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Old 01-10-2016, 11:54 AM   #1
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Air vs Hydraulic Leveling?

Is there any advantage of one over the other or is it a coke vs Pepsi type thing?
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Old 01-10-2016, 12:01 PM   #2
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I have had both, I prefer air leveling
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Old 01-10-2016, 12:02 PM   #3
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Mine is air only. Superb!
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Old 01-10-2016, 12:09 PM   #4
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I was going to respond using my own words but felt I would be quite long winded and potentially too technical.

Here is a good response from an engineering student.


"Pneumatics Vs Hydraulics

The pros and cons of each system

Pneumatics offer a very clean system, suitable for food manufacturing processes and other processes which require no risk of contamination. Hydraulics is generally not used in these environments due to the risk of hydraulic oil leaks from faulty valves, seals or burst hoses.

Pneumatics offer rapid movement of cylinders and have the great advantage of availability in very small sizes. Why do pneumatics offer a higher operating speed of its components? This is mainly due to air compressor flow rates, air is very agile and can flow through pipes very quickly and easily with little resistance, while hydraulic oil is a viscous substance and requires more energy to move. Also in pneumatics, cylinders and valves can dump their compressed air straight to the atmosphere when they need to change direction or alter their state quickly, compared with hydraulics where the oil must be routed back to the reservoir.

Pneumatics does not have the potential force that hydraulics has to offer. The lifting or moving of heavy loads is not best suited to pneumatics. Hydraulics can smoothly lift and move loads because the hydraulic oil is not compressible, compared to air which can become jerky and spongy as the air pressure fluctuates with cylinder movement or load changes. In general a much larger pneumatic cylinder is needed to obtain the same force that a hydraulic ram can produce.

In terms of energy costs pneumatics is more costly than hydraulics, this is mainly due to the amount of energy lost through heat production while compressing air."


Cited, engineerstudent.co.uk
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Old 01-10-2016, 12:12 PM   #5
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I can see a hydraulic leak. Cant see an air leak and if I can't see it, I can't fix it. My experience on 3 class A's is that the air systems develop slow leaks over time and finding/fixing them is time consuming and frustrating.
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Old 01-10-2016, 12:13 PM   #6
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Air vs Hydraulic Leveling?

With air leveling, the bags are already full at ride height via the engine compressor and levels quickly. Almost zero energy required. There is a separate electric compressor for occasional re-leveling, for me it's about once every 60 days and less than 60 seconds.
My MH is 7 years old and has never had leaks. If it did it would most likely be with the ride height valves.
I know folks with just air and others with both. Air wins
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Old 01-10-2016, 01:51 PM   #7
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I prefer the hydraulic leveling as it provides more flexibility in site locations. My wife does a lot of dog shows and most of the time the lots aren't level but the blocks under the jacks we can compensate and usually get pretty close to level where a pneumatic system would not be able to. I also like the stability of the jacks once set up.
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Old 01-10-2016, 02:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacwjames View Post
I prefer the hydraulic leveling as it provides more flexibility in site locations. My wife does a lot of dog shows and most of the time the lots aren't level but the blocks under the jacks we can compensate and usually get pretty close to level where a pneumatic system would not be able to. I also like the stability of the jacks once set up.
Agree, as we have both. Also, hydraulic leveling is much firmer when the wind blows. Sometimes
the saying "when this coach is a rockin'"...isn't such a good thing:
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Old 01-10-2016, 02:04 PM   #9
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The stability of air leveling surprise most folks and they can be leveled on very uneven ground using the manual buttons.
They are equally as stable as hydraulic.
Until air leveling is experienced, the thought of "gushy" comes to mind. It simply is not. My 10 bags support 40,000 lbs.
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Old 01-10-2016, 02:53 PM   #10
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We have both and prefer the air leveling. Just seems to be a lot simpler.
One nice thing about air levelling is that it readjusts every few hours. Have often seen where some with Jacks have to start there coach to relevel cause of the jacks sinking slightly.
Both work but we prefer air.
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Old 01-10-2016, 03:29 PM   #11
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Air vs Hydraulic Leveling?

I think the hydraulic is capable of more height adjustment than the air bags....if parked long term, the hydraulic has the added advantage of taking weight off the tires - which can prolong their life in some cases. Having both available is the ideal situation.
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Old 01-10-2016, 07:20 PM   #12
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There are a few advantages to hydraulic that others have already cited, but in parks with reasonably flat & level sites the air is convenient and easy.
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Old 01-10-2016, 07:29 PM   #13
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This is my first RV but so far I like the simplicity of air leveling. I don't have to worry about the jacks sticking in soft ground or another system to maintain but I do understand that the air leveling doesn't have the range the hydraulic jacks have. So far it has not been a problem.
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Old 01-11-2016, 09:01 AM   #14
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I only have hydraulic but I'm kicking myself for not getting both. Hydraulic is my preference for storage but day to day traveling/camping air would be my preference. The hydraulic jacks lift/level the coach (automatic) but IMO lift higher than need to.
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