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Old 01-27-2016, 06:31 PM   #1
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Soft ground suggestions

I'm headed to Daytona this weekend to watch the 24 hour race. Daytona received 2.5" of rain today and more is on the way. My spot at the track is grass. I am new to motorhome ownership and this is my first experience with a potentially soft site.

What should I know, in advance, about determining if the site is safe to park on without getting stuck?

I'm thinking it might be prudent to drive into the site forwards instead of backing in to keep the weight (and preferable towing end) near the road. I'm also considering not fully supporting the coach with the levelers; using the tires too to spread out the weight.

Any suggestions will be appreciated.

Fleetwood Discovery 37 DP.
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Old 01-27-2016, 06:46 PM   #2
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What about using 2 x 8 or similar wood under the tires or under the jack pads to spread the load out. Or I used two 2"x10" x 28" long side by side with 3/4 inch 18" by 18" plywood on top of them. Jack high enough so the tires don't bear a lot of weight on the ground. That way the tires won't sink while you are stationary.
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Old 01-27-2016, 06:51 PM   #3
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We have parked on grass at several rally's, latest one was last summer in West Virginia. I learned several years ago to use 2"X 10" jack pads under my jacks on dirt, grass, or soft asphalt. Fact with this rig, I use them 100% of the time.

This summer, several neighbors were stuck and couldn't get their jacks to retract. I raised my jacks, had some bog down on the rear wheels but pulled up to concrete, then went back and dug my wooden pads up. One side had one layer, the other side had two layers. That side was totally beneath ground level.
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Old 01-27-2016, 07:19 PM   #4
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I'm headed to Daytona this weekend to watch the 24 hour race. Daytona received 2.5" of rain today and more is on the way. My spot at the track is grass. I am new to motorhome ownership and this is my first experience with a potentially soft site.

What should I know, in advance, about determining if the site is safe to park on without getting stuck?

I'm thinking it might be prudent to drive into the site forwards instead of backing in to keep the weight (and preferable towing end) near the road. I'm also considering not fully supporting the coach with the levelers; using the tires too to spread out the weight.

Any suggestions will be appreciated.

Fleetwood Discovery 37 DP.
I think it would depend on the type of soil, drainage, etc. I would walk on it and if it felt soft under foot, I wouldn't leave the pavement. Then if I did park, I would put some 4x or 2x wood under the jacks to spread the load. I carry several 4x6 treated timbers cut to about 2 feet long for leveling and soft ground situations. Sometimes the leveling jacks will shove them into the ground halfway.
I like the idea of pulling in.
Don't be the first to arrive and see if anyone else got stuck.
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Old 01-27-2016, 07:22 PM   #5
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Been down here in south Florida where there has been a lot of rain. I have 2x10 under each jack. We had the rear sink down due to the water at one campground but no issue moving coach. Definetly would use wood under jacks.
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Old 01-27-2016, 07:52 PM   #6
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You should consider two sets of these, don't use any pads with holes in them and wood conducts electricity when wet so the rig is shorted to ground...not a good thing during a thunder/lightning storm. If you use wood a plastic pad on top is a good safety measure.

Camco Large RV Stabilizer Jack Pads, 2 Count - Walmart.com
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Old 01-27-2016, 08:12 PM   #7
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You should consider two sets of these, don't use any pads with holes in them and wood conducts electricity when wet so the rig is shorted to ground...not a good thing during a thunder/lightning storm. If you use wood a plastic pad on top is a good safety measure.

Camco Large RV Stabilizer Jack Pads, 2 Count - Walmart.com
Good suggestion, light and affordable (and in stock locally)
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Old 01-27-2016, 08:14 PM   #8
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.....I would walk on it and if it felt soft under foot, I wouldn't leave the pavement.
Thanks, this is the type of info I was hoping for.
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Old 01-27-2016, 08:15 PM   #9
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You should consider two sets of these, don't use any pads with holes in them and wood conducts electricity when wet so the rig is shorted to ground...not a good thing during a thunder/lightning storm. If you use wood a plastic pad on top is a good safety measure.

Camco Large RV Stabilizer Jack Pads, 2 Count - Walmart.com
JMO but I don't think a piece of plastic would have much affect on a bolt of lightning that has traveled through of mile of nothing but air.
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Old 01-27-2016, 08:26 PM   #10
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JMO but I don't think a piece of plastic would have much affect on a bolt of lightning that has traveled through of mile of nothing but air.
Yeah, but, at the risk of sounding cynical, it would probably cause the lightning to hit the coach next door with his jacks 4" into wet soil.

