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Old 06-12-2015, 10:39 AM   #1
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Building Driveway Ramps

We just traded our 37 Fifth Wheel which weighed about 13,000 lbs. in on a 37 Motor Home which weighs almost 26,000 lbs. We are keeping it in our driveway which is black top and not totally level, so we are building ramps to drive up on to have it level when next to our home. The Fifth Wheel required tow 2 x 10s under one side and we know from experience that even pressure treated lumber will rot when placed directly on black top for long periods. The top board was generally OK while the bottom board began to rot.

So, the question we have is relatively simple. For those who have built these ramps, what material do you use between the bottom board and the driveway?

Thanks in advance for any advice you can give.

PS: Our boards are: nothing on the right front, 3.5 inches on the left front, 3 inches on the right rear, and 5.5 inches on the left rear!
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Old 06-12-2015, 06:00 PM   #2
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First a question for you. Why not just use the MH levelers instead of blocking the individual tires? Seems like it would be much easier. That in mind, I would then research some of the rubber mats made of reclaimed tires to go on the pavement, then stack your blocks on top of those. Depending on the thickness of the asphalt and the temps where you live, you'll probably want to increase the footprint of the jacks, i.e., if they are 12" square and you're blocking up 3-1/2", then your block should be 19" square (12" + 2 x 3-1/2"). The force from the jack foot will spread through the thickness of the pad at 45 degrees as it goes down.

If you want to block the tires up, I would say to use the same type of rubber mat. Lowe's sells these mats in their garden area. The mats are porous, so they will drain well and prevent some of the wood rot. I will say you don't want anything too complex as you'll want to take the MH for a short drive about once a month out if season. Otherwise, the tires can actually develop flat spots over time. Those flat spots usually work themselves out but it makes your first day of driving a bit rough. Also don't forget to exercise the generator at least once a month, especially if it's a gas model.

We keep ours up on the levelers in the drive (concrete) year round and plugged in with the AC and fridge running. Get some Teflon spray and give the jack legs a shot ever once in a while. The Teflon won't attract dirt liked some oils will. That will also lube the seals when you take it out for the monthly drive.

Good luck and enjoy!
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Old 06-12-2015, 06:04 PM   #3
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Cover the bottom board with alum tread plate from a scrap metal dealer. Easy to cut with a sabre saw.
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Old 06-12-2015, 07:32 PM   #4
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Thanks conceptumator, as stated above, the left rear tire has to be raised 5.5 inches before it is even with the right front without some sort of support under the rear tires they are likely to raise completely off the ground. That is main reason I’m looking for some sort of ramps. For long stays I do plan on raising the entire unit a bit to take some of the pressure off the tires.

I will take it for a spin once a month in the winter and also run the generator as recommended by Forest River. That is unless we are snowed in which does happen once in a while here in Maryland.

A guy on RV.net recommended using solid decking boards, the composites, not wood. I’m looking into that also.

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Old 06-12-2015, 07:45 PM   #5
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Try looking at tractor supply for horse stall mats. I think a 3'x5' that's maybe 1/2" thick is about $40. It's heavy duty recycled rubber


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Old 06-12-2015, 07:59 PM   #6
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Ah! I missed that the rear had to be raised. Can you simply turn it around so the fron has to be raised? I back ours in so it's easier to reach the power outlet. Our drive slopes downward toward the street. The front wheels are off the ground a few inches but that's not an issue. Since the rear is your drive axle and parking brake, you definitely want those on the ground. The horse mat suggestion is a very good one. Those will protect your drive and blocking. Another thing you can do is ventilate the blocking so moisture can escape. Assuming you're wracking 2x lumber to get your height, just run a 1/2" x 1/2" dado across the top of the lower pieces in opposing directions. This will give an air space and allow each layer of the block to dry out when it gets wet. If you can find it, you might also use rough cedar instead of treated lumber - it will last longer.
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Old 06-14-2015, 07:33 PM   #7
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After reading a lot of data on the good old web, we are leaning in the direction of using composite decking boards as the lower level with pressure treated lumber above that. The bottom board would have the solid side down with the beveled bottom facing up. This will allow the wood on top to drain into the indentations and run off.
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Old 06-14-2015, 07:42 PM   #8
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I just picked up some 12"X12" concrete pavers at HD for about $1.50 apiece, going to do the same thing in my parking area. Composite decking is a good thought, too...good luck!
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Old 06-14-2015, 07:57 PM   #9
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PS: Our boards are: nothing on the right front, 3.5 inches on the left front, 3 inches on the right rear, and 5.5 inches on the left rear!

That PS did not make this situation clear. We pull into our driveway head first so the door opens toward the house. Our ramp system will have to be very mobile or we would have to drive over the 5.5 inch back ramp in order to get past it to the smaller 3.5 inch front on the drivers side.

We plan to leave the front left ramp alone when leaving, set a solar lamppost in front of the driver and aim for those things when pulling in. Once we are skilled enough to hit the front ramp dead on, stop there, position the rear ramps and then drive up on them. The 5.5 inch ramp will have to be in stages to make it easier to get up on.

We are also talking to driveway contractors, but they want about 5 grand to take up our existing driveway, level the foundation so a single board on the left side would level the motor home, then put blacktop over the new foundation.
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