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Old 06-15-2017, 02:08 PM   #1
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How level is level enough to extend slides?

I am sure the answer to this question is somewhere in this forum, but for the life of me I can not find it. We have a 2015 Newmar Canyon Star and are having some slide issues. Auto-level does not work in our driveway, so we have to level manually. We do this the way the Equalizer rep told us to. First back jacks extended until they touch the ground, then front jacks extended until level front to back. Then level side to side if needed. Fine. Except that when we do this, and the coach is perfectly level, the door-side slide touches the body on the one side AND the door won't close (if it's open) or open (if it's closed.) This is going to be addressed when we take it in for service in a couple of weeks, but I am providing all this just to explain why we want to extend the slides without the coach being completely level.

Does the bubble need to be completely inside the lines or can it be partly inside the lines? If we level front to back almost perfectly and leave the side to side with the bubble half way over the line, the gap is fine and the door opens and closes. Is this level enough to use the slides? Thank you!
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Old 06-15-2017, 02:55 PM   #2
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What you're suppose to do is to check the gaps around the slides and make sure they're uniform then extend the slides. Then level the coach. If the coach is WAY off when parked then some "jack" leveling can be done before you extend the slides (Right from the mouth of a Newmar Tech) But, someone else here will probably dispute this method.

In regard to the auto leveling. If you have HWH jacks, there is a box usually under the coach near the steps that has 4 lights that you need to adjust to make the coach level. I had to remove that box for repairs and when it came back I didn't know about the adjustment so the auto level was way off. I leveled the coach using a 5 foot level front to back and side to side then adjusted the lights, from there on out, it leveled automatically and the coach was level. This adjustment is in the owners manual.
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Old 06-15-2017, 03:06 PM   #3
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Welcome to the forum.
Surely there are many variables involved in this topic.
The room slide out is just a electro-mechanical mechanism who's alignment and longevity are much determined by minimal stress and distortion with its mate. In the best case scenario's they will provide yrs. of trouble free service. When asked to do something they are not designed for, troubles can arise. They can become shifted to a fore or aft position, they can be put in a bind causing undue stress on the rollers tracks and bearings.
Adding frame (of the coach) flex to this mix can add even more strain on the slide's structural components. Frame flex is not something that, although may be addressed most likely cannot be corrected. This is usually not a good recipe for prolonged slide alignment or longevity. The door closing / opening does sound like flexing of that wall component.
When yo say that you are unable to auto-level your coach in your driveway are we to expect that the leveling rams run out of stroke, wheels come off the ground etc.?
There are no clear cut answers to your problem. you'll probably need to take the advice of the coach service reps. Personally I would tend to avoid situations that presents those symptoms.
Parking in locations out of the range of the frame geometry may require more complicated shoring, cribbing methods or grade alterations to relieve this twist.
Best of luck.
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Old 06-15-2017, 03:14 PM   #4
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To the OP, is your driveway evenly sloped? I mean, is it high on one end and low on the other, or maybe high on one side and low on the other? Or is it a mixture of both?

I'm certainly not an expert but i'd think that if you're going by a bubble, and you have a mixture of both, then the rig could be in a "twisted" state even though the bubble showed level.

I think i had this happen one time while parked on an uneven slope. The bubble showed level but i got a loud pop while bringing in the slide. Checked things out and retested with the same popping sound. I looked all over the thing and couldn't find anything wrong. Moved the coach to more level ground and what da ya know, no more loud pop. Knocking on wood now but haven't experienced this since!

