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Old 04-24-2006, 10:28 PM   #1
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Hi Everyone!

I'm in the market for a new entry to mid level DP. I have a garage that has a height clearance for the door at 12' 6"

I was researching Winnebagos and I like the Journey/Meridian with their lower height because of no a/c on top and I like a lot of their features. As I say, they are probably the lowest profile DP around.

But even at that height, I thought that the clearance going into my garage would be tight. I thought maybe I could dump the air bags in order to give me a few more inches of clearance going into and out of the garage. Only problem is that the Winnebago owners tell me that after the air is dumped, once it's put into gear the air bags start to fill again. We're assuming that it is the characteristic of the Freightliner chassis to do this.

I talked to a sales rep once who told me that Newmars would be able to be driven in gear with the air bags deflated for short distances such as moving a coach into or out of a garage.

I'm now looking at KSDPs because I see that the 2006 models are 12' 1" in height. It still would probably require lowering the coach to fit into the garage but here is my question:

If you have a Spartan chassis, can you move your coach with the air bags dumped the length of the coach without the air bags refilling as you move it? All I'd want to do is move the coach 35-40 feet in a straight line both going forward into the garage and backward when leaving the garage.

Thank you for reading this post and I'll appreciate any responses or comments any of you have time to give.
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Old 04-24-2006, 10:28 PM   #2
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Hi Everyone!

I'm in the market for a new entry to mid level DP. I have a garage that has a height clearance for the door at 12' 6"

I was researching Winnebagos and I like the Journey/Meridian with their lower height because of no a/c on top and I like a lot of their features. As I say, they are probably the lowest profile DP around.

But even at that height, I thought that the clearance going into my garage would be tight. I thought maybe I could dump the air bags in order to give me a few more inches of clearance going into and out of the garage. Only problem is that the Winnebago owners tell me that after the air is dumped, once it's put into gear the air bags start to fill again. We're assuming that it is the characteristic of the Freightliner chassis to do this.

I talked to a sales rep once who told me that Newmars would be able to be driven in gear with the air bags deflated for short distances such as moving a coach into or out of a garage.

I'm now looking at KSDPs because I see that the 2006 models are 12' 1" in height. It still would probably require lowering the coach to fit into the garage but here is my question:

If you have a Spartan chassis, can you move your coach with the air bags dumped the length of the coach without the air bags refilling as you move it? All I'd want to do is move the coach 35-40 feet in a straight line both going forward into the garage and backward when leaving the garage.

Thank you for reading this post and I'll appreciate any responses or comments any of you have time to give.
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Old 04-25-2006, 03:26 AM   #3
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The Spartan chassis can be moved with air bags down. There are two issues which should not be a problem for a straight run of 50 feet or so. The two problems are body clearance,(do not turn the steering from reasonably straight) and drive shaft angle may be close to affecting the u joint rotation. While moving it you could continue to hold the deflation button to prevent the unit from creeping up.
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Old 04-25-2006, 05:19 AM   #4
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Most DP chassis can be done this way. Lug_Nut's assessment of the two concerns are right on the money. However, in a straight line for a short distance you should be fine. The only other consideration is how much headroom you have once inside the garage. You'll need to build up air pressure before you can release the brakes to drive it out and if the coach should raise you don't want to impact a garage door opener mechanism of anything.
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Old 04-25-2006, 01:37 PM   #5
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Lug_nut and Mark, Thank you both for taking the time to respond!

It's good to hear what you've both said. Like I stated in my previous post, the guys over in the Winnebago forum and other Winnie DP owners I've talked to have said that the second you put the coach in gear, the air bags start to re-inflate. This would make it pretty risky to try to move the coach under the door in that if it isn't done fast, damage could be done. So maybe it's just the Winnies on the Freightliner? Perhaps others on a Freightliner act similarly to the Spartans when it comes to moving without the air bags inflated?

Oh, would either of you care to guess how much deflating the air bags would lower the coach? I'm guessing 6 inches.

If the published height of a KSDP is 12' 1" can I safely assume that I'd be able to get it under a 12' 6" door taking into account other objects on top ...antennas, etc. by dumping the air bags?

When Newmar says 12' 1" are they talking about to the top of the a/c or the ladder?

