Levels

Since minivan camper conversions don’t normally have automatic levelers like in the big motorhomes, you have to do the next best thing… provide an alternative!

Most of the time, you won’t have to worry about being perfectly level. If the foot end of the bed is a little lower, that’s usually not a big deal. But if you are leaning sideways and rolling into the wall in the middle of the night, that could get old after awhile. And some people are sensitive about the blood rushing to their head when they sleep.

So without making any modifications to the minivan, the easiest thing is raise the wheels that are setting in the low end. We do that with leveling blocks. Sure, you could make your own. I have some for the truck camper, but I used treated 2 x 10 lumber, and made them three steps high, which means they have to be almost three feet long to allow the wheels to set on each step without crunching into anything, and that means they are heavy and bulky, not to mention dirty, and not something that I want to store inside the camper!

But for a minivan, you don’t have that much weight, and the plastic ones work very well. Plus they are designed so they won’t scoot out from under your wheel as you drive up on them.

But how do you know how far to drive up, or how much height to put under them? You need a level to be able to tell where you are. There are a great many styles of RV levels available. Some mount to your dash and sidewall, so you can see both directions. Some huge ones mount on the front of fifth-wheel trailers so you can see them from your truck. Some are just simple builders levels (like a “torpedo” level) that you have to use manually both directions. And there is a simple little bubble that you can lay on any flat surface and immediately see all directions, and that’s the Camco 25573 RV Bullseye Level.  That’s what we use in our truck camper, right at the back door on the floor.

But if you don’t have a flat spot in the minivan, your readings could be off. Laying one of these little levels on carpet can throw it off. If you use one, keep something flat handy, like a small piece of plywood to lay the level on. Then you will have a better chance of getting an accurate reading. Just remember that the bubble will wander toward the side that’s lowest. So you want to raise that side or corner of the van just enough to make the bubble come to the center. Trial and error will let you know how much you need to raise it.

If it’s out of level a lot, and toward one corner, don’t try to raise it all from that one corner. It’s not good to put a vehicle in a twist. Put your leveling blocks under two wheels if you can, maybe more under one than another, depending on how far and what direction you need to bring it up.

That’s all there is to it. Now you can get a good night’s rest in a level bed!