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Old 11-06-2015, 09:00 AM   #1
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Bottoming Out: Driveway transition ramp?

Newbie here, so please be gentle...

We need to start parking our motorhome (Winnebago View 24J) in our long driveway next to our house, but the transition from road to curb ramp is a big enough dip that the rear overhang bottoms out, specifically on the sewer outlet.

I figured I'd try to smooth out that transition by building a ramp out of 3/4" pressure-treated plywood, using two 8' strips, one 18" wide and the other 6" wide, to lay down over the transition; the 8" strip glued underneath to form a triangular cross-section to reinforce the top strip.

Driving over that "ramp" should keep the rear wheel from dipping into the transition, which should elevate the rear end sufficiently to keep it from dragging.

Anyone tried this approach before? My guess is that with this narrow a cut, the 3/4" plywood may be able to hold the RV, especially reinforced by the other narrower cut underneath, but I'm by no means a structural engineer...

(Please avoid the temptation to let this thread stray into discussions of air bag suspension systems; I've already entertained that, and I'm not planning on going that route...)
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Old 11-06-2015, 10:14 AM   #2
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Why not add air bags or air shocks to lift enough to clear.

LEN
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Old 11-06-2015, 10:29 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robillard View Post
two 8' strips, one 18" wide and the other 6" wide, to lay down over the transition; the 8" strip glued UNDERNEATH to form a triangular cross-section to reinforce the top strip.
Does the narrow part touch the ground when the ramp is in place? If it doesn't, you'll get another 3/4" of lift with it on top. I'd flip your ramp over and get more lift. If it touches the ground, then leave it alone, it adds strength.
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Old 11-06-2015, 10:40 AM   #4
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Hi Robillard,

A piece of 3/4" plywood will probably not hold the weight of even a car if it bridges more than a foot or so between supports. Maybe I'm not correctly comprehending how you're thinking of arranging the plywood.

FWIW I have a similar, probably even worse situation with my main driveway. I've been able to get some trucks up it by ramping using 2x materials (2x6, 2x8, etc). For me it basically involves building a railroad track looking affair - one on each side - with short pieces of 2x and/or 4x as the ties and longer pieces of 2x6, 2x8 or whatever I have around as 'rails'. I always use a spotter or have someone else driving and do the spotting and railway adjusting as we progress.

Even this approach won't let me get my motor home up the driveway - there's just too much overhang and the driveway it pretty steep. But my rig is 36' and at 24' yours almost certainly doesn't have as much overhang.

Keep in mind that if it's wet at all wood can be slippery. It's also important to align things carefully so whoever's driving doesn't slip off the ramp. Unless it's a very short transition you have to get across I wouldn't recommend trying to do it alone.

Lastly, I'm kind of assuming this is something you'll only have to do occasionally? While it usually only takes a few minutes, messing around with all that lumber is a royal PITA so if you're going to be coming and going with your rig often this strategy probably won't be workable.

Best of luck!
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Old 11-06-2015, 11:50 PM   #5
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Does the narrow part touch the ground when the ramp is in place? If it doesn't, you'll get another 3/4" of lift with it on top. I'd flip your ramp over and get more lift. If it touches the ground, then leave it alone, it adds strength.
Yeah, think of the narrow strips as forming the triangular cross-section, so they will sit in the gutter and provide support for the ramp (and keep it from moving).
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Old 11-08-2015, 04:42 PM   #6
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That should work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by robillard View Post
Yeah, think of the narrow strips as forming the triangular cross-section, so they will sit in the gutter and provide support for the ramp (and keep it from moving).
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Old 11-08-2015, 04:49 PM   #7
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Why not add air bags or air shocks to lift enough to clear.

LEN
Air bags is a good choice but too easy of a fix. Building ramps will solve is driveway issues for a few dollars less and he can accomplish this himself.
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Old 11-08-2015, 04:51 PM   #8
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Building a 'bridge' for each side will work as long as it is long enough and high enough to keep the back end off of the ground.

I tend to overbuild things so if I did it you would probably have to use a small crane to move each 'bridge'.
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Old 11-08-2015, 04:55 PM   #9
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Why not add air bags or air shocks to lift enough to clear.

LEN
Poster said "(Please avoid the temptation to let this thread stray into discussions of air bag suspension systems; I've already entertained that, and I'm not planning on going that route...)"
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Old 11-09-2015, 05:28 AM   #10
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Thanks everyone, these are some great ideas.

I'm also planning to install some hitch-mounted skid wheels, to provide just that little extra lift needed just in case it still bottoms out with the ramps in place, and for added insurance while out on the road (lots of grocery store parking lots around here seem to have transitions from the street that cause people to bottom out, at least from the extensive gouging I see).

I'm a little worried about the kind of pressure that skid wheels might cause on the frame and/or hitch mount, but I've another thread going in the winnebago forum covering that. (I had mistakenly double-posted it here as well, but was slapped by a moderator for my errant ways; I guess posting more than one place is against the rules, even if the forums cater to different audiences...)
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Old 11-09-2015, 09:31 AM   #11
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I did not see that in his original post(maybe he edited after my post).

Any way do it the hard way.

LEN
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Old 11-09-2015, 09:47 AM   #12
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Is it possible you could come at the driveway entrance at an angle instead of straight on?
I used to do that with our class C when it looked like the ramp was steep enough to cause the back end to either drag or hit, even tho I had caster wheels near the back end. The swiveling caster wheels had their bases welded to heavy steel tubing that extended quite a ways forward in order to augment the strength of the frame. The steel tubing was welded in place also.
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Old 11-09-2015, 01:12 PM   #13
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I did not see that in his original post(maybe he edited after my post).
It was in the original post, I did not edit it.

I believe that air bags, which make sense for a larger coach, are overkill for a 25' Sprinter-based coach. Of course I could be wrong, but it seems overkill to me...
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Old 11-09-2015, 01:18 PM   #14
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Is it possible you could come at the driveway entrance at an angle instead of straight on?
Yes, this is a good suggestion, but unfortunately, no. The driveway has concrete risers on both sides, making an angular approach impossible.

Also, seems to me that the two solutions are at odds: if I have skid wheels, I don't want to approach the transition at an angle, because if I still bottom out, then I end up putting the stress on the frame unevenly, which could/would lead to torsional force, potentially twisting the frame?
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