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Old 03-10-2014, 04:38 PM   #1
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Air vs Hydraulic leveling

I currently own a 2001 Georgie Boy with a Bear Claw automatic hydraulic leveler that works great. I am looking at a 2009 Western Alpine that I just learned does not have hydraulic leveling it uses a HWH air bag leveling system. I am curious on how well does it work and it would seem that I would need a pretty level spot for it to work. My current hydraulic system will literally lift the end of the coach off the ground. Also if anybody has any input on Western Alpine I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks again.. Rich
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Old 03-10-2014, 08:27 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Leach View Post
I currently own a 2001 Georgie Boy with a Bear Claw automatic hydraulic leveler that works great. I am looking at a 2009 Western Alpine that I just learned does not have hydraulic leveling it uses a HWH air bag leveling system. I am curious on how well does it work and it would seem that I would need a pretty level spot for it to work. My current hydraulic system will literally lift the end of the coach off the ground. Also if anybody has any input on Western Alpine I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks again.. Rich
Welcome
My 06 Country Coach has air leveling and it is great. Lot of coaches have hyd leveling and if you get an oil leak you have a mess plus the smell to deal with. Most of the time the tires are bigger with air.
We had an 03 Alpenlite 3 slide 5er and it was about the best 5er ever made. The 09 is an orphan just like my CC but should be a great coach. Most of the wood inside should be real wood my 03 had Oregon Ash in it. Just need to look it over real well because they had some high tech stuff in them but I think they are a good coach. Cat or Cummins? I have a C9 Cat 400hp
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Old 03-10-2014, 08:36 PM   #3
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Rich!

iRV2 has a very active Alpine Coach owners forum, hopefully some of the very active members over there can help you.
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Old 03-13-2014, 10:02 AM   #4
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I have a 2002 Country Coach and love the air. Just push the button and it levels out if its going to. On some surfaces I have to put down wood under the tires sometimes up to 4.5" but that's a function of where I park not the bags. One down side is that the bus will rock a bit when DW stomps around. I haven't had a coach with jacks so I can't run a comparison for you. Another thought is that if you have an air bag suspension the jacks, hoses, pump and hydraulic fluid are extra weight you have to carry around and only use when you level out. I have also seen some coaches jacked up pretty high on the jacks with the tires not in contact with the pavement. The physics of surface area, friction and slope make me wonder how they stay there sometimes and I try not to park down hill from them.
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Old 03-13-2014, 01:39 PM   #5
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After having both systems, I'll stick with air leveling

Just yesterday we were delayed an hour leaving Mexico because one of the coaches had a jack that wouldn't retract
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Old 03-13-2014, 03:37 PM   #6
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Air leveling typically comes with higher end coaches. I ALWAYS wanted an Alpine coach and even visited their plant a couple of years before we made a selection. The chassis plant looked like something from Nascar.

With that said, as the end came near for Western Wilderness (Alpine Coach) the quality dropped off substantially. The last new coach we saw at a show had a baseball sized bubble on the front generator slide that looked horrendous. Went inside and wood panels were falling off. I couldn't believe they were using this as a show coach.

I still think the chassis are fantastic, so check the coach out closely for other items. I think you can't rally go wrong with air leveling. You just might have to use blocks like "pumper9x9" suggested. The DP's are different, you'll never lift a DP off the ground with jacks.
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Old 03-13-2014, 09:10 PM   #7
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When we were shopping for a coach a must have was jacks because they were supposed to have a longer travel. We are boondockers and have no desire for level lots or slightly off level. We found our coach that met all criteria except it had air leveling. We bought it anyway and last weekend went to a ski resort, no level parking and coaches with jacks had the front wheels a foot off the ground. I figured there is no way we are going to get level, I hit the button and yup sure enough no way. I remembered I had some blocks to drive the inside duals onto to put on chains and decided to drive the front wheels onto them to help level. It worked perfect.
So carry some ramps.
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Old 03-13-2014, 11:28 PM   #8
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Our cc dp will lift the front off the ground with the.

We have lifted the rear enough to not have traction in our level driveway, do not do that for parking as you no longer have parking brakes.
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Old 03-14-2014, 06:31 AM   #9
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The only "problem" I have with my air leveling is that the system re-levels itself somewhat regularly depending on the ambient temperature. As with tires, air in air bags can change pressure, which the coach senses and levels. When I parked on a grass or gravel surface, as the coach tended to sink in because of it's weight, the air bags kept me level. Hydraulics would not have done this.
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Old 03-14-2014, 06:48 AM   #10
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They are also great for when you are in a walmart parking lot!
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Old 03-14-2014, 10:23 AM   #11
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The only "problem" I have with my air leveling is that the system re-levels itself somewhat regularly depending on the ambient temperature. As with tires, air in air bags can change pressure, which the coach senses and levels. When I parked on a grass or gravel surface, as the coach tended to sink in because of it's weight, the air bags kept me level. Hydraulics would not have done this.
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I got tired of the coach re-leveling itself also so I just turn it off Just hit the Emergency Stop when it goes to sleep as see in this pix if you have the same system.
http://www.hwhcorp.com/ml31043.pdf
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Old 03-14-2014, 01:33 PM   #12
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Don't know anything about Western Alpine, but I love our air leveling! I don't have to worry about how soft the surface is below the coach, or whether the hydraulic jacks are going to extend and retract properly. I read a lot of posts on here about all the problems with hydraulic leveling systems and I don't need any extra expense! JMHO
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Old 03-14-2014, 02:22 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by MSHappyCampers View Post
Don't know anything about Western Alpine, but I love our air leveling! I don't have to worry about how soft the surface is below the coach, or whether the hydraulic jacks are going to extend and retract properly. I read a lot of posts on here about all the problems with hydraulic leveling systems and I don't need any extra expense! JMHO
I remember being in a campground with a guy that had an air bag rupture and he was complaining the rest of the weekend about not being able to level his coach and put his slides out. Hydraulic jacks are not the only ones with problems. I have seen a few coaches where they have both. I would like that but as one poster said it would be nice to be able to level in a parking lot without having to extend jacks.
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Old 03-15-2014, 09:43 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by gemini5362 View Post
I remember being in a campground with a guy that had an air bag rupture and he was complaining the rest of the weekend about not being able to level his coach and put his slides out. Hydraulic jacks are not the only ones with problems. I have seen a few coaches where they have both. I would like that but as one poster said it would be nice to be able to level in a parking lot without having to extend jacks.
Although I've never heard of an air bag bursting, I'm sure it could happen. Since my Roadmaster chassis has 8 air bags, I wonder if one bursting would drain the air from the others???

Another thought I've had about the hydraulic jacks is what a business manager or owner might think if he sees those jacks down against his asphalt parking lot on a hot summer day!
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