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Old 01-07-2013, 11:10 PM   #1
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lowering jacks onto pads

Hi everyone. Total newbie question. So I have my DP parked on gravel and went to lower the jacks just to make sure they worked. Bought a used DP and found some jack pads in one of the compartments so tried to eyeball where to put them because I knew I couldn't just put the jacks down on the gravel. Well after trying unsuccessfully a couple of times to get the pads lined up under the jacks I decided to ask on the forum here. Does anyone have any tricks or tips for figuring out where to put the pads so the jacks will land on them? Also the pads are a bit on the small side. Anyone know where to go to get larger heavier duty jack pads? The ones I have would probably be fine on asphalt but I feel that I should use something larger for on the gravel. Thanks.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:25 PM   #2
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I got some 2x12 treated lumber and cut it into 11 1/4 lengths to make squares. My Jacks are at a slight angle so instead of placing pads then using the auto level I first do a manual dump of the air, this lowers the coach enough that it's a bit easier to estimate just where the jacks will touchdown.

After placing pads I do an auto level and get out to watch and ensure the jacks are going to be centered. The jacks come down slowly 2 at a time so it's easy to adjust the pads if necessary. After the first couple of times the eyeball got trained and no adjustment was necessary.

EDIT: If you do 2x12s use 2 layers and place the grain crossways so they don't split as easily.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:26 PM   #3
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I bought large 16x16 pads from Camping world.
I have a 2006 HR with Auto Leveling jacks, I found if I use the manual deployment until I almost touch the gravel then go out and adjust the pads when I get back inside and continue to level I know it;s a bulls eye, a little extra effdort but I know I hit the pads.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:26 PM   #4
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I only use the pads when it is asphalt or grass/dirt. Concrete and gravel don't need pads unless the gravel has soft ground under it.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:42 PM   #5
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We got some plastic cutting boards. After a couple trys, your eye gets to where you get them centered pretty well. I use them on gravel since here in the NW we usually get enough rain to soften up the ground underneath.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daveshan View Post
I got some 2x12 treated lumber and cut it into 11 1/4 lengths to make squares. My Jacks are at a slight angle so instead of placing pads then using the auto level I first do a manual dump of the air, this lowers the coach enough that it's a bit easier to estimate just where the jacks will touchdown.

After placing pads I do an auto level and get out to watch and ensure the jacks are going to be centered. The jacks come down slowly 2 at a time so it's easy to adjust the pads if necessary. After the first couple of times the eyeball got trained and no adjustment was necessary.

EDIT: If you do 2x12s use 2 layers and place the grain crossways so they don't split as easily.
Exactly what I do, right down to turning the grain crosswise.
On our Spartan chassis the rig moves forward as the air is released, seems to be 4" or so. A little practice and you can figure it out.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:22 AM   #7
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My jacks aren't automatic and I've used them enough to know that I lower them for a few seconds and stop. That way when I go outside I can 'see' where I need to place the pad. I drilled a small hole on both sides of the pad and use the rod that opens my awning to place them so I don't have get on my hands and knees. Throw them under the coach close to where you want them and put rod in hole and scoot them in position .
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:28 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paula55 View Post
Hi everyone. Total newbie question. So I have my DP parked on gravel and went to lower the jacks just to make sure they worked. Bought a used DP and found some jack pads in one of the compartments so tried to eyeball where to put them because I knew I couldn't just put the jacks down on the gravel. Well after trying unsuccessfully a couple of times to get the pads lined up under the jacks I decided to ask on the forum here. Does anyone have any tricks or tips for figuring out where to put the pads so the jacks will land on them? Also the pads are a bit on the small side. Anyone know where to go to get larger heavier duty jack pads? The ones I have would probably be fine on asphalt but I feel that I should use something larger for on the gravel. Thanks.
I purchased my pads from DICA, they have a large selection available to choose from. I purchased from their website, good service, fast delivery.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:54 AM   #9
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Ok so reading this an idea struck me. What would be the downside to removing the "small" disc and permanently attaching a pad to the disc?

I am sure not all discs are like mine, but I have cotter pin to keep my disc in the shaft. Of course the pad would need to have "some" provision for wind deflection, but that would not be hard.

The advantage is that it would always be there. I am thinking that a good bolt thru the center of disc and pad would keep it in place.

The pad I use often is a cheap orange pad similar to the blocks for leveling only much thinner and wider.

This could be used as is in most cases, and if you need even more support, provides a larger target for centering?

Now tell me what I am missing, because I am sure there is a very good reason not to do this.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:57 AM   #10
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You did not state the type of pad that you have, but more importantly you are asking how to determine getting them in the right location under the pad.

I have the orange plastic ones now, but before that I had 3/4" x 12 inch squares. In both cases i use my awning rod to push and ogle the location. The first couple times was near hit and miss, but now I just look at the leading edge and edge near me and 9 out of 10 times I'll be right on. It just takes a few times of practice.

I like the plastic ones because they are lighter to handle. So far, after two years, they have held up very well. I have used them in soft soil, gravel, and one place that had asphalt for the sites.

Happy trails.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:06 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redbaron73 View Post
Ok so reading this an idea struck me. What would be the downside to removing the "small" disc and permanently attaching a pad to the disc?

I am sure not all discs are like mine, but I have cotter pin to keep my disc in the shaft. Of course the pad would need to have "some" provision for wind deflection, but that would not be hard.

The advantage is that it would always be there. I am thinking that a good bolt thru the center of disc and pad would keep it in place.

The pad I use often is a cheap orange pad similar to the blocks for leveling only much thinner and wider.

This could be used as is in most cases, and if you need even more support, provides a larger target for centering?

Now tell me what I am missing, because I am sure there is a very good reason not to do this.

The pad moving around while driving would be my biggest concern. Hitting a tire or suspension part.

On your new tag axle coach the rear jack comes down between the rear axles. Not much wiggle room.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:18 AM   #12
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Motor Home Magazine just published a great consumer report on RV pads. Pick up a copy. The pads come in all sizes, weights, and of course prices. I have used the 2 X's, cutting boards etc. presently we use what Wayne suggested the orange ones from CW. However, on wet grassy or muddy sites they just don't cut it. I have had a couple break or bend so badly you could not use them. Bottom line IMHO, came to the Bigfoot 15.5x15.5 pads, they have strength and durability where you would need pads. Second place was Hosspad, using recycled laminated truck tires, my guess? Cost about $100.00 for the Hoss pads, $180.00 for the Bigfoot by outriggerpads.com. Our coach is 45K so we went with the Bigfoot pads based on the info provided. No I don't work for anyone.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:28 AM   #13
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Hi paula55,
I've had the make your own and store bought pads. For my needs I've stuck with the store bought pads. The weight the pad will support is important to consider when determining which pad to purchase. Consider the following suppliers:

1. Ramble Jack Pad - www.campingworld.com
2. Big Foot - www.outriggerpads.com
3. Dica - www.dicausa.com
4. Hosspad - www.outbackq.com
6. OFL - www.outdoors-for-life.com
7. Summit - www.rvstainless.com
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:31 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PDR John View Post
The pad moving around while driving would be my biggest concern. Hitting a tire or suspension part.

On your new tag axle coach the rear jack comes down between the rear axles. Not much wiggle room.
The movement I felt comfortable with the "bigger Nut/Bigger Bolt" at first, but as I think about it, plastic will deteriorate, and although may be fine at first, it would fail without warning, and create a mess...Great Point!!


And having never had a Tag before, I didn't think about the location of that Jack.

Darn, and I thought I had just come up with a doozie!
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