How to Install RV Leveling Jacks

by John Cagney Nash

A recreational vehicle (RV) can have a factory-fitted or aftermarket leveling jack system installed to stabilize and level the vehicle when it is parked. Leveling jack systems, sometimes called parking jacks, are available in a variety of configurations, from simple manually operated scissor jacks to automated systems that use a computer to extend all the jacks until the RV is stable and perfectly level at the touch of a single button. Systems designed for fifth wheels can even lift the hitch from the tow vehicle, and then lower it back into position again. Levels of provision are reflected by costs as well as the increasing complexity of the installation process.

Step 1

Choose a leveling jack system that suits your installation skill and equipment level. Some kits are manufactured so they can be bolted to the underside of your RV, while others have to be welded in place. Ensure that the weight of your RV will be comfortably supported. Remember that leveling jacks are intended to share dead weight, not to lift the vehicle off the ground to change a tire.

Step 2

Establish the locations where the leveling jacks are to be installed. They must be attached to your RV frame and should be as close as possible to the designed support points, i.e., the attachments of your axle suspension, not at the farthest corners of the vehicle.

Step 3

Attach the jacks to the RV according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you are installing a bolt-on system, use a cardboard template cut just like the jack’s mounting plate to mark where your holes will be, and then drill pilot holes followed by increasingly larger holes until the required diameter is reached. Take care not to damage any under-vehicle equipment such as holding tanks and wiring looms. Use all the fasteners provided in your kit, including the lock washers.

Step 4

If you are installing an automatic motorized system, run the wires from each jack to a convenient central point where access is unobstructed. Typically the best locations for the control panel are in the galley, close to the driver’s seat or close to the main entry door. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the installation of the control panel, using grommets to protect the wires at every point where they pass through a bulkhead or panel.

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