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Old 10-21-2010, 11:00 PM   #1
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Opinion Request: Air Leveling vs. Hyd Jacks

I recently discovered that some high end motorhomes have Air Leveling rather than Hydraulic Jacks.

That surprised me since it seems to me that Hyd jacks would be more desireable than Air Leveling. I have been in places where I dont think air leveling would raise the chassis high enough to level. And the ability to lift the wheel off the ground has some benefits for maintenance and tire changing.

Having not had a rig without jacks, I dont know how much lift air leveling can accomplish, so... want to hear what you know, and how you feel about the two systems.

The 2003 Beaver Marquis that I looked at today didnot have jacks which turned me off to it right away.
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Old 10-21-2010, 11:39 PM   #2
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I have both. The coach came with a 3-point jack system. I added HWH air leveling and prefer the air leveling. First off it allows me to lower the coach closer to the ground and then level it. Second it puts no stress on the windshield like jacks can from twisting the body.

When walking in the coach, you can feel a little movement but it is not objectionable. If you have a choice, get both, and if you can't get both, get air.
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Old 10-22-2010, 04:52 AM   #3
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I totally agree with Rex. Since air is compressible you can get a little movement if you're busting some moves. It's minimal though and the convenience just can't be overstated. I never have to worry about where I level, whether the jacks will retract, cleaning the jacks, lubricating them, whether I need to put pads underneath, etc., etc., etc.

I wouldn't have a coach without it.
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Old 10-22-2010, 06:05 AM   #4
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I'm confused, what's new, but are you guys talking about airbags or air operated leveling jacks? I guess the comment that it "allows me to lower my coach before leveling" make me think you're talking airbags. I have electric jacks and always dump the air to get it lower to the ground before leveling. One other point, all of the leveling manufacturers that I've read have always stated the leveling system is to be used for leveling not for "jacking" the unit for service. If a hose, either air or hydraulic, should ever break I sure wouldn't want to be under it or have a tire/wheel off.
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Old 10-22-2010, 06:28 AM   #5
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Air leveling uses the air bag suspension to level the coach. It has a smaller range of leveling compared to jacks and as noted above, it's not as firm.

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Originally Posted by Elkhartjim View Post
I'm confused, what's new, but are you guys talking about airbags or air operated leveling jacks? I guess the comment that it "allows me to lower my coach before leveling" make me think you're talking airbags. I have electric jacks and always dump the air to get it lower to the ground before leveling. One other point, all of the leveling manufacturers that I've read have always stated the leveling system is to be used for leveling not for "jacking" the unit for service. If a hose, either air or hydraulic, should ever break I sure wouldn't want to be under it or have a tire/wheel off.
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Old 10-22-2010, 08:01 AM   #6
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I would prefer air bags as they are more trouble free. Also, jacks add a lot of weight to the coach. Air doesn't have the range of jacks, but places I've camped have always been pretty level. I even did most of my Alaska trip without jacks at all as I had a failure. I was alwalys able to find a livel site.
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Old 10-22-2010, 08:17 AM   #7
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I have Air Leveling on my coach and like the Aqua-Hot System, I will never have another coach without it. The Airstream Landyahct I owned previously had hydraulic jacks, and they were a PITA. They twist and wrench the coach, can lift wheels off the ground (not a good thing) and once when one axle was too high, it actually slipped and fell off of the jacks. They also get stuck and either won't retract or deploy.

With the air, push a button or two and it's done. You don't have the same leveling range but when you have 36,000 lb's of coach, you don't want to be too un-level to start with anyway.

I won't leave home without it!

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Old 10-22-2010, 08:18 AM   #8
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My 2004 Signature didn't offer the jacks as an option with the Detroit Diesel for some unknown reason so I only have air bag leveling. My previous MH only had jacks. I much prefer the air leveling and I feel it is just as stable as my previous jacks. Plus you can't drive off wit the jacks down (lol). I have tried leveling from the full down position and have leveled from the standard driving position and on my MH I end up at the same position both ways. The only thing that takes some time to get used to is the automatic re-leveling which is always being done. I never feel it much inside the MH but you sure can hear it outside the MH. Out of the blue I will geta whistle and a hiss and it does its thing. If I have been stopped for some time and my air tanks have run low then a little auxiliary compressor comes online to give the system air.

I like the air leveling system over my previous jack system.
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Old 10-22-2010, 08:55 AM   #9
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I have air leveling and wasn't sure I was going to like it. As it turns out I don't like it, I love it. Simple,less maintenance, and besides an auxiliary air compressor it doesn't add anything to the coach. The only disadvantages are that you can't get level on some sites (something I haven't experienced yet), that the air compressor may cycle at the wrong time and be a bit noisy (this has only happened once and can be avoided by turning the system off after you are level) and that you will get some slight movement in high winds.

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Old 10-22-2010, 09:14 AM   #10
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We move a lot and have had maybe two places in three years where the site was a little to omuch for a perfect air level. Both were lakefront Corp parks and the sites were worth being off a little for a few days. A lot mor e range of level than you would imagine. The tag makes for a pretty stable platform. PLUS all the above of the jacks bad stuff.

Take another look at that Beaver
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Old 10-22-2010, 09:51 AM   #11
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We have all air and love it. The only time I missed jacks was when we blew a tire and it was a problem for the tire guy to get under to jack it up.
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Old 10-22-2010, 06:02 PM   #12
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After searching the Internet with the same question, I have found about the same answers. Although, a few have said they would want both, and some have both air leveling and hyd jacks.

I do have air ride (with the air bags) and it does lift about 7" inches if I remember correctly. However, last summer we were at an "RV Park" (more a trailer park) that provided me with a pad that had such a slope to it that we had to use a step to reach the fold-out step, and then it was still a streach to reach the first fold-out step. That's why I think it may be important to have hydraulic jacks. I cant believe that the air system would have accomplished the same.

I would think that if one really, really wanted air leveling, and had air ride; it would just be a matter of re-piping the air bags and adding a controller to individully control the air bags. (?) So I think I would opt for hydraulic jacks with the option of air leveling.

In regard to jacking the rig for maintenance; I would never roll under the rig on jacks until I blocked the frame and lowered the frame to the blocks. But without the jacks, I think I would have to use a bottle jack and then I dont think I would get the same lift.

I just remembered another use for the jacks... I read that it is good to take the weight off the tires when in storage, so I use the jacks to remove a little of the weight from the tires. I dont raise the tires enought to raise them off the ground, just enough to relieve some weight.
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Old 10-23-2010, 07:48 PM   #13
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I prefer hydraulic jacks, they are very good for crushing my beer cans therefore increasing storage space in the basement..
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Old 10-23-2010, 08:09 PM   #14
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Quote:
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I prefer hydraulic jacks, they are very good for crushing my beer cans therefore increasing storage space in the basement..
Dehydrated beer takes up even less room
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