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Old 04-19-2016, 12:25 PM   #1
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Leveling on uneven site with Lippert

Hi, everyone. We've had our 2014 Journey 34B since January 14. We love it and it always feels luxurious when she unfurls her "wings". We have the
Lippert Leveling System and slideouts(another topic for another time!)

We go to state parks as often as possible and are finding that leveling is
a chore. So far we try to level on auto. The tolerance looks very small
indeed.

We see people putting boards under their jacks and also under some wheels. We haven't tried to do this yet and wonder if any of you
have suggestions about this practice.

Sometimes we just need a long inch on sites that are sloped for drainage.

Goin' Jessie in Albuuqerque NM
2014 Winnebago Journey 34B
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Old 04-19-2016, 12:41 PM   #2
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I most always put 2 x 6 boards under my jacks just to give more foot print space unless I am on a perfectly level asphalt pad. When boondocking I will most always put same boards under wheels to help level coach if needed then again do the same thing with jacks. I like to get my coach as level as possible without using the jacks first then fine tune using jacks. Others on here will disagree with this but I also never raise my wheels off the ground to be level.
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Old 04-19-2016, 12:50 PM   #3
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ditto
I use pads i made from 1" thick hard wood bonded over to make 2"
for under each pad to soften the sink in those asphalt spots
if site is off, i will add more blocks under that side to help , or put down my longer blocks and drive up on them.

i have had to lift fronts off ground in one park....it was long way to the ground.

if it looks like one side may be close to lifting off ground make sure a block is under that wheel.
i have had one rear flying a few times about 1" off ground...

rule of thumb i use is look first, walk the site, and see if there is a spot that will accommodate the bus being pretty level, and try to park that way.
experience is key..making a mental note of solutions that worked prior.
sometimes a manual level is the only way to get it right, when the auto freaks out from a weird level situation.
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Old 04-19-2016, 01:45 PM   #4
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Thanks, guys. Do the jacks only have about 2" tolerance? It doesn't seem very much
sometimes.
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Old 04-19-2016, 03:00 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Going Jessie View Post
Thanks, guys. Do the jacks only have about 2" tolerance? It doesn't seem very much
sometimes.
Going Jessie,
Leveling, especially in "Un-level" conditions, as you have found out, can be a bit of a chore. There's been much debate on here as to what's the best practice, and just how much labor is needed to accomplish the end result, BEING LEVEL. Some won't bother carrying or, messing with any blocks or, lumber of any sorts 'cause they feel that's what the jacks are for. And, it doesn't matter how much they tweak the coaches frame or, what kind of potential damage is done, by making the jacks work so hard, to get a coach level.

Well, that's certainly up to them. In the 35 years we've been camping, traveling etc. I've always carried some sort of small lumber yard with us. I know for certain, that we will end up in many places, that are un-level. So, I have constructed some ramps and blocks, to be used for various situations.

The basics are this. If you do your best, to try and get the coach as level as possible WITH THE TIRES AND WHEELS, by driving on ramps, blocks or combination there of, your jacks will have to work, considerably less, to FINE TUNE, the rest of the leveling operation.

But, it's a common sense thing. If you have to drive UP onto some ramps, in order to achieve that primary leveling, then it stands to reason that, your jacks will have to travel even farther to make contact with the ground, to be used for fine tuning and, stabilization. So, this is why I carry as much as I do.

Yes, it's a bit of work, but so is life. Nothing is free. Space in compartments is many times, at a premium so, this is why many folks don't carry much lumber with them. But, that doesn't mean it's not needed. So, sometimes comprimises are needed. The early Journeys were diesels and, would drop as the air was released when, beginning leveling operations. I'm assuming your new Journey is also diesel too, correct?

If so, it should drop quite a bit, when prepping for leveling operations. Now, you mentioned, "Auto Leveling". Well, Auto-leveling is, as you've also found out, in the auto mode, is very limited in just how much the system can provide for achieving level. This, you'll learn, is a judgement call. If I'm in a camp spot that I know will tax the auto-leveling system, I won't even think about using it.

I go right to the manual mode. First, I analyze what the best parking position is, in relation to the pedistal (if we have hookups), then, if the rig needs any of my leveling ramps to help achieve primary leveling, then, out comes the ramps. I place them accordingly to achieve what's needed. I'll then take a good look at the bubble level in the fridge and, determine what the jacks need to do, to fine tune the rest of the needs.

If blocks are needed under the Jack feet, well, so be it. Out they come and I place them under the appropriate jacks. I then manually adjust them 'till I'm close to dead level.