Again, I'd appreciate any responses or comments any of you have time to give.

Thanks!
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Old 04-25-2006, 02:35 PM   #6
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The best way is to get up there and drop a tape line down and measure. My Itasca salesman said that it was measured to the top of the ladder on my Suncruiser. On the Tiffin products it's to the top of the highest object - not counting antennae. I'd measure, then dump the bags and measure again to be sure. Standing next to the coach on a tall stepladder and reaching over to the highest point with a long rod or 2x4 held level, you should be able to measure the distance to the ground. It doesn't hurt to have an assistant.

On my 2004 Freightliner XC there is a shuttle valve that controls dumping and filling the air bags. When the valve shuttle is "sent" to one side, the air bags will fill from the available air pressure. When the valve shuttle is "sent" to the other side, they will drain and any incoming air pressure has no effect on the bags - they won't fill. This valve is normally sent to one side or the other via 12 volt momentary power via the HWH levelling panel but it can be manually operated from underneath the coach if the solenoid fails. When you store the jacks, the valve goes to the fill position and the coach rises up as the air pressure builds. When you press the auto-level button, the bags drain, then the jacks come down after a time delay. You can run the engine all you want but as long as the valve is in the dump position the bags won't fill.

There is also a manual Dump button to just drain the air bags without affecting the jacks. What you want to do is back up to yopur garage door and line it up real good. Then, press the dump button. Once the bags are drained back it into the garage. No rush needed. You can lower the jacks when in the garage to stabilize it if you like. When it's time to go, press the auto-level button (or manually raise each jack). Once the jacks are up and the coach has built up enough air pressure to release the brakes, press the manual Dump button to dump the bags. Then drive on out once the coach is lowered. After you're outside, press the Store button (even though the jacks are up) and the bags will refill.

There are some variations in the HWH jack controls but pretty much every coach will operate in a similar fashion.
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Old 04-26-2006, 11:43 AM   #7
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Intresting comments, Mark. I suppose the folks I've heard from that own Winnie DPs just haven't had the necessity to move their coach with the air bags dumped.

One forum member emailed me to caution me not to try it with a Journey becasue the moment the coach is put into gear, the air bags start to inflate. So you're saying that there's a button that can be held down in order to prevent the bags from inflating? ...and most DPs will have a button which functions like this? That's great to hear!

Before I purchase the vehicle, I'll be sure to perform the test measurements you suggested. I don't want any surprises once I get it home.

Thank you so much for taking the time to explain things to me! It's much appreciated.
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Old 04-26-2006, 02:10 PM   #8
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I measured my 2004 DSDP at the front and back before and after I dumped air. The 2 times I did it the MH lowered 4" back and front, when the air was dumped. I always assumed it would of been more like 6".
Probably different models and years of Newmars would be different.
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Old 04-26-2006, 02:15 PM   #9
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An inch or two makes a big difference. Iguess we all think the deflated seems so much more down, as I do. I put 80 series tires on mine totalling 2 1/2" diameter larger. That's 1 1/4" in radius, or the difference in height. Boy, can you ever notice the difference of step height with that 1 1/4". Probably your preception was like many of us, it looks like more.
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Old 04-27-2006, 09:56 AM   #10
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by tmitchell:
I measured my 2004 DSDP at the front and back before and after I dumped air. The 2 times I did it the MH lowered 4" back and front, when the air was dumped. I always assumed it would of been more like 6".
Probably different models and years of Newmars would be different. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

*cringes* ...didn't want to hear that, Tom. I was hoping for at least 6" but that's good to know because I'll plan on 4" and if I happen to get a coach that will lower 6" then it will just be treated as a bonus.

Thanks for the good info'!

--'rocco
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Old 04-28-2006, 03:08 AM   #11
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To; Scirocco22,

Have an 02 madp and saw dealer techs dump air when bringing rig in and out of building for service. Just hold the dump button down and bags won't inflate. I do the same thing now when passing under LOW tree branches, going very slow and hearing branches hit the antennas

Hope this info helps.


Thanks Aime=== AJBJRVERS=====
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Old 04-29-2006, 11:38 AM   #12
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Thanks for the report, ajbjrvers!

What would be your guess as to how many inches it lowers the coach when doing this?
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