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Old 05-06-2018, 07:38 PM   #1
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To auto-level or not to auto-level.....That is the question

So got my brand new coach home (2018 THOR ACE 29.3), parked it in the driveway and started the auto level procedure. The coach creaked and groaned, bumped shifted etc etc. Finally the auto-leveler said it was level. Huh?? The right rear wheels were completely off the ground and the whole coach was badly tilted. I retracted the jacks, got my carpenters level and manually leveled it and re-callibrated the auto-leveler. When I manually leveled the coach it required only minor adjustments with the jacks, 2 of them were not even extended. I then retracted the jacks and went into auto level mode again. The good news is it did get to a level state. The confusing part is that the coach still groaned, rocked and creaked, extended all 4 pads and still lifted the coach off the ground quite a bit. All wheels were touching the ground this time but the rear right just barely. Its as if the leveling system WANTS to fully extend the jacks and rather dramatically lift the coach. I'm new to this but is this right????? Doesn't seem so. I'm tempted to not use the auto-leveling mode and manually level the coach so I can make minimal use of the jacks and keep the coach tires solidly on the ground. I would appreciate some advise from the "seasoned" RV'er's here!!
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Old 05-06-2018, 08:29 PM   #2
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I dont like my auto level for the same reason so I simply never use it.
I use manual and open the bathroom door a few inches to level side to side then I open it further to level front to back. I used to use a level on the floor but now prefer the bathroom door method.
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Old 05-06-2018, 09:24 PM   #3
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First owner didn't pay to factory installed jacks so I did a driveway install but passed on the auto level option which was several $$$ extra. 90% of the time I can usually level with just three button pressings. Set the jacks on the low end (front to back), raise the high end (front to back), adjust left to right. Verify for further adjustment with the fridge door swing and a outside wheel check.

Watched a few auto levelings at CGs and surprised there aren't more windshield cracks, pop outs and slide misalignments.
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Old 05-06-2018, 09:31 PM   #4
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This is an interesting discussion, and one that I have stewed over in the past. That was until someone pointed out to me the self leveling system extends all four jacks so that the motorhome has enough rise so it can shift left or right, or forward or backward, without resulting in twist or excessive compression. More specifically, with the motorhome lifted it now has the capability to roll one direction without too much compression on the opposing side. I have found that letting the system auto level may result in one, perhaps two, wheels lifting off the ground. But letting it do this and then switching over to manual mode and lowering all four jacks together will usually result in all four wheels contacting the ground while not resulting in any dreaded twist to the structure, or excessive compression to the shocks or springs because there is no jack down for that corner.
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Old 05-06-2018, 09:45 PM   #5
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To auto-level or not to auto-level.....That is the question

I have never understood why some of you get all wound up over a wheel (or wheels) being off the ground. If the coach is LEVEL, what’s the problem?

I have leveled up in sites where the front wheels were almost a foot off the ground. The coach was stable as a rock. The only thing special I had to do was place a stool at the steps. That first step was a doozy!
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The jacks are designed to support the entire weight of the coach. By getting as much weight on the jacks as possible, the system is also making the coach as stable as possible. If you auto-level and then allow the coach to settle back down so you put some weight back on the wheels, you may only have a couple of pounds of weight on the “light”wheel. If it makes you feel better to see the wheels on the ground, so be it. However, it is not necessary and can actually decrease the stability of the coach.
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Old 05-06-2018, 09:59 PM   #6
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You mean like this?

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Old 05-06-2018, 10:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A Traveler View Post
I have never understood why some of you get all wound up over a wheel (or wheels) being off the ground. If the coach is LEVEL, what’s the problem?
My complaint is the last step off the stairs when the campsite is low to the right.
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Old 05-06-2018, 10:02 PM   #8
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To the OP.

Long term, I wouldn't store my RV with wheels off the ground. I would either manually level, or I would run the tires up onto something like blocks of wood.

Short term, it would not bother me.
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Old 05-06-2018, 11:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HatrackRV View Post
So got my brand new coach home (2018 THOR ACE 29.3), parked it in the driveway and started the auto level procedure. The coach creaked and groaned, bumped shifted etc etc. Finally the auto-leveler said it was level. Huh?? The right rear wheels were completely off the ground and the whole coach was badly tilted. I retracted the jacks, got my carpenters level and manually leveled it and re-callibrated the auto-leveler. When I manually leveled the coach it required only minor adjustments with the jacks, 2 of them were not even extended. I then retracted the jacks and went into auto level mode again. The good news is it did get to a level state. The confusing part is that the coach still groaned, rocked and creaked, extended all 4 pads and still lifted the coach off the ground quite a bit. All wheels were touching the ground this time but the rear right just barely. Its as if the leveling system WANTS to fully extend the jacks and rather dramatically lift the coach. I'm new to this but is this right????? Doesn't seem so. I'm tempted to not use the auto-leveling mode and manually level the coach so I can make minimal use of the jacks and keep the coach tires solidly on the ground. I would appreciate some advise from the "seasoned" RV'er's here!!
HatrackRV,
Well sir, first off, let's take a practical look at this before jumping onto the bandwagon of "I don't like it, I won't use it" type thinking. Second, you state your coach is an '18, correct? If so, then doesn't it have any warranty? If so, then if, IF, there's a problem with operation of the jacks AFTER they've been correctly calibrated, then the dealer should take care of it, shouldn't they?

Now, third, auto-leveling systems have been around for years and years. Just about all brands have their own version of auto-leveling. I cannot speak for any other brand than what we have, the HWH 625 Computer Controlled Automatic Leveling System. All versions have adjustments on them for accuracy.

