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Old 10-22-2010, 06:57 AM   #1
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motorhome hydraulic leveler for tire changing

OK I have A&E hydraulic leveler and the instructions said it is not used for tire changing or working underneath.

Now my question as dumb as it sounds why not? If I was to use my floor jack it is also a hydraulic jack so my guess is that one would be no safer than the other.

If I was planing to work under it I would use jack stands regardless, and the previous owner told me that he used these leveler jacks to change tires all of the time, but then again I discovered that he was not always truthful.

So can someone fill me in on why these levelers could not be used for tire changing?

I plan to buy a good bottle jack regardless, so this is just being curious, and on that subject , what size jack do I need, I only found a small 3 ton jack on the rig when I bought it. By the way it is a 83 Pace Arrow ,P-30 ,31 footer

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Old 10-22-2010, 07:26 AM   #2
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6 ton with extra pipe handle so you don't have to lay underneath

09 Winnie 32 h adventurer towing 15 focus
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Old 10-22-2010, 09:44 AM   #3
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One guess is that the manufacture of the hydraulic system does not want the liability if something were to happen and that jack fail. Do you know what the weight rating on each jack leg is per chance? Not that I am recommending anything but say you're axle weight was 20k and the jack was rated for 10k lifting one wheel may overload the jack. Not that you are lifting the 20k but due to weight transfer when you lift. My opinion anyhow.
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Old 10-22-2010, 10:31 AM   #4
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I believe the OP had said he would be using jack stands for his peace-of-mind while doing this. [A very good idea!] This keeps the weight distribution on a four-square format as he lowers the repair corner onto the jack stands for support. I assume jacks are always working in pairs; at no time does one jack take all the weight of that axle. There is no "weight transfer" to one jack [that I can foresee here].

There is also a engineered safety factor. My rear hydraulic jacks are rated 12K each on each corner [for 34 ft. long MH]. This allows me a safe margin.
With a 6 Ton bottle jack, long handle and some good-sized wheel chocks...he's good to go . Except he now needs an impact wrench or torque-multiplier to get those tight lugnuts off.
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Old 10-22-2010, 10:33 AM   #5
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My manual says not to do it.
Also when I look at the round foot plates on the bottom of the jacks they appear to be solidly fixed to the jacks and I wonder about the bending moment on them.
Looks like there would be a lot of stress on them.
Clay WA5NMR - Ex Snowbird - 1 year, Ex Full timer for 11 years - 2004 Winnebago Sightseer 35N Workhorse chassis. Honda Accord toad.
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Old 10-22-2010, 11:08 AM   #6
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I just happened to have had the eight tires replaced at Spartan in Charlotte, MI last month and they jacked the whole coach up with the leveling jacks and placed jack stands under it. Removed all eight tires, took them away to get new rubber on them, and put them back on the coach all at once. So, like eveybody says, yes you can jack the coach up, but use a jack stand if you're going to do any work.
'05 DSDP 4320 C9 Cat w/ '10 SRX &
'12 Harley Ultra Limited along for the ride &
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Old 10-22-2010, 11:28 AM   #7
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There are basically TWO reasons the leveler jack folks do not want you changing tires with their jacks:

1: The poster who commented on Libility hit on the head.. Yes, it is a libality issue. Imagine if you will you are under the rig when POP goes the hydraulic hose and you are crushed to death.

With a bottle or floor jack there basically is no hose, so that won't happen. (Though you could blow a seal)

The second is this.

You should always ALWAYS have both rear wheels and at least one front tire firmly in contact with the ground when using levelers You can lift JUST ONE front tire, (don't matter which one) and even that is not recommended.

They put jack stands under the axles as well.

WHY: Because the jacks are designed to push the rig UP, they are not designed to prevent it from moving either side to side (Both front or both rear) or front/back (either rear) thus, Keep the tires on the ground or the jacks can pretzel on you.

I have only used those jacks once to lift the rig for tire changing, IN A TIRE STORE. on very flat concrete with no wind and good wheel chocks on the other side.
Home is where I park it!
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Old 10-22-2010, 02:11 PM   #8
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Having been in the commercial tire business for 40 years I would never use the levels for this type of work . Use a commercial grade jack and if I were doing it I would run the levelers down just to the ground as a back up.
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Old 10-23-2010, 06:29 AM   #9
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I use a bottle jack or a floor jack with floor stands, as the bottle jack or floor jack can lose the hydraulic fluid and lower it self, as they are not really made to hold up vehicals for a long period, as for the levelers, maybe to raise the coach up, but then I put the jack stands under it, I would never trust any hydraulic system to lift something up and work underneath a coach. The hydraulics are not safe. It wouldn't matter to me what type of work I need to do from changing a tire to replaceing my brakes ( just did this in the last 3 days) I will always use a jack stand to support the coach.
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Old 10-24-2010, 06:18 PM   #10
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You can make a jack stand "safety" for any tubular jack by sectioning 60-90 degrees out of a chunk of heavy wall pipe. Pipe should be about 1/2" shorter than the maximum lift. Put the pipe around the jack shaft, hold it in place with a velcro strap, and then lower the coach until the pipe is trapped. After you are done working, raise the coach and pull the safetys off.

That's the standard method for Indy cars and endurance cars if you are going to be doing a lot of work underneath. Keeps people from tripping over the air hose, snapping it off, and dropping the car on you. I've also used this method on a 90 foot pneumatic antenna mast with a hydraulic erector that had a slow internal leak.

A decent mechanical engineer should be able to tell you the pipe thickness required for a given load to ensure the safety won't buckle.
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Old 10-24-2010, 06:35 PM   #11
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I would like to add a personal experience... I purchased my 36' dp from an rv dealer. After completing the walk thru and inspection we went to fill the fuel tank. At that time it was noticed the fuel filler hose had a leak. We returned to the shop to have it repaired. The tech raised the left side of the mh using the leveling jacks. While it was in the air - tires off the ground - he dumped the air (OOPS! ) when he did this it placed enough stress on the jacks and mounts that caused the front jack to break from the frame. What a horrible sound and feeling.

So it happens to the best of them. use a stand at the least.
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Old 10-25-2010, 07:39 AM   #12
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My opinion-

I've used the hyd jacks on my '86, 33' tag axle MH and now on my current rig ('02 37' WH MH) to remove tires. Always back them up with Jack stands.

Don't use just one jack, alone. It can twist the frame enough to "pop" a windshield out. Use both on one side, or both in front or rear. Chock the vehicle accordingly.

Good luck,
Max H,
2002 Newmar Mountain Aire, 37', 3778, W-22, 8.1 Vortac, Ultra Power upgrade, CAI (cold air intake), Taylor wires, colder plugs, Koni shocks.
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Old 10-25-2010, 10:59 AM   #13
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I learned my lesson early on about backing up your jack with stands. I had did a valve job on a corvett and was just about finished with it and got in a hurry. I crawled under to attach the exaust pipe and only had the vett lifted with a floor jack and when I pulled on the pipe to align it with the manifold the car came down on top of me. Thank god the wheels were on it and all I got was a chipped tooth, but I was fastened under the car and could move. My helper mechanic was able to lift the car and get it off me. I learned my lesson fast.
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Old 10-25-2010, 07:44 PM   #14
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Jack Stands Jack Stands Jack Stands !!!

Sunny South Carolina
2004 Pace Arrow 37-C WH W-22
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