Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Leveling Your RV using Andersen 3604 Camper Leveler

I’ve used “Lego" blocks levelers for years and they work fine for leveling the RV. The last sets I had started cracking and splitting in the middle, so I started looking for a better replacement. I was searching the net when I stumbled upon the Andersen 3604 Camper leveler (Amazon Link: Click here ). Although I did not find any user reviews for a Sprinter based RV's, trailer campers swear by them as easy and simplest leveler to use, so I took the plunge and bought a pair. It is fairly expensive at about $45 a set ($90 for a pair). Another set and all 3 wheels should be cover, but for now, I'll keep using the few remaining "Lego" blocks I have for the 3rd wheel, just in case.
   
Per manufacturer, it can level anywhere from 1/2-inch all the way to 4-inches and anything in-between. The lift measures 4-inches at the very end of the leveler. It is made of tough plastic and definitely looks heavy duty.

I find it easier and much faster to level the RV with a partner or a spotter. First, find a good spot on the site to level, then DW (spotter) puts the low point of the leveler under the tire(s) that needed a lift. When she says "all clear" I then slowly drive up the ramp(s) until “level” using my "Bullseye Level", applies the brake  firmly to prevent the RV from rolling down the sloped end of the ramp...when I say "clear", she then puts in the safety wedge-chock piece(s) to secure. I continue to hold the brakes firmly at this point until I'm 100% sure that she is done and she is back to a safe distance before shifting the RV in neutral or reverse gear and letting the wheels roll a bit towards the safety wedge-chocks securing both pieces together, and you're done!  I use separate tire chocks on the opposite side of the RV for safety.
It is a little bit complicated when each wheels needed a different lift heights to achieve a proper RV level. The idea is to setup your first leveler to the wheel that needed more lift than the other(s), drive up the ramp while keeping an eye on your bubble level, make the first wheel level with the 2nd wheel that needs a lift, apply brakes, setup the second leveler in front of the second wheel, drive up on both the levelers until you achieve the desired level...if a third wheel also needs a lift, drive up on the first and 2nd leveler only until both wheels gets level with the 3rd wheel, setup the 3rd leveler in front of the 3rd wheel then proceed to drive up on them until level. It does need practice as you have to judge the precise placements of each Andersen leveler in relative to the bubble position of your level. I like using the inclinometer app above as it has better display representing the roll and pitch of the RV in respect with the gravity.

Disadvantages of using the Andersen leveler I can think of:
  1. Limited to 4" lift height or maybe a little less as I don't feel any safer parking my wheels up to the very top edge of the leveler.
  2. If one breaks, that set becomes totally unusable, unlike the"Lego" blocks, breaking few blocks does not prevent you from using the rest for leveling.
  3. Leveling the RV yourself can get tricky if both rear wheels need a good lift, the rear wheels would tend to roll down towards the sloped end of the leveler even with the parking brake is firmly applied. Definitely needs a good solid parking brake if doing the leveling yourself. For travel trailers this should not be a real issue as the primary road vehicle rear wheels are always firmly planted on the ground.
Below is a YouTube video demo from Andersen. On this video it mentioned that you could actually drive off the leveler when done, I have not try it as I am concerned that the leveler might hit the fiberglass ground effects of the RV as it tries to "kick up" as you slowly drive off.

 Boxing of Andersen Leveler. Marked as Made in the old US of A if that is important to you.
 
 A pair of Andersen leveler.
 
 My folding tire chocks to save space.
 
 Made a cloth carrier for the leveler and tire chocks. The carrier with the pair of leveler in it measures about 15.5"(L) x 6"(W)x 8.5"(H).
 
 Here it is in action. I just needed about an inch of lift on the driver side to get level on this particular campsite.
 
 

 
 
 

4 comments:

  1. Great review and photos of these. The bag that you made looks pretty amazing - made or bought? Finally, the last picture- how wide are the chocks vs. the actual tire's width?

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    1. Thanks for the comment. I made the bag. The Andersen chock is 6 inches wide and the tire width is about 8 inches.

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  2. I have not had good luck with the Andersen levelers with my RT 190. Depending on where the leveler is placed as I roll onto the leveler it flips up and hits the body of the van. The RT 190 is just too low to the ground and there isn't sufficient clearance for the Andersen leveler to move into position for side to side leveling.

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    1. Sorry to hear that it does not work well on your RV, although I have heard the opppsite on some RT 190 owners. Do you push the leveler far enough in front of the tire? Wedge it in an angle in front of the tire following the contour of the tire not flat on the ground to minimize the chances of it flipping up as you drive onto it.

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