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Old 11-29-2015, 11:46 AM   #1
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Unhappy How NOT to start a 1000 mi shakedown cruise

Have a 1998 National Dolphin 36' 5360 GM with tag axle and have been spending the last month getting it ready to head down to Floriday for 3 weeks starting Wednesday. I noticed the furnace was blowing cold air, so thought I'd get that taken care of so when I come back to Cincinnati in January it might be handy.

When I was getting ready to leave the campground which is about a mile away from Delightful Days RV center in Walton ky, I noticed that when I retracted my levelers, the red light did not turn green. I redeployed the levelers, then retraced ALL again, but sill no green light. A visual inspection looked almost ok- maybe the legs were a little lower than from a normal retract.

Finally, I put it in drive and the warning flashing red DO Not Drive! light and warning loud beeper started sounding off. I called the mechanic and he advised that I carefully drive it up to him, so crossing my fingers, I carefully drove it to the shop.

The mechanic called me a couple of hours later and told me 'not good news'. Both hydraulic lines to the rear levelers had a holes about 1/2 way back where they go over the transmission and all the fluid was gone. He might be able to get replacement hoses fabricated locally, but if he had to order them then it could take a couple of weeks. Either way, there's going to be a pretty hefty repair bill. (any ideas what to expect?)

I don't really have a question except maybe could anybody use a case of suntan lotion?.

Only good thing, at least the problem showed up before I was in a truck stop 1/2 way to fla. with levelers deployed that wouldn't retract. A chilling thought- I didn't have the slide out... is it also hydraulic?
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Old 11-29-2015, 12:17 PM   #2
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No, the slide on that vintage Dolphin was electric.
Good luck with your repairs!
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Old 11-29-2015, 12:23 PM   #3
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Actually I think you have it backwards. You need hydraulic fluid to extend the levelers. When you retract them the fluid returns to a storage tank. What happens is there is a float switch in the storage tank and if not enough fluid returns to the tank the switch stays closed and when you put the coach in drive you get an alarm saying the jacks have not retracted.
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Old 11-29-2015, 12:48 PM   #4
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Yep, fluid level needs to be on your "Pre-Flight" check list.


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Old 11-29-2015, 01:02 PM   #5
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No, the slide on that vintage Dolphin was electric.
Good luck with your repairs!
Thanks Ben and Sharon-
That's good to know. Often wondered whenever I activate the close slide switch if it's actually going to close. I think there's a manual override someplace... maybe I'll look that up sometime.
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Old 11-29-2015, 01:05 PM   #6
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Actually I think you have it backwards. You need hydraulic fluid to extend the levelers. When you retract them the fluid returns to a storage tank. What happens is there is a float switch in the storage tank and if not enough fluid returns to the tank the switch stays closed and when you put the coach in drive you get an alarm saying the jacks have not retracted.
So does that mean in an emergency you could add fluid to that tank that would turn off the alarm from he** warning (would make it much easier to drive home.)
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Old 11-29-2015, 01:07 PM   #7
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Yep, fluid level needs to be on your "Pre-Flight" check list.


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Thanks fred- it definitely will be now. I'll have the mechanic show me how to check it.
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Old 11-29-2015, 01:43 PM   #8
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So does that mean in an emergency you could add fluid to that tank that would turn off the alarm from he** warning (would make it much easier to drive home.)
Yes but if you overfill, the jacks may not retract all the way. On my 2004 National the float switch had a two wire plug connection just outside the tank that I could unplug in order to disable the alarm if necessary. Went through two float switches before I got one that I could adjust correctly and did not give me a false alarm every so often. It's funny but even when I know there is nothing wrong listening to an alarm makes me a nervous wreck.
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Old 11-29-2015, 01:45 PM   #9
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Yet another reason why I love my air leveling!
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Old 11-29-2015, 02:10 PM   #10
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Yet another reason why I love my air leveling!
X2

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Old 11-29-2015, 02:35 PM   #11
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X3
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Old 11-29-2015, 07:52 PM   #12
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So does that mean in an emergency you could add fluid to that tank that would turn off the alarm from he** warning (would make it much easier to drive home.)
You can also pull the fuse to the jack system to stop the alarm. I've done that on my Holiday Rambler so I could drive it home without going crazy listening to the alarm. Of course, on your coach I don't know what other systems may be covered by that fuse so that's something to check if you have to pull the fuse.

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Old 11-29-2015, 08:30 PM   #13
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Yet another reason why I love my air leveling!
When you blow your first air line you might feel differently.
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Old 11-29-2015, 08:36 PM   #14
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your local NAPA store should be able to make hoses while you wait.
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