But first, a quick update: Our trailer came back from the welders with new flanges! We found a business down the road that sold us a small 4x6in piece of angular steel, and another business just down the road that cut it in half and welded it onto our trailer for us. We had to wait a day or two because the welders were a little short staffed and were playing catch-up, but I think the end result looks like a nice strong weld for our house to sit on.
So onward to leveling. Yesterday we spent about three hours leveling our trailer. Luckily we were working with a relatively flat surface – our main deterrent was the unlevel gravel we had to deal with. So here are the steps we took for leveling a trailer (I feel like I’m writing a recipe):
-Cinderblocks, or some other sort of material to hold it up (we used 8 cinderblocks, two on each corner, but this will depend on the terrain you’re building on)
-Wood, or some thinner material to make the height exactly where we wanted it
-Wooden shims (opt.) for doing that fine, minute leveling
Jacks – some trailers come with them already attached. Ours didn’t, so we used some that are normally used for campers.
And, of course, a level, to make sure we’re doing it right.
1. Park it where you want it. Be sure you’re parking your trailer exactly where you’re going to build, because once it’s there, it’s (hopefully) not moving until you’re finished. We hand-lifted one end of ours and moved it a bit to give us a little more room on one side.
2. Using the jack on the hitch, level the trailer length-wise first. We wanted to make sure everything was level here before moving on to the short sides. We put the level toward the middle of the trailer and tested it out, then tried it on different parts of the trailer to make sure.
3. Choose a corner of the trailer, and make sure the ground is level. This was the time-consuming part for us, because the gravel was so uneven and we had to fish a lot of rocks out from under the cinderblocks. Once we thought we had it level, we put our first cinderblock on the ground and put the level on it. We also tested to make sure the cinderblock wasn’t wobbling due to uneven terrain. It took a while, with a lot of fine-tuning, but we knew not to take any shortcuts. After all, all our build’s weight will be on these supports.
4. Jack up the corner of the trailer and fit two-ish cinderblocks underneath it, with whatever wood pieces you need to make it level. This is where things start to get individualized per build. For us, on one side we only needed to put the two cinderblocks with a small piece of wood in order to make it level. But because the ground was lower on one side, we needed to place a couple larger pieces of wood on the opposite side. We made sure the cinderblocks were centered under the trailer beams for full support.
5. Repeat this process with the other corners, checking your level often. It’s a lot of back and forth between corners, rising this and lowering that. We used the shims for minute adjusting. We wanted to make sure some of the weight was taken off the wheels so we weren’t damaging them.
6. Review your work. We made sure our trailer was level all the way across, both long-ways and short-ways, and that each corner had a solid foundation.
Now please note, we are by no means experts on this, and you should review additional resources to make sure you’re building a safe, solid foundation. This post is meant only as a review of the steps we took. We hope it helps, but more importantly, we want you to be armed with your own research and knowledge from various sources so that you can make informed, safe, and individualized decisions based on your own unique building circumstances.