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Old 02-21-2013, 12:11 PM   #1
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Bigfoot Automatic Leveling Jacks

We are purchasing a Sunseeker 3170DS and have asked our dealer to install the Bigfoot Automatic Levelling Jacks and he has tried to talk us out of it for the following reasons:

1 - twist frame
2 - problem for the firestone airbags that are on our unit - should not jack up with air in the bags
3 - only last 1 year or so - then they start breaking and having problems.

Can anyone who has these jacks on a C comment on his concerns? We really want them but do not want to have issues down the road.
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Old 02-21-2013, 12:40 PM   #2
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I have known a few people that have them. They never lift the coach off the ground though for those same concerns you listed. All 4 wheels still touch the ground. If they have to park some where that is really on a slope they still use blocks to get close.
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Old 02-21-2013, 12:56 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by colestat View Post
We are purchasing a Sunseeker 3170DS and have asked our dealer to install the Bigfoot Automatic Levelling Jacks and he has tried to talk us out of it for the following reasons:

1 - twist frame
2 - problem for the firestone airbags that are on our unit - should not jack up with air in the bags
3 - only last 1 year or so - then they start breaking and having problems.

Can anyone who has these jacks on a C comment on his concerns? We really want them but do not want to have issues down the road.

1- In auto mode they will not twist the frame. If you operate in manual mode and don't know what you are doing you could twist the frame.

2- Not aware of any problem like that with air bags. I have bags and have had no problems. I can't believe FR would put jacks on a unit with bags if it could damage them. They would have a lot of warranty issues.

3- That seems ridiculous. The only issue I had was a small fitting oil leak. Also the jacks have limited lifetime warranty on the cylinders and 2 years on the rest of the parts.

Now for the other issues. I spoke at length with an engineer from Big Foot. The jacks installed by FR are modified to FR specifications. First they have little 7" feet not the 10" feet Big Foot usually supplies. You can order replacement big feet from Big Foot for $40 each. I did not buy the bigger feet but per the engineer's suggestion built 10 inch plywood feet 2" thick and added to my front jacks. Also the stroke of the front jacks is a little less to get the ground clearance FR specifies. The plywood feet I added essentially mitigated this short coming but do reduce ground clearance. Some parts are made of plastic rather than metal. Most of the changes are to reduce weight per the engineer.
As far as operation they really don't do a lot in my opinion. They will raise the front or back up but in doing so they are often extended to their limits and thus do not make the unit any more laterally stable. If you put the largest blocks you can under the feet so their extension is minimized, it will help. It doesn't take much unlevelness of the site for them to reach their limits of travel. When it does it just stops where it is. I usually operate in manual mode. My dealer tried to talk me out of them as well and I didn't listen. Fortunately he sold the option to me at his cost so I'm not too unhappy. I'm not a fan of the four pump system with no position feedback. I think I would rather have a single pump manual system.
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Old 02-21-2013, 02:01 PM   #4
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ATVer - You're killin' me! I literally just got them on Monday 3 days ago on our Sunseeker directly from Quadra! I got the 10" feet. I did have them modify the rear. They are mounted as high as possible on the frame - about 2" higher than normal - in order to compensate for backing up a sloped driveway. I had heard that FR modifies the feet size & jack stroke. I did not know they used some plastic rather than metal parts though. By going directly to Quadra, they were more expensive than if I got them via the factory. However, we purchased an in-stock unit so it was as-is. I went with the Bigfoot 4 pump system rather than the EZ 1 pump system. For the dollars you're talking about, the difference in costs wasn't that great. Plus the warranty is substantially better on Bigfoot as compared to EZ.

colestat - I agree with ATVer on the frame twist point. In auto mode, you are fine. In manual mode, you need to operate them in pairs. That means both fronts, both rears, both sides together. Never just one corner at a time. Also agree with ATVer on the air bags. FR offers these as a factory option (& air bags are standard on all units) so no way would they do that if there was a risk having both components. Finally, on the issues with them breaking, I did a lot of research prior to buying & Quadra has a really solid reputation for a great product / service among many satisfied customers (more so that some of their competitors IMHO).

