How to setup Caravan Stabiliser Legs
Caravan stabiliser 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 due to weight changes at the extremities.
Wind, the elements, and internal movements also make your rig unstable. Imagine the result if owners forget to deploy their stabiliser legs when camping. The camper could easily tip up on its rear, resulting in catastrophe for the inhabitants.
Caravan or camper stabilisation is essential for single axle, tandem axle, independent coil and airbag 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 drop legs and caravan stabiliser legs onto wooden or plastic blocks that have been levelled into the ground. On most occasions, the earth will be flat; however, installing blocks under the drop legs is still wise.
When camping on sloped ground, providing a sound foundation and a level surface is essential.
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 stabilisers 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 no feet; however, feet can 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 Alko drop leg load is distributed across the entire area of the chocking blocks.
Legs are folded back on the longitude and dropped vertically onto the block.
This caravan stabilisation method is the most popular; however, the question remains whether this configuration is the best deployment method.
Latitude movement or sway could be handled better if the legs were installed so they could be lowered approximately 30 degrees past the side of the caravan.
This form of deployment would provide a more extensive base than the wheelbase of the camper or caravan.
The greater the base, the more stability is applied to the camper.
Surprisingly, larger caravans require better methods of stabilisation than smaller campers. This is because multiple people can be on one end of the caravan and no one at the other.
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 camper’s rear, possibly during sleeping. However, it fails to prevent latitude sway.
Changing the angle of the legs would give the owner a near-perfect result.
If the legs were installed closer to the outside of the camper, they could have been deployed outside the camper’s footprint. As a result, the most significant amount of stabilisation would have been provided.
Notwithstanding, this deployment type fails to consider annexes fixed to the camper’s size; manufacturers could fix annexes, so 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 two 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 the doubt and say his boys locked the legs……… backwards.
I can’t wait until dada finds out or someone tells him!
The above image is a perfect example of stabilising the off-road camper. Wheels on the ground carry most of the load. Drop Legs deployed ideally.
The camper above uses Independent Coil Suspension. I could only suggest a pair of chocks under both wheels for this camper.
Couplemate recommends two brands of drop leg or corner steady, Alko and Manutec.
Caravaners occasionally need to replace or upgrade broken parts; however, some manufacturers prefer to sell entire replacement 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 place. 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 measure the chassis rail to the ground. If the measurement is 560mm, buy the shorter leg. This will enable the portion 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.
Hex head handles and slotted head handles for Alko and Manutec products are interchangeable.
Manutec Parts are located below
Lubrication and Greasing
In my opinion, non-machined parts do not require lubrication.
Machine surfaces such as bearing journals, coupling housing and other surfaces with close tolerances require grease.
Grease attracts dirt and grime. My wife believes in jumping grease because it magically jumps onto my clothes.
Drop legs and corner steadied do not require grease. The manufacturer inserts no grease nipples.
If you feel it necessary to grease these parts, feel free; however, not all moving parts require grease.
How to setup Caravan Stabiliser Legs
Steve Wotherspoon ® 2nd January 2020
Border Village Roadhouse, Nullabor
Photos courtesy of fellow travellers.