Jump to content


Icon Welcome to the FMCA Motorhome Forums!

Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and signed in, you will be able to create topics; post replies to existing topics; upload pictures; manage your profile; get your own private messenger; create blogs; and more. Sign up now! Already have an account? Sign in. This message will be removed once you are signed in.


Photo
- - - - -

Entry Door Hard To Close

american dream

  • Please log in to reply
19 replies to this topic

#1 racesport

racesport

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 19 posts
  • Location:Raleigh, NC

Posted 19 November 2011 - 08:36 PM

I have a 2002 American Dream on a Spartan Chassis. I bought the coach used and I have had it about 8 weeks.

My chassis has a three ram leveling system, one front two rear. When I level the chassis and not raising the front what I believe to be an excessive amount, the entry door gets hard to close.

Is this common? Is it a serious flaw? What should be checked?

Any help would be appreciated.
  • 0

#2 wolfe10

wolfe10

    Advanced Member

  • Moderator, Super
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,660 posts
  • Location:League City, Texas

Posted 19 November 2011 - 08:41 PM

First step is to verify that the leveling system is indeed leveling the coach. I would use a large carpenter's level check it.

It is possible that the systems level sensor needs adjustment. Sure, it could be something more serious, but it could also be a 2 minute job with a screwdriver to adjust the sensor.

Brett
  • 0

Dianne and Brett Wolfe
1997 Safari Sahara 3540
Moderator, FMCA.com Forums
Chairman, FMCA Technical Advisory Committee
Member, FMCA Long-Range and Development Committee 2007-2009
Moderator, http://www.dieselrvclub.org/(FMCA chapter)


#3 hermanmullins

hermanmullins

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,624 posts
  • Location:Whitewright, TEXAS

Posted 19 November 2011 - 10:43 PM

racesport,

Welcome to the Forum.

Since you said you had a three point leveling system, you need to be aware of something about the front jack. When you are parked on grassy or gravel spots always put a large board under the front jack. Use something that will give your jack a large foot print. The center of those type of spots are not packed like the lanes under the tires. Your jack can sink into the ground due to the weight of the coach. One thing you might try to do before you level your coach is to dump your air. This will lower your coach and the jacks will not have to extend so far and will give you more travel to level your coach.

And do as Brett said and check to make sure that when it says your level that you really are.
  • 0

"Fair winds and Following Seas"

Herman & Bobbie Mullins, F302225
Whitewright, TEXAS
'02 Monaco Dynasty, 40-foot 400 HP ISL
Chevrolet Silverado (M & G air brakes)
U.S. Navy PR-3 1956 to 1964

Southern Region Vice President for Six-State Rally Association
Lone Star Chapter FMCA Past President
South Central Lucky Rollers
Rally in The Pasture


#4 vtbigdog

vtbigdog

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 154 posts
  • Location:W=Georgia S=Vermont

Posted 20 November 2011 - 01:16 PM

I have a three point system on my coach. According to the owners manual you should lower the front jack until it firmly hits the ground, and then lower each rear jack until they hit the ground. You then use a combination of either of the jacks to level the coach.

In your original post, I interpreted your statement of "When I level the chassis and not raising the front..." Are you saying you are not lowering the front jack at all? If that is the case, or if you are not lowering the front jack enough to take some of the weight off the front suspension, you are in effect using the support of the two front tires as the suspension supporting points in the front end and not the front jack. This may be why you cannot open the door properly. In worse cases, the windshield can crack.

So make sure to lower your front jack to unload some weight off the suspension and see if that helps.
  • 0
Regards,

Richard

2003 Safari Trek 3011 W20
8.1 Workhorse / Allison

#5 racesport

racesport

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 19 posts
  • Location:Raleigh, NC

Posted 22 November 2011 - 10:01 PM

HI,
I do dump the air bags. The system I have when activating the jacks the system first dumps the bags and then begins extending the jacks. Sometimes I dump the jacks manually before. The "jacks down" indicator comes on and then the jacks "switch" to a manual mode. Final levelling comes by manipulating the jacks independantly to level the coach using indicators on the dash as to which jack need to be extended more. When any significant weight gets applied to the front single jack the door becomes hard to close.
I have tried to be sure the front is down first.
  • 0

#6 Shields

Shields

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 139 posts
  • Location:Orange County, California

Posted 23 November 2011 - 01:06 AM

My coach has a 3 jack system too. While we have not had the problem you described, we experienced something similar. Once, when we had one side lifted considerably more than another, we had trouble closing some of the basement bay doors. When this happened, I checked the jacks and found we had lifted one side so much the jack on the other side was not touching the ground at all.

We have found the best approach is just as Richard described above. First, find a somewhat level location to start with. Then dump the air bags to lower the coach. Next, plant the front jack firmly before lowering the second two to touch the ground also. Then adjust the jacks to level. It is important that all three jacks are equally loaded, even though they may be extended to different lengths.