Edited to add,, It's always good to be level as can be but i don't think it is as critical as making sure the coach isn't trying to twist. You stating that the door won't open/close makes it sound like you (your driveway) is putting excess stress on the rig.
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Old 06-16-2017, 06:48 AM   #5
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Thanks LJowdy. When we first purchased the coach, about 4 months ago, we had trouble with the auto-level when parked in our driveway. Spent way too much time on the phone with Newmar service and with a rep from Equalizer. They walked us through resetting the null and we have repeated the process many times. The tech guy from Equalizer insisted it should work in our driveway, but over and over again, it does not, so we have given up and we now just level manually. I have just recently become aware of Newmar's slide out first directive, but it seems that this is for full wall slides. Our coach does not have fws.
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Old 06-16-2017, 07:40 AM   #6
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Thanks Mudfrog. Yes, we do have a situation where we are dealing with a mixture of both, but we don't have too many options for placement in the driveway. We have repositioned it several times trying to find the optimal and now we are driving up onto a couple of wood planks to bring up the front end. This is our first RV and often we are feeling clueless. This leveling situation was our first of many challenges upon bringing it home, and we ended up calling Newmar who then got us on the phone with Equalizer (the jack company). We were on the phone with this guy two different times for about a half hour each time. The fist time, he walked us through manually leveling and then he had us reset the null. Once the coach was level, the front wheels were off the ground. He told us vehemently One: Do NOT put blocks under the wheels and Two: Wheels off the ground is not a problem, the jacks are designed to support the coach in this manner. (Note: The Newmar rep remained on the phone during this entire exchange and didn't say a word, however, more recently, we have been told by this same rep that this is not okay and basically, THEY made the coach, not Equalizer) Anyway, the next day after that first leveling lesson, we decided to check to see if the auto level would work and low and behold, same problem. Back on the phone with Newmar and Equalizer and now the Equalizer guy says there is something wrong with the leveling system and it needs to go in for service. Mind you, we were very clear about the terrain of our driveway. So now fast forward to the present. About 4 months later now, and we have come to our own conclusion that our driveway is the problem, and as I said, we have driven the front wheels up onto blocks, which has actually brought it to a fairly level front to back side to side state. I do believe you are correct about the twist and that is why we want to open the slides with it not quite level. That makes me have another thought/question-- If the coach is in a decent level position without the jacks down, do they need to be down for the slides to be extended? We did give this some thought but decided the jacks were important for stabilization and support. We are the second owners of this coach, but it was sold in 2016 as a left-over and so when we purchased it, it was still under the one year warranty and it had only 4,000 miles. The first owner brought it back to the original dealership and traded up for a DP. The entire scenario seemed great to us, but we have had what we feel are too many issues already, and even though our one year Newmar warranty expired earlier this month, we are still wrapping up issues that were reported and "addressed" during warranty so will supposedly be covered--we'll see how that works out when it goes back for service in two weeks. The door-side slide in particular has been a problem. It was apparently over-torqueing and twisting when it closed and it bent the hell out of a bracket. We think there is still something not quite right, because after driving we continue to find a significant pile of wood shavings and metal filings on the floor when we extend the slide, which was what originally led to finding the over-torqueing problem. We really like this coach and are hoping the issues we have been confronted with are not a sign of things to come.
Sorry for this lengthy reply--just feeling frustrated and am hoping to soon get to the point where I am not on the computer all the time trying to resolve our cluelessness. Maybe I am expecting too much! LOL Anyway, thanks for your wisdom and your patience.
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Old 06-16-2017, 07:49 AM   #7
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Thanks MtnTrek. Are you saying that this frame flex is something that has happened and is permanent? or are you saying that if you park on a particular uneven slope, the frame will flex and it's detrimental if you frequently use the slide with the frame flexed? The coach is just one year "in service" but we are the second owners, and we are still trying to determine how many problems we have inherited.
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Old 06-16-2017, 10:32 AM   #8
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I have read in many places and also in my "Operators Manual Supplement" book, that during leveling, it's IMPORTANT to raise the front of the coach first—at least 3"—. My manual says and I quote, "Push FRONT button until front of the coach rises at least 3". This is important & necessary to allow the coach to pivot when leveling side to side. If there is insufficient jack stroke to lift the front of the coach at least 3", the coach will have to be moved to an area with less front to back slope, or a weight distribution block will have to be placed under the jack".

My additional comment would be - having the front lifted first also takes the strain off the windshield during this back & forth, twisting, leveling procedure. I have read on this forum of some who had their windshields break or pop out because of not taking proper level procedures. AND especially in the winter when it's cold outside the windshield can become very fragile. For me personally in the winter, I make sure our coach is toasty warm inside along with the windshield as warm as possible before I either level or retract to leave a CG.

Good luck.
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Old 06-16-2017, 03:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by For The Dogs View Post
Thanks MtnTrek. Are you saying that this frame flex is something that has happened and is permanent? or are you saying that if you park on a particular uneven slope, the frame will flex and it's detrimental if you frequently use the slide with the frame flexed? The coach is just one year "in service" but we are the second owners, and we are still trying to determine how many problems we have inherited.
No I didn't mean to imply that there was a permanent twist as the MH frame I'd expect it to be very resilient. I was indicating that every place you'll potentially park is going to be different. Thus requiring a slightly varied task for the leveling system and new frame torquing issues. Your mention of metal filings and sawdust doesn't sound entirely reassuring. I've owned and witnessed some rather bizarre driveways that wouldn't accommodate anything beyond a Billy goat (I'm not implying yours is). Oddly perhaps for you your driveway might be one of the worst parking pads you encounter. Ironically it may be the place you most frequently want to deploy / enjoy your slides for any number of reasons. Frustrating no doubt.
It does sound like you're still in an ongoing consultation(s) with the vendors / mfr. and it's doubtful any of us know as much about the product shake down as they and the product manuals should.
We are empathetic to your situation as these are substantial expenditures. We would all like for them to perform to our expectations. Particularly in our own driveways.
Best results.

Quote:
Originally Posted by marjoa View Post
I have read in many places and also in my "Operators Manual Supplement" book, that during leveling, it's IMPORTANT to raise the front of the coach first—at least 3"—.

