Friday, July 12

Do stabilizer jacks need to be down when parking a camper?

My teachers used to love to say that there are no stupid questions, only unasked ones, maybe like this question: do stabilizer jacks need to be down when parking a camper? Sometimes it's not the question itself that seems unnecessary, because deep inside the twisted wording is a legitimate need for information. No, it's the way the question is formed that worries and bothers the normal, thinking person, the same way a dream works at you for a time after you've awakened.

Here is my answer:

This particular query brings disturbing images to mind that are hard to get rid of – a camper being backed into a slot with the stabilizer jacks down, scraping the ground and crying out in metal anguish. The use of the word “parking” is also extremely annoying to someone who has some experience with Rvs. The thing is, you don't “park” a camper, you back it in, you set it up, you position it, you get it in the slot, but no parking is involved. And maybe the word as used here really means setting up, not when getting the rig into the right position to start with, but the imagination runs wild the way it's stated.

Anyway, the kernel of a good question is buried inside this one, which on the surface doesn't make much sense. Of course you don't need or want the jacks to be down while you are in the process of getting your camper situated – that would be silly and not good for the stabilizer jacks at all. It seems that the real concern here (and I am just guessing) is whether the jacks are necessary, in the sense of being a requirement. I can completely understand this question, because I am inherently lazy, like most people, and if I don't absolutely HAVE to do something, especially after a hard day behind the wheel, I really don't want to do it.

The fact is that these jacks are not absolutely needed in 90% of typical situations. Most campers are designed to stay balanced over the axles, and a couple of hundred pounds isn't going to make it launch like a catapult. But stabilizers are truly meant to keep your rig from bouncing around and jiggling when somebody walks inside – which usually happens a lot. So, knowing the small amount of effort it actually takes to get them set up, it seems to me that there's no good reason not to crank them down, even though you don't really have to do so. Now, if it happens to be raining outside or something terribly uncomfortable like that, it's a different story. So, do stabilizer jacks need to be down when parking a camper? Go ahead and park that camper without the jacks down – you'll just have to step lightly.

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