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Old 06-13-2007, 01:08 PM   #1
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We recently (May 2007) took delivery of a 2007 Monaco Diplomat. Our previous setup was a truck and 5th wheel. So we are new to Class A's and Monaco, but not to RVing.

My question is a pretty simple one. In the leveling process can you raise one wheel off of the ground without causing damage to the coach? Until recently all we have had to do is drive into our site, put out the slides, dump the air and push the auto-level button. Sweet. Our current site is apparently a little low on the driver's side. We got here near dark and went through our normal leveling process. When I got up the next morning the outside dual tire on the driver's side was off the ground by about 1 inch. I have read that this not good and called Monaco tech support. Their response was, "The levelers are not designed to support the weight of the coach". So, I guess the answer is I cannot (or should not) allow any of the wheels to leave the ground through the leveling process. That is unfortunate, because it seems the only way to avoid this situation is to drive one side of the coach (front and both duals) up on boards and try to level from there. Otherwise, we are relegated to camping off-level from time to time. This is unfortunate, since auto-leveling and not having to carry around a lot of boards was something I was looking forward to with this new coach.

I understand from reading messages that proper leveling is critical for a number of things and in particular for avoiding problems with the one-piece windshield. How do most of you deal with an unlevel site that would cause one of your tires to leave the ground to level the coach?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Bill
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Old 06-13-2007, 01:08 PM   #2
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We recently (May 2007) took delivery of a 2007 Monaco Diplomat. Our previous setup was a truck and 5th wheel. So we are new to Class A's and Monaco, but not to RVing.

My question is a pretty simple one. In the leveling process can you raise one wheel off of the ground without causing damage to the coach? Until recently all we have had to do is drive into our site, put out the slides, dump the air and push the auto-level button. Sweet. Our current site is apparently a little low on the driver's side. We got here near dark and went through our normal leveling process. When I got up the next morning the outside dual tire on the driver's side was off the ground by about 1 inch. I have read that this not good and called Monaco tech support. Their response was, "The levelers are not designed to support the weight of the coach". So, I guess the answer is I cannot (or should not) allow any of the wheels to leave the ground through the leveling process. That is unfortunate, because it seems the only way to avoid this situation is to drive one side of the coach (front and both duals) up on boards and try to level from there. Otherwise, we are relegated to camping off-level from time to time. This is unfortunate, since auto-leveling and not having to carry around a lot of boards was something I was looking forward to with this new coach.

I understand from reading messages that proper leveling is critical for a number of things and in particular for avoiding problems with the one-piece windshield. How do most of you deal with an unlevel site that would cause one of your tires to leave the ground to level the coach?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Bill
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Old 06-14-2007, 05:19 PM   #3
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Bill,

I carry 2 leveling boards (1"-2"-3" x 20" x 16" approx). Too lazy to go outside and measure. They live nested in an open top retangular wooden box. The box is carpeted on the outside bottom and side surfaces. That way the box (turned over) doubles as an extra step, below the slideout door step. DW has a hip problem and likes the extra step. Also carry a set of plastic interlocking blocks (10ea.) for use directly under the jacks as required. They live in a fabric zip bag when not in use. That way I don't have a front wheel hanging in the air. My PowerGear jacks are rated for more weight than my axles are -- But my understanding is that a front wheel hanging can put a pull or stress on the airbag suspension. Rear wheels off the ground don't have the same problem as the front.

Hope this helps,
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Old 06-16-2007, 03:49 AM   #4
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Thanks Roland, I appreciate the suggestion. I probably will build something similar to what you have.

I know the subject of leveling has been beat to death on other forums, since I have read many of the messages. The reason I posted here is due to the one piece windshields that Monaco uses and their susceptibility breaking or popping out due to the tweaking of the frame. As fulltimers, we move every 1-3 weeks and regularly encounter new site conditions. The solutions for leveling I have seen elsewhere seem more geared to the 5th wheel/trailer owners who generally don't have the automatic leveling systems. Usually, the comment is, "Gee, I wish I had a motorhome with an automatic leveling system and didn't need all of the leveling paraphernalia.

I suppose I should have realized it before we got the motorhome, but never having had one I did not understand how little travel there is in the leveling jacks before the wheels come off of the ground. In our current site we are low in the rear and on the driver's side, it is not readily apparent the site is unlevel and that boards or supplemental leveling is needed. This is what makes it somewhat of a hassle. Until we pull into a site, put out the slides, dump the air and raise the levelers we do not know if we are unlevel enough to raise the wheels off of the ground in any of the locations. Once we find that we are, we have to raise the jacks, re-air the suspension, pull in the slides, guess at how many boards are needed, pull forward to put boards under the wheels, then go back through the whole process to put out the slides, dump the air, etc., etc. And if we guess wrong on the number of boards, do it all over again. Sometimes I think I will go mad listening to the alarms for the air bags and leveling system as I go through this process. I wonder if others go through this often and how they judge the amount of lift they will need any one wheel position. For instance, in our current site we need some lift under the front driver's side, more lift under the rear driver's side duals and less under the passenger side duals. Do the little calibrated bubble levels give you enough information to judge the number of boards/inches need to raise the tires? Where are they best placed to get an accurate measurement? Can the bubble levels be used at full ride height to judge the amount of lift needed (if so, it would sure ease the process)?

