous rig it was right around $3200 for the install. I have a new rig coming and they are installed as standard equipment.

I have had them in the past and do you really need them No but are they a nice convenience Yes. I have RVed for many years and am pretty good at getting level even using blocks. Normally when I pull into a site I can tell how many blocks and were they are needed. Get out and set them up beside the tire where they are needed and pull forward and slide blocks into place and back up into them, done.
 

Stephen S.

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Jan 4, 2015
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Mableton, GA
Regarding the "waffle" leveling blocks... I have one set of 3/4" thick boards for a base so they don't sink into the ground. I also have used a shovel to lower one side a bit while raising the other.

No law says you can't mix & match leveling techniques.
 

kdbgoat

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Apr 16, 2014
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srs713 said:
Regarding the "waffle" leveling blocks... I have one set of 3/4" thick boards for a base so they don't sink into the ground. I also have used a shovel to lower one side a bit while raising the other.

No law says you can't mix & match leveling techniques.

I use sections of old treadmill belt to keep my orange waffles from sinking. Lightweight,  flexible,  and durable,  what more can you ask? Oh yeah, the belts were free too.
 

billwild

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Dec 8, 2009
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858
You will still have to put down a pad to prevent the levelling jacks from pushing into the ground if the ground is wet. I put down pads and still pushed the pads 8 inches into wet soggy ground. Fortunately I had attached ropes and after a struggle lifted the pads out of the hole.
Did not have levellers on my old motorhome but have them on the newer one now. I love them.

Bill
 

NY_Dutch

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Where our wheels take us!
Besides basic leveling, we really like the stability the jacks provide. With the 100 sq in pads on our Bigfoot auto leveling system, I've never needed to use bigger pads to date, and Bigfoot jacks use dual acting hydraulic cylinders, so there's never any retraction issues with stuck foot pads or broken springs. Contact Bigfoot/Quadra Manufacturing for installation pricing, they usually have some pretty good deals available if you can travel to their White Pigeon, Michigan facility.
 

Back2PA

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debsmg said:
Will once I start traveling more find the need to level the coach more often? Are they worth the investment?

Another yes vote - I'd say we need it at least half the time. I currently have a manual system which works just fine. My previous automatic system worked great sometimes, other times I ended up having to use manual anyway, so if you want to save a little you might consider a manual system. One less thing to go wrong and really doesn't add much to the leveling process.
 

Old Radios

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Jan 24, 2014
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Upstate (the other) New York
I'm one for the less mechanical things to go wrong the better.  No slides, no power steps or awning, and no levelers.  I just use wood blocks I cut.  Carry six with me.  Seldom need over four.  Have used them for 15 years with three different rigs with no problems.  Replace any cracked ones usually after a coupe of years.
My buddy one time was telling me the advantage of his self leveling system and why I needed one.  When we went to pack up a couple days later one of his levelers wouldn't budge.  Took him over a half hour of messing with it to get it back up.  Me, I just stashed my blocks back in a compartment.
 

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JudyJB

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I have full-timed for four years without auto levelers.  I pull into a site, check the two bubble levels on the rear corner of my vehicle, and get out a couple of boards, if needed.  And about 75% of the time, I do not need anything as my vehicle is "level enough."  You do not have to be perfectly level all the time, just comfortably level.  Because they are larger, boards are a lot easier to back up on than those orange waffle things a lot of people use.  A board is also less likely to sink into soft ground.  (I gave my orange things to my son after a few months for his trailer.)

I put two sideways under a rear dually set of tires and one the long way for a front tire.  Very occasionally I need a third board on top, like the diagram posted above. 

An 8-foot 2x10 costs about $12.  Most hardware stores will cut it into four two-foot sections at no or a very low cost.  Mine last about a year before they crack and have to be tossed into a fire pit.

$12 is a lot cheaper than even $3,200.  In addition, the boards will not get stuck in a position that prevents you from driving.  Nothing to bend or break, and if the wood cracks, which it eventually will, it is very cheap and easy to replace.
 

HappyWanderer

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We use step chocks for leveling, easy peasy. We've have the same ones for eight years, and they're still going strong.
 

NY_Dutch

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Where our wheels take us!
Adding hydraulic levelers is a personal decision based on a desire for convenience and the available budget. I've had motorhomes with them and without them, and with is definitely preferable from my view. My previous Coachmen Class A did not have levelers, so I purchased and installed Bigfoot's EZ-Leveler single pump manual system for about $2000, and was very please with it. My current Landau came with Bigfoot's four pump auto-leveler system factory installed, and while I wouldn't pay extra for the auto feature, it is nice to just push one button and go take care of other setup chores while the coach levels and stabilizes itself so the slide can be extended.
 

ArdraF

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If you're going to be fulltime and traveling from place to place, you already know the answer because you said the boards are a PITA now.  They get to be even more so as time passes.  We installed the Quadra Bigfoot levelers on two motorhomes and LOVED them!  I'll never forget the first night with the second set.  We had them installed at Quartzsite and were on our way home that night.  Pulled into a casino parking lot in a pouring rain.  Went up front, pushed the leveling button, and it did its thing.  We never had to go out in the rain and no more hassling with the blocks we had used for years.  It sure was nice getting rid of all those wooden blocks!

ArdraF
 

debsmg

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Jul 28, 2015
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SE Minnesota
Thanks for your replies. I actually am going to Lichtsen RV this  week to get towing equipment put on my car and my coach.  I will talk with them about the HWH levelers, but  I am leaning towards Bigfoot levelers. They do not require the use of a cargo space. They seem to have good reviews too.  Unfortunately more expensive.

I do like my coach and don't anticipate trading up anytime soon.  The convenience of levelers would be nice. The towing equipment for flat towing my Honda Fit isn't cheap either. So not in big hurry for levelers but want to do this summer if I decide to get them.

Thanks again,
Deb
 

Olustee bus

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Oct 6, 2015
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Here is something I found that would make leveling a rv much easier as far as a level device. It is a app for an android phone. There are some for an iphone also.

google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gamma.bubblelevel&hl=en

For some reason, I was not able t
 

towersafety

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Jul 5, 2011
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I love mine.  I have the 1 button ones because I only had to run wires not hydraulic lines on my Class C. I installed them myself and the mounts were factory welded to the frame so I did not need to do that.  If I had it to do over again I would.  If I had to pay someone else to install them I may be more hesitant due to the added cost but it has been the best investment (in time and ease of set up) I have ever made in a RV.
 

Ernie n Tara

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May 16, 2009
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Ft Myers, FL
I have the HWH levelers and am giving serious consideration to changing out for Bigfoots. I guess I'm snake bit, but I have replaced one already and have three more that have to be jacked up to retract them. At $600 a pop, I suspect I can save money in the long run. I know I can save aggravation.

The only reason I haven't done it is that they've been that way for two years and we haven't missed them yet! The only time they were used was when we replaced the tires, and the mechanics did the jacking. ;D

Ernie
 
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