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Old 04-14-2021, 06:35 PM   #1
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leveling advice on new class A

Hello all I'm new to the class A crowd with my GT7 I just got a couple months ago after owning a travel trailer for 9 years. I'm having some rookie problems with the leveling system. i did just get a level mate pro plus so i am excited for that but on the slightest slope (my almost level driveway) auto level wants to raise the front tire off the ground. I am wandering is it proper to use old manual leveling techniques on the chassis by raising the tire onto leveling blocks on the low side to fix this? and then adding a block under the jack to adjust for the raised height or am i going about it all wrong? I do think I will switch to the manual level method after reading online I don't see much about people using leveling products on class A .so what better place to get the conversation going than right here, thanks in advance for advice.
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Old 04-14-2021, 07:02 PM   #2
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I don't have an A, I have a C but the principle is the same. You could get a hundred different opinions but here is mine. Always rough level the rig before deploying the levelers if it needs it. Use blocks anywhere you need to and NEVER level your rig with tires off the ground.
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Old 04-14-2021, 07:42 PM   #3
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Regardless of the type of motorhome, most have the same type of automatic/hydraulic leveling systems (typically HWH brand). If you park your coach on a surface that is very uneven, the levelers will lift one or more wheels off the ground. If/when that happens, simply use the manual control buttons on the side/corner that is off the ground, and lower it until the tire is back on the ground. You should never allow your leveling system to lift any wheel(s) off the ground.

Yes, you can and should use wood/plastic leveling blocks to help roughly level your coach before using the auto levelers. When traveling, I always carry at least 6" of thickness in blocks for at least two wheels - so, roughly 12" of leveling thickness.

One of the main reasons to ensure you are completely level (other than comfort) is to avoid problems when extending/retracting your slides, if you have them. Slides tend to get stuck or develop alignment problems when your coach is not level.
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Old 04-14-2021, 07:48 PM   #4
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Once you get the MH level manually. Do a reset so the system has a new zero set point. It’s very possible the system is out of calibration.
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Old 04-14-2021, 08:13 PM   #5
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How do you manually level and then use the levelers? If you drive up on ramps you might exceed the reach of the levelers. And as far as lifting wheels off the ground, I do it if necessary but front wheels only. The rears need to stay on the ground with the e-brake on to keep you from rolling. Check out this video and at about the 5min mark, he will tell you it's OK to raise the wheels off the ground.

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Old 04-14-2021, 08:25 PM   #6
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I'm thinking your unit does not have the control panel like the one in the posted video but the lifting of the front wheels off the ground is the same i.e. it doesn't matter and won't hurt a thing. Wheel supports are not needed. The post about always have the emergency brake on is superfluous info because the levelers will not extend without the parking brake set.
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Old 04-14-2021, 08:59 PM   #7
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The attached PDF has instructions on how to reset the zero point on the Lippert (LCI) jack system used in the Georgetowns. It's common that the zero point needs reset on new coaches, for whatever reason.

I think you'll find that most experienced Georgetown owners, including me, use Manual leveling exclusively.

Even after calibrating our 2020 GT5 jacks I did not like how Auto really jerks the coach around. It seems to "split the difference" on each adjustment and that results in the coach being higher than we like (less weight and footprint on the tires). What I do now:

1. Turn on the panel and push Manual.

2. Using your level of choice (I use the LevelMatePRO app), see whether the front is the lowest or the rear is the lowest.

CAUTION: If the rear is lowest, that is a warning that the jacks may lift the rear coach tires off the ground, the tires where the parking brake is. Bad things will happen if you do, especially if there is any wind or rain. Closely evaluate whether repositioning the coach or driving each rear tire up on blocks is a better alternative. HINT: Yes, it is.  

3. Push and hold the button for whichever end is lowest. Raise that end up until the coach is now either level front-to-rear or that end is a touch higher. I make it a touch higher because the next step will raise the other end a bit.

4. Push and hold the button for the other end until you just feel the coach move.

5. Walk outside to assure all four jack feet are on the ground and no tires are close to coming off the ground, especially the rears where the parking brake is.

