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Old 06-04-2019, 08:05 AM   #1
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Leveling with wood blocks

With my 2014 Dutchstar 4038, is it necessary to travel with wood ramps and leveling blocks in addition to the automatic leveling system we have? I donít recall ever using any in the past when my husband was alive, but my boyfriend who drives a different coach uses them a lot. Any sage advice would be appreciated. The wood takes up a lot of room in the basement and wondering if itís necessary to bring them along. Thanks for your help.

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Old 06-04-2019, 08:10 AM   #2
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You should carry enough wood to put pads under the jack pads, some parks require that the jacks donít contact the ground directly.


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Old 06-04-2019, 08:34 AM   #3
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As Stuart said, there are situation where you MUST use jack pads. I would also add that many believe that the less you need to extend the jacks the more stable the coach will be. I tend to agree.

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Old 06-04-2019, 08:35 AM   #4
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Hi pattypom,
No need to carry anything to help level the coach. I do carry thin plastic pads to place under the jack pads if where I am staying requires is. This is seldom.
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Old 06-04-2019, 08:50 AM   #5
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We prefer to keep our front tires on the ground after leveling and in some cases that's not possible so we also drive up on them (45 angle on the ends of 2 x 10's 18-24" long) when needed. If you are where the ground can freeze or is soft then we would recommend using them there as well. Once you punch through the earth/blacktop or frozen down good luck getting your hwh spring return jacks up. (been there done that). Its all a matter of your lifestyle. We think they are worth having available when the need arises.
1999 Newmar Mountain Aire MADP 4080, Cummins ISC 8.3L, Allison, Spartan MM IFS, Howard Power Center, Chev Trailblazer LTZ Towed w/ BlueOx rigging, Segway X2.
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Old 06-04-2019, 03:46 PM   #6
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I ended up making my own dunnage out of a couple 2x10ís I carry twelve 1íx10Ē pads. I can use 3 pad per jack if need be. I do a lot of boondocking and arenít always parked on concrete. Plus like others have said I like to keep my wheels on the ground and use the least of amount of extending my jacks as possible.
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Old 06-04-2019, 04:51 PM   #7
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I carry pads and blocks.

Pads are commercially made about 12x12 and 1" thick.

Blocks are DIY 12x12 ans 15x16 and 12x18. All about 3" thick. Made from 2x4s sandwiched between plywood. Strong and will not split.

Blocks go under tires and/or jacks as needed.
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Old 06-04-2019, 05:54 PM   #8
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I've always carried three wooden ramps, which is enough to level in a bad site. I had to level my 2014 a few times. I made a rack above the generator and slid the ramps in. It also held my front collapsible step for when the coach was high in the front. I carry the same ramps in 2019. I carry two plastic pads for the front jacks if a park requires them.
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Old 06-04-2019, 08:33 PM   #9
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Pattypom-As mentioned, keep something for under the jacks. In my present coach, I have to raise the rear end with ramps in our lot in Yuma, so I carry 5 leveling ramps with two stages of rise 1" and on top 2". I will NOT let my front wheels ever hang in the air, so on the ramps if necessary. I also have some self made wooden blocks I put under the jacks to trick them (lot in Yuma) so I don't get "over limit level alarm" Some private RV parks (Thousand Trails for one) do not in some cases have level spots, so I have to help the coach with the front end some, ramps (back in sites). I don't have any experience with Newmar yet, but will carry all my level ramps, blocks, and jack pads until I know I won't need them, then they are out of there. I suspect I will need to raise the rear of the coach on our lot but won't know that until I go back in Late June and get some stuff we left there.

Other folks who have MH like or near yours can better speak to the level at ride height, and then how much drop the coach has when it dumps the air and the jacks come down.

My present coach has about 6-8" which is not a whole lot. Remember if you do have to use ramps on the rear wheels, that is the parking brake wheels, so never let those hang in the air without something under them. If you have air leveling, this all may be mute point, as I think that is about 10" of travel.

I am now curious what others can say on this topic who own Newmar. Dutch Star Don, what is the drop of the coach from ride height to when the jacks come down?
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Old 06-05-2019, 07:37 AM   #10
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I never use anything under my tires, for leveling or any other purpose. Now I do observe folks in some TT's, Class C's, and even some gas Class A's having to use wood under their tires.

I won't use a site that is not fairly level to begin with. Newmar wants my slides operated while I am still on air suspension and not on jacks so I don't feel I can pull into a unlevel site and throw out a full wall slide.

If I dump all my air and do the auto level I have never come close to raising a wheel off the ground or having any type of need for wood under tires.
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Old 06-06-2019, 10:25 AM   #11
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I started by purchasing a set of Hosspads. We were on our way home from Nappanee after pickup...and knew that one of the Campgrounds required pads under the levelers. This is mostly sites paved with asphalt, as it is easy deformed when heated up by the sun.

I purchased a horse stall pad from Tractor Supply and cut a bunch more when I got home.

The auto levelers have limitations in thier reach. I have been in sites that trigger the "excessive slope" fault. I can throw a few pads stacked under the low side levelers to help them get the range they need for leveling without a fault.

Lastly, I use them for annual maintenance. Helps me lift the frame enough to position stands or get a hydraulic Jack under low clearance places.

Jack's can also provide you with anti-roll safety. You may have noticed there isn't a PARK position on the Allison Transmission. We put it in Neutral and set the parking brake. If someone or a pet pressed in the parking brake switch by accident...your coach could roll away.

If you take the time to completely dump the air system tanks...then the parking brake cannot be accidentally released (held by spring pressure)...otherwise, placing a guard on the park brake switch to prevent accidental release, chocking wheels, and putting the levelers down are a few ways to provide you with some sort of safety.

There may also be some validity...of which I am uncertain...as to using non-conductive pads under the metal frame mounted levelers to lessen the grounding effect during lightening storms. I am not sure it they help or lessen damage if struck by an electrical storm.
Charlie & Ronni
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Old 06-07-2019, 08:12 AM   #12
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C. Martin & All - To keep the parking brake button from being depressed, go to casino, and ask them for one of their "card chains things". The little clamp end fits exactly over the shaft of the brake button, and prevents it from being depressed. I learned this from friend who's dog did what you describe. Companies make stops to prevent them, but the casino chain thing works fine. I get the brightest color I can and wrap the cord loosely around the steering wheel as a reminder the chain is attached and to remember the brake is set. Have not had issue with it, although we don't have dog. I do it as a preventative measure for me in case I brush up on it, fiddling with something in front above drivers position.
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Old 06-07-2019, 08:44 AM   #13
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We do have a dog and use just a regular old wooden close pin . Slips right behind the brake and is
really secure.

John, Sharon & (Luna-Australian Sheppard)
19' Newmar Dutch Star 4018
19' GMC Canyon-Blue Ox, Avail, Air force One.
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