To be honest, I hadn't thought about lightning because the severe weather is supposed to be far gone by the time I arrive this weekend, but that IS something to file away for future use. Thanks.
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Old 01-27-2016, 08:29 PM   #11
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Gramps, the few inches of insulator between the jacks and the ground isn't going to make any difference to a lightning bolt. In fact, having a good ground may well be a plus.

Unlike most motor homes, our Foretravel doesn't have leveling jacks. The air bags serve that purpose, so all of our weight is on the tires all of the time. I carry several 2x8 planks in two lengths. I use them when I need to park on a soft surface or when I need to park in a site that has a slope that is too much for the air bags to handle.

The best solution to soft ground is simply to not go there, but sometimes that isn't possible. Sturdy planks are your friend then.

Remember that weight that will sink can be supported on a large enough surface. Assume for the moment that our Foretravel has four jacks, instead of using the air bags. I have approximately 10,000 pounds on the front and 20,000 on the rear. That would translate into 5000 pounds on each of the front jacks and 10,000 pounds on each of the rear jacks. If the foot of each jack is 6" in diameter, that means that there is about 200 pounds per square inch in front and 400 pounds per square inch in the rear. By putting a 12" x 12" pad under each jack you are now at about 35 pounds per square inch in the front and 70 pounds per square inch in back.

If you make a set of wood pads of four pieces of 2x6 planks, each 12" long, placed so two are parallel to the length of the coach and two are perpendicular to the length, each such pad will do a decent job of supporting your coach. You will need one such pad for each jack. You can make two such pads from one 8' long 2x6. Using a 2x8 would make for a somewhat larger pad, but the length of each piece of wood would need to be slightly longer.

If you put planks under tires remember to support ALL of the tire surface that is in contact with the ground. My long planks are about 4' long, and I use three of them side-by-side under the duals. My short planks are about 2' long, and I use two of them side-by-side under the front tires.
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Old 01-27-2016, 09:08 PM   #12
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I carry 12" X 18" pads by laminating together with gorilla glue, I added a couple nylon straps before glue that I use to pull the pads out. I have 3 sets of these plus a 12" X 24" pad with a piece of plywood laminated to it plus some 4X4~16" long. Combined I can pretty much do whatever I want.

Your circumstances will depend on the type of soil is where you want to park. Take a good look at it when you arrive, if it seems solid you will probably be in good shape. If not you will have to have pads. The thought of trying to distribute the weight between jacks and tires might work. Keep a close eye on the rig and try to determine if it is starting to settle. d

My guess is that a venue like Daytona has constructed the parking areas to carry the weight with proper soils and drainage. I doubt they would want to provide for an unpleasant experience.
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Old 01-28-2016, 12:55 AM   #13
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I attended an electrical safety seminar at one of the FMCA rallys provided by Progressive Industries who make Surge Protectors and EMS systems for rvs. The rep said that using wooden jack pads which will conduct electricity when wet will create a stronger path to ground and make it more attractive for a lightning hit. I have a friend who parked his coach in storage with the jacks down and no plastic pads...his coach was smacked by lightning and the insurance rep told him he should have isolated his metal pads with some kind of non conductive material. This becomes even more critical if your pads are down in standing water. If you use a thick wooden pad and water does not go over it and touch the metal jack legs than a plastic or other non conductive material on TOP of the wood pads could save your coach from a major electrical problem.

The Progressive rep said you don't have to spend much to fix this...nylon cutting boards, the kind you can get at Walmart for just a few bucks work just fine for this purpose.
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Old 01-28-2016, 02:29 AM   #14
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I attended an electrical safety seminar at one of the FMCA rallys provided by Progressive Industries who make Surge Protectors and EMS systems for rvs. The rep said that using wooden jack pads which will conduct electricity when wet will create a stronger path to ground and make it more attractive for a lightning hit. I have a friend who parked his coach in storage with the jacks down and no plastic pads...his coach was smacked by lightning and the insurance rep told him he should have isolated his metal pads with some kind of non conductive material. This becomes even more critical if your pads are down in standing water. If you use a thick wooden pad and water does not go over it and touch the metal jack legs than a plastic or other non conductive material on TOP of the wood pads could save your coach from a major electrical problem.

The Progressive rep said you don't have to spend much to fix this...nylon cutting boards, the kind you can get at Walmart for just a few bucks work just fine for this purpose.

Is this a joke?


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