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Wheels Off Ground After Leveling


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#1 2Hams

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 12:05 PM

First, my wife and I are "newbies" to the motorhome world. We have a fifth-wheel and Freightliner Hauler, but are thinking of making the big change over to a motorhome and toad.

One thing that bothers us is to see a motorhome set up and leveled, and then see the two front wheels just "hanging" in the air. Isn't that bad on the suspension, and if not, how long can the motorhome be left in this position.

Thanks much for your answers.
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#2 Wayne77590

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 12:30 PM

This has been discussed a few times all over the Intenet. It really depends on who you are listening to and what manufacturer they have. Some will state that their manual says it is okay. Some will state that their manual says not to have the wheels off the ground. If I remember correctly, my manual state not to have the wheels off the ground. With that said, never have the rear wheels off the ground as they are the only ones that have a brake engaged (on an air-brake system for sure) and their is a possibility of the MH rolling, even if it is on the levelers.

Yes, I have been in situations where the wheels would leave the ground in leveling. These are rare case for me, and what I'll do is put the 2 x 10 with 5/8" plywood attached under the wheel that wants to be the culprit. It only takes a minute. As I'm leveling I'll as DW to check. She lets me know when a wheel is starting to leave the ground. Depending on how much more I have to go in the bubble decides my next choice(s). 1) retract and place my leveling pads (2x10) under the offending tire(s) by backing up an placing the boards in the location and rolling up on them. 2) in the case of one front wheel, raise that side an inch or two more and place the board under, then retract and let the tire settle on the board. This is helpful if you still have the TOAD hooked up and backing up is not an option, but you could just place a board on the ground and pull forwar. That may cause another area of the four points to be more unlevel.

Read your owners manual. My personal preference is to not have air under any tire, and if it is one rear dual, I'll run both up on a block to distribute the weight evenly when I lower onto the block.

I carry 4 16" 2x10" with 5/8" plywood screwed to one surface. The en of the 16" is beveled at 45 degrees for easy roll on. I also cary 4 12" of the same. The 16" can be a ramp to the 12" on top, effectively giving me approximately 6" of rise.

Happy trails. Others will be here with their thoughts shortly.

Oh! Those plastic blocks you can purchase that are not sold hex, but open ridge hex do not support the footprint of the tire. If you have to use them, a thin piece of plywood on top will not cause tire damage.
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#3 hermanmullins

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 01:31 PM

2Has,
First welcome to the Forum.

I think you will enjoy moving to a Motor Home. One thing is no cranking to unhook and leveling. Push a button and the coach does the rest.
Now to your question. As Wayne said many different openions on wheels off the ground to level.

Here's mine. Never have a tire off the ground to level. This is very unsafe. And never let the rear wheels leave the ground (Parking Brake). Consider just one senerio.

You have your wheel off the groung and there are high winds. Do you want your coach supported on a solid footing, suchs as tires and jack, or do you want your coach supported by a 2 inch diameter piece of tubing resting on a 6 X 6 inch plate.

If you are parked on a site that is so unlevel that a wheel leaves the ground, move sites, move back or forward on the site, or put your wheels on pads to support the wheel when leveling.

Also remember if you need to put your wheel up on 3 to 4 inches of pads your jacks will need the same amount of support.

Hope this helps.

Herman
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#4 bizsmith@yahoo.com

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 08:39 PM

The only time I've ever had wheels off the ground was when it made it easier to change a blown tire. I sweated the whole time. My rule--don't do it.
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#5 Wayne77590

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 09:35 AM

p.s., if you do have to use blocks and you also block the leveling jacks, don't overdo it. If you put the rig up 3 inches and use 4 inches under the block, when you retract you may not have enough retraction slack to remove the blocks from the jacks. "My specific" manual states to not use more tha 3 inches under the jacks.

Manual, manual, manual.
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#6 AndyShane

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 02:58 PM

Interestingly, the tire center asked me to raise mine to replace the steering tires, recently.

