Stef will tell you: Not every idea I have is a good one. Take this one. I had high hopes for being able to use the Anderson Camper Levelers to level up our Class B easily. I set myself up with accessories, made some handy reference charts, and had what I thought was a solid process outlined in my head. But when I bought the levelers and tested everything out, it didn’t really work. Have a look at the video and you’ll see what I mean.
For those of you who want a little more detail, here’s the write-up.
The idea was pretty simple.
- First – I found a smartphone app that provided me a surface level. Besides giving me some basic info about the angle of the rig, it also had a “beeping” feature. The beeps get closer and closer together as the device approaches level.
- Next – I found a place near the driver’s seat where I could put my smartphone so that the level app would give me the same reading that it does when sitting in the refrigerator.
- Then – I figured out how much tilt I was willing to live with (in my case, 1 degree).
- Using some basic trigonometry, I made a chart of how much lift would be needed to correct for various angles. This was done mostly as a sanity check and a safety measure. I did this in a spreadsheet. If you know the wheelbase and track of your vehicle, you can use the spreadsheet as well! You can download it from here: Wheelbase Track and Level
- Then, I purchased the Anderson Camper Levelers. I paid full Amazon for these. The reason I wanted these is that they provide a continuous spectrum of lift. Unlike stacking blocks (where you can get either 1 inch or 2 inches of lift), the Anderson levelers could provide 1.32785″ of lift if you want. The amount of lift depends only on where you stop.
I’ll be honest – I had visions in my head of driving smoothly up onto the levelers, and gliding to a stop when the beeps from my smartphone changed pitch. It was a great mental visual. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way at all. There were a number of problems with this system, none of which I really blame on the Anderson Levelers.
Driving up onto these levelers is tricky. In the video, you’ll see me drive up onto the levelers multiple times. None of these attempts are smooth (and there were about 30 attempts you don’t see on the video, so it’s not like I didn’t get plenty of practice). There was a lot of two-pedal driving trying to keep from rolling backwards. And trying to move a nearly 5 ton vehicle uphill in half-inch increments isn’t smooth – it’s jumpy and jerky. As you can see, I was trying to move the RV through what was basically 1/8 of a rotation of the wheels and tires.
These levelers are designed for travel trailers and fifth-wheels, not motorhomes. Think about that one for a minute, because I didn’t think about it before I bought them. Picture your typical single-axle travel trailer. There’s NO WAY to level this front-to-back by raising or lowering a wheel. Here’s a very crude diagram to help you visualize it.
So, with that in mind, now think about a typical Class B. We level front-to-back all the time. We also have two sets of wheels.
So, even though the Anderson Camper Levelers can produce up to 4 inches of lift, due to the long wheel base of a Class B (compared to a camper), that four inches of lift will only change the angle of the RV about 1.5 degrees front-to-back. My spreadsheet predicted that, and the testing proved it right. Campers don’t really level front-to-back this way, and so that’s not a problem for them.
Where these levelers work well is in leveling things side-to-side. There’s not much difference in width between a travel trailer and a Class B. We all have to share the same roads, which keeps widths in check. We got double the amount of angle correction side-to-side that we did front-to-back, both calculated and in testing. So for side-to-side leveling, I had no real problems.
There’s a potential damage issue in using the Anderson Levelers with a motorhome. In the online videos for the camper levelers, they simply drive right off the fronts of them. I guess for travel trailers and such, this is OK. They ride a bit higher up than our Class B does. I never tried to run off the front of the levelers with our rig. I’m pretty sure I would have damaged something if I had. You’ll see what I mean in the video. The leveler is a solid block of stuff about 18 inches long. You don’t want to throw that around the wheels of your vehicle. This severe penalty for an error I could easily see myself making was a big turn-off.
The levelers are just a bit too big for us. You see, blocks, you can take apart, stack, unstack, or do whatever you need in order to get them stored. The camper levelers are all one piece – they don’t break down. And in our rig, with limited storage space, that really caused a problem. Again, you’ll see that in the video.
I’ll repeat – I don’t blame the levelers for any of this. For a camper with adequate storage that you only need to level side-to-side, I’m sure they’re fantastic. But for our Class B, with limited storage, and which we need to level in both axes – they just didn’t work.
But it’s not all bad news! I’m going to keep some of the other parts of the test. For example, the surface level smartphone app was a keeper, and it will help in the future in those situations where something doesn’t feel right. And thanks to the work I did here, I’ll even know where to put the phone! Also, my lift chart will come in handy for determining the number of blocks or boards I need to put under a wheel to get me level in the future. I’m printing out a copy and sticking it in the glove compartment for future reference.
So while the ultimate daydream of leveling smoothly by ear remains an elusive fantasy, I’ve at least got a couple more tools I can use when we go RVing. That was my weekend project. Hope you liked it!