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Peggy

Parking On Level Surface Necessary?

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Yesterday my next-door neighbor, who also has a Winnebago type C, told me I needed to re-park my coach because it was not level. I thought you only needed it to be level to RUN the refrigerator, and mine is not plugged in. But she said the freon in the fridge would move if the coach was not level, and this would possibly stop the fridge from working when I tried to operate it.

Has anybody heard of this before? Is it true? As a follow-up, then, I also need to know how I'm supposed to drive the coach off the leveling blocks if I do have to use them. I'm afraid of a very big CLUNK (and possible damage) when I do.

Thanks!

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First, an RV refrigerator, whether Dometic or Norcold, does not use a freon-based coolant. The "coolant" is a mixture of ammonia, rust inhibitor and water.

And you are correct, not your neighbor. It is OPERATION of the refrigerator out of level, not STORAGE, that can damage/clog the cooling unit.

But, a quick call to Dometic (the number below) revealed that it is a good idea to LEVEL THE COACH FOR 24 HOURS AFTER BEING STORED OUT OF LEVEL BEFORE STARTING THE REFRIGERATOR!

For confirmation: Dometic Tech line 1-888-867-4188

Without knowing how many or what kind of blocks you are using, I cannot address your driving on/off leveling blocks. Certainly the more substantial the blocks, the less likelihood of an issue. And any time you use leveling blocks, make sure the entire "footprint' of the tire (front) or both tires (rear) are supported or you can do tire damage.

Brett Wolfe

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Guest Wayne77590

Peggy,

Everything Brett said.

But, if you are driving the coach onto the leveling blocks, you would take the coach off the leveling blocks the same way - if you drive up on, then back off the block. As stated, it is important to have the entire surface of the tire ON the block.

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Peggy: I have an Itasca Cambria 26' (2005), and I caved in and got the yellow leveling blocks at Camping World. At a campsite, I check to see that steering wheel is straight, then check my Hoody levels installed on dash and driver's side door to see where and how much I'm out of level. Then I put the refrigerator level in. Then I get the yellow blocks and put either three or five down in front of each tire on that side, including both duallies, depending on how off level I am. If I'm only off an inch as shown on the Hoody's, that should do it, and I use three in front of each tire. If I'm off two inches, I add three more blocks on top of the five already down on each "line" of three blocks, offsetting by half a block (which gives a gentle stair-step rise). I get back in and run the rig slowly forward until I can feel the tires come onto the blocks, make sure I'm in neutral & set hand brake, get out and check to see my tires are fully on the blocks, get back in and check the refrigerator level. If I'm within half a bubble, I'm good. It does involve a lot of getting in and out and checking, but that's okay (I'm not saying I don't sometimes dream of being able to push a button and it's all taken care of). Pulling out, I just go forward a couple of feet and then get out and collect and store the blocks. Because the wheel was straight to begin with, you don't have to back up to free the blocks.

I've heard both sides of the argument re whether it's that important for the refrigerator to be level on the newer models. My only take on that is that I'd rather be safe than sorry.

Happy Camping!!!

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Peggy: I have an Itasca Cambria 26' (2005), and I caved in and got the yellow leveling blocks at Camping World. At a campsite, I check to see that steering wheel is straight, then check my Hoody levels installed on dash and driver's side door to see where and how much I'm out of level. Then I put the refrigerator level in. Then I get the yellow blocks and put either three or five down in front of each tire on that side, including both duallies, depending on how off level I am. If I'm only off an inch as shown on the Hoody's, that should do it, and I use three in front of each tire. If I'm off two inches, I add three more blocks on top of the five already down on each "line" of three blocks, offsetting by half a block (which gives a gentle stair-step rise). I get back in and run the rig slowly forward until I can feel the tires come onto the blocks, make sure I'm in neutral & set hand brake, get out and check to see my tires are fully on the blocks, get back in and check the refrigerator level. If I'm within half a bubble, I'm good. It does involve a lot of getting in and out and checking, but that's okay (I'm not saying I don't sometimes dream of being able to push a button and it's all taken care of). Pulling out, I just go forward a couple of feet and then get out and collect and store the blocks. Because the wheel was straight to begin with, you don't have to back up to free the blocks.

I've heard both sides of the argument re whether it's that important for the refrigerator to be level on the newer models. My only take on that is that I'd rather be safe than sorry.

Happy Camping!!!

Thanks to you and all the others! I have only camped twice -- the coach just became mine last summer and since I work fulltime, it's hard to get out and use it often. Anyway, the second place I camped, it would have been really nice to have some kind of leveling device, so I will definitely use your suggestion. Sounds like you're a single camper also!

