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Old 11-23-2020, 09:23 AM   #1
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A note and question on auto-leveling system

I opted to add auto-levelers to our new coach purchase. Clearance on the jack feet are maybe 10" above ground level. This means

1) be careful going over speed bumps
2) pick your paths carefully, especially coming off parking lots where the slope to the roadway might be somewhat steep. Once the front wheels hit the road, the coach begins to level and the rear jacks drag on pavement.

Regarding #2, coming off steeper slopes. Is it worthwhile to add a set of leaf springs to get the rear end up a couple more inches? Would this help or would it ruin the handling and ride overall? Would it be too expensive of a modification? Just pick paths carefully and stay off BLM lands?

Just looking for some thoughts or consensus.. Thanks.
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Old 11-23-2020, 09:43 AM   #2
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I have found out going at an angle helps to keep jacks from dragging.
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Old 11-23-2020, 06:05 PM   #3
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How far forward or aft of the axle are your jacks? Ours are pretty close so when the axle goes up or down with the tires the jacks go up and down with the axle.

Ray
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Old 11-23-2020, 08:31 PM   #4
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You wouldn't add springs to raise the chassis but instead spacer blocks.

Spacers raise the chassis without adding spring rate.

Some levelers have adjustable mounting points. Maybe they can be moved up a hole or two.

It would have the same outcome as raising the chassis.
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Old 11-24-2020, 09:13 AM   #5
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The coach has 8' length behind the center of the rear axle. The jack feet are 5' behind that axle. Retracted, they're about 3-4" below the fresh water tank. Probably 3-4" below the rear skid (located at the hitch).

Adding spacers sounds like the way to go if raising them up is not an option. I get that I only have so much extension length when the jacks are deployed so options may be limited. I've got an appointment set up in January for other items and will have the tech look at it to see which route would be best.
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Old 11-25-2020, 12:14 PM   #6
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It is rare to find an automobile with more than 8 inches of ground clearance and this is not inhibiting if one stays on the pavement. If you want to travel off-road then you will want a different vehicle or possibly one of the Class B 4x4 vans.
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Old 11-25-2020, 12:35 PM   #7
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It is rare to find an automobile with more than 8 inches of ground clearance and this is not inhibiting if one stays on the pavement. If you want to travel off-road then you will want a different vehicle or possibly one of the Class B 4x4 vans.
I disagree. With the overhangs we deal with, the ground clearance needs to go up proportionately. I have drug my hitch stinger on the driveway with the RV, and get nowhere near doing the same with my pickup. That's not an offroad area. And many times, I do want to get into BLM ground that isn't a perfect surface.

This is one of my major concerns with leveling jacks, no matter how much I want some. I wish the things had a longer stroke. Hopefully the OP can re-mount his up higher, then use some wood blocks to put under them to effectively get his stroke back.
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Old 11-26-2020, 12:02 PM   #8
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I disagree. With the overhangs we deal with, the ground clearance needs to go up proportionately. I have drug my hitch stinger on the driveway with the RV, and get nowhere near doing the same with my pickup....

I wish the things had a longer stroke. Hopefully the OP can re-mount his up higher, then use some wood blocks to put under them to effectively get his stroke back.
Exactly. The longer the overhang, the lower the end will be to the ground when coming off a slope. Picture a triangle. Your thoughts are right along with mine. The better option would be to simply move the rear jacks up a notch. But failing that, getting the rear end up another couple inches would be great. Wood blocks or other pads to get the ground up to where the newly positioned jacks can reach is then the better option.

I'd think that all auto-level jack installers would think like this. Mount them higher to keep normal clearance and then just supply the pads necessary for proper leveling upon deployment. But that's just me...
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Old 11-26-2020, 12:22 PM   #9
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I have found out going at an angle helps to keep jacks from dragging.
Times 2 on going at an angle. I am overly anal about that and go as hard as I can at an angle if I think I need to. If I piss others off while doing it, so be it.
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Old 11-28-2020, 10:20 AM   #10
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Just another approach not yet mentioned. Wouldn't adding air bags also solve the issue of gaining some ground clearance? Add the air bags and raise the RV 1" to 3". If you don't want or need the height unless you encounter a steep slope add an on-board air compressor and raise the RV only when needed.

You might only need to add the air bags to the rear because you have a long overhang.
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Old 11-28-2020, 04:20 PM   #11
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Rear airbags might also be helpful in leveling your coach at a park. Could even put a little more in one side than the other. Better than driving up onto blocks.

Need to level the pressure back again before driving down the road.
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Old 11-29-2020, 09:53 AM   #12
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Air bags.. I hadn't considered that because it sounds pretty expensive to add, wouldn't it be? At least I'll throw it on the stack of possibilities when I get the coach in to the shop. Can't believe I had to make my appointment for the first week in January. But that's another topic.
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Old 11-29-2020, 03:07 PM   #13
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Air bags will run you about $350 per set of wheels. Adding the air compressor (AC) will take it up another $300. I bought an AC for about $40 and it's mounted under the RV hood. I will usually remove the air when we camp and add air when we depart. I added the AC to the wiper motor power line. Since I'll never use them both at the same time it won't hurt.

When we depart I plug in the AC and air up the front and rear AB's. It take about 90 seconds for both. I remove the air when leveling just in case I have to raise the wheels enough which tends to stretch the AB's and they can blow apart.

On our 1999 34' Dutch Star I added air bags front and rear and also did the on board AC. That way one can add and remove air when traveling. The price these days is much higher and I never really thought adding and removing air when traveling was any great advantage. It's all about choices.
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Old 11-30-2020, 08:42 AM   #14
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Quote:
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Air bags will run you about $350 per set of wheels. Adding the air compressor (AC) will take it up another $300. I bought an AC for about $40 and it's mounted under the RV hood. I will usually remove the air when we camp and add air when we depart. I added the AC to the wiper motor power line. Since I'll never use them both at the same time it won't hurt. ... It's all about choices.
Thanks TJ.. this makes for something really seriously interesting to consider.
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