I got them more to help stabilize then level. Based on a quick test when I got home with the kids literally jumping in the unit, it is more stable. It does still move a little. But not nearly as much. Will have better feedback when we spend a night or two in it with them deployed.

I spent about 4 hours altogether at the Quadra location in Michigan. There were a lot of new Sunseekers coming through (numbers on the windshield, plastic on the seats, etc). I got the sense that when ordered from the factory, they might be installed at Quadra rather than the FR plant.
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Old 02-21-2013, 02:05 PM   #5
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we also just bought a 3170ds (2011) with big foot jacks and i also own a repair shop that works on heavy duty trucks and hydraulic systems. we have not used our motor home yet this year but i have been playing with the jacks to see what they will do. with the air bags you should have a switch to dump the air out before you level with the jacks. the only other concern with the air bags would be on unlevel ground and you extended the jacks far enough to lift tires off the ground you would be stretching the air bags out and possibly damaging them. so on unlevel spots get close with blocks first. as far as problems go as with any other mechanical device you have to maintain and repair at times but from what i see and my hydraulic experience this looks to be a good system . hope this helps
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Old 02-21-2013, 06:17 PM   #6
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So far ours are fine. I don't like the auto level feature. Just like my HWH system before, it never goes exactly to the same spot twice. I tested this on the new one on level concrete (shop). Went through the recallibration as per manufacturer, got it dead perfect, set it and retracted everything. Tried it 3 different times, auto level, all retract etc. Each time was a shade different. Did the callibration again, tried it 3 different times again, and yet got 3 different results. In the end, I just run each one down until they tag the ground, then operate in sets. The one thing I wish it had like the HWH had, was just having to hit 1 button to operate the sets instead of holding down 2 jack buttons. I do like the lack of hydraulic lines running all over the coach. As for twisting, as stated before, run in sets. Easy enough. I know they say that for CYA, and you can twist it if you wanted to, but just how much twisting do you think that frame does going down our substandard roads or going in a steep drive at an angle. Everything twists and moves. We always carry blocks, and frequently have to use them due to the short stroke of the jack. No big deal. Last time home I used the jacks to change the oil. Beats trying to drive it on ramps.
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Old 02-22-2013, 10:40 AM   #7
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Here's a pic of the airbag...just for illustration purposes.

I know at RV shows, having jacks and not having jacks are a HUGE difference. People walking in and out all day its like a boat out at sea. Jacks down, its solid.

Now, at a camp site, not sure everyone is in an out all the time. Personally I don't really notice it that much...the rocking or the out of level.

However, we use a high tech method of leveling. Empty bottle laid flat on dinette table. As long as it doesn't roll too fast, we're good.
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:30 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by ATVer View Post
3- That seems ridiculous. The only issue I had was a small fitting oil leak. Also the jacks have limited lifetime warranty on the cylinders and 2 years on the rest of the parts.
What was the issue with the fitting oil leak? I have had my 3170 since October 2013 and starting this month, I am noticing hydraulic oil leak on 3 of my BIGFOOT stabilizers. Been to an RV dealer twice, they can't figure out the problem. It seems to happen 3 days after I park, and if the temperature is 80 degrees or more.

Since it takes 3 days to leak, RV dealer can't reproduce problem unless I leave my RV with them. Can't do that.
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:29 AM   #9
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DXSMac, just give Quadra a call. They have pretty good techs who have seen it all. They should be able to give you some direction.
Bigfoot Leveling Systems
800-752-9815
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:06 AM   #10
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What was the issue with the fitting oil leak? I have had my 3170 since October 2013 and starting this month, I am noticing hydraulic oil leak on 3 of my BIGFOOT stabilizers. Been to an RV dealer twice, they can't figure out the problem. It seems to happen 3 days after I park, and if the temperature is 80 degrees or more.

Since it takes 3 days to leak, RV dealer can't reproduce problem unless I leave my RV with them. Can't do that.

The fitting had a slight defect in the seating area which was very hard to see and it took a day or so before the leak showed up to see a drip. Since it was an odd fitting that I didn't have or could find locally I carefully reworked the area with 400 grit paper and corrected the problem. I just noticed after winter storage that there is another leak on another jack. I haven't checked out the cause yet but probably a tightness or fitting issue.
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