When you take your RV or motorhome out for a trip, making sure you are level when you park is very important. Obviously you don’t want the discomfort of having your feet above your head when you’re sleeping, or have to deal with constantly rolling into the wall a night. The idea of all of your food rolling off the countertops when you’re trying to cook probably doesn’t sound too great either. RV leveling is not only going to prevent those issues, it’s necessary for your RV or motorhome to function properly as well.
Some appliances within your motorhome or RV need to be level due to their design. Refrigerators, for example, have a cooling system that is based on liquids inside the coils (typically liquid ammonia) being able to flow downward. Without proper leveling, this can’t happen and your cooling system may not work as efficiently as it is supposed to or even work at all. To ensure your RV leveling is done properly, whether you have jacks or just your wheels for leveling, here’s what you need to know:
Proper RV Leveling Pads Are Essential
When it comes to RV parts and accessories, none may be as important as your RV leveling pads. These are the pads that either go under the wheel of your vehicle when you park or work as a jackpad to sit under your jack if you have an automatic leveling system.
There are a few reasons RV leveling pads are important. If you are parking in an area with loose terrain, your wheels or jacks may sink into the ground. As time passes while you’re parked and you begin to sink into the ground, you will start to become unleveled and you can even end up getting stuck where you parked as you try to leave. Using an outrigger pad gives you a wide, sturdy surface that prevents your vehicle from sinking into the ground.
Additionally, RV leveling pads are easily stacked which make them ideal for leveling your motorhome if you do not have a hydraulic jack system. This allows you to easily adjust your vehicle to the perfect height no matter what kind of terrain you are in or how much of a slope you are dealing with.
Remember that the quality and type of RV leveling jackpad you have is something you need to watch for. Using a synthetic outrigger pad such as ours gives you a lot of strength in a single pad so you don’t have to worry about it cracking while being extremely lightweight. It’s not advisable to use treated wood for your stability pads as they can retain moisture, crack under extreme temperatures, and cause splinters when they fracture.
How To Level Your RV With Blocks The Right Way
If you have an automatic leveling system with a jack or multiple jacks, making sure you use a synthetic outrigger pad is still important. You want to make sure that your jack is perfectly centered on the jackpad, directly below your hydraulic jack so it sits evenly and eliminates any possible slippage.
If you don’t have any type of jack for your RV or motorhome, driving onto the RV leveling pads will allow you to level out your vehicle quite easily. Not sure how to do that? Here is how to level your RV on pads in 5 simple steps to guarantee safety:
Determine where you want to park your RV and park about 2-3 feet away from that point (this may differ slightly depending on the size of RV leveling blocks you have).
Set the parking brake and turn off your RV or motorhome so it doesn’t move at all.
Figure out which tires need blocks underneath them and how many of each you will need. You may need to adjust things your first few tries, but as you get more experience RVing you will quickly be able to gauge this by eye.
Place your blocks against the tire in the direction that you will be driving onto them, either at the front or the back. If you have to stack multiple blocks on top of each other it’s best that the pads are slightly offset so your motorhome can easily roll onto them.
Start up your RV and release the parking brake. Putting your motorhome in gear will let you idle speed up the ramp blocks very slowly and safely. Make sure you stop exactly when your tires are over the center of the RV leveling pads.
That’s it. Just check to see if you are level and put your vehicle in park and set the parking brake if so. If you still aren’t level, back off the blocks and adjust as necessary.
Remember, safety is a very important issue when leveling your vehicle. It’s absolutely imperative that you have high quality pads under your jacks or your wheels when parked and leveled. Our pads are designed to be as strong as steel at just a fraction of the weight, so you don’t have to worry about them cracking underneath you.
The blocks are also wide enough that they keep the weight of your wheels evenly distributed. If you use wood to level your RV and it’s too thin, it could damage the exterior walls of your tires which could cause them to blow out while you drive. With our jackpads and RV leveling you never have to worry about things like this because they were designed specifically for safety and strength whether used with an RV or as crane outrigger pads.
The above photo depicts a mobile crane that just toppled over it self, this accident was caused by improperly used outrigger arms and/or outrigger pad supports and is completely avoidable. Due to the increased amount of safety and awareness that crane operators need to exhibit, I have compiled a list of links related to crane outrigger pad placement and lifting safety.
If you read one of these link this one is a must: The ABS's of Foundation Loadings Under Cranes. This thorough article will give you the knowledge to correctly select the correct outrigger pad and analyze your ground surface safely.
This is a rough terrain crane safety training manual provided by OHSA, it includes all necessary inspection and operational safety information.
Here is an expertly written article by: Kirk Ward - The Top five Ways to Reduce Crane Accidents.
The video of this New Zealand crane toppling over demonstrates the importance of having a stable and solid surface to lift from and how external factors such as weather can play a role in safety.
Alberta's guidelines for the safety training of crane operators and supervisors has a wide array of training requirements.
Side Note: These provided links are property of their respective owners and not Stabilitypads.com
The importance of outrigger pads can be outlined by an exert taken from Alberta's Occupational Heath and Safety Provincial Act Section 92.2:
"All crane outriggers are designed for good ground conditions. Poor ground conditions reduce the amount of load a crane can safely place on an outrigger. Because of this, many crane operations require additional supports or “floats”. These floats may be of wood, steel or synthetic material but must be of sufficient size, strength and rigidity to transfer the outrigger load to the full area of the float. A float that is smaller than the outrigger pad will increase the pressure on the ground and will cause an outrigger to “punch through”. If the outrigger is set on an unlevel float, the pad may slide causing the crane to tip. Many manufacturers stipulate that the crane must be within 1 percent of level before their load chart applies. In a 20-foot span this is only 2 inches off-level. Past that, the crane can lose 15 to 20 percent or more of its capacity.
When sizing outrigger floats, it is important to know the maximum pressure applied by the outrigger as well as the required float area. The area (square feet) of float can be estimated by dividing the maximum capacity of the crane by five (5). [Construction Safety Association of Ontario]
A reasonable approximation for maximum ground pressure (worst case) applied by the outrigger is:
Pressure (tons per ft2) applied by outrigger =
0.85 x total crane mass + maximum crane capacity
individual outrigger area
[Construction Safety Association of Ontario]
This can be then be used to calculate the required thickness of float."
This information is critical to crane operators and their employers to ensure paramount safety with lifting and rigging. I feel some critical elements of safety are left out of Section 92.2, such as the ineffectiveness and dangerous circumstance wooden pads can create.
Wooden outrigger pads offer an array of safety concerns such as:
In terms of longevity and effectiveness they often come up short compared to their superior synthetic counterparts, a wooden pad will often need to be replaced in more frequent intervals.
Their cost is significantly cheaper, however replacing a pad at more frequent interval will increase your cost in downtime and the amount spent on materials and production of more wooden pads.
If you find yourself replacing your outrigger pads frequently maybe its time to upgrade to a product that has all the benefits and none of negative qualities. Synthetic pads offer a lightweight, durable and strong alternative while providing maximum safety and longevity.
To conclude outrigger pads offer an increased surface area to distribute heavy loads across all ground surfaces. These pads will decrease risk of injury, increase crane stability, reduce chances of property damage and protect your most important assets.