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Old 11-29-2012, 11:13 PM   #1
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Now THIS is weird!!

Last night I was relaxing in my '11 Berkshire 390 RB. Suddenly the coach rocked violently and seemed to drop a few inches. I thought at first that the guy behind me had accidentally driven his truck into my unit.

It made a heluva noise and the wife thought our water heater had exploded. Neighbors all came outside to see what was going on.

Anyhow, something apparently caused one (or more) of the jacks to retract INSTANTLY. I called Customer Support and Mark said they'd never seen that happen before. They will often times leak down slowly, but NEVER drop so suddenly.

It's the Equalizer auto-leveling (one button push) and I did a "retract all" followed by an "auto-level" and everything seems to be OK ever since. A tech crawled under it today and said the air bags were deflated. Should they be?

I know I have a small leak in the air system and that's probably why the bags were deflated. The leak is behind the primary air pressure gauge on the dash. I will be fixing that tomorrow. Fortunately, the compressor is more than able to keep up with the small leak, and brake pressure is the nominal 110 pounds.

I've seen some coaches that actually have a manual release valve to purposely deflate the bags. Haven't been able to find such a valve on the Berkshire however.

Is this "incident" weird or what?? Anyone else ever experienced this?

Boowho?
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Old 11-30-2012, 12:06 AM   #2
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It's fine for the air bags to deflate.


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Old 11-30-2012, 06:00 PM   #3
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Equalizer Autolevel

With the Equalizer System when you select Autolevel the air is supposed to dump from the air bags before the jacks start to level the coach. Also if you check in the manual it will tell you how to set the null.
good Luck
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Old 11-30-2012, 07:52 PM   #4
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I am confused ... did your airbags deflate and your jacks extend while you were driving ..... if so ... you have a real problem ... or ... did your jacks spontaniously retract while you were parked ... if this second option is the cases, it might simply be a case of not understanding the leveling system. When you park and press the auto level button, all air should dump from the airbag. This serves two purposes, it releases excess moisture in the air tanks ,but, more imprtantly it lowers the entire unit so that once the jacks are extended your step is still areasonable distance from the ground.

Question for you...
Once you are leveled, do you turn the leveling system off or do you leave it active?
Do you have any animals or small children that wonder the unit ... if so is it possible that the retract all button was pushed by mistake.

Last comment ...
Any leak or any size in the air system should be repaired ASAP. By not doing so, you are playing Russion Roullette with the braking system. Beleive me, the last thing you want is to out in the middle of nowhere or worse yet (a big down hill) and have that low air alarm sound.

Good Luck
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Old 11-30-2012, 08:47 PM   #5
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Ummmm....... Since I was relaxing at the time, the coach was parked during the spontaneous retract. 8-) which is what best describes it, BTW

I normally turn the power button off leaving the Equalizer unit in "sleep" mode (red light flashes every few seconds). And there are no pets in the coach.

Finally being an ex-18 wheeler driver, I understand how air brakes work. While a "perfect" air system is best, many of the trucks running today have "less than perfect" air systems and will lose air at a very slow rate.

As long as the compressor can supply air faster than the leak is losing it, I don't get too excited. Of course, in a truck I always had 24 hour satellite communication with dispatch to bail me out in any breakdown situation.


Thanks for your input.

Boowho


Quote:
Originally Posted by lefaivre View Post
I am confused ... did your airbags deflate and your jacks extend while you were driving ..... if so ... you have a real problem ... or ... did your jacks spontaniously retract while you were parked ... if this second option is the cases, it might simply be a case of not understanding the leveling system. When you park and press the auto level button, all air should dump from the airbag. This serves two purposes, it releases excess moisture in the air tanks ,but, more imprtantly it lowers the entire unit so that once the jacks are extended your step is still areasonable distance from the ground.

Question for you...
Once you are leveled, do you turn the leveling system off or do you leave it active?
Do you have any animals or small children that wonder the unit ... if so is it possible that the retract all button was pushed by mistake.

Last comment ...
Any leak or any size in the air system should be repaired ASAP. By not doing so, you are playing Russion Roullette with the braking system. Beleive me, the last thing you want is to out in the middle of nowhere or worse yet (a big down hill) and have that low air alarm sound.

Good Luck
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Old 12-01-2012, 01:09 PM   #6
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We had a similar situation with our 2011 BH. We parked, extended the jacks and then when I went outside, only the rear jacks were extended and the front jacks were still retracted. I went back in, retracted all and went back outside. The rear was sitting on the axle as expected but the front still had its bags inflated so the front was still raised as if ready to drive off. It was the oddest thing. We had a good laugh because now we had a low rider motor home.

I went back in and hit auto-level again. Stepped out and watched. Same thing as before - the rear jacks were extended the front were not. As we're standing there scratching our heads, some air valve let go and the front came down pretty hard on the front axle stop plates.

I went back in, retracted, then auto-leveled and everything worked fine. I talked to our Freightliner service center about this and they never heard of it and if it happens again to let them know. I haven't had the problem since. I chalked it up to a fluke event.
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:16 PM   #7
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Finally an explanation....

For some reason the hydraulic piston forced it's way right through the jack pad and went straight into the ground several inches!!

Posting just for folks that may have the same problem. Equalizer Systems says that it DOES happen "occasionally".


Luckily, the fix is fairly cheap... (warranty expired).

