Stabilizing a Tiny Home On Wheels (THOW) is very important. It is important starting right with the building of the THOW. If you build your own THOW make sure the trailer is leveled and stabilized before you begin construction. By doing so, you will make it much easier to build your THOW. Properly leveling the trailer allows you use a level to build everything from your walls to your cabinets.
Let’s talk about some of the different ways you can level and stabilize your THOW. The process I recommend is first, level the trailer from side to side. Then, level it from front to rear. Using the right equipment and technique for this will ensure that you tiny home remains level and stable no matter what activities you may undertake in your THOW.
Ideally, you would have a solid level slab of concrete to place your THOW on. I highly recommend this option because it will allow you to have the most stable platform. The next best thing is concrete pads under any place you will be putting a stabilizing device. Last, if pouring concrete is not an option, I recommend a jack pad similar to the Hosspad Jack and Leveling Pad be placed under all stabilizing devices.
Side To Side Leveling Options
Homemade 2 x 6 Pad
Some people prefer a homemade solution like this one for leveling their THOW. Although it is inexpensive, it is not a very flexible design. If you know exactly where you are going to be placing you THOW and how high your blocks need to be then constructing something like this is an option.
In the event that you intend to move your THOW or don’t know the exact terrain where you are parking it, this may not work.
A great option that I highly recommend is the Lynx Levelers. They can be purchased on Amazon at Walmart or places like E-Trailer.com sell similar items. These allow you to build a custom height leveling system in 1” increments. If you have a triple axle trailer I recommend having two sets. This allows you to build up 3-4 levels per tire if necessary.
Andersen Camper Leveler
This handy device allows you to just pull your tire up into it until it reaches level. It is good for lifting between 0-4 inches. Hopefully you are not parking anywhere that you need more than 4” of lift.
Although not technically a leveling device, it is a stabilizing device. Once you have your THOW leveled from side to side an X-Chock or similar device will lock the tires into place preventing your THOW from being able to shift to the front or the back. This provides safety as well as stability.
Front To Back Leveling Options
There is only really one option for leveling your tiny home from front to rear. That is the tongue jack. If you purchased a good quality tiny home trailer, it should have a pretty stout tongue jack on it. Once you have leveled your trailer from side to side, lower the tongue jack. Disconnect the trailer from the tow vehicle. Then, adjust the height of the tongue to level the trailer from front to back.
Stabilizing A Tiny Home On Wheels
At this point, your trailer should be level all the way around. If you have ever been in a trailer before, you know that they have a tendency to sway and rock when you walk around in them. A tiny house is no exception. If you only use the tongue jack on a tiny house it is going to sway and bounce around on the tires.
Depending on the size of your tiny home you may need more stabilization than others. Typically the longer your THOW the more stabilization you will need. At a bare minimum, you will want some form of stabilization on the four corners. For THOWs longer than 20’ I would recommend at least one set of stabilizers in the middle as well. Some people even go as far as recommending a stabilizer every 4’. Just remember, you can always add more later if you don’t feel like your THOW is stable enough.
Whatever form you choose, remember a stabilizer is just that, a stabilizer. Stabilizers are not meant to be holding the weight of the THOW, just stabilizing it and keeping it from moving. Once the leveling is all done all you are doing is snugging your chosen stabilizer up under the frame to prevent swaying and rocking.
There is not right or wrong way when it comes to stabilizing a tiny home on wheels. You just need to decide what works best for you and then do it. Some people may be OK if there is a slight sway to their THOW. Others may prefer that it be rock solid. That is one great thing about the tiny home movement, there is no right or wrong. You get to do whatever you want when it comes to your THOW.
I will give you a few ideas for good choices for stabilizing your THOW. Choosing a suitable stabilizer will be determined by where you intend to park your THOW and your preference. Remember these are all stabilizers. If you want to totally lift your THOW off the tires and support it by the frame that would require different equipment. Places like Spur Texas require that the axles be removed and it be set on a foundation to be lived in.
Prior to purchasing any stabilizers make sure you check the ground clearance on your trailer to make sure whatever you choose works. For an idea of what you might need, Trailer Made Tiny Home Trailers have a clearance at the front of just over 12” on level ground. Trailer Made Tiny Home Trailers also come with an option to have Ram heavy duty stabilizer jacks mounted on each of the corners.
When it comes to stabilizing a trailer the way that probably comes to most people’s mind is the scissor jack. These are very common in the RV world and can serve the same purpose when it comes to stabilizing a tiny home on wheels. Just remember, a THOW is heavy. Make sure it invest in a good quality heavy duty model that can take the weight.
Some trailers may come with scissors jacks already welded into place. Although in an article on Tiny House Basics they recommend bolting the jacks to the trailer instead of welding. In the event a jack gets bent or damaged if it is bolted on you can easily remove it and install a new one. Jacks that are welded on take a lot more effort to grind off and get a new one welded on. Also, if it is welded on you would need to have access to a welder or someone with one in order to reweld it. If you bolt them on it is just a matter of a few simple hand tools to replace one.
I personally had a scissor jack get bent on one of my trailers when going through a dip and it snagged the ground bending it pretty good. It was nice that it was just bolted on and I was easily able to get a replacement and install it myself.
Another option is just to use a traditional jack stand. They come in a variety of sizes and can hold a lot of weight. They are also fairly inexpensive. Jack stands have one downfall, it is they can only be adjusted in one inch increments. If your trailer is not exactly at the height of one of the locks you won’t be able to snug it up under the frame. If you wanted to lift the trailer slightly with a jack you could then move it up to a higher lock but this also may throw your THOW off level.
Ultra Stacker Jacks
These are one of the better options as far as I am concerned. They are infinitely adjustable between their range of 11-17”. No matter what terrain you park in they will hit the frame perfectly because they just screw in and out. Ultra Stacker Jacks already have a pin installed to help crank them up tight against the frame of your THOW. Ultra Stacker Jacks are constructed of aluminum so they aren’t too terribly heavy. Their design allows them to be stacked so when you are moving they don’t take up too much space. Ultra Stacker Jacks are rated to 6,000 pounds each which is a good size for most THOWs. These are actually pretty inexpensive too. If you wanted to put them every four feet on your THOW you could do it on a 28’ THOW with 16 jacks. This would create an extremely stable THOW.
This is another option. They are adjustable from 9-14”. They have a larger base and top plate and so in some applications they may be better. One complaint that people have is that they are hard to get tight and to stay in place. I think a simple solution for this would be to grab one of the stiffener plates with a crescent wrench and crank it up tight against your THOW frame.
When stabilizing a tiny home on wheels remember you are just stabilizing your THOW. You are not trying to lift the THOW. If you do, you risk damaging the stabilizers. Andrew Odom at Tiny Revolution (Video Below) put together a nice video to show how to install a product similar to the Ultra Stacker Jacks.
I recommend installing one stabilizer and then doing the next one farthest away from it. Then back and forth from side to side so that you don’t accidentally push the THOW out of level. If you tighten all the stabilizers on one side first, you run a chance of pushing the THOW slightly high on that side.
Tiny Revolution’s video on stabilizing a tiny home on wheels
Stabilizing a tiny home on wheels is something that any THOW owner will need to do. Every time you park it you should level it. Some activities that you choose to undertake in a THOW are more likely than others to cause it to rock and sway. By properly setting up your THOW and installing enough stabilizers you can reduce, or completely eliminate the rock and sway in your THOW. Having a level, solid home can make it much more enjoyable to live in.