Good luck.
Not trying to dispute your manual, by all means continue following it.
I fail to see how arbitrarily raising the front end 3+ inches is going to accomplish anything. Having watched several style self leveling systems they tend to use a particular algorithm. Since all parking sites are different and of course most coaches are also. The system as a whole will need to lower itself to ground level whether it be deflating air-bag suspension, lowering rams and establish a lowest possible common denominator. Then raise the appropriate axis' as needed and hopefully not run out of hydraulic ram or bag stroke.
If there is indeed enough frame and superstructure flex to crack a windshield it quite possibly would manifest itself pulling into a steep embankment drainage ditch of a fuel station or a rural KOA CG. A cracking windshield may need to be installed in a floating configuration, or checked for being pre-stressed in it's mounts.
Be well.
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Old 06-17-2017, 06:19 AM   #10
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Thanks again MtnTrek. I think we are very close to understanding how to deal with leveling in our driveway; we've made a series of improvements to our system of blocking and it seems that driving the front wheels up onto boards has made the coach fairly level even before extending the jacks. So we just extended the jacks until they gave a slight lift for support and left it at that. Gaps are fine; door opens and closes. Appreciate your time and your sharing your knowledge. Now I think I'm going to post about those shavings on the Newmar forum and see if anyone else has encountered this...
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Old 06-17-2017, 09:28 AM   #11
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From your original post I assume you have a F53 Ford chassis. This chassis usually has a 4 valve leveling system and tend to put the chassis in a twist when doing the side to side leveling which is their last step.

When you lift the rear, does the door bind?
When you then lift the front, does the door bind?
Does the door only bind after doing the side to side leveling?

If so, the side to side leveling is putting a twist on the chassis due to the mismatch of jack size to weight location of the coach.

Try this as the last step to leveling: After you have done the side to side level, then raise the front jacks just a couple of seconds to release the twist on the chassis. If you get a rather severe or violent movement in the front of the coach when doing this, then you will know you have released a rather significant twist of the chassis.

Some of the advice given above is based on leveling systems that are a 3 valve system like I have on my Freightliner chassis (like raising the front 3 ") and will not apply to the operation of your system at all.
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Old 06-17-2017, 10:47 AM   #12
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I'm of the opinion that if the slides will physically move out, it is OK to do so. Yeah, if it is severely uphill the motor will strain more, but we are talking very short term stress on a device that is by design intended to respond to varying loads.

I think it should be obvious that if the chassis has twisted enough to warp the opening in the sidewall, you probably shouldn't put the slide out. You also shouldn't stay parked there - you are bending your motorhome like a pretzel! Putting the slides out ought to be the last thing on your mind!

Better brand coaches have rigid chassis and sturdy sidewall construction. Others, maybe not so much. Since this one has a top-end Equalizer auto-level system, I'm guessing it is one of the better brand/models.
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Old 06-18-2017, 06:20 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alank View Post
From your original post I assume you have a F53 Ford chassis. This chassis usually has a 4 valve leveling system and tend to put the chassis in a twist when doing the side to side leveling which is their last step.

When you lift the rear, does the door bind?
When you then lift the front, does the door bind?
Does the door only bind after doing the side to side leveling?

If so, the side to side leveling is putting a twist on the chassis due to the mismatch of jack size to weight location of the coach.

Try this as the last step to leveling: After you have done the side to side level, then raise the front jacks just a couple of seconds to release the twist on the chassis. If you get a rather severe or violent movement in the front of the coach when doing this, then you will know you have released a rather significant twist of the chassis.

Some of the advice given above is based on leveling systems that are a 3 valve system like I have on my Freightliner chassis (like raising the front 3 ") and will not apply to the operation of your system at all.
I think you may have nailed it, AlanK. When we level only front to back--no twist, and you can sometimes actually see the jack "leveling" unevenly. Next time we level in our driveway, we will try that final front lift. Thanks so much!
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Old 06-21-2017, 07:48 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Gary RVRoamer View Post
I'm of the opinion that if the slides will physically move out, it is OK to do so. Yeah, if it is severely uphill the motor will strain more, but we are talking very short term stress on a device that is by design intended to respond to varying loads.

I think it should be obvious that if the chassis has twisted enough to warp the opening in the sidewall, you probably shouldn't put the slide out. You also shouldn't stay parked there - you are bending your motorhome like a pretzel! Putting the slides out ought to be the last thing on your mind!

Better brand coaches have rigid chassis and sturdy sidewall construction. Others, maybe not so much. Since this one has a top-end Equalizer auto-level system, I'm guessing it is one of the better brand/models.
Thanks Gary. Funny thing is that it seems to be that top-end equalizer auto-leveling system that is causing the problem. Ha! The door opens and closes just fine until we "level." I think it's what AlanK and a couple of others have said--the system is not coping well with the combination of slopes in our driveway. It's not that the slopes are severe, they are just multi-directional. However, after some trying several different solutions, I think we finally have it worked out!
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