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Texasrvers
I have a question for all you more experienced RVers. This is probably more for those with motor homes, but I will appreciate advice from anyone.

We currently have a 37' motor home with an automatic leveling system. Unfortunately once in a while we manage to get a spot that is very unlevel. To level the motor home it is necessary to raise one end so high that the wheels are off the ground. I don't think it will hurt anything for the coach to sit like this for a night or two, but my husband doesn't think we should park it this way for even one night. We do see other motor homes parked with their wheels off the ground, but we really don't know if this is Ok to do or not. What do you guys think?
bigredoes
Ok let me start by stating that I am a mechanical idiot but that said, I don't leave my tires off the ground. We do dog shows and often the ground is uneven so I take some lumber with me to put under the tires so that they can rest on "something". In campgrounds so far we haven't experienced that difficulty...oh yeah....maybe it is important for me to say they we do not have auto levelers....that is my brides job !!!!
dbnck
The parking brake is on the rear wheels, so it's better if you can keep those on the ground. But sometimes even that isn't possible.

Notice the right rear tire in this photo:

http://www.debcar.com/images0507/P3111482.JPG

That site was seriously uneven side-to-side. The boards under the tire aren't really bearing any weight, much less a significant portion of the weight of the motorhome. And they're under only the outside tires. They're there mainly to make me feel better, and to keep people from saying, "Hey, did you know your tires are off the ground?"

As for the issue of one night vs. two or three, we were in this spot for over three weeks with no ill effects.

More recently, we were in a site that was really slanted front-to-back. We had the back tires firmly on the ground, and the front ones several inches above ground. Didn't bother to even put boards-for-show under the tires because we were going to be there only a couple of weeks, and there wasn't anybody around to say, "Hey, did you know your tires are off the ground?"

I actually think the main problem with doing this is that it can put the entry step WAY higher than normal, and you have to be alert when coming and going.

Generally, it's better practice to have all tires on the ground at all times, but it doesn't necessarily hurt anything to have them in the air.
RLM
This is an interesting question that needs a definitive answer from a technical expert in the industry who bases their reputation on correct answers. Or, in other words, someone who is willing to pay for any damage to the rig if they are wrong. That would not be me, but I do have a couple comments.

If your coach is equipped with air braking, most likely there is a warning in your owner’s manual stating that you should not raise the rear wheels off the ground. It will negate the braking and could allow the coach to move off the jacks. Your manual may also mention not to use the jacks to change tires - meaning that you’d be lifting it off the ground. That may be more of a safety issue. I am not sure.

I don’t raise my front wheels off the ground. First, because they are called "leveling" jacks, I’m not convinced that they were designed to carry the entire weight of that section of my coach. Secondly, I don’t think that having the axles sustain several hundred pounds of unsupported tire and rim is good for them.

Putting stacks of wood under the front tires may not be an idea situation either. When you start lowering the tires back onto the wood, one is judging whether or not most of the weight is still on the jacks and not on the wood. Remember, you’re doing the leveling from inside the coach, not outside looking at the wood.

My personal choice is to place blocks under the jack pads as necessary to level the rig while keeping the tires touching the ground. Those blocks are 18 inches square in order to provide a stable footprint for the pads. And yes, it’s a pain in the posterior to handle and store them. But, I can get the rig level even if the door step is raised to the level of “one giant leap for mankind.”

I may be too cautious regarding these comments, but until I get that “expert” advise I prefer to error on the side of caution. I’d rather have a slightly unleveled rig than a major repair bill. I've got too much invested in this puppy.

Rick
pianotuna
Hi RLM,

I'd not worry too much about strain on the axles from the weight of a tire and rim. But I do agree that leveling jacks may not be designed take the strain of the entire weight of the coach.

Have you tried those plastic blocks instead of wood? I'm curious to know if they work. (lighter and easier to keep clean than wood).

QUOTE(RLM @ Feb 25 2007, 10:41 AM) *


I don’t raise my front wheels off the ground. First, because they are called "leveling" jacks, I’m not convinced that they were designed to carry the entire weight of that section of my coach. Secondly, I don’t think that having the axles sustain several hundred pounds of unsupported tire and rim is good for them.

Putting stacks of wood under the front tires may not be an idea situation either. When you start lowering the tires back onto the wood, one is judging whether or not most of the weight is still on the jacks and not on the wood. Remember, you’re doing the leveling from inside the coach, not outside looking at the wood.

My personal choice is to place blocks under the jack pads as necessary to level the rig while keeping the tires touching the ground. Those blocks are 18 inches square in order to provide a stable footprint for the pads. And yes, it’s a pain in the posterior to handle and store them. But, I can get the rig level even if the door step is raised to the level of “one giant leap for mankind.”

Rick
Texasrvers
Thanks to all of you for your replies, and it sounds like it is better to have the tires on the ground or on something. The information about the parking brake is a very good reason not to raise the back wheels off the ground, and the weight issue concerning both the jacks and axles is something to consider also. Actually my husband says that an RV repair tech did tell him not to have the tires off the ground, but we see so many motor homes parked that way I questioned if it really hurt anything. Like most of you if we do need to raise the tires off the ground we put leveling blocks under the tires. We have two sets of 10 of those orange Lego-like blocks that you get at RV supply places. This gives us enough to accommodate all 4 back tires and raise them several inches. My husband places/stacks them either just in front or back of the tires and then drives up on them. Then we can use the leveling system to raise the coach even higher and still have the tires sitting on something. It’s just that this seems like too much work for just a night or two. Course my husband is the one who does this, so I guess if he wants to do it I shouldn’t worry about it. I was just trying to save him some work.