When you experience the trouble with the front door, is one jack usually extended a whole lot further than the others? Also, when the door trouble appears, are there other signs of stress such as with windows or basement doors?

Good luck and happy Thanksgiving.

Tim
  • 0
Tim and Beth Shields
40' Monaco Dynasty
F410457
Orange County, California

#7 racesport

racesport

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 19 posts
  • Location:Raleigh, NC

Posted 29 November 2011 - 10:15 PM

This past weekend at Myrtle beach I did have one bay door that did not close properly. No trouble with windows. I can't determine if I need more front jack or less. I can't lower one jack without lowering them all and I have to start again. Sort of a pain. However I don't want to burst a windshield also. I really want to know if I have a structural issue.
Thanks for your comments.
  • 0

#8 wolfe10

wolfe10

    Advanced Member

  • Moderator, Super
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,660 posts
  • Location:League City, Texas

Posted 29 November 2011 - 10:24 PM

Have you checked that your that your leveling system "indicators" ARE actually calibrated with a carpenter's level?
  • 0

Dianne and Brett Wolfe
1997 Safari Sahara 3540
Moderator, FMCA.com Forums
Chairman, FMCA Technical Advisory Committee
Member, FMCA Long-Range and Development Committee 2007-2009
Moderator, http://www.dieselrvclub.org/(FMCA chapter)


#9 cliffmattson

cliffmattson

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 6 posts
  • Location:Waukesha, Wisconsin

Posted 06 December 2011 - 12:10 PM

I own a 1999 American Dream that has the same thing happen when leveling. This has been an issue since we bought our coach new in 1999.

I believe what is happening is that the entire structure twists when leveling. I keep a wrench under the entry steps to adjust the door striker each time we level. This helps a lot, but the underlying problem is that the motor home indeed flexes. I use a carpenter's level when deploying the jacks and find it is much more accurate than the built-in lights in the jack system. Also, I can also tell that the slideout tends to bind some when the coach is on the jacks so I extend the slideout before leveling while the air bags are still inflated; another sign that the coach body is twisting.

I don't know of any solution to the problem other than to live with it and adjust the entry door striker.
  • 0

#10 OldNavy

OldNavy

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 2 posts

Posted 06 December 2011 - 10:37 PM

Right on!! A chassis designed to flex when encountering curves on the road also flexes when leveling, particularly on markedly unlevel ground. Try experimenting with blocks under the front jack to reduce the chassis flex.
Good luck.
  • 0

#11 vtbigdog

vtbigdog

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 154 posts
  • Location:W=Georgia S=Vermont

Posted 07 December 2011 - 04:00 AM

In my opinion the chassis should not be flexing when headed down the road. It should be stiff. You might want to carefully check out the frame to see if there are any broken welds, particularly in the front end. I know the Workhorse chassis had a problem similar to yours that was caused by broken welds where the nose was mounted to the chassis. You may be encountering the same thing.
  • 0
Regards,

Richard

2003 Safari Trek 3011 W20
8.1 Workhorse / Allison

#12 rondvorak

rondvorak

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 1 posts
  • Location:Polk City, Florida

Posted 07 December 2011 - 07:30 PM

I have a Monaco with the 3 jack system. They use a 3 jack system to prevent windshield damage. The frame, a "Roadmaster" on my Monaco, does not "Flex", that is what the air bags are for. I found that my leveling system, when allowed to run in the "Auto" mode, raises the coach to high. It actually wants to lift the rear wheels off the ground. I use an 8" carpenters level on my galley counter tops and operate the leveling system "Manually". I raise the rear jacks to get the bus level from left to right, then raise the front to level front to back. It has worked perfect for years. As for the door, is it always hard to close? I had trouble with mine when I first bought the coach. There is a support that runs diagonally in the frame of the door. If you look under the door, on the side opposite of the hinges, you will see a 3/8" nut on a long threaded rod. Turnning that nut clockwise will raise the door on that side and should make it easier to close. The doors "Sag" over the years and require adjustment. Hope this helps............ Ron
  • 0

#13 racesport

racesport

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 19 posts
  • Location:Raleigh, NC

Posted 14 December 2011 - 01:07 AM

It is not hard to close when "on the air suspension" or when I dump the air from the suspension. Only when on the leveling jacks.
  • 0

#14 wolfe10

wolfe10

    Advanced Member

  • Moderator, Super
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,660 posts
  • Location:League City, Texas

Posted 14 December 2011 - 09:38 AM

I go back to each of my posts on this thread-- have you verified with a carpenter's level that the leveling system is properly calibrate-- that it is not twisting the chassis because it is improperly calibrated?

