Caravan stabiliser legs or drop legs are simple to understand but are they deployed correctly?
I travelled from Melbourne to Perth in January 2020 and was amazed to discover the most popular deployment method of stabiliser drop legs or stabiliser legs.
Inaccurately deployed stabiliser legs can cause the caravan or camper to move or move, as a result of weight changes at the extremities.
Wind, the elements and internal movements are also factors making you rig unstable. Imagine the result if owners forget to deploy their stabiliser legs when camping? The camper could quite easily tip up on it rear resulting in catastrophe for the inhabitants.
Caravan or camper stabilisation is essential for single axle, tandem axle, independent coil and air bag suspension systems.
Vertically, horizontally, longitude or latitudinal. What do they all mean?
- Longitude – From vehicle to the rear of the caravan
- Latitude – from the right side to the left side of the caravan
- Vertical – Up and Down
- Horizontal – Level or parallel to the ground
We recommend winding down both drop legs and caravan stabiliser legs onto wooden or plastic blocks that have been levelled into the ground. On most occasions, the ground will be flat however it is still wise to install blocks under the drop legs.
When camping on slopy ground, it is essential to provide a sound foundation and a level surface.
Alko and Manutec carry a wide range of stabiliser legs.
- 410mm – 590mm long
- 510mm – 740mm long
- 610mm – 840mm long
Caravaners using Alko or Manutec scissor lift type stabiliser have no option other than wind down their legs in a longitude fashion until the foot touches the ground or the wooden pad.
The corner steady setup in the image below has not feet however, feet re available to be bolted to the end of the steady. Feet help ground the steady on chocks.
Alko also sells a replacement European scissor lift.
Although the rig in the above image is stabilised on flat ground, the load from the Alko drop leg is distributed across the entire area of the chocking blocks.
Legs are folder back on the longitude and dropped vertically onto the block.
This method of caravan stabilisation is the most popular however, the question remains whether this configuration is the best method to deploy.
Latitude movement or sway could be handled better if the legs were installed so that they could be lowered approx. 30 degrees past the side of the caravan.
This form of deployment would provide a larger base than the wheelbase of the camper or caravan.
The greater the base, the more stability applied to the camper.
Surprisingly, larger caravans require better methods of stabilisation than smaller campers. This is because multiple people can be one end of the caravan and no one in the other end.
Drop Leg Deployment
The camper in the photo above has an innovative method of deploying his Manutec drop legs.
These legs satisfy downward pressure when weight is added to the rear of the camper, possibly during sleeping. However, it fails to prevent latitude sway.
Changing the angle of the legs would give the owner the perfect a near result.
If the legs were installed closer to the outside of the camper, they could have been deployed outside the footprint of the camper. As a result, the greatest amount of stabilisation would have been provided.
Notwithstanding this type of deployment fails to consider annexes fixed to the size of the camper, manufacturers could fix annexes so that they were clear of stabiliser legs.
The above image is a fantastic example of how to stow your Manutec drop legs.
Manutec have two models with 2 options
- 13” – 14” Wheels – 400mm, 460mm
- 15” – 16” Wheels – 520mm, 600mm
Another example of stowed drop legs.
I am not sure why the owner locked this leg in this position however, I give him the benefit of doubt and say, his boys locked the legs……… backwards.
Can’t wait until dada finds out or someone tells him!
Above image is a perfect example of how to stabilise the off-road camper. Wheels on the ground carrying most of the load. Drop Legs deployed perfectly.
The camper above uses Independent Coil Suspension. The only thing I could suggest is a pair of chocks under both wheels for this camper.
Couplemate recommends 2 brands of drop leg or corner steady, Alko and Manutec. These brands were selected based on the availability of replacement parts.
On occasions caravaners need to replace or upgrade broken parts, however, some manufacturers prefer to sell entire replacements legs.
Unfortunately, there are no replacement parts for corner steadies. Broken, bent or worn worm drives require replacement.
Many corner steadies are welded into position and require grinding off before being re-welded into position. However, it may be wiser to take the opportunity to upgrade corner steadies to drop legs.
The best way to prepare for the purchase of new drop legs is to take a measurement from the chassis rail to the ground. If the measurement is 560mm, buy the shorter leg. This will enable the leg to be deployed on uneven ground.
If you are in doubt and require an upgrade, call the experts at Couplemate. We will ensure you have the right equipment, the first time.
Alko and Manutec equipment is the preferred equipment used by most of the larger caravan and camper manufacturers. Therefore, buyers reassured of quality parts that have stood the test of time for decades.
Hex head handles and slotted head handles for Alko and Manutec products are interchangeable.
Alko parts are located below
Manutec Parts are located below
- Replacement Aluminium foot
- Replacement rubber foot
- Pull out handle
- Foot Pin
- Top mount bracket
- Hex Head Handle
- Slotted Head Handle
Lubrication and Greasing
In my opinion, non-machined parts do not require lubrication.
Machine surfaces such as bearing journals, coupling housing and other surfaces that have close tolerances require grease.
Grease attracts dirt and grime. My wife believes in jumping grease because it magically jumps onto my cloths.
Drop legs and corner steadied do not require grease. There are no grease nipples inserted by the manufacturer.
If you feel it necessary to grease these parts then feel free however, not all moving parts require grease.
What was the most popular drop leg found?
The Alko Bigfoot was found to be the most popular caravan drop leg.
How to setup Caravan Stabiliser Legs
Steve Wotherspoon ® 2nd January 2020
Border Village Roadhouse, Nullabor
Photos courtesy of fellow travellers.
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