Upgrading Your RV Leveling System: A Guide to Advanced Features and Capabilities

Camping in an RV can be a fun and rewarding way to travel and see the great outdoors. But getting your rig stable and properly leveled at a campsite is crucial before you can kick back and relax.

Problems with Manual RV Leveling

Before diving into advanced leveling tech, let’s consider why you’d want to upgrade in the first place. Manually leveling an RV with basic scissor jacks and Lynx levelers can be tedious, physically demanding and even risky:

  • Time consuming – Locating the low spots, placing jack pads, cranking jacks, adjusting Lynx blocks in a process of trial and error takes a long time. Just getting reasonably level can take well over an hour.
  • Physical effort – Lots of cranking, bending, pushing and pulling. Hard on the back and tough for those with mobility challenges.
  • Difficult to get perfect – Nearly impossible to get truly level within recommended 3 degrees or less, especially side-to-side. Appliances may not operate properly.
  • Safety issues – Risk of jack collapse if overloaded. No built-in stabilization for wind sway.

For these reasons, upgrading to an advanced automatic RV leveling system is something any RVer can appreciate after experiencing the ease and precision it provides.

How Automatic RV Leveling Systems Work

Advanced automatic levelers for travel trailers, 5th wheels and motorhomes use a combination of precision sensors, hydraulic jacks, and computerized controls. Here is a general overview of how they work:

  1. Leveling sensors – Once engaged, sensors first determine the starting slope of the RV in both side-to-side and front-to-back axes. Ultrasonic, accelerometer or pendulum sensors are commonly used.
  2. Hydraulic jacks deploy – Based on sensor input, computerized controls activate hydraulic jacks to extend and contact the ground at strategic points to start lifting and stabilizing the RV.
  3. Jack sequencing – Hydraulic jacks are raised or lowered in a choregraphed sequence under computer control to iteratively level the RV within a narrow tolerance.
  4. Push button simplicity – With the touch of a button, the automatic sequence runs and levels the RV to a ready-to-use condition without guesswork or back strain.

Popular automatic RV leveling system manufacturers include Lippert, HWH, Equalizer and Power Gear. Configuration options range from 4 to 8 jacks for dialing in perfect front-to-back and side-to-side leveling.

Key Features of Advanced RV Leveling Systems

Beyond basic functionality, modern automatic RV levelers include an array of convenient capabilities:

One Touch Automatic Leveling

With a single button press, automatic leveling systems run through their entire sequencing routine and level the RV to within recommended tolerances of 3 degrees or less. Some models even provide a “fully automatic” mode that levels the RV completely hands-free once activated.

Electronic Controls and Software

Smart electronics control jack sequencing for precision leveling. Software enhancements provide features like automatic jack retraction upon stowing. Apps and electronic interfaces make operation simple.

Auto Re-Leveling

Advanced levelers continuously monitor orientation and will automatically re-level the RV if movement causes it to shift out of level. Great for long term camping stays when RV settling can occur. No need to re-level manually.

Leveling Status Indicators

LED lights, smartphone or panel indicators convey leveling operation status at a glance. Know when leveling is in process, complete, and if any correction is required.

Touchscreen and Smartphone Control

Higher end systems provide touch panel or Bluetooth smartphone control. Operate leveling functions right from your phone or dedicated display.

Jack Sway Control

Special sway control modes actively stabilize the RV from wind and motion sway using the jacks while camping. Mitigates annoying trailer rocking.

Independent Jack Control

Independently control jacks for lifting a specific corner of the RV or to resolve a localized un-level condition.

Automatic Jack Retraction

Jacks will retract at the touch of a button prior to stowing the RV. Some systems provide automatic sequencing that also disengages jack locks.

Emergency Stop

Immediately halt all jack motion if needed. Jacks will hold position even if power is lost.

Out-of-Level Warnings

If orientation shifts significantly once leveled, warning alerts are provided to notify that re-leveling may be required.

Voltage and Temperature Sensors

Safety sensors monitor hydraulic fluid temperature and current draw. Prevent damage from overheating, voltage spikes, etc.

Tilt Compensation

Some levelers factor in tilting from tire deflation or compression on soft ground. Jacks extend lower on the low side to maintain level.

Rapid Leveling Cycles

With larger hydraulic pumps and custom sequencing, advanced systems can level in as little as 60 seconds once started. Much faster than manual leveling.

Leveling System Installation

To upgrade your existing manual jacks or purchase an RV equipped with hydraulic leveling, plan for proper installation based on:

Jack Mounting Locations

Jacks must be mounted to adequately support and stabilize the RV. More jacks provide better control. Common configurations:

  • 4-point system – One jack at each corner. Good for travel trailers.
  • 6-point system – Adds two mid-point jacks for larger RVs.
  • 8+ point system – Additional jacks for max control on heavy RVs.

Jack Weight Ratings

Required weight capacity varies based on the size and type of RV. Heavier models need robust jacks (25,000 lb+ rating) to lift and stabilize effectively.

Hydraulic and Electrical Requirements

Hydraulic hoses and fittings rated to 3000+ PSI are needed to operate jacks. Electrical wiring must supply proper current for pump and controls.

Control Panel and User Interface

Well-designed panel or touchscreen displays status and allows control with minimal user input required.

RV dealerships and service centers can advise on required jack capacity, placement and professional installation for your particular RV configuration.

