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 > Raising The Wheels Off The Ground While Leveling.. What Are The Issues?

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JohnnyT

On The Road

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Posted: 03/26/05 10:44am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The levelers really serve two purposes, one to get the coach level and the other to make the coach more stable. We want the coaches level for comfort especially when sleeping, to accommodate the operating characteristics of gas absorption refrigerators which need to be near level, and to allow the slides to extend and retract with out causing damage to themselves or the chassis.

I think it safe to say we have all been in situations where our parking spot was not a level site.. There are instances where in order to get level one or more wheel will come off the ground... Is there a problem with doing this.? The levelers really serve two purpose one to get the coach level and the other to make the coach more stable.

I am thinking that the best source for information on leveling procedures is in your owners manual.

Some folks will have auto leveling systems which does all the thinking but will raise wheels off the ground if that is what it takes to get the coach level. Others will have manual controls only, and others will be semi automatic.

There are some coaches that will only allow independent control of the rear levelers the front pair will go up or down as a unit.

There are others that utilize a 3 point leveling system.

I think that there are variant opinions on the implications of having one or more of the front wheels off the ground. In terms of the rear wheels there is less variance since with out the rear wheels on the ground the parking brake has no affect and the coach is susceptible to moving.

So what are the opinions and issue you see about raising one or more wheels off the ground? It would help to indicate if your insight is predicated on a particular type of leveling system..

JohnnyT

TiogaRV

California

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Posted: 03/26/05 10:56am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi Johnny,

I often find that my front levelers lift my tires clear of the ground. I have never had a problem in doing this with my front levelers.

It is almost impossible for me to clear the ground with my rear levelers. The leaf springs have a huge amount of movement, much more than my levelers have the ablity to rise. I would NOT ever lift up my rear levelers so that rear wheel(s) clear the ground. I believe that doing so, might put my RV in an unstable condition, and cause my levelers to fail.

Story about my leveling jacks.

George



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Sully2

Cincinnati

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Posted: 03/26/05 11:05am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

*pout*..No hyd levelors on my rig...*sigh*....just "air leveling" is all....

If MY tires come off the ground..I got some REAL problems....LOL


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Bill & Cathy

Upper Lake, CA

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Posted: 03/26/05 11:13am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

First I have a three point leveling jacks on a 39 foot Zanzibar DP but also had a four point system on my Bounder. Experience has taught me to keep wheels on ground for more stability even a good amount of presure on front wheels. So if front wheels come off ground I add a little height then put blocks under them and lower back to level. I do the same for back wheels but not as concerned to add alot of pressure. The biggest issue I have is reaching the ground off my step. On my jack instruction book the only warning about off the ground wheels is not to work under coach with out proper supports besides jacks. So I do not feel that getting wheels off ground with Jacks is an issue. My two cents, Bill

ole trucker

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Posted: 03/26/05 11:02am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

jt, on our bus we have hwh manual hydraulic 4 point levelers. the rear are independant and the front act as a unit. amost of the places we have camped the sites are fairly level to start with, so only a couple of times have we had a wheel off the ground. with air brakes, the parking brake is on both rear wheels, so i don't have a problem with one of them off the ground if need be, the other rear wheel will keep the bus from moving. with the front end, as long as it's not on the curb side, don't see a problem and neither does hr, believe me, i called them to find out. if curb side is off the ground, then entry to the bus is harder, even w/a portable extra step we carry with us. my biggest issue is sometimes when i level the bus, it will be level, but it seems to pull the windshield, especially the drivers side, although all is level. that baffles me! just my thoughts, will

gasbag

Washington State

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Posted: 03/26/05 11:02am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Last year we went to the factory for repairs and attended several seminars while there. One was about the care and feeding of levelers. We were told that levelers were for just that; leveling, and not to be used as jacks and never to be used to lift the tires off the ground. The reasons they gave were that anytime tires are off the ground stationary jacks stands should be used to stabilize the rv and that when the tires are off the ground it does create an unstable situation, especially in the side to side direction.

Also they stated that when the tires are off the ground the entire weight of the tires, wheels and suspension are pulling down on the springs, shocks and airbags. After an extended period of this it can stretch and over-extend these components and take some of the efficiency out of the system.