As for the fridge, it's a 2001, so it shouldn't be all that susceptible to being off level. The person I got the coach from told me not to let the bubbles scare me. (My coach has a bubble thingy in the center console only.) Then again, he gave me some rally bad advice about the generator....I just had to pay to get it fixed because he said I did not have to run it regularly.

As for storage, thanks much for that tip -- I will definitely let it set a day before I plug it in, even though it's a Norcold.

IT's great to have FMCA Friends!!!

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Us newbies have to stick together, for sure.

These forums are great, and I have also learned a lot from the Escapees and Workamper froums.

Any time you have a few days to kill, you might check there - lots of information.

http://forums.workamper.com A mix of folks, lots of single lady RVers that might suit your situation.

www.rvnetwork.com These guys seem to tend toward a class 8 tractor (semi truck tractor) and huge 5th weel trailers. They have lots of good info.

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Just checking up on topics and would like to clarify the leveling before starting refrigerator. I have a Class A motorhome (with a Dometic refrigerator) that I park in front of the house usually 1-3 days before a trip. The road has a high crown and slopes to the curb. Parking the coach in front of the house places it at about a 5-7% lean to the passeger side (same side as the refrigerator sits) I do generally start the refrigerator in the coach (connected to shore power at the house) so I can put groceries into it the night before departure.

Does this out of level situation fit into your suggestion not to start the refrigerator? :rolleyes:

Thanks

Cathe

2005 ALFA See Ya Gold

2004 Acura MDX toad

To be a fulltimer August 2009

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Cathe,

Indeed, you are shortening the life of your refrigerator. Can you not drive the right wheels up on leveling boards on the curb side to compensate for the crown? THAT is the right answer.

Brett Wolfe

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My street is the same, so I drive the right front wheel up onto the driveway until the coach is almost level (as level as any campground I've ever stayed in). This also makes it easier to pack the coach for a trip.

Let me add to Jim's post.

If you do park with three wheel positions at about the same level and one wheel position 6" lower (your high-crowned street for instance with curb-side wheel up on the driveway) please use leveling boards under the low wheel position OR use your leveling jacks.

You will put quite a bending torque on a chassis leaving it parked with three at one level and one at another.

Brett Wolfe

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Cathe,

Indeed, you are shortening the life of your refrigerator. Can you not drive the right wheels up on leveling boards on the curb side to compensate for the crown? THAT is the right answer.

Brett Wolfe

Thank you for the information, I will investigate whether putting the right side wheels up on the curb sets it level. Don't know if there are ordinances that pertain to that, or may need to use levelers to bring it completely level but I have the information I need to work with.

Cathe

2005 ALFA See Ya Gold

2004 Acura MDX toad

To be a fulltimer August 2009

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First, an RV refrigerator, whether Dometic or Norcold, does not use a freon-based coolant. The "coolant" is a mixture of ammonia, rust inhibitor and water.

And you are correct, not your neighbor. It is OPERATION of the refrigerator out of level, not STORAGE, that can damage/clog the cooling unit.

But, a quick call to Dometic (the number below) revealed that it is a good idea to LEVEL THE COACH FOR 24 HOURS AFTER BEING STORED OUT OF LEVEL BEFORE STARTING THE REFRIGERATOR!

For confirmation: Dometic Tech line 1-888-867-4188

Without knowing how many or what kind of blocks you are using, I cannot address your driving on/off leveling blocks. Certainly the more substantial the blocks, the less likelihood of an issue. And any time you use leveling blocks, make sure the entire "footprint' of the tire (front) or both tires (rear) are supported or you can do tire damage.

Brett Wolfe

I've always wondered, if the refrigerators are so sensitive to level, why don't they mount the cooling units in some sort of gimble that would always keep the unit level?

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The cooling unit on RV refrigerators is attached to the back of the refrigerator and runs from the bottom where the heater/evaporator unit is to the top of the refrigerator where the expansion valve is. There is no way it could swivel more than a degree or two if it were on a gimble mount. In the route from bottom to top are a series of switchback turns in the piping which will accumulate solidified solution if the refrigerator isn't leveled properly. These switchbacks run a significant part of the width of the refrigerator. It's an interesting contraption. If you can find a repair shop that has an old one, it will be instructive to take a look at back of one of these refrigerators.

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Guest BillAdams

You would have to mount the entire fridge on a Gimbel. The answer to this is cost and why would I want my fridge mounted on a Gimbel anyway? It's just easier to park your RV where you can keep the fridge within 2 degrees of level.

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Times like this my old age creeps in and I can't remember some things, but here goes anyway. Somewhere in the back of my pointy head there is a front to back or side to side leveling answer for RV refrigerators. Does anyone remember the rule as to whether it is important for the coach to be level front to back or side to side and the degree of allowable error? Somewhere in there is the thought that the coach must be level front to back, but can be off side to side for proper refrigerator operation.

Ward

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