When all this is said and done, you now have 8 points of leveling and stabilization. Four wheel positions and, four jack positions. While all this sounds like a lot of work, in all reality, it's not. Placement of ramps and blocks is pretty simple. Pushing buttons for the jacks is also, pretty simple. When you're done, your coach is happy 'cause the coach is sitting level. And, that also means your slides have a more "square" opening to slide out and back in so, there will be way less potential for binding, due to unlevel conditions due to tweaking frames etc. Hope this helps some. Good luck.
Scott





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Old 04-19-2016, 04:55 PM   #6
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Leveling on uneven site with Lippert

Scott,
Your post is very helpful. We do have a Journey Diesel (34B). Diesels are heavy so that adds a factor in leveling. Your blocks are beautiful and I am inspired to make some like yours. I do wonder why you have 6 of the thick blocks -- the ones with handles. --JR for goinjessie

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Old 04-19-2016, 09:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Going Jessie View Post
Scott,
Your post is very helpful. We do have a Journey Diesel (34B). Diesels are heavy so that adds a factor in leveling. Your blocks are beautiful and I am inspired to make some like yours. I do wonder why you have 6 of the thick blocks -- the ones with handles. --JR for goinjessie

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JR,
When I was making the six blocks you see the pictures, I had enough materials laying around that, that's what I ended up with. The blocks are made up with (2) 4"x6"x11", sitting side by side then, sandwiched between two pieced of ACX 3/4" plywood. Everything is glued and screwed together with a zillion screws. Then, three coats of spar varnish. Finally, the handles are made from what's called "Mule tape". It's a Nylon webbing that's 5/8" wide and, are about 10 or so inches long. They are double folded at the ends where the screw goes through them.

I only carry (4) of them. I have two spares at home if and when the ones I have, ever need to be replaced. The ramps you see are made a bit differently. They are made from 1 1/8" (one and one eighth) thick, "decking" plywood that is tongue and groove stuff. I don't need the tongue and groove so, I sawed those edges off prior to cutting what I needed for the ramps.

One sheet of that plywood, 48"x96" will make (5) of those ramps. They are 9" wide and, have a total length of about 22". Those ramps are seriously strong ramps. I designed and built them so they could be used right side up or, upside down. Upside down use, allows for no sharp angles for the tire treads to rest on when leveling. I carry (5) of those. And, although you don't see them, there are those same style handles, on both sides of those ramps. I did that so I could use those ramps on any set of wheels/tires, from any direction and still be able to grab them to carry them.

They too have a zillion screws and a ton of glue. Then, yep, three coats of Marine Spar Varnish. In the Lake Havasu sun, it took about three hours for them to cure for the next coat. I also carry two, 9" wide by 18" long blocks for misc. application. The large ones you see in the pics, are primarily used for the jacks when the jacks have a long way to travel.

My thought is, the longer a jack has to travel before it reaches the ground, the farther away from it's mounting point on the coach. That lends itself to more lateral torque that can happen. If the jacks don't travel very far, that to me, is a more stable situation. I'm all for making that rig as stable as possible. Anyway, if you'd like info on the construction of any of them, PM me and, I'd be glad to help.
Scott
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Old 04-19-2016, 10:20 PM   #8
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We too have a Journey 34B and are very aware (paranoid) of being level with the Lippert Schwintek hardware. Never had a problem leveling "Auto" on any reasonable site. We don't block the wheels up. On soft or questionable surfaces I put 2' long 6x6 wood under each jack to mitigate "sinkage".
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Old 04-20-2016, 09:10 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by rftoo View Post
We too have a Journey 34B and are very aware (paranoid) of being level with the Lippert Schwintek hardware. Never had a problem leveling "Auto" on any reasonable site. We don't block the wheels up. On soft or questionable surfaces I put 2' long 6x6 wood under each jack to mitigate "sinkage".
Went to the GNR last year and Winnebago hired part time folks to help you
level the coach and as the ground was soft every one put wood under the jacks !
I carry some 2x6 2ft long painted and with rope handles on each end easy to
grab with the awnning rod when your done. works fine

Rick Moseley 36M 2013
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Old 04-20-2016, 10:54 AM   #10
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on any reasonable site

That is the KEY statement. I use the Automatic side of our HWH system when I know that the system won't be taxed in trying to achieve level. But, if I have doubt, then I go manual. This is one of those things that everyone's got chose what's best for them, to achieve whatever degree of level they're after. The wife and I have seen many, many motorhomes in camp spots, camp grounds, RV parks etc. that we know for sure are seriously un-level. They've got the jacks down and whatever but, it's still way out of level.

We often wonder "Why" do they think it's level??? But, we just move on and don't worry about it since it's not our coach. I'm the one that has to pay for the fridge if I cook it 'cause I was lazy in the leveling process so, if I need blocks and ramps, well, out they come. Been doing this way for over 35 years and, don't have problem taking the extra step to insure my coach is level and stable.
Scott
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Old 04-20-2016, 07:02 PM   #11
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Leveling on uneven site with Lippert

JR and Goin'Jessie are both grateful for the input. It's good to have confirmation of what we thought but didn't know for sure.

JR has just finished beveling some lumber that we will probably use as
we head out to Utah tomorrow. We will be staying in some BLM sites, if
we're lucky and feel much more confident.

rftoo...we laughed when you said paranoid about the Lippert! Level seems
to be critical for the slides to function properly in the 34B.

Scott, all of your information has been great and marvel at your designs. Any attempts to replicate will have to wait until after this trip. We did the
fast way for now with 2 x 10 lumber. In the meantime you are our inspiration.

2014 Winnebago Journey 34B
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