6. Now level left-to-right and re-check that no tires are close to coming off the ground.

7. Turn the leveling panel off.

In Auto mode, if the panel is properly calibrated, the green LCI light will be solid green when level. In Manual mode, if the panel is properly calibrated, the green LCI light will be flashing green when level.

The jacks always move in pairs to avoid twisting the frame. That's also why there is only a Retract All function; to avoid twisting the frame.

LITTLE KNOWN FACT: When you are in Manual mode, the Retract All button does NOT perform a full retract. It just retracts all four jacks while you have your finger on the button. You may be able to make a minor correction this way.

NOTE: Lifting the front too high will also make the bottom entry step a lot higher. Many of us carry a large stepstool for those situations.

NOTE: Remember that your holding tank dumps are on the driver side. If you are higher on the driver side than the passenger side, even a bit, you cannot fully drain the tanks so they may fill faster than expected. That's because the holding tanks are far longer than they are high.

NOTE: With the LevelMatePRO app, it seems that as long as 4" or less is needed before extending the jacks, I can use the jacks without needing any blocks. FWIW, I do have RV SnapPads installed on all of my jack feet to give them a bigger footprint and to protect the flimsy metal used for the jack feet from bending. The RV SnapPads do add 1" to the bottom, so they're sort of like having a 1" block under each jack all the time.

Good luck,

Ray
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File Type: pdf Leveling Jacks - Instructions.pdf (803.0 KB, 86 views)
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Old 04-14-2021, 09:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bubbles View Post
I'm thinking your unit does not have the control panel like the one in the posted video but the lifting of the front wheels off the ground is the same i.e. it doesn't matter and won't hurt a thing. Wheel supports are not needed. The post about always have the emergency brake on is superfluous info because the levelers will not extend without the parking brake set.
Many people will respectfully disagree with that assertion about how lifting the front tires off the ground is not a problem because it assumes that there are no side loads (high winds) and no soft, unlevel ground that the jacks could slide on.

Leveling jacks are designed to handle vertical loads, not side loads as much. That's why you will read posts from people who bent their jacks sideways.

In addition, the LCI jacks move in pairs to avoid twisting the frame. If a hydraulic component fails, whether it is a jack seal or a jack hose, and that tire is off the ground, it has a long way to drop. That will twist the frame and maybe pop the windshield out or crack it, as others have experienced. Using blocks under the tires lessens how much it can drop.

Also, while the levelers will not extend unless the parking brake is set, if the rear wheels are lifted off the ground or close to it, you've lost your parking brake effectiveness.

Forest River installs four 8,000 pound jacks on the Georgetown. While the two 8,000 pound capacity jacks can easily lift the front axle, which usually has an 8,000 pound GAWR, the rear axle is not as clear-cut.

Using two 8,000 pound jacks to lift a rear axle that, on mine, is carrying very close to 15,000 pounds when fully loaded up is cutting it way too close for me. Perhaps not for you, though. My rear axle GAWR is 15,000 pounds and I think one model has a 15,500 pound GAWR.

It's never a problem until it becomes one, kind of thing.

My two cents, for whatever it's worth,

Ray
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Old 04-14-2021, 09:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NXR View Post
LITTLE KNOWN FACT: When you are in Manual mode, the Retract All button does NOT perform a full retract. It just retracts all four jacks while you have your finger on the button. You may be able to make a minor correction this way.
One can make minor corrections to being level after complete set up (slides extended etc.) by setting the ignition switch to ON (engine not started) engaging the leveler panel, selecting MANUAL and make the adjustments as necessary with the applicable leveler switch then set the panel to OFF and turn the ignition switch OFF. Comes in handy sometimes if the coach has any settling due to site changes.
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Old 04-14-2021, 09:41 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by NXR View Post
Many people will respectfully disagree with that assertion about how lifting the front tires off the ground is not a problem because it assumes that there are no side loads (high winds) and no soft, unlevel ground that the jacks could slide on.

Leveling jacks are designed to handle vertical loads, not side loads as much. That's why you will read posts from people who bent their jacks sideways.

In addition, the LCI jacks move in pairs to avoid twisting the frame. If a hydraulic component fails, whether it is a jack seal or a jack hose, and that tire is off the ground, it has a long way to drop. That will twist the frame and maybe pop the windshield out or crack it, as others have experienced. Using blocks under the tires lessens how much it can drop.

