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Old 12-02-2015, 09:22 AM   #1
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Working Under a DP Coach?

What safety precautions do you have to take if you want to work under a DP with an air bag suspension? I slid under the Alpine coach we were considering to look at the steering gear. As I was looking up under the coach it occurred to me that the coach was sitting on air bags and that it could be dangerous to crawl under there. That feeling was driven home a few days later when we were at another RV lot and they had a Dutch Star DP which was sitting very low, almost touching the ground. The salesman said the air suspension had been dumped and that's why it was sitting so low.
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Old 12-02-2015, 09:29 AM   #2
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Put the jacks down first. \ken
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Old 12-02-2015, 09:50 AM   #3
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After attending a freightliner class, and understanding the problems if the airbags loose air or the jacks retract.......I built a set of wooden ramps. I fit under even when the airbags are deflated. It's the safe way to go, and very easy and cheap to build.
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Old 12-02-2015, 09:52 AM   #4
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After attending a freightliner class, and understanding the problems if the airbags loose air or the jacks retract.......I built a set of wooden ramps. I fit under even when the airbags are deflated. It's the safe way to go, and very easy and cheap to build.
That sounds like a good idea. I was thinking jack stands, but that will be a lot easier and simpler.
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Old 12-02-2015, 10:25 AM   #5
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For safety I have (4) 12X12X12 solid Douglas fir timber blocks that just fit under my retracted jacks with 1/2 to 1 inch clearance. I needed to replace the rear air height control valve and didn't want to fully trust the jacks alone on supporting the rig. It worked perfectly/safely to air down, replace the valve and air up again. Heavy but could be taken with on a trip. I leave mine in the garage.
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Old 12-02-2015, 11:36 AM   #6
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After attending a freightliner class, and understanding the problems if the airbags loose air or the jacks retract.......I built a set of wooden ramps. I fit under even when the airbags are deflated. It's the safe way to go, and very easy and cheap to build.
I also built wood ramps to drive up on, they are high enough to deflate the bags and have room to change oil, filters, and other work. Trusting air bags or hydraulics to save me isn't in my plans.
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Old 12-02-2015, 11:39 AM   #7
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Many stories of Hydraulic or Air systems failing and causing the death of someone working on the rig (not just motorhomes).

I would not rely on either a hydraulic jack or air spring to protect me from its failure.

Ramps and jack stands are the best choice if matched correctly to the rig's weight.
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Old 12-02-2015, 01:25 PM   #8
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In the garage, I use the jacks and blocks to raise and then I stick 4 layers of 2 x 10 under each wheel (4 footers under steer and inside drive and 8 footers under outside drive and tag).

In the summer I dig a pit in backyard with backhoe and drive rear or front just above.
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Old 12-02-2015, 04:52 PM   #9
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I purchased jack stands. I think that is the safest way to go. Be sure and get stands that are rated for the weight of your coach. I purchased 12 ton jack stands from Amazon. The Omega 32126. They are very well built.
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Old 12-02-2015, 06:40 PM   #10
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Don't trust anything air or hydraulic with your life ever ! If it's blocking or Jacks stands you decide to use make sure it can easily handle your coaches weight. Better to be safe than sorry still rings true !
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Old 12-02-2015, 06:44 PM   #11
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I might add too.....is don't forget to take in account what condition/compaction the soil is under your stands or blocking and determine if it could handle such a heavy load.
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Old 12-02-2015, 06:50 PM   #12
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When we had the Dutch Stars they had jacks and I regularly left them (or at least the last one) with the front wheels off the ground for 4 to 6 months at a time with out it ever going down. But, when I climbed under it was on the tires, the jacks set AND blocks under the frame and a 20 ton jack set.
With the Magna...It only has air suspension and I haven't been under it yet, but when I do I'll do the same except I won't have leveling jacks in there.
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Old 12-02-2015, 07:27 PM   #13
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When I have to get under our coach for anything, I go about 10 blocks to a shop with a pit. I pay them $50 and drive over the pit. I then stand up to do whatever needs attention. Haven't had to do it for a couple of years, but is well worth the 50 bucks.
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Old 12-02-2015, 07:58 PM   #14
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Put the jacks down first. \ken

Some motorhomes, (mine included) don't have jacks and level off the airbags. This is a good thread, I have been curious what people do to work under their coaches.
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