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Old 08-20-2009, 04:47 PM   #1
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Jacks raise wheels off ground, good or not?

I just bought a new 36D Pace Arrow to replace my 03 Gulfstream that had manual electric hydraulic jacks. My new unit has auto leveling. I read the manual on both and they suggest not raising any wheels off the ground, but at some sites to get it even close I have had to do just that. How about some input, safe or not, suggestions?
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Old 08-20-2009, 04:57 PM   #2
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You run the risk of stressing the frame with the wheels off the ground - it is being pulled in directions it does not normally go. This can cause twisting, which in turn can shift the body and front or rear caps. The biggest risk is that the windshield will pop loose. Will it happen to you? Hard to say, but it has happened to others, including me when we had a 96 Southwind. Best to avoid the issue if at all possible.

I carry some 18" pieces of 2x12 to put under the wheels if the site is such they would lift off the ground. Only takes a few minutes to drop the coach back down, drive the high wheel onto the 2x12 and re-level.
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Old 08-20-2009, 05:26 PM   #3
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Front off the ground has been no problem for me on the very few occasions that has happened.

Rear off the ground may mean no emergency brake to hold it from rolling off jacks.
On mine I only let one rear off the ground with the Parking air brakes.

This Pad had so much of a angle that both front and rear passenger tires had to be off ground. Makes you wounder why they would make a blacktop pad that much off level.
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Old 08-20-2009, 09:12 PM   #4
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Not a good idea. If you lift the locked wheels (usually the rears) off the ground, then there's nothing to keep the coach from rolling, as pointed out above. Also, the twisting factor can enter in, but I don't think thats as bad as noted, particularly if the jacks are not too far in from the wheels. If the jacks ARE way in from the wheels, the frame will be able to twist. Best bet - ask for a different spot if you're that far off level.
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Old 08-21-2009, 06:42 PM   #5
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I thought if you are level your frame is straight because jacks are bolted to frame anyway both rears off ground bad idea been there with a 1998 winnie a scarey roll
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Old 08-22-2009, 09:06 AM   #6
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I thought if you are level your frame is straight because jacks are bolted to frame anyway
The problem with both front wheels off the ground is that you have a half ton or so of tires, axles, springs and steering gear suspended from the frame, pulling DOWN on an area that is designed to resist UPward movement under normal conditions when the full weight of the chassis and body is pushing down on the tires. If your jacks are behind the front wheels, the front of the frame can droop enough to cause the front cap to shift a bit.

This used to be a real problem in gas chassis chassis motorhomes, but I think the newer chassis are much stiffer and probably handle this situation better. I haven't heard of many problems in the last several years, but it was common in the 90's.
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Old 08-22-2009, 10:17 AM   #7
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I have seen a lot of blather on how the suspension is not designed for "Negative weight" (To hold up the wheels)

Frankly.. I do not listen to that

however, This I do listen to:

The jacks are rather puny pillars, they are designed to push down on the ground, that is they are designed to support a COMPRESSION load, not a shear load or a torque load (Twisting)

On most coaches the parking brake is a drive shaft brake, if you lift JUST ONE rear wheel off the ground the coach can move forward or backward, and depending on how far it moves this will either jam up your jacks, or turn 'em into pretzels. Not good.

And though the front wheels are not "locked" when parked, so if you lift one of 'em off it should not hurt.. If you lift 'em both, Well then a gust of wind can move your rig sideways.. Same resutl, pretzel jacks. And a major mess/repair bill.
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Old 08-22-2009, 09:22 PM   #8
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Maybe yours are puny, John, but Equalizer says my jacks are perfectly capable of supporting the entire weight of the coach off the ground and will not bend or break under load.

As with most things in RVs, your mileage may vary.
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Old 08-23-2009, 12:37 PM   #9
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Well.... I have had my rig supported on the jacks a couple of times, once by design, (But that was a very flat surface)

There is a lot more than the jacks.. I have heard of several folks with twisted frame components and I'd be willing to bet the majority of 'em lifted one or two wheels off the ground.

Gary.. I strongly suspect you have read those people's posts too since you have been around a bit longer than I have.
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Old 08-23-2009, 07:36 PM   #10
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I'm not recommending that anyone lift their rigs wheels off the ground. Too much risk of frame twist/droop/warp/whatever unless you really now your equipment can handle it.
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Old 08-23-2009, 07:49 PM   #11
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As Gary said in the second post put some blocks under front wheels to support them. If the site is so far off level its probably suited for a fifth wheel site ask for a leveler site.
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Old 08-24-2009, 06:40 AM   #12
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If the site is so far off level its probably suited for a fifth wheel site ask for a leveler site.
I don't think you have ever arrived at a popular attraction campground on a Fri. night without reservations.
That has 260 sites and will charge a extra $7.50 to make a reservation.
And you wasn't sure what night you would get there anyway.

Then they tell you to find your own site(reserved sites are marked) and let them know site number.

Then when you start driving around all the loops looking for a site. After several loops with no luck. You will then take the first open site you find.
Even if it is level or not and hard to back into with a trailer hooked to the MH and some low tree branches. You are just happy to have one.

Asking for a level spot doesn't work if they are none available.

KY Horse Park not all sites level

The campground workers were nice enough to get a cement block for us. So getting to the first step on the MH was easier.
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