Also, while the levelers will not extend unless the parking brake is set, if the rear wheels are lifted off the ground or close to it, you've lost your parking brake effectiveness.

Forest River installs four 8,000 pound jacks on the Georgetown. While the two 8,000 pound capacity jacks can easily lift the front axle, which usually has an 8,000 pound GAWR, the rear axle is not as clear-cut.

Using two 8,000 pound jacks to lift a rear axle that, on mine, is carrying very close to 15,000 pounds when fully loaded up is cutting it way too close for me. Perhaps not for you, though. My rear axle GAWR is 15,000 pounds and I think one model has a 15,500 pound GAWR.

It's never a problem until it becomes one, kind of thing.

My two cents, for whatever it's worth,

Ray
Said front wheels not rears. The only factory restriction to the Lippert levelers has always been to not lift all the wheels off the ground. Evidently the HWH system also does not think there is a problem with front wheels coming off the ground. If there are winds strong enough to blow the unit around it will not matter if the jacks are down or up. You're right this issue has been an ongoing debate on this forum.
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Old 04-14-2021, 09:52 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by bubbles View Post
One can make minor corrections to being level after complete set up (slides extended etc.) by setting the ignition switch to ON (engine not started) engaging the leveler panel, selecting MANUAL and make the adjustments as necessary with the applicable leveler switch then set the panel to OFF and turn the ignition switch OFF. Comes in handy sometimes if the coach has any settling due to site changes.
Hmmm, I'll have to test that. I do know that the leveler panel is not powered unless we turn the key on but I do not know if the hydraulic pump is powered exclusively from the alternator or not. You're probably right.

A place we stay in Florida has very sandy soil and I know that a day after the first rain I will need to re-level. After the first rain this year, where our driver side was so low I had to use blocks under the front and rear tires for the first time in a year and a half, the driver side jacks sunk in 3/4" and that was noticeable inside. So I bumped the driver side jacks down as you described and all was well for the rest of the month.

Good tip.

Ray
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Old 04-14-2021, 09:55 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by bubbles View Post
Said front wheels not rears. The only factory restriction to the Lippert levelers has always been to not lift all the wheels off the ground. Evidently the HWH system also does not think there is a problem with front wheels coming off the ground. If there are winds strong enough to blow the unit around it will not matter if the jacks are down or up. You're right this issue has been an ongoing debate on this forum.
Did you catch something interesting on that video when he leveled? With the LCI jacks, when the first jack hits the ground it stops until the corresponding jack also hits the ground. Then the jacks lift in unison.

On that HWH system that did not happen. The first jack to hit the ground kept lifting the coach by itself until the other one hit the ground. I was surprised to see that.

Ray
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Old 04-14-2021, 09:55 PM   #13
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2x on SnapPads.

I have a SnapPads and an electronic RV Level 4 w/Bluetooth.



I make sure the front is lower than the rear wheels by no more than Seven (7) inches.

Before:


After FR3 is leveled with front wheels off the ground:

SnapPads in action:
Boondocking at Cabela's Store in Anchorage, Alaska.



The only issue I had with the front wheels off the ground is the bottom door step. It was a foot off the ground. My Wife has a problem with the last step.
Above is one of my post about Auto-Leveling my FR3 28DS.

Get Snapads or place blocks under the jacks before leveling.

Never lift the rear wheels.
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Old 04-14-2021, 10:07 PM   #14
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I suspect you use 7" where I use 4" because of the wheelbase. It looks like you have a 190" wheelbase whereas I have a 242" wheelbase.

I used to work on corporate jets and have seen some hydraulic system failures that were truly cringe-worthy, not to mention messy. That is not a possibility to be taken lightly in my book. It's also why I do not like to extend a hydraulic actuator to near the end of its limits.

In fact, over on another forum I saw a post from a 2021 Georgetown owner who had a jack hydraulic line fail. The line had been routed by the factory where the metal it was rubbing on chafed right through the hydraulic hose.

On mine when we were doing our PDI, I found several occurrences underneath where the hydraulic lines or electrical wiring was unprotected or routed where it would eventually chafe through. In one of the few warranty submissions that the dealer made that FR rejected, this was one.

