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Old 02-25-2015, 06:03 PM   #1
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Back Tires Off the Ground - OK or STUPID?

Driving a 40 ft diesel pusher with air suspension.
When I arrive at my campsite I dump the air out of the suspension and activate the automatic leveling system. Often, once level, I find that either the front or back wheel/s are off the ground. I have been told this can damage the air suspension. So, I manually adjust my jacks until all 6 wheels are touching the ground.
What are your thoughts?
Thanks
Ken
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Old 02-25-2015, 06:09 PM   #2
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My jacks say specifically they are not intended for lifting tires off the ground. You may want to check with the manufacturer/manual. Other than that, if your rear wheels are off the ground you should certainly have the front ones chocked or that thing could easily roll (assuming the parking brakes are on the rear only).
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Old 02-25-2015, 06:11 PM   #3
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Everything I read is that it is not a good idea to have all back wheels off the ground. Front wheels off is ok. If you are on a site that would require the back wheels off the ground then perhaps you should carry some board to fit under the wheels.
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Old 02-25-2015, 06:12 PM   #4
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Back Tires Off the Ground - OK or STUPID?

I think youvare doing the right thing. Your auto level needs adjustment. Don't know how it's done. :(
I had times where I manually leveled where the site was tilted. Rear down and slightly lifted, next the front, right or left as required. Worked!
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Old 02-25-2015, 06:18 PM   #5
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You should be close to level BEFORE you put the jacks down. That avoids having your wheels go off the ground when leveling. The jacks are to make the coach stable while parked in a spot. It took me a while to learn this leveling stuff. If it's not level where you park, look for a better spot. If you don't level after that then you need to have the auto level adjusted. I had to do this also as the auto leveling was out of adjustment.
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Old 02-25-2015, 06:25 PM   #6
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On a coach with air brakes,the parking brakes are on the rear wheels only. Lifting the back wheels off the ground is a bad idea because if you are on even a slight slope it could move and probably bend your jacks.
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Old 02-25-2015, 06:30 PM   #7
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Keep wheels on the ground

There have been threads where the rear shock has been pulled apart.
This is because there is nothing to stop the suspension travel except the air bags and the shocks. So you have your airbags being stretched (not intended for that).
Then if you start your coach, and the air bags inflate, now the bags are pushing the axle down more and the shock is the only thing stopping downward travel.

Many advise to chain the rear axle if you need to jack up the frame and the wheels will come off the ground.

Then another reason is that you no longer have any parking brake actions if the rear wheels are not on the ground.

Just not a good idea...

Dan
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Old 02-25-2015, 06:39 PM   #8
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STGUPID
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Old 02-25-2015, 07:05 PM   #9
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If one end of the site is low than park with the front wheels at the low end. Lower the air suspension so the jacks do not have to extend as far, then level. This will minimize the height the rear wheels must be lifted. On my coach I have attached two bubble levels at the drivers position. When I manually operate the levelers I have found the coach does not need to go as high to achieve level as when using auto level. As others have said, do not lift the rear braking wheels off the ground.
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Old 02-26-2015, 09:06 AM   #10
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I'll take a slightly different view to this traditional RV wisdom.

First of all, the coach isn't going to "roll" anywhere with the firmly jacks on the ground. It is well-anchored by the jack feet. However, that presumes the jack legs are strong enough so they won't bend (see the next points).

Some types of jacks, e.g. the HWH knee-action model which folds rather than going straight up/down, are inherently unsuited to this sort of thing because the knee joint can fail under sideways pressure. That type of jack is at risk even when the rear wheels remain lightly on the ground. Don't do it. Straight-acting jacks have rigid stainless steel rams and are generally much stiffer and stronger.

Some straight-acting jacks are plenty strong to handle the load, but others may not. The OEM Equalizer Systems jacks on my coach groaned when anywhere near full extension and the coach builder said they were undersized for the load and replaced them (under warranty) with a higher capacity model. The larger jacks are rated for 16,000 lbs each, more than enough to safely lift the 20,000 rear end of the coach. Equalizer says "no worries" about their ability to lift the wheels off the ground and handle the side loads. Other jack manufacturers aren't so confident. If you aren't sure, don't get those rear wheels off the ground without firmly chocking the front wheels. Better yet, don't do it at all.

Most electric jacks are relatively low capacity for the weight of the coach they are installed on and probably should never be used to lift wheels off the ground. If they can even do that.

The suspension damage thing is also debatable. Leaf and coil spring suspensions should have little risk - the springs aren't going to break off from a little downward pull while parked. If the connection is that weak, you shouldn't be driving the coach over pot hoes and RR tracks. Air suspension is a little harder to assess. It can be argued that the air bags are made to handle sustained downward pulls, even though they are subject to that in normal driving, to some extent. The air suspension companies won't go out on a limb and promise it's ok, probably because they don't test for that. Still, the suspension is really rugged. Has to be, to handle the continual punishment of even a mostly smooth road.
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Old 02-26-2015, 09:34 AM   #11
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2014 Thor Palazzo 33.3 35' DP .... I also am hesitant when the auto leveling system allows the tires to leave contact with the ground, especially if it is either of the rear wheels. I found that manually leveling does not require the same 'height' as when the auto leveling system is used, though I'm not sure why. Several times I have had to manually adjust the levelers to keep all wheels on the ground, and continue to maintain a level coach.
After the air bags are lowered, the coach is very low to the ground(Freightliner XCS chassis) - maybe the auto leveling system is designed to provide a certain level 'height' in order to allow for the automatic door step movement, and to allow enough 'height' below the wet/sewer bay to attach the sewer hose and water hose through the bottom deck plate openings. Just a thought.
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Old 02-26-2015, 11:38 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MisterT View Post
2014 Thor Palazzo 33.3 35' DP .... I also am hesitant when the auto leveling system allows the tires to leave contact with the ground, especially if it is either of the rear wheels. I found that manually leveling does not require the same 'height' as when the auto leveling system is used, though I'm not sure why. Several times I have had to manually adjust the levelers to keep all wheels on the ground, and continue to maintain a level coach.
After the air bags are lowered, the coach is very low to the ground(Freightliner XCS chassis) - maybe the auto leveling system is designed to provide a certain level 'height' in order to allow for the automatic door step movement, and to allow enough 'height' below the wet/sewer bay to attach the sewer hose and water hose through the bottom deck plate openings. Just a thought.
Good explanation, and I agree. Manual leveling is best when the site is unlevel enough to cause either end of the MH to leave the ground.
I'll not even use the high end jacks sometimes, it helps a lot to keep the rear tires on the ground. I still use wheel chocks for the front wheels though.
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Old 02-26-2015, 11:58 AM   #13
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I never let my wheels leave the ground. If it is that out of level i will drive the tires up on some 2 x 6 or other objects or dig out for the other wheels to lower it. It is not too good on the frame either to put that stress on it from what I have been told.
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Old 02-26-2015, 12:52 PM   #14
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When I comes to leveling with jacks, (as with anything RV), each of us
does what we are comfortable/confident doing.

Although my RVA jacks are capable of lifting all 6 tires of the ground at the same time I seldom do.

However, I often lift either the 2 fronts OR all 4 rears... (if necessary to level my parked coach).
If/when only the fronts are lifted the rears hold my coach in place.
If/when the rears will be lifted I use wheel chocks on the fronts to prevent my coach from moving.

Note to the "Jack Police":
That's NOT a recommendation....(just what I do without any problem).

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