The levelers on our rv are Power Gear and we have the 4 point system. We were instructed to first take our air bags down to about 50 pounds to lower the coach and then to use the levelers to level the coach. This way we were extending the levelers as little as possible and having the most stable situation while doing so.

These are the reasons we were given by the manufacturer of our unit and are not my words. However they do make sense and I adhere to them as closely as possible. If I have a very out of level place to park I use wood blocks to get as level as possible and then use the levelers to finish the job.

* This post was edited 03/26/05 11:08am by gasbag *


Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money in binoculars to look at things on the ground?

Rick Jay

Greater Springfield area, MA

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Posted: 03/26/05 11:34am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We have Big Foot levelers on our motorhome. I just scanned the Owner's Manual and the Installation Manual and saw nothing regarding any issues of raising a wheel or wheels off the ground. I'll have to read it a bit more thoroughly, but I read it when we first got the coach and don't remember anything being mentioned then, either.

It does say that if you raise the coach manually to do it using two jacks at a time: both front, both rear, right side, left side, to avoid twisting the frame. It also says to be sure to visually check that all jacks have retracted before moving the coach.

My coach is a gasser (W-22) and does not have air bags. Our jacks extend straight down. Someone else pointed out that if it was so bad, then why aren't the limiters set to avoid lifting the coach? It would be pretty easy to do from either a hydraulic or an electronic perspective. When I put mine on "AUTO", it does what it needs to do to level the coach.

I've seen the term "stability" mentioned on this topic. Can someone define that? I can see it with two meanings.

ONE: More stable because there are more contact points on the ground if the wheels are touching. If the jacks should fail, then the coach won't "fall" as far because the wheels are still in contact with the ground.

TWO: More stable in the sense of reducing rocking motion inside the coach. Used in this sense, it would seem to me that the coach would be most stable (solid) with ALL wheels off the ground supported only by rigid jacks or stands. If you have any of the vehicle weight on the suspension of the vehicle, then movement in some parts of the coach (outboard of the jacks) will cause a pivoting effect of weight distribution between the suspension and the extended jack.

In the latter instance, that effect gets minimized the more the vehicle is raised. However, the higher the vehicle is raised, the less weight that is carried by the suspension and you start moving from my "definition one" toward my "definition two".

What I'm beginning to suspect is that different levelling systems have different design characteristics and operating parameters. Air bag suspensions have their own special considerations. DP's tend to be heavier, so perhaps they might more readily reach the maximum lift capacity of the jack than the lighter gassers.

So, we could ALL be right in our use. I would recommend the use of wheel chocks WHENEVER the coach is parked for any length of time, especially of left unattended. I always use at least 2 chocks: one in front, one behind, to keep things in place should the emergency brake fail.

Well, if nothing else, these threads certainly are thought provoking.

~Rick

* This post was edited 03/26/05 12:24pm by Rick Jay *


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bcbeal

Fort Worth, Texas USA

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Posted: 03/26/05 11:19am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

1. Some people are idiots. Now, that is the reason behind the disclaimers in the Leveling instructions. You are right about "depending on the Jack system". Some HWH or other "Kick Down" jacks retract to the rear. So, if you have the rear wheels off of the ground then either the coach falls forward off of the jacks or falls backwards destroying the jacks depending on which way the coach is on the slope. Straight down jacks CAN skid down a slope if the rear tires are off the ground and the slope is enough. I have had customers experiance both. Brent

Catdave

North Carolina

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Posted: 03/26/05 11:19am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I've leveled with one or more wheels off the ground many times and have never had a problem. However, if I were staying somewhere that was so unlevel that it required me to have wheels off the ground for more than a few days I would request a new, more level site or move on somewhere else.
I would only caution people to make sure at least one rear wheel stays on the ground at all times because with most rigs the "Park" position of the transmission, as well as the parking brake, only affects the rear wheels. Raise both rear wheels off the ground and the only thing keeping the vehicle from sliding forward or backward is the friction of the jackpads with the ground.


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dicnic

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Posted: 03/26/05 11:23am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I guess we all do things that we are not supposed to. When I got my new tires the tire guys asked if my rig had jacks and I said yes. They said "Put 'em down, it will save us effort." I did and had all 6 wheels off the ground simultaneously. No harm done. I quite often have one rear wheel off the ground at home as my pad slopes quite a bit for drainage

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