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Old 10-07-2010, 04:09 PM   #1
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Level Jacks, Land Yacht, Clipper, Milwaukee Cylinder

Just a reminder to the proper use of the level jacks on your motor home. I see some posts here and other sites re: the body twisting, creaking, and the door binding when the jacks are extended.
My experience is specific to the Land Yacht Clipper #137, but this info applies to any unit.
When picking a site to park, try to put the rear of coach into the positive adverse. Why??? Well it will be a lot easier (closer to the ground) to escape out the rear emergency exit in one of those exciting moments that we all hope will never happen. This will also, in most sites, give you the view out the front windows.
THIS ALSO ALLOWS THE FRONT OF THE COACH TO ALWAYS BE ELEVATED SO THAT IT PIVOTS ON THE FRONT JACK (only one front jack as on the Clipper) or adjusted accordingly if equipped with two jacks.

The proper procedure then is pick your spot and apply the park brakes, dump your air, place your oversize jack pads, extend all your jacks to engage the pads/ground, extend your FRONT jack(s) to bear the weight, and then level your coach with the REAR jacks.
As you level the coach be sure the front jacks maintain enough elevation so that the unit frame is not solid on the axle, but pivoting on the jack(s).

The Clipper has the single jack on the front and I believe this is the most practical and efficient setup compared to a 4 leg system.

If the above procedure is followed, and you have a binding door or other problems, either you have soft ground and one jack has sunk, or you have other problems that need close inspection to determine how much money you are going to be spending!!!!!!!

For those of you who have visited the TERRAPORT OEM site @ Jackson Center, you will remember the FREE parking/docking there and the slight slope to the outer ring road from the service hub in the center of the spoke. This is the ideal campsite layout and it would be nice if a few more locations had a similar setup. Every AIRSTREAM should have the chance to see its birthplace at Jackson Center at least once in its long life!!!!

Good Luck
Dave
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Old 10-10-2010, 01:14 PM   #2
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Always enjoy your posts. Keep em coming.
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Old 04-04-2011, 02:45 PM   #3
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Clipper, Power Gear Level Jacks, Milwaukee Cylinder

Took the Clipper out for a test run after winter storage and the alarm for "JACKS DOWN" continued to sound.
My first thought was that it would be a micro switch on one of the legs, but after some investigation, I found that the hydraulic fluid level is monitored by a sensor in the tank reservoir, which on the Clipper is in the RR side compartment. The oil should just be showing on the dipstick when the jacks are up. I have no signs of fluid leak, so I suspect it is just the cool weather 38* that has the oil just at the alarm level.
AFT Dexron II is recommended.
I always carry a liter of Dexron III for the hydraulics on the Freightliner chassis, so I will now also carry some Dexron II for the Jacks.
Dave
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Old 04-04-2011, 07:11 PM   #4
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I have the HWH with the four automatic computerized leveling jacks, thats performs quite well since I've worked out some of its problems from PO neglect with new parts.
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Old 04-04-2011, 08:47 PM   #5
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"The Clipper has the single jack on the front and I believe this is the most practical and efficient setup compared to a 4 leg system."

Dave,

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I must strongly disagree with your statement above. Have you ever used an HWH 4-point leveling system? I service jacks and hydraulic leveling systems and the tripod system has been responsible for more body/frame twisting and popped/broken windshields than any 4 point system from HWH. I had a 3-point KVA system in my '98 Monaco Dynasty and it would twist the frame easily if not carefully applied. The Power Gear 3-point system in a friends' coach has a huge warning label that advises to plant the REAR JACKS first before deploying the front jack. He has replaced 2 windshields from improper leveling. 3 points may form a planar surface in geometry but it is certainly NOT OPTIMAL for use in the box steel chassis of a motor home.

ALL HWH systems use their proprietary bi-axis leveling system which will move jacks in adjacent pairs only, totally eliminating frame twist. To raise the front, the front left/right jacks are deployed. For the sides, both front and rear jacks of that side are deployed in tandem. Again...... no frame twist.....EVER! And BTW, almost every piece of an HWH system is made at their plant in Moscow, Iowa.....even the steel!

The spread of 3-point jacks thru the motor home industry was solely a function of COST, not efficiency, technology or ease of use as many of these components from KVA and Power Gear are made off-shore. And no, the Atwood 4-point Leveleg electric jack system is just as bad as the 3-point systems.
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Old 04-04-2011, 09:28 PM   #6
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Power Gear

Lew:
My only experience with RV level jacks is my Clipper and I can't understand your criticism of the 3 point system. Think about it.
If any problems from frame twisting has happened, it is because of setting the rear jacks first.

Once you have dumped the air, the chassis frame is sitting on the axles, and if you deploy the rear jacks first, it has to twist the frame because there is no give on the front. This is where the problem lies, and no doubt has caused problems to some units. This is why I originally posted this thread. ( I should not have mentioned the 4 jacks as it will not pivot on a 4 leg system)
On the 3 leg system you must deploy the front jack first to allow the unit a pivot point. (see my instructions above) There is no way you can twist the frame as long as the front jack has sufficient clearance between the fame and the axle. The final level is accomplished with the rear jacks.
I have never had any indication of twisting or any problem with this procedure.
If you didn't dump the air, then there would be a bit of give up front on the air bags. But this defeats the purpose of trying to lower the step for easy access.
In all due respect to all other brands and models, I believe the CLIPPER was one of the best ideas Airstream had, and it is unfortunate that it was discontinued after the anniversary year producton.

