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Old 07-22-2010, 10:26 PM   #1
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DP leveling and air bags?

We have a fellow in a 34' Itasca Meridian tonight that sez "when I dump the air pressure I have no way to stop the rig from rolling".

First question-

--Why would he dump his air when leveling the coach?

Second question-

--Don't the service brakes lock when the air is depleted?


I always thought in a DP you used your air bags to level the rig. I don't know if he has jacks.

Any answers???

Thanks,
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Old 07-22-2010, 11:45 PM   #2
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In a DP with air brakes, you set the parking brake by RELEASING the air from it. And for an air bag suspension, you dump the bags directly, not by dumping the air tanks. At least, that's the way it works on mine. Is a 34' Itasca really a dp with air? I don't recall ever seeing any that short.

Some DPs use the air bags to level when parked. I think Wanderlodges do that, and at least some Prevosts. They don't have separate jacks. I think most others with purpose built RV chassis have hydraulic or electric jacks, and you do dump the air bags when deploying those jacks. It's built into the HWH controls on mine - hitting the auto-level button dumps the air bags before deploying the jacks.

joe
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Old 07-23-2010, 12:08 AM   #3
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On mine, I can either level with just the air bags or the HWH hydraulic leveler jacks. When I level with the air bags, usually in a rest area, J or Wally World, first thing that happens is it lowers then levels. With the HWH system, it does the same thing and then the jacks drop to stabilize the rv.
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Old 07-23-2010, 06:38 AM   #4
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I used to own an Itasca Meridian. It has air suspension and HWH Jacks.
The procedure is to dump the air then level the coach.
I suppose the reason to dump the air is so the jacks won't have so far to travel when leveling. Besides, I like my coach as low as possible when camped.
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Old 07-23-2010, 10:19 AM   #5
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You don't give the year, but if it is the newer 34Y, it has the 340 hp Cummins 6.7L ISB. It has the NewWay front and rear air system and hydraulic leveling jacks.

On the Winnebago, when you hit the Auto Level, it will dump the air out of the suspension system. After about 20 seconds the levelers will extend and level the system. Of, if you push any of the leveler buttons to extend, the air will automatically dump from the system.

With that being said, the system may not deploy all 4 leveling jacks if the site is pretty level. So if you have one leveler not touching the ground you will feel the rock and roll. Also, with a level site and all legs appearing to have reached the ground, it may not be enough pressure to stop the rock and roll. In the first scenario, manually push the side that the leveler did not reach the ground until it touches. This may or may not change that attitude of your leveling lights. If it does, just bump the other side until the lights come back on indicating you are level. In the second scenario, you may have to bump the levelers a few times to raise the chassis a little so that the weight is evenly distributed across the levelers. This should dramatically decrease the rock and roll you are experiencing. In no instance do you ever want to raise the back wheel(s) off the ground.

Good luck.
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Old 07-23-2010, 11:50 AM   #6
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Wayne and others- Thanks for the inputs.

This fellow bought a brand new, left over, '09 Itasca Meridian- 34 ft. He purchased it from Camping World in New Hampshire. This was his first trip out. He arrived into our campground at 11 pm last night. He used to have a 5th wheel. He was scared to death to manuever it at night. It is a long backup, with turns, into a site on a cliff overlooking Booth Bay, Maine. I put him into a handy straight in open site and moved him at 8 am this morning into his scheduled site. He kept telling my wife about him not having parking brakes when the air was dumped. Today he said what Wayne said- He was afraid of raising the rear wheels off the ground and rolling down into the "ocean". The site is very level and not a problem, but he wouldn't accept that. It was a good, clear, almost full moon night. The problem got solved when it got daylight-.

Thanks again for your answers,
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Old 07-23-2010, 12:35 PM   #7
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Chocks!