Most leveling systems rely on some type of bubble level as a sensor. If it has been hit, mis adjusted, etc, it can easily MIS-level a coach. Adjustment is often as simple as using a screwdriver to position the sensor mounting feet.
  • 0

Dianne and Brett Wolfe
1997 Safari Sahara 3540
Moderator, FMCA.com Forums
Chairman, FMCA Technical Advisory Committee
Member, FMCA Long-Range and Development Committee 2007-2009
Moderator, http://www.dieselrvclub.org/(FMCA chapter)


#15 jimwyn2

jimwyn2

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 1 posts

Posted 04 January 2012 - 05:34 PM

I owned a 2003 American Tradition with a 3 jack system. I had the same problem with the door. I stopped at the factory on a trip to an FMCA rally and talked to the service manager. He said if you look at the newer American series of diesel motorhomes, you will see that they use a 4 jack system. The change was made by the manufacturer for a reason - these coaches are very heavy and the 3 jack system is a problem. I asked what could be done and was told they could try to reinforce the frame in the front and that helps "sometimes". I was told that the problem was that with the jack in the middle, the frame tends to "sag" on both sides of the jack thus your door gets out of alignment. He could not give me a good figure to "fix" the problem but quoted at least $500 to provide some measure of "fix".

My solution was to only allow the front jack to take minimum weight off the front end by manually manipulating the 3 jacks. I also made sure the MH was facing "uphill" when I parked it.

My final solution was to buy a later model with a 4 jack system.
  • 0

#16 wolfe10

wolfe10

    Advanced Member

  • Moderator, Super
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,660 posts
  • Location:League City, Texas

Posted 04 January 2012 - 05:48 PM

Jim,

Facing the motorhome up a SLIGHT hill is OK. But, remember, the parking brake is on the REAR wheels. So, you never want to have to use the rear jacks to the point where the rear tires are close to leaving the ground.

Using boards, large enough to support the whole "footprint" of the tire to get close to level is a really good idea.

Brett
  • 0

Dianne and Brett Wolfe
1997 Safari Sahara 3540
Moderator, FMCA.com Forums
Chairman, FMCA Technical Advisory Committee
Member, FMCA Long-Range and Development Committee 2007-2009
Moderator, http://www.dieselrvclub.org/(FMCA chapter)


#17 ki4nai

ki4nai

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 23 posts

Posted 13 February 2012 - 12:35 PM

I have the same problem with my unit, expect I have 4 jacks. I've found that the issue is a simple issue of not being completely level (DO NOT DEPEND ON YOUR LEVER'S LEVEL) . I use a 2 test system to level. 1 - I have A small 2 way level that we sit on the countertop, We use that to ensure left/right &front/back level. 2nd test is a door test, we use the bathroom door, as it is close to center and the refer. We then center the door and see which way,and how much it swings. We test at 90, 180 and 270 degrees. If no swing in any of the positions unit is level and front door operates correctly.

marty
  • 0

#18 wolfe10

wolfe10

    Advanced Member

  • Moderator, Super
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,660 posts
  • Location:League City, Texas

Posted 13 February 2012 - 12:38 PM

Marty,

Many automatic leveling systems need to have the level sensor adjusted to agree with a good carpenter's level. Might try that before concluding that it won't level properly when deployed automatically.
  • 0

Dianne and Brett Wolfe
1997 Safari Sahara 3540
Moderator, FMCA.com Forums
Chairman, FMCA Technical Advisory Committee
Member, FMCA Long-Range and Development Committee 2007-2009
Moderator, http://www.dieselrvclub.org/(FMCA chapter)


#19 harrysusa

harrysusa

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 27 posts
  • Location:Pasadena, CA

Posted 02 May 2012 - 07:12 PM

Hey Marty,
I have been using your bathroom door system for years, also.
I get it close with the bubble level, then check the door for final adjustment.
I have a 3 jack manual Power /gear on a 1997 Discovery.
No entry door issues.
Harry Salit
  • 0

#20 racesport

racesport

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 19 posts
  • Location:Raleigh, NC

Posted 16 November 2012 - 07:29 PM

I started this post last year. I went to the Fleetwood rally in Goshen this past June. The techs there checked and calibrated the level sensor and checked the door and told me they couldn't help me there but at the factory they could install some gussets that would help.

Last week I took the 2002 American Coach American Dream to Decatur, Indiana and had them install the gussets. It has made a dramatic change. The technician and personel there were very efficent, helpful, and competent. I could not have gotten the service and expertise anywhere else. I would highly recommend the service facility for Fleetwood and American Coach in Decatur, Indiana.

If you are having trouble similar to mine do not hesitate to have this modification performed. I was quoted around $400 to complete the repair and it came in at $460 as they had to undo some previous attempts made by someone prior to my purchase of the RV. Very fair!
  • 0




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users