If your system has been calibrated correctly, it should operate correctly. If it doesn't, then as stated, I'd get it to a dealer to see what's up with it. (no pun intended). Fourth, some folks think an auto leveling system will work, no matter how far un-level the coach is, when the operation is started. Well, even with manual systems, there are limits to just how far a jack system will extend, before it's maxed out. And in some cases, its' not level yet 'cause it was too unlevel to start with.

I know the limits of my auto leveling system. If I pull onto a site that I think will tax my auto leveling system, out comes the mini-lumber yard and I start driving up on them to prelevel. From that point on, the jacks are used in the manual mode and just for fine tuning and stabilization.

Fifth, I won't go into the "tires/wheels" off the ground thing. I don't advocate it. I will simply say, I keep all 6 tires and wheels touching the ground and, all four jacks. That's 10 points of stabilization and, it's level too. It don't get any better than that. Everyone's got their own opinion on this. If one wants to hang all their wheels and tires off the ground, it's their coach. Yes, most jacks are capable of holding the coach up but, when the tires are not in contact, you've lost lateral stabilization. That might not mean much to some, it does to me.

Anyway, If I were you, I'd find some parking lot that's as close to dead level as possible and, calibrate your auto leveling system there. Then, after it's calibrated, retract the whole system, drive around a bit, and pull into the same spot and test it. See if it brings the coach to the same level it did when you calibrated it. Then use it when you get home and see how it does.
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Old 05-06-2018, 11:33 PM   #10
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I know on my coach auto level is better than manual. Not being familiar with your coach that is really all I can say about it since we may well have very different systems.

Do have your calibration checked!

As to wheels off the ground I do not like that and esp. rear wheels.

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Old 05-07-2018, 12:07 AM   #11
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In my coach I like to dump the air before auto leveling. Dumping the air and lowering the coach reduces the travel of the levels and keeps all wheels on the ground in all but the most extreme cases.

Ive had my coach close to 7 years, auto level has need calibration twice; first time I set it up, I wanted to tweak it a bit and then after a mouse ate the controller wire and I had to replace the controller.

Dump the air, turn leveling system on, hit auto button, done. Remember not to move around inside the coach while its leveling.
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Old 05-07-2018, 12:32 AM   #12
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Mine has a LCI system. What I have learned is that,

1) It takes a few seconds to recognize that the grounding of the jacks,

2) The system only raises to adjust. If the rear is low, it raises the rear. If it raised the rear too much, it raises the front. If the front ends up to high, it raises the rear.

Despite the shortcoming, this weekend, we went to camp. I put my cribbing down and hit Auto-Level. My instinct told me it was too high. I checked my level and it was right. I stepped out and looked and came away with "holy SS Batman!".
I stepped back in, retracted the jacks, then went manual. Nose low, so I went to front until level said I was level. Then I grounded the rear. That was enough to put nose back a touch low. Two extremely short touches and I was back to level. I stepped back outside, and lo and behold it looked exactly the same. Now, I didn't measure, but I can tell if my front wheel is 5 or six inches off of the ground. I wasn't really happy that the rear also raised slightly, but after looking at it for a minute, I felt that may have been my error as the 4x4 cribbing under the rear was an interference fit.

I have yet to go behind an Auto-Level and then do a manual and make a appreciable difference.

BTW, we are one trip closer to getting a step for the door.
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Old 05-07-2018, 07:36 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A Traveler View Post
I have never understood why some of you get all wound up over a wheel (or wheels) being off the ground. If the coach is LEVEL, what’s the problem?

I have leveled up in sites where the front wheels were almost a foot off the ground. The coach was stable as a rock. The only thing special I had to do was place a stool at the steps. That first step was a doozy!
Attachment 201851

The jacks are designed to support the entire weight of the coach. By getting as much weight on the jacks as possible, the system is also making the coach as stable as possible. If you auto-level and then allow the coach to settle back down so you put some weight back on the wheels, you may only have a couple of pounds of weight on the “light”wheel. If it makes you feel better to see the wheels on the ground, so be it. However, it is not necessary and can actually decrease the stability of the coach.

I will try to help you understand why I dont like my wheels off the ground.

1. stability in high winds
2. keep the windshield from cracking
3 smooth operation of slideouts
4. step will be closer to the ground

In alot of cases where you see the front wheels off the ground it is because the auto level has lifted the back of the coach needlessly. auto level seems to like to have the entire coach elevated.

in contrast to you not understanding why people dont like to have their wheels off the ground I dont understand why people need their coaches perfectly level at all costs. Each to their own I guess.
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Old 05-07-2018, 10:41 AM   #14
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Some good, some bad info here.

First, you do NOT want the wheels off the ground. You have zero lateral stability.

The leveling should proceed in two steps. First, get the coach level. Then drive ALL the leveling jacks downward until a pressure switch on each jack trips showing each jack is supporting part of the coach weight so you don't get the tippiness feeling when you walk around.

Most will complain if they jack a wheel off the ground with a "excessive slope" warning, at least on my new tiffin I encounter this problem. All wheels need to remain in firm contact with the ground, the rear wheels because of the parking brake, the front wheels simply to provide lateral support with ground contact, and fore/aft support via wheel chocks.

Adjust it until it levels correctly. If it gets wheels off the ground, I'd have it looked at by a shop familiar with your leveling system. If that thing move sideways or for/aft while on the jacks, that will be an expensive repair, to say the least....

My brand new Tiffin was somehow not calibrated properly, but it was easy enough to correct. You will never get the thing level all the way from front to back, because the chassis frame has flex. Measured crosswise right on top of the jacks inside, it ought to be real close. Measure lengthwise at the same point, same. But in the middle of the coach, both ends might look a tad high since there is some sag on steel beams this long.
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