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Old 07-23-2010, 04:20 PM   #8
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Joe-

I offered him wooden chocks. He never commented on the offer. I'm an old pilot and am extremely familiar with "chocking procedures"-
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Old 07-23-2010, 06:49 PM   #9
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I have chocks, but rarely use them. I don't mind the front wheels off the ground (they are right now ), but if the rears will be I'll usually move to a different spot.

joe <- PP-ASEL-IA (incredibly NOT current)
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Old 07-23-2010, 08:45 PM   #10
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I have an 05 Itasca Meridian 36G and they do make a 34 footer.

Tell your friend that he will have brakes provided he keeps the rear wheels on the ground. The air brakes set when you release the air from the brake cylinder. A big spring in there takes over when the air is depleted either by either setting the brake, applying the service brake (pedal) or an air leak.

You dump the air bags so the coach is lower to the ground and you get more travel out of the leveling cylinders.

AGAIN, KEEP THE REAR TIRES ON THE GROUND. THEY'RE WHAT THE PARKING BRAKE SETS.

When he gets ready to depart it takes a few seconds or a minuter for the air bags in the suspension system to inflate. I always put my rig in "Drive" and inch forward a few inches, then "Park" again. Seems as though I read someplace the shift into drive starts the inflation process. Don't turn the steering wheel until they've inflated or it can do some damage. You can tell when they're not inflated. Feels like you're riding a skateboard or mechanic's creeper.

Sounds like he got a pretty poor PDI/orientation and he needs to spend several days reading and "playing" with systems.
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Old 07-23-2010, 09:21 PM   #11
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If the jacks are formly planted onthe ground, sufficient to raise the rear wheels out of touch, I don't think that coach is going to roll anywhere. Maybe bend a jack if they are a bit wimpy for the weight, but the coach isn't going to roll.

Either of the big Equalizers jacks on my coach can carry the entire 20k weight of the rear axle, so I ain't worried about rolling or bending anything.
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Old 07-24-2010, 08:27 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Hubrich View Post
Wayne and others- Thanks for the inputs.

This fellow bought a brand new, left over, '09 Itasca Meridian- 34 ft. He purchased it from Camping World in New Hampshire. This was his first trip out. He arrived into our campground at 11 pm last night. He used to have a 5th wheel. He was scared to death to manuever it at night. It is a long backup, with turns, into a site on a cliff overlooking Booth Bay, Maine. I put him into a handy straight in open site and moved him at 8 am this morning into his scheduled site. He kept telling my wife about him not having parking brakes when the air was dumped. Today he said what Wayne said- He was afraid of raising the rear wheels off the ground and rolling down into the "ocean". The site is very level and not a problem, but he wouldn't accept that. It was a good, clear, almost full moon night. The problem got solved when it got daylight-.

Thanks again for your answers,
This is a good example of why there is some merit to states like Texas requiring a non commercial Class A/B license to drive big rigs >24,000 lbs. I think some states use air brakes as their criteria for requiring special license endorsements.

As for lifting the rear wheels off the ground, you'll find a lot of long debate on the topic here but I'm kind of with Gary and can't imagine the coach moving anywhere with full weight on the jacks. Having said that, I don't do it.
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Old 10-14-2010, 09:36 PM   #13
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Note to OldChief ...

Try pressing the [Store] button again AFTER you have started your engine ... on my '04 Jouney that signals the suspension system to inflate the air bags
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Old 10-15-2010, 07:33 AM   #14
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I have no jacks and just an air bag leveling system in my 2004 Signature, jacks were not an option on my model. When I level it does NOT dump first. It levels front to back first then side to side. When it levels front to back it will lower the end that needs lowering first before it has to raise the opposite end. This may feel like it is dumping first. I have no dump control other than a "Lower" button. I have tried using the "Lower" button first then I measured the height of the MH then I tried a standard auto level and it all ended up the same height.

Also, if I do deplete all the air in the tanks below 50 psi it locks all eight wheels so if I had jacks in order for it to roll I would have to have the whole MH raised up off the ground.

Maybe a CDL is not needed but I think there should be a special license for MHs especially with air brakes. It would be nice if the MH Companies would give a detailed explanation of their air brake system including how to adjust the brakes.
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