In order to really stabilize your travel trailer or RV, you’ll need to support the trailers frame directly from solid ground. This is accomplished with 4-6 stabilizing jacks near the corners of the trailer that are attached directly to the trailers frame. Supporting the trailers frame in the corners will stabilize the whole trailer and prevent it from bouncing up and down.
For trailers or RV’s longer than 30ft., another set of jacks is recommended near the middle by the tires. This keeps the frame from bending or “bowing” in the middle.
Because trailers sit on rubber tires and axles supported by large springs and struts that are designed to be flexible and reduce bumps and shocks while moving down the road. Sitting just on the tires when at not moving makes all trailers wiggle, shake, or rock side to side when the weight of a person or persons moves around. So how do you keep it from wobbling side to side then?
When the trailer is a rocking’ don’t come a knocking.
Not all trailer rocking is a bad thing, but most of the time it is annoying.
Why does it shake after I put the stabilizers down then?
With the trailer on level ground with all 4 stabilizer jacks down, your trailer is basically a big folding table without any angled support. There are 0 right angles to prevent side-to-side or front-to-back movement. This is why it feels like it is “shaking”. The stabilizer jacks prevent the “bouncing” up and down, but not the horizontal rocking.
This is the same for large motorhomes or trailers with hydraulic one-touch leveling systems. They prevent vertical movement only.
To fix the horizontal movement, you’ll need to attach the base of the jack to another point on the frame about 3-5ft. away from the jack, and a diagonal angle to the jack itself.
If your are a handy-man, you can DIY it by cutting a piece of steel tube or angle iron and fix it with a few removable bolts on both sides.
If you are not into making your own, SteadyFast is the most respected and well known name for fixing the travel trailer stabilizer problem in the industry. These require a little installation of a few brackets to the frame next to your jacks.
For temporary side-to-side trailer support brackets, check out these out. Just setup the bracket below the frame and ratchet the legs together and you’ll be solid.
How to keep 5th wheel trailer from rocking and shaking
5th-Wheels are typically larger trailers and have the bed high and in the front of the cabin. This location can sway back and forth easily without an extra support system design just for these trailers.
It’s called a Tri-pod and connects to the trailer where the truck does when the truck is no longer hooked up to it. These are essential to keep your sleeping area from causing the whole trailer to sway or move when this area is in use. Also called a “king pin tripod”
Scissors Jacks, Telescoping Jacks, and Stabilizing Bars
So far, I’ve went ahead and assumed that your trailer has some type of jack in the corner. If it doesn’t, that’ll be the obvious first step to keep your trailer from bouncing up and down. These scissor jacks are when come installed on most newer model TT’s. After year 1 of camping, I started bringing my battery-operated drill with a 3/4″ bit that will fit jack. You’ll notice that scissor jack kit comes with one as most weekenders like me prefer not to have to hand crank down all four corners.
Telescoping Jacks are what most larger motorhomes use. Yes, I know there are manual telescoping jacks, but those don’t even stabilize and pop-up camper, so don’t bother.
“Hydraulic jacks” are easier to use than the manual scissor jacks, but cost a LOT more. If your trailer doesn’t have them on it, you’ll be looking at several thousand dollars to have a double set of telescoping-hydraulic jacks added. But pulling up to the campsite and smashing the “auto-level” button,….. priceless.
Bonus: Slide-out Stabilizers
Slide out’s are notorious for be a little wobbly. Since there is usually only a few chairs or a dining area in the slide out area inside, most campers don’t even bother with supporting it. If you are sitting in your rocking chair and have the kids running around, you might feel the trailer moving around on you, however.
A pair of legs are basically what support this area, or you can use the ratchet strap rv stabilizer setup from above too.
How to NOT stabilize a trailer
Do not put anything under the rear bumper to support the trailer. The bumper was designer to withstand an impact from a rear-end collision with another vehicle. Not to be used as a support for stabalizing the trailer.
You’ll risk bending the frame and cracking door, roof, and window seals if you do.
An RV Stabilizer Comparison from All About RV’s