Any additional guidance from those experienced in these matters will be appreciated.

Bill
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Old 06-16-2007, 04:26 AM   #5
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Hi Cooljourney

Some of the info will come from experience. I can normally look at a sight and tell if it will exceed the capabilities of the levelers or stress anything.

Yep, I have popped windshields on this learning journey. I notice you spoke of alarms while doing your leveling. You should NOT have any alarms and if you have a low air alarm, then you should stop and run the engine to restore the proper air pressure in the system before proceding.

You may also find that dumping air before leveling will deminish the amount of jack travel required to get level.

Get a small "T" level (one that tells both side to side and front to back) and mount it near your leveling control. Shim as neccessary to make it accurate and then use it when leveling at the campsite. Had one and used it for ten years. Best $2 investment I ever made.

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Old 06-16-2007, 05:22 AM   #6
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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 Dave O:
Hi Cooljourney

I notice you spoke of alarms while doing your leveling. You should NOT have any alarms and if you have a low air alarm, then you should stop and run the engine to restore the proper air pressure in the system before proceding.

You may also find that dumping air before leveling will deminish the amount of jack travel required to get level.

Get a small "T" level (one that tells both side to side and front to back) and mount it near your leveling control. Shim as neccessary to make it accurate and then use it when leveling at the campsite. Had one and used it for ten years. Best $2 investment I ever made.

Good Luck

Dave O
Fulltimer 10+ years </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Thanks Dave,

The alarm I refer to is the bell that sounds when you have the key on the first position to the right to operate the leveling jacks and dump the air. Consistent with directions in our Diplomat manual and prior to leveling, we dump the air until we are below 60 psi (we usually take them down until the escaping air is hard to hear in the cockpit). As we are dumping the air a bell/alarm sounds when we get below about 85 psi. When we operate the jacks the "ignition on" bell sounds too. Also when we raise the jacks or air up the suspension the bell sounds. Its a whole lotta dinging while the process of getting level in the campsite is going on.

Thanks for the "T" level suggestion. I know what they are and will look into it.

Bill
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Old 06-16-2007, 05:36 AM   #7
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Have you tried turning your key to the left and dropping the jacks? On my current motorhome and the Dynasty before thats what I did to avoid the alarms. When airing up there is no escape. I carry wood planks to assist and always place blocks under jack pads to avoid sinking into the surface (especially dirt/mud) as the jacks can get stuck (retraction is spring assist only). Be really careful about lifting rear duals off the ground as your emergency brake could be affected.
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Old 06-16-2007, 12:56 PM   #8
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Besides the forces placed on the jacks, another reason to not rely on your jacks to accommodate a site that is out of level to that degree is the twist that it puts on the coach/windshield. It's better to get it close with blocks first if it's that uneven. The windshield can pop out or break, especially the one piece panoramic versions on the newer coaches. It's a good idea to watch how your windshield is reacting whenever you're leveling on an uneven site. You can see the seals/gaskets moving. If they move by more than 1/2", stop!
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Old 06-19-2007, 07:24 PM   #9
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CoolJourney....I rarely have to use blocks, but came across one occasion where I needed them. I took a 2" x 10" x 16" and stacked a 2" x 10" x 12" on top (screwed them together). I made three of these and put some old luggage straps on them (3 feet). They slide on top of my propane tank. I push them all the way to the back (pushing one with the other) and then use the strap to pull them out. I also stuck a couple of 4" drain pipes on each side of the tank to store long pole type objects such as my propane tower.
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Old 06-19-2007, 08:56 PM   #10
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Diplomat Don...you sure can be creative when you come up with things...great idea about attaching straps to the blocks so you can pull them out when needed!



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Old 06-20-2007, 05:04 PM   #11
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Thanks MonacoMama, I'm lucky and have my coach in my side yard which allows me to work on it whenever I want. I love adding gadgets and making things easier, especially if there not visible. No junky looking stuff!
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Old 06-22-2007, 02:40 AM   #12
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Thanks to everyone for their suggestions and advice. I went to a local lumber shop and had them cut some boards for us. The finished sizes are 1 3/4" x 10" x 18" and 21". This gives me 3 1/2" of lift. I also had them cut the leading edge at 30-45 degrees to aid in rolling the tires on them. They are big and heavy (unfortunately), but should withstand the weight of the MH over the years. After moving from our last location I didn't think I would need them for awhile. No so. Our latest location has a pretty steep slope towards the front requiring everything I have and a nearly full jack extension to get level. Sheez! All of that for $40/night. We are finding most of the campgrounds in the northeast (we are near Syracuse, NY now) charge a high price during the camping season. Again, I appreciate your help.

Bill
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Old 06-28-2007, 03:28 AM   #13
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I INSTALLED TWO CHAINS ON FRONT AXALS TO PREVENT AIR BAGS TO BE OVER STRETCED WHEN JACKED UP.MAKE SHURE YOU LEAVE SLACK FOR SUPENSION.
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Old 06-28-2007, 07:08 AM   #14
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There SHOULD be no need for chains as the are 4 shock that will protect the over extension of the air bags (as in a large hump in the road) at high speed that limit the travel in the suspension
Otherwise how can you raise the coach to change a tire ??......Am I wrong here
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