With the jacks extended, a raised front tire might be bad form, but simple physics make it relatively inconsequential. Of course, one problem lies with hyper-extension of the jacks. Your jacks are strongest when retracted, flimsy when extended. Minimal extension protects them. Bend one, and it is going to stay extended; that will have a profound effect on your gas mileage :P

I'd be embarrassed, think that light under a front tire suggests to my neighbors that I'm new to RV travel. Not to mention that whopper of a stepdown, by the door...

Like Herman says, those rear wheels are a whole different game. Light under a rear tire tells your neighbors not to stand close to your rig, clear the way downhill from it in preparation for your upcoming accident.

In any case, follow the manufacturer's instructions.


Addendum: The previous owner bent two jacks due to hyperextension, they had to be removed at the site, later replaced.
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#7 jc21014

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:41 AM

I personally will not be in any site that is so unlevel that the front tires are off the ground. I will, to a minor degree, use minimal boards if needed. I would not feel comfortable having a 30000# mh suspended even a few inches off the ground on jack stands as the potential for damage/booboos occurring is their. :wacko:
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#8 lennich

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 11:01 AM

This is a old wives tale & has been around for years . Just imagine if your wheels were so badly attached as to require remaining on the ground how many accidents we would have. The only time I ever worry myself about where my wheels are when leveling is if i am on a slant then and only then do I have my rear wheels on the ground.

I have had many different chassis over the 60 years of motorhoming & have never had a problem leveling in this fashion ..
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#9 stuplich

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 07:49 PM

I have often raised both front tires off the ground while camping, (never the rear).

Last June when a local Michelin dealer installed 6 tires, on my 22,000# coach, they used my three RVA jacks to lift the tires off of the ground, (all at one time)!
They removed all 6 wheels and my coach remained that way for over 4 hours, (until they mounted and spin balanced all six).
This was all done on their asphalt parking lot, (without jack stands)!
I was not happy about that, but no harm apperars to have been done.
Mel
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#10 desertdeals690

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 09:40 PM

RVA jacks are probably the strongest jacks ln the business. I have had all six wheels off the ground changing tires without a problem.. I have parked with my rear wheels off the ground. If I should have a jack fail the worst that could happen is the coach come down on the wheels which the park brake is keeping from turning so the coach is not going to roll down hill. If I am working under the coach I always use jack stands.
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#11 bthomforde

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 12:10 AM

Front wheels yes, not the rear wheels.
never a problem
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#12 desertdeals690

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 05:03 PM

It depends on the jacks and how there installed. Done correctly there is little chance for malfunction.
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#13 rlbarkleyii

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Posted 07 December 2015 - 08:14 PM

I park for short term storage at home on level concrete pad with jacks extended on blocks fully lifting the wheels off the ground all the time. I have been doing this for several years with no apparent harm. I did this to keep ants out of my coach a few summers ago when ants  were completely out of control here in Georgia. I have been concerned about stress to the air bags, but inspection does not show any problems. 


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#14 jleamont

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Posted 08 December 2015 - 09:05 AM

When I worked at the dealership we always used the coaches jacks to lift it up and then set it down on jack stands. At a campground (I only have air leveling) I request the site to be level or relatively level, if my coach cannot level in it with minimal effort they need to move me, if they cannot accommodate I leave. I have seen many motorhomes with the wheels off the ground, some front some rear, I have been there with are old class C (front wheels). If its the rear you can be certain I will not be the site down hill from that person. I can count on one hand how many times I have seen duals up on levelers with both the inner and outer tire supported, usually its some rigged up wood trick that makes your hair stand up on the back of your neck with only the outer wheel supported.

 

Here is something to think about:

Travel trailers have no parking brake, now that makes you think....funny Dexter axles (most common small trailer axle manufacture) offers a parking brake kit with a cable controlled handle. Makes you wonder why this options is never on a Travel trailer? Sorry for drifting off topic.

 

I also always look around me when setting up, if I see something unsafe that could present a concern for me and my family I will ask to be moved. I am there to enjoy my time with family and friends, not have my friends or family injured or our time ruined by the guy in the site across from us.

 

I have a theory that I camp by "if a campground doesn't care to maintain their sites and keep them as level as possible I will give my business to the campground that does".

 

I now park our coach on plywood when it is sitting for an extended period. Tires are expensive and there is so much riding on them.


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