Applying anti-chafe protection to the wiring and hydraulic lines was deemed by Forest River Warranty to be a "product improvement" (their words) and not a defect so they would not cover it. So I fixed the issues myself. Sheesh.

Ray
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Old 04-14-2021, 10:47 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by NXR View Post
I suspect you use 7" where I use 4" because of the wheelbase. It looks like you have a 190" wheelbase whereas I have a 242" wheelbase.

I used to work on corporate jets and have seen some hydraulic system failures that were truly cringe-worthy, not to mention messy. That is not a possibility to be taken lightly in my book. It's also why I do not like to extend a hydraulic actuator to near the end of its limits.

In fact, over on another forum I saw a post from a 2021 Georgetown owner who had a jack hydraulic line fail. The line had been routed by the factory where the metal it was rubbing on chafed right through the hydraulic hose.

On mine when we were doing our PDI, I found several occurrences underneath where the hydraulic lines or electrical wiring was unprotected or routed where it would eventually chafe through. In one of the few warranty submissions that the dealer made that FR rejected, this was one.

Applying anti-chafe protection to the wiring and hydraulic lines was deemed by Forest River Warranty to be a "product improvement" (their words) and not a defect so they would not cover it. So I fixed the issues myself. Sheesh.

Ray
I would prefer 4" but when I boondock, I find it is hard to find level ground. Even my driveway is not level.

PS. If I am going to work under the motorhome I drive up onto 4x10x24 wooden blocks. I do not trust my life to the leveling jacks.
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Old 04-15-2021, 09:31 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by rk06382 View Post
I would prefer 4" but when I boondock, I find it is hard to find level ground. Even my driveway is not level.

PS. If I am going to work under the motorhome I drive up onto 4x10x24 wooden blocks. I do not trust my life to the leveling jacks.
I need to use 7" of blocks under the front tires just to get close to level on my driveway because it has a 3 degree slope. I have 6" of 2x12's under each front jack to avoid over-extending them when on the driveway.

I built my "blocks" as ramps that I drive up on. 2x12's with 3/4" of plywood on the bottom, the top, and in the middle to help keep the 2x12's from splitting.

On the positive side, having the front tires blocked so high sure does make doing oil changes a lot easier.

Ray
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Old 04-15-2021, 11:19 PM   #17
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I would say in my experiences NXR has it right, follow his suggestions and you will be fine. I have not used my auto levelers since my first experience trying them. Would like to mention that with my coach I find if I manually place the front jacks down first and then the rears and then go through the leveling process. Just be sure both the front jacks have hit solid ground, same with rears. What sometimes happens is one jack will touch the ground before the other and it will lift the coach a bit so you may think you have contact with both but one may be off the ground a few inches, wait till both sides of coach lift up.

I never lift my wheels off the ground, just not right in my opinion. I have operated hydraulic machinery most of my life and have seen many hose and component failures.

NXR nailed it.
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Old 04-16-2021, 09:58 AM   #18
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Zero Level Reset Adjustment

Here is the Zero Level adjustment.

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Old 04-19-2021, 10:55 PM   #19
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The joy of levelers is to never use blocks. I never have with five years on two coaches.

I usually auto level first. If a wheel is off the ground I manually level and get it good with much less extension.

The LCI leveling algorithm is stupid. Follow what it does and you can see how bad. When manually leveling I do front then then back till they contact. Then raise the low point. I have a big floor level with red and green lights to help, but it closely tracks the level control. Three or four steps and I’m done.

PS: I use front at full extension to aid putting my motorcycle on and off rear ramp. They get the rack down to 6 inches above ground. Easy peasy.
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Old 04-20-2021, 06:43 PM   #20
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The joy of levelers is to never use blocks. I never have with five years on two coaches.

I usually auto level first. If a wheel is off the ground I manually level and get it good with much less extension.

The LCI leveling algorithm is stupid. Follow what it does and you can see how bad. When manually leveling I do front then then back till they contact. Then raise the low point. I have a big floor level with red and green lights to help, but it closely tracks the level control. Three or four steps and Im done.

PS: I use front at full extension to aid putting my motorcycle on and off rear ramp. They get the rack down to 6 inches above ground. Easy peasy.
Do you have SnapPads?
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