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Old 03-15-2008, 03:50 PM   #1
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Hi Folks, What is your collective opinion regarding DP coaches with either air or hydraulic leveling systems? Some coaches have one or the other, and some have both. Do air systems have as much travel as hydraulic for those un-level sites?

Also, what about a three-point vs a four-point hydraulic system. It would seem that the 4 pt would be best.

What say you?
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Old 03-15-2008, 03:50 PM   #2
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Hi Folks, What is your collective opinion regarding DP coaches with either air or hydraulic leveling systems? Some coaches have one or the other, and some have both. Do air systems have as much travel as hydraulic for those un-level sites?

Also, what about a three-point vs a four-point hydraulic system. It would seem that the 4 pt would be best.

What say you?
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Old 03-15-2008, 04:43 PM   #3
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Hydraulic systems have jacks. Jacks are fairly reliable but they aren't perfect and they can get stuck in the mud if the weather gets lousy. Air levelling utilizes the coache's suspension to level the coach when parked so you don't need any jacks. They generally have automatic self-adjusting systems built in to keep them level should things change. The nice thing is you can pull in someplace and level without needing to lower the jacks. That can be good in blacktop parking lots where you don't want to look like you're "camping" or in muddy conditions.

however, air levelling has a limited amount of adjustment. If your site is really out of whaak air leveling won't handle it. That's why most air levelling systems also have jacks as a back up when the billiard table turns into an off-road course. That would be my personal preference in a levelling system - the dual mode version.

I've never been a big fan of 3 point jacks and perfer the 4 point system.
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Old 03-15-2008, 04:45 PM   #4
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You may have well have asked about Fords and Chevies!

Oh well, I'll start it off. I like hydraulic or a hydraulic/air combo. Think it has more travel (can handle larger variations in site) than air only.

As for 3 pt vs 4 pt, the geometry theory is on the side of 3 point - any three points defines a plane and is therefore inherently stable. Says right there in the geometry text book. But I still like 4 point - I can fine tune the leveling better on those weird sites. Or so it seems, anyway. But I don't any real experience with 3 point systems - never owned one myself so my comments are based on input from friends.
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Old 03-15-2008, 05:02 PM   #5
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One more thing I would add about air leveling. If the front of the coach is higher than the rear, you can't raise the rear very much because you never want the wheels off the ground. You may be able to raise the back a small amount , but not much. With the air system, you can lower the front of the coach and also raise the rear without the wheels ever leaving the ground.
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Old 03-15-2008, 05:58 PM   #6
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Joe,
I tend to agree with you on not raising the rear wheels off the ground when dealing with the hydraulic "kick-down" style of jacks used on lighter weight coaches. I am not sure, of the concern,when dealing with heavy duty "straight down" jacks such as made by Power Gear.

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Old 03-15-2008, 06:02 PM   #7
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I currently have a 3-point HWH brand, hydraulic levelling system in my coach. I like that when those frame-mounted jacks lift the wheels off of the ground, it is like setting the frame directly on the ground. There is no rocking when walking around in the coach, it's like walking in your house. Air compresses unlike a liquid, and allows the coach to rock. From a stability angle, both 3 and 4 point systems seem no different to me and I've been in both.

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Old 03-16-2008, 01:07 AM   #8
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The only problem with a three point system is that all of the weight of the front of the coach is held up by one jack. Many sink into the ground and get bent. I have had to dig them out, pull them off and plug the line untill a new one could be installed.
To mix the pot even more; there are now electric jacks being installed and at first I did not think they could handle the weight very long but they have proven to hold up well.
Never pull the rear wheels off the ground or you will have no brakes.
Large ultra heavy coaches like those built on the Prevost chassis do not have leveling jacks. They are air leveling only due to the weight and are not intended to be taken off road, down by the creek type camping.
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Old 03-16-2008, 06:11 AM   #9
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Hi All,

I have only had 4 point Hydraulic, and I love them ! However I also have to agree that having both air & Hydraulic or Electric, would be even better, just my 2 cents worth!
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Old 05-22-2009, 07:42 PM   #10
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We have had four-point hydraulic jacks and now air leveling. To me there is no comparison. I am able to level in places I could never level with the jacks. With jacks you have only one way... up. With air you can go up or down, front or back, side to side. I once had a site that I couldn't level with our jacks. A friend swapped sites with us and he leveled. He had air leveling. Stop for lunch in a rest area... just poke the level button a couple of times while the turbo is cooling and presto. We are level.
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Old 05-22-2009, 08:31 PM   #11
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This is confusing to me. I heard the same thing from a motorhome salesman a few days ago- air has more travel than jacks.

So how is it with jacks I can raise either axle till the tires are off the ground (leaving the axle at its lowest travel limit, i.e. most extreme possible bag inflation, with the jack extending further till the tire is off the ground)? And on the other axle I can drop all air out till the frame is on the axle?
What did I miss (I know I'll feel like a dope)?
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Old 05-22-2009, 08:55 PM   #12
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The manufacturer of our coach with the hydraulic jacks recommended against raising the tires off the ground. One time I did that with the front jacks and the windshield separated from the center post about a half inch. Also saw a coach that raised the rear wheels off the ground and the coach moved back on the jacks. It bent the jacks and they had to be removed before the coach could be moved. Jacking motorhomes to extremes is not a good idea. Also, you would think that jacks would provide a more stable platform, I sure did. Well for the coaches I have been in this doesn't seem to be true. All of them have a little "give" when you move around in them. For my tastes, just give me air leveling. It is fast, doesn't "stick" in gravel or mud and efficiently levels the coach.
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Old 05-22-2009, 09:56 PM   #13
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Air leveling is limited to the range of the airbag inflation, usually several inches. Jacks work good when the air is dumped from the suspension first, which brings the chassis close to the ground and lets the jacks work best.

Some jacks brands and models have more travel than others and some are installed differently than others, giving them more or less travel. Kick-down jacks, for example, are more restricted in their range than straight (vertical) acting jacks.

I have hydraulic only and am quite pleased with them. And they level the coach with a single touch of the button, just like your air system does.
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Old 05-23-2009, 10:29 AM   #14
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One difference I see is this: Jacks, once they are down and adjusted. the coach is level, unless the jack sinks into the ground (Yes I've had that happen) the coach remains level, and solid, walking in it is like walking in a stick house

With air. as you move the coach will move too, now the auto-system will compensate, but this takes time.. Might feel strange to some.. I doubt it would bother me (good sea legs) but hey. Some it might.

Also, high wind.. I'd rather have jacks

Best system: Likely both, that way you can choose
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