The following provides an overview of major brands offering advanced automatic RV leveling systems:

Lippert Level Up® Automatic Leveling

Lippert is arguably the biggest name in RV leveling technology. Their Level Up hydraulic and electronic leveling systems are renowned for fast, simple operation and precision accuracy.

Key Lippert features include:

  • Push button auto-leveling in under 60 seconds
  • Auto re-leveling compensation
  • Touchpad or Bluetooth app control options
  • Up to 8-point jack configurations
  • Independent jack control mode
  • Emergency stop safety

Lippert stands behind their Level Up systems with an industry leading 2 year warranty. These are premium systems designed for fast, perfect leveling with minimal effort.

HWH Computer-Controlled Leveling

HWH is another trusted brand when it comes to RV leveling automation. Their electronic hydraulic systems are precise, reliable and incorporate patented technologies.

Notable HWH features:

  • Triple mounting pattern for flexible jack placement
  • Wind sway stabilization function
  • Auto jack retraction on stow
  • Independent jack control capability
  • Comfort Control app for smartphone level monitoring
  • RV-C APP for monitoring and troubleshooting

With over 50 years in the business, HWH is a proven provider of automatic RV levelers. Their computer controlled systems allow easy 3-touch leveling.

Equalizer Stabi-Lite Automatic Leveling

Equalizer Stabi-Lite systems provide fast, effective automatic leveling in a slightly more budget-friendly package.

Useful Equalizer features:

  • Streamlined hydraulic auto-level sequencing
  • Simple two-button keypad operation
  • Automatic jack retract on stow
  • Optional smart phone app control
  • 4, 6 or 8 jack configurations
  • 3-axis accelerometer for precise level sensing

For solid basic features without paying for all the bells and whistles, the Equalizer Stabi-Lite lineup is worth a look.

Power Gear Aviator Leveling System

Another contender in RV leveling automation is Power Gear. The Aviator line features both hydraulic and electric leveling models.

Aviator benefits:

  • Auto-leveling from just one button
  • Jacks brace on descent for stability
  • Front to back sequenced leveling pattern
  • Level indicator confirms when complete
  • Up to 8 available jack points
  • Touchpad or app based control

Power Gear builds on 50+ years of jack design experience. The Aviator systems provide automated functionality for 5th wheels and larger RVs.

RV Automatic Leveling Costs

Installing or upgrading to an advanced automatic RV leveling system represents a significant investment. But most owners find the benefits and convenience worthwhile. Here are typical price ranges:

  • Basic 4-jack system – $1000 to $2000
  • Popular 6-jack system – $2000 to $3500
  • High-end 8-jack system – $3000 to $4000

Component costs include:

  • Hydraulic leveling jacks
  • Hydraulic hoses, fittings and pump
  • Control module/box
  • Display panel and/or app
  • Wiring harness/installation labor

With professional installation, a robust 6-point system for a mid-size RV usually totals $3000 to $4000 after parts and labor.

Cost scale estimating guidelines:

  • Small travel trailer: $1500 – $2500
  • Mid-size 5th wheel: $2500 – $4000
  • Big Class A motorhome: $3500 – $5000

Options like premium displays or additional jacks add cost. Correctly speccing adequate jack capacity and design for your RV’s weight is critical.

Consider automatic leveling an investment in significantly easier, faster and safer setup. The convenience benefits often make the upgrade worthwhile for regular RVers.

Operating and Maintaining RV Auto Leveling Systems

Once installed, advanced auto leveling systems make RV leveling incredibly simple. But some care is required for proper operation and maintenance:

Proper Site Selection

  • Check that the ground surface is reasonably flat and firm enough to support the RV without sinking.
  • Make sure site accommodates room for jacks to contact ground given the RV length.

System Activation and Stowing

  • Extend innermost jacks first before outer jacks to prevent tipping.
  • Retract jacks in sequence from outside-in prior to departing a site.

Keep Hydraulic Fluid Clean

  • Periodically inspect fluid for dirt contamination or oxidation from heat.
  • Change hydraulic fluid per manufacturer recommendations.

Inspect Hoses and Fittings

  • Look for hydraulic fluid leaks indicating worn seals or loose fittings.
  • Confirm hoses are undamaged with adequate flex clearance.

Maintain Connections

  • Clean any corrosion on electrical connections and ground points.
  • Check wires are secured without pinching or bare spots.

Winterize Properly

  • Fully retract jacks before winter storage and cover jacks.
  • Consider changing hydraulic fluid before winter.

Practice Proper Loading

  • Never exceed RV weight ratings which jack capacity is based on.
  • Distribute cargo weight evenly side-to-side.

Following basic operational and maintenance practices will keep automatic leveling systems functioning optimally for years of service. Consult your owner’s manual for detailed guidelines.

Final Thoughts on RV Leveling Upgrades

If you find manual RV leveling to be a chore, automatic hydraulic and electronic leveling systems provide huge benefits. Their hands-free operation, precision accuracy and added capabilities take nearly all the hassle out of leveling.

Brands like Lippert, HWH and Equalizer offer superb solutions to automate travel trailer, 5th wheel and motorhome leveling. Features like one touch simplicity, auto re-leveling and sway control make setup a breeze.

For RVers who prioritize comfort or have mobility limitations, upgrading from manual jacks to an advanced automatic system is definitely worth considering. The difference it makes in your setup routine will be immediately apparent.

Just be sure to size components appropriately for your RV’s weight and dimensions. And have a reputable dealer perform installation to manufacturer specifications for optimal safety and function.

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