If you’re not familiar with the blocks we have you might want to check them out. They come in sets of ten (we have 2 sets) in a nylon carrying bag. A single block is about 9” square and 1” tall. They interlock for stacking and nest together for compact storage. Since they are plastic they don’t look like they would ever support a motor home, but we have used ours several times and not one of them has ever cracked. They take up very little storage space. We paid about $15 for each set a few years ago so they are probably more now.

Also so that we don’t have to make that "giant leap" when the front end is raised my husband built a wooden step that we put out if the coach step is too high.

Thanks again for your help.

dbnck, your picture looked like a fun place to be.
dbnck
> I may be too cautious regarding these comments, but until I get
> that “expert” advise I prefer to error on the side of caution. I’d
> rather have a slightly unleveled rig than a major repair bill. I've
> got too much invested in this puppy.

No way is any manufacturer going to say that having one or more tires off the ground is okay. But we don't know whether that's because it really isn't okay, or because there's no reason for them to give the go-ahead (and take the responsibility) for the practice. Saying it's okay isn't going to increase sales, so there's no reason to do it.

Then again, it's not the manufacturer who is in a site where there's no choice other than having tire(s) off the ground. As I said, it's better practice to have all tires on the ground, but sometimes that's just not possible. The place in the photo is an example. If we want to stay there, we have to have some tires in the air. It would be impossible to get the rig even to "slightly unlevel" with all the tires on the ground.

We make the choice to do it because otherwise we couldn't stay there, although I can understand why someone else might not. In fact, I wish nobody else would do it, so we could have the place to ourselves. :-)

But exercising that choice has given us some experience with the practice. The OP asked if it was okay, noting that she's seen other motorhomes doing it (as have I). I don't know, and I'm no expert, but I can say that we've done it quite a bit and haven't noticed any problems resulting from it.
Cheryl Fuller
bdnck I don't know anything about the leveling of a motorhome (hubby does all that kind of stuff), but do agree with TexasRver that the pic looks like a fun place to be, especially right now when we are forecast for more snow tomorrow!!!
Butch
I do not like to use the leveling system on our motor home to the extent that the wheel(s) are off the ground. Of course you are inside the coach, and are not aware until you exit the unit that this situation exist. I will retract the jacks and if space is available, move the unit within the site to see if a better spot can be found. Sometimes difficult to do with a 37 footer. Have been told by servicing personnel not to raise the wheels off the ground, plus have read same in manuals, and motor home publications. So I guess we should not engage in this activity if it can be avoided.
Texasrvers
I really appreciate all the great replies. Butch, we usually do exactly what you said except that I usually stand outside and watch to see if any of the wheels get raised off the ground. If so we try to maneuver the coach around to find a more level area. If that doesn't work we go for the leveling blocks. After I reported everyone's reply to my husband he is convinced he will continue to put the wheels on blocks and not leave them dangling in the air. Thanks again everyone!!
RLM
Pianotuna> I have used the plastic stacking blocks when I owned a 5W. They kept breaking so haven’t used them since. I prefer pressure treated wood with the ends cut at a 45-degree angle that makes driving onto them easier. For those that go under my jack pads, I attach a screw in eye bolt on the side so that I can move them around with the awning rod.

Texasrvers> I have a Rubbermaid EZ Step to supplement the “leap.” It’s lightweight and folds for easy storage.

Rick
mastercraft
I have had the plastic blocks for 8 years and have not had a problem. If I have using them on soft ground such as sand, I usually put pressure treated wood under them. I have a large 5W and was wondering how you broke your blocks so I would not make the same mistake.
Cheryl Fuller
Sounds like we may have found a new use for the Trailer Life directory and Woodalls....
pianotuna
Hi Cheryl,

You crack me up, lady! (wonderful sense of humor!) Thanks for making a difficult day end on a note of levity!

QUOTE(Cheryl Fuller @ Feb 28 2007, 03:35 PM) *

Sounds like we may have found a new use for the Trailer Life directory and Woodalls....
Cheryl Fuller
QUOTE(pianotuna @ Feb 28 2007, 10:37 PM) *
Hi Cheryl,

You crack me up, lady! (wonderful sense of humor!) Thanks for making a difficult day end on a note of levity!





Always glad to be of service........
Butch
Camping directories as leveling blocks;

Maybe we should request that their covers be laminated with plastic, so that they maybe used more than once.
Texasrvers
Thanks RLM for the tip about the step. I'll check into it.
Beastdriver
I have been told by several service technicians not to leave the tires dangling in the air, and I always put plastic leveler pads under the jacks if necessary. I believe this is the safest way to go. By the way, Cheryl, thanks for the new use for Trailer Life and Woodalls. And I thought they were only good when we ran out of toilet tissue! Goes to show you that you learn something new every day on this site!
Cheryl Fuller
Ha ha Beastdriver - I thought that was what the Sears Roebuck catalog was for. At least, that is what my grandpa always told me - but then he also said he had to walk 5 miles to school, in the snow with no shoes, uphill both ways.....Gosh, I miss that man!!!
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