Boowho??
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:37 PM   #8
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even with no airleak, air bags will deflate as turbs mentioned.
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Old 02-26-2013, 12:51 AM   #9
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ours had the ram go through the jackpad and into the leveler blocks. it felt like some one hit the rv. ours is about 1 1/2 years old. i hope this was an isolated incident.
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Old 03-15-2013, 09:32 AM   #10
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Jack piston

2013 Berkshire the jack piston went right through the jack pad also and through 2 2x12 treated boards .this happened on all 4 pads i now have 4 new ones .different style gusets are installed on the new pads which my 08 berkshire had.Also the jack pistons i think are too small of a diameter for a 28,000 unit
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:27 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by plootsa View Post
2013 Berkshire the jack piston went right through the jack pad also and through 2 2x12 treated boards .this happened on all 4 pads i now have 4 new ones .different style gusets are installed on the new pads which my 08 berkshire had.Also the jack pistons i think are too small of a diameter for a 28,000 unit

Troubling to hear that this has happened more than once. OUCH!!!

Now we all can just sit around waiting for one or more jack pads fail. The tech at equalizer systems said he'd only seen the problem a couple of times. I can tell you it's a REAL shock when it happens.

And as far as going thru the boards, once the metal was compromised the boards never had a chance!!

Finally, each jack should bear no more that 7000 lbs. I'd think that those pistons are more than adequate for that much weight.

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Old 03-17-2013, 04:18 PM   #12
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Thats why i read these posts so if it happens to me I won't be freaked out as much. That must have scared the crap out of you. Thanks for posting the problem and the fix it helps out a lot.



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Old 03-17-2013, 09:03 PM   #13
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Did you get stronger jack pads? If so where and how do they install?
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Old 03-17-2013, 11:13 PM   #14
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Did you get stronger jack pads? If so where and how do they install?
I got two (one for a spare) from Eq Systems and they appear to be identical to the original.

As far as installation, there is a single bolt that screws into the end of the ram and holds the plate from falling off when retracted. The bolt appears to have no stress on it when the jacks are down. It takes LARGE Allen wrench to loosen/tighten it.

However, getting the old bolt out if it's stuck badly might be iffy since holding the piston to prevent rotation while unscrewing the old bold could be tricky. Don't want to scratch the polished piston with a vice grips for example. I'm thinking one of those rubber strap oil filter removal wrenches might do the trick.

I'm probably just going to let my tech do the job.

HTH

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Old 03-18-2013, 10:31 AM   #15
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boo,
Does the pad rotate on the piston? If not, you could hold the pad. I am looking to replace a pad also (I bent mine when I was at Freightliner in Gaffney and I lowered the jack and it hit one of those wedged shaped concrete bumbers that are in the front of parking spaces). When I spoke to the person at Equalizer, she said that if you use an impact wrench, I will break the locktite that they put on and the screw holding the pad will come out.
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Old 03-18-2013, 11:34 AM   #16
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boo,
Does the pad rotate on the piston? If not, you could hold the pad. I am looking to replace a pad also (I bent mine when I was at Freightliner in Gaffney and I lowered the jack and it hit one of those wedged shaped concrete bumbers that are in the front of parking spaces). When I spoke to the person at Equalizer, she said that if you use an impact wrench, I will break the locktite that they put on and the screw holding the pad will come out.

Oh, Sheeesh.... Locktite!!! I hope it's at least not RED. As far rotation of the pad, I don't know for certain. The bolt that holds the pad on is shaped like a funnel and the bottom of the piston is rounded. This gives the appearance of a V-belt pulley; I assume the jackpad itself is positioned within that V-shaped groove so it can tilt a bit and therefore rotate as well.

An impact wrench may be the only solution.... It will need an Allen wrench fitting and a pretty big one.... Looks like at least 1/2 inch

HTH

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Old 03-18-2013, 11:50 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boowho View Post
For some reason the hydraulic piston forced it's way right through the jack pad and went straight into the ground several inches!!
I was a little surprised to read this. You know what comes to mind.....the "warning" to never use the leveling jacks to raise the coach to do service work or change tires. Brings a new reality to the table doesn't it.

I had trouble with my leveling system the first season we used it. It would insist on adjusting the height in auto mode until it had the front wheels off the ground, sometimes by 3 inches. I reset/adjusted the system according to the manual but that was a short term fix. I learned, and then practiced, leveling the coach manually and have never looked back. I can do a much better job than the computer chip it turns out, and all the tires will still be on the ground.

Roll
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Old 03-18-2013, 02:43 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Roll View Post
I was a little surprised to read this. You know what comes to mind.....the "warning" to never use the leveling jacks to raise the coach to do service work or change tires. Brings a new reality to the table doesn't it.

I had trouble with my leveling system the first season we used it. It would insist on adjusting the height in auto mode until it had the front wheels off the ground, sometimes by 3 inches. I reset/adjusted the system according to the manual but that was a short term fix. I learned, and then practiced, leveling the coach manually and have never looked back. I can do a much better job than the computer chip it turns out, and all the tires will still be on the ground.

Roll

Interesting to hear about the wheels being completely off the ground. I was told that the computer's job is to get the coach level, BUT to do it as low as possible. I LOVE my single button leveling. Works first time, every time.

I've also heard (maybe old wives tale??) that parking long term with the wheels dangling could be bad for the suspension.

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Old 03-18-2013, 05:26 PM   #19
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I would never park when my wheels were off the ground- even short term. If I can't get level wilth all 4 wheels on the ground, I ask for a different site. I also started to put blocks under my jacks when parked and covered for the winter so that when the air bags lose pressurization and the coach sinks, it only sinks 1 or 2 inches and the jacks then come in contact with the blocks. This way there is no excessive weight or stress on the suspension over the winter.
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