KEYWORDS: level, trailer, wheels, refrigerator, fridge, blocks

Have Trailer--Will Travel--Part 10: Level & Stabilize--For Safety and Refrigeration

David Berg

DFO 812-1013/7/79

1. BUT NO REFRIGERATOR WILL WORK PROPERLY‚ & MAYBE NOT EVEN REFRIGERATE OR GET COLD AT ALL, IF IT IS NOT EXACTLY LEVEL‚ side-to-side & front-to-back!—Not even your house fridge! Always carry a couple of good jacks with which you can help to level the trailer when camping. Usually you can level easily from front-to-back or end-to-end with a little dolly wheel that's provided in the tongue of the trailer, & on which trailer rests when the tongue's disconnected from the car.

2. BUT THE DOLLY WHEEL USUALLY ONLY LEVELS THE TRAILER FROM END-TO-END or front-to-back, & not side-to-side! You may be parked on a slope of some kind on which the trailer's tipped either left or right, or side–to-side. If it is tipped even a fraction of an inch, even half-an-inch or more off the level, your refrigerator will not work well, or maybe not at all!—It won't work‚ no matter if it's on 220, 110, 12-volts or gas!

3. NEITHER WILL YOUR HOUSE REFRIGERATOR WORK WELL IF IT'S NOT EXACTLY LEVEL, both ways! So if you're having problems in some old house with a sloping wooden sagging floor or uneven tile or concrete & your refrigerator's not perfectly level‚ then it will not work efficiently. It might be cool but never get cold‚ or it might be cold but never freeze! So that may be your problem, if you've got it turned up all the way & it still doesn't freeze or get cold. If you have that problem, it's probably because your refrigerator is not perfectly level.

4. THE WAY TO LEVEL A FRIDGE is to set a one–foot or 30-cm level inside on the very bottom of the refrigerator inside the refrigerator, & try it from side–to-side & front-to-back to see if it's level. If not, & it's a house fridge‚ prop up the various low legs or feet at the corners of the fridge with pieces of cardboard or wood or something to get it level.

5. WITH A TRAILER FRIDGE YOU'LL PROBABLY NEED MORE THAN A FEW PIECES OF CARDBOARD or sticks or shims underneath the trailer to get it level, because you're going to have to level up the whole trailer! This you will possibly have to do with jacks or mighty strong corner stabilisers &/or a few blocks or boards of wood or bricks! But you should have at least one good hydraulic jack, or even a mechanical jack if you have nothing else‚ that can lift one side of the trailer or the other, or one corner, in order to get it level, & then place your blocks of wood or boards or bricks underneath the frame or the wheels or whatever it takes to get the whole trailer level.

6. BECAUSE, IF YOU'RE GOING TO STAY IN ONE SPOT MORE THAN 24 HOURS‚ YOUR FRIDGE WILL STOP WORKING IF IT'S NOT PERFECTLY LEVEL! Even if it was dead cold to begin with when you got there, & had ice in it, it will be dead warm within 24 hours if it remains on a slight slant, even if its flame is burning brightly or the local electricity is on full blast! It will not function properly unless it is exactly level! It might stay cold awhile because of the ice & cold already in it, or even cool longer, but it won't freeze & may defrost completely!

7. IN ORDER FOR YOUR TRAILER FRIDGE TO BE LEVEL, YOUR WHOLE TRAILER HAS TO BE LEVEL!—PERFECTLY LEVEL, from front-to-back & side-to–side. Front-to-back is done mostly with the dolly wheel, but side-to-side you'll probably have to do with a jack & blocks of wood & the corner stabilizers. So while travelling with trailers or campers I always carried several short boards & blocks of wood in the trunk. You may also need them for chocks to put in front & behind the wheels to keep the trailer from falling off jacks or rolling in case the brakes fail. You'll certainly need them for blocking up the trailer in leveling it up.

8. IF THE GROUND LEVEL IS PRETTY BADLY SLOPED, one of the easiest ways to level the trailer up is to run the wheels of the low side up on a plank or two or three. That is, get your trailer almost in position, & then put a two-by-six or two–by–eight, a thick board that is wider than the tires, either in front of the trailer wheels & pull your trailer wheels up onto the plank—or put the boards behind the wheels & back them up onto the planks. This will usually level you up enough on fairly level ground to get you nearly level.—Then you can do the pinpoint exact leveling with your jacks & stabilizers.

9. IF THAT STILL DOESN'T DO IT, YOU MIGHT HAVE TO PUT MORE PLANKS UNDER THE WHEELS on that side of the trailer that's low.—And if that still doesn't do it, you may have to jack it up with jacks & put blocks underneath the frame to get it high enough to get it level‚ if you're on very uneven ground. Most modern trailers have stabilizers at each corner, & these can be used to stabilize & make the trailer firm, but they're not strong enough to lift the trailer & act as jacks.

10. SO YOU MAY NEED TO JACK IT UP with your jack, & block it up with blocks under both the trailer wheels frame & the stabilizers on the low side. Be sure to first set the trailer hand-brake, & chock the trailer wheels on the opposite high side for safety so it won't roll or fall off your jacks or blocks.

11. THIS IS ALL VERY IMPORTANT, not only for the sake of the refrigerator‚ but for the sake of stability & safety of the trailer under the weight of all the people that are going to be inside! Make it good & stable so it doesn't rock back & forth, & is not off the level, & so you don't feel like you're sleeping with your head down & your feet up, or vice-versa, & your coffee doesn't run out of the cup, or the grease all stay in one side of the pan when you're trying to fry eggs etc.!

12. YOU MAY THINK THIS SOUNDS FUNNY, BUT WAIT'LL YOU TRY IT! When camping with a trailer, it's very important to make it as level & stable as you can. If you need refrigeration, as most of us do, you're going to have to have it perfectly level in both directions. This will also make it much more pleasant to live in, when it's level & solid, especially if you're going to be in a location for any length of time.

13. BECAUSE IF IT'S NOT LEVEL, it can even give you a kind of sinking or dizzy feeling, or even make you almost seasick, if the trailer is not level & stable while walking around in it! It'll also ruin your refrigeration, spoil your food & put too great a load on the tires with all those heavy people inside!

14. OF COURSE‚ IF YOU'RE ONLY STOPPING OVERNIGHT, YOU DON'T NEED TO GO TO ALL THIS TROUBLE of stabilizing & leveling the trailer. If it's still hitched to the car, you can usually drive off the side of the road almost anywhere & spend the night, & the fridge is not going to lose that much coldness just overnight. It may defrost a bit, but it will still stay cold enough to preserve your food.

15. IF YOUR OVERNIGHT CAMPING SPOT IS NOT LEVEL, & you don't have time or are too tired & don't want to take the trouble of leveling up, then don't even bother to light the gas fridge flame, because it won't refrigerate anyhow. But if you have managed to pull into a spot that is fairly level, even for the night you may find it worthwhile to light your refrigerator, & it may still refrigerate if your spot is fairly level & your trailer is fairly level connected to the car.