Fifth-Wheel Leveling

September 16, 2006
Filed under Trailer How To

Q. I have a 2004 Montana 31-foot fifth-wheel. I want to add a
leveling system like you would find on a motorhome. Is hydraulic or
electric the way to go? Are there other issues with doing this? Why is
this type of system not more popular than it is?

— M.M., Lemoore, California

A. Cost and weight are two reasons why power leveling
systems similar to those used in motorhomes aren’t often seen on
trailers. Adding a power-leveling option to an average fifth-wheel
trailer is a chunk of change, relative to the cost of the trailer, but a
far more costly motorhome can absorb the option price better. Likewise,
such an option adds a fair amount of weight. As trailers get bigger and
more expensive those reasons become less important, of course, so you
may be seeing more such options in the future.

Portrait Jeff Johnston

It’s also possible that trailer owners are more accustomed to the
idea of leveling their own rigs, so they simply haven’t needed the
hydraulic or electric jacks. However, if you want a set of those jacks
on a trailer, there’s no reason why you can’t. — J.J.


Jeff Johnston, TL
consulting editor, started RVing at age 6. During his more than 20 years
as a writer/photographer, he has worked for Truckin’ and Four Wheeler
magazines before joining TL’s technical staff in 1985. Johnston also has
produced an award-winning travel video and TV commercials.

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