Dave


Quote:
Originally Posted by lewster View Post
"The Clipper has the single jack on the front and I believe this is the most practical and efficient setup compared to a 4 leg system."

Dave,

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I must strongly disagree with your statement above. Have you ever used an HWH 4-point leveling system? I service jacks and hydraulic leveling systems and the tripod system has been responsible for more body/frame twisting and popped/broken windshields than any 4 point system from HWH. I had a 3-point KVA system in my '98 Monaco Dynasty and it would twist the frame easily if not carefully applied. The Power Gear 3-point system in a friends' coach has a huge warning label that advises to plant the REAR JACKS first before deploying the front jack. He has replaced 2 windshields from improper leveling. 3 points may form a planar surface in geometry but it is certainly NOT OPTIMAL for use in the box steel chassis of a motor home.

ALL HWH systems use their proprietary bi-axis leveling system which will move jacks in adjacent pairs only, totally eliminating frame twist. To raise the front, the front left/right jacks are deployed. For the sides, both front and rear jacks of that side are deployed in tandem. Again...... no frame twist.....EVER! And BTW, almost every piece of an HWH system is made at their plant in Moscow, Iowa.....even the steel!

The spread of 3-point jacks thru the motor home industry was solely a function of COST, not efficiency, technology or ease of use as many of these components from KVA and Power Gear are made off-shore. And no, the Atwood 4-point Leveleg electric jack system is just as bad as the 3-point systems.
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Old 04-05-2011, 09:08 AM   #7
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Power Gear, 3 or 4 POINT LIFT

The following is a quote from the POWER GEAR site, confirming the necessity of ALWAYS lifting the front of the coach first so as to allow a pivot point.
Note: if you have an automatic leveling system the same principles apply to a 3 point system. THE FRONT JACK HAS TO BE ENGAGED FIRST TO ALLOW A PIVOT POINT.
This is why you should park with the rear of the coach into the positive grade as an automatic system will then activate the front jack first.
Dave
http://www.powergearus.com/documents...456_500535.pdf


"1. Push "ON/OFF" pad on control panel. The system is now operational and the "ON/OFF" light will be lit.
2. Push “FRONT JACKS” button until the front of the coach rises at least 3 “. This is important and necessary to allow the coach to pivot when leveling side to side. If there is insufficient jack stroke to lift the front of the coach at least 3 inches the coach will have to be moved to an area with less front to back slope.
3. Push “REAR JACKS” button until jacks contact the ground.
4. If bubble is towards front of coach push “REAR JACKS” button, If bubble is towards rear of coach push “FRONT JACKS” button. Keep button depressed until bubble is centered in vial from front to back, then release.
5. If bubble is towards left of coach push “RIGHT JACKS” button, If bubble is towards right of coach push “LEFT JACKS” button. Keep button depressed until bubble is centered in vial, then release.
NOTE: The right and left rear jacks are used to level the coach side to side. Pushing
the “LEFT REAR JACKS” pad on the control panel will extend the left rear jack. Pushing
the “RIGHT REAR JACKS” pad on the control panel will extend the right rear jack.
The front jacks are designed to provide a pivot point for the chassis, thus there is no individual control of the right or left front jacks on 4 jack systems.
6. Repeat steps 2 through 5 if needed.
7. Turn power off to leveling system by pushing “ON/OFF” pad.
8. Visually inspect jacks to ensure all pads are touching ground."
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Old 04-08-2011, 06:48 AM   #8
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I have found Power Gear to be if not at, then very close to the bottom of the barrel when it comes to tech support and the overall design and quality of their products. This is not coming from a single use experience on a personal coach, but over an 11 year period as a professional RV Tech servicing hundreds of motor homes with many different leveling system configurations.

The following photos speak VOLUMES: "NEVER USE FRONT JACK FIRST"
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Old 04-08-2011, 07:23 AM   #9
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Front Jacks

Lew:
Thanks for posting the DECAL picture. It does not have a Power Gear ID on it so it may have been installed by the RV builder.
Doesn't make any sense to me. I would say the decal is in ERROR. There is nothing on the PG web site indicating that although I will look again.
Goes against all conclusions that one would make after studying the situation.
The only reason I can think of might be on a short wheelbase unit with a long overhang, with the light duty jacks, that would bind when pulling the rear axle in braked condition, or an automatic transmission that has a park in it, but that should not effect most A Class.
I'll go with what works and what I have posted earlier.
The HD jacks on the Clipper have worked great for me. Afraid I will never be in a position to order a new unit with all the accessories that one might want, so I have to accept what was installed and try to make it work. That can sometimes take a bit more effort, but it is a lot easier working on 10+year old stuff than the electronic bling they put out today.
Dave
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Old 09-30-2011, 10:55 AM   #10
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Power Gear Jack Maintenance

We are now into the season where the Clipper is parked, more than on the road, and this bit of info off the Power Gear site adds another maintenance tip to be followed to avoid costly repairs.
I am sure many, like myself, tend to ignore some things that are out of sight until there is a problem.
For the small cost of a can of silicon spray, that can be used on many things on your motorhome, this may be one of the most inexpensive maintenance procedures on your list.
This tip may well save you the cost of a new jack repair kit, or a new jack (expensive).
NOTE:
Do not use WD40 as it will destroy the seals.
Dave


WARNING:
Your coach should be supported at both front and rear axles with jack stands
before working underneath.
5. If jacks are down for extended periods, it is recommended to spray exposed chrome rods with a silicone lubricant every seven days for protection. If your coach is located in a salty environment, it is recommended to spray every 2 to 3 days.


http://support.powergearus.com/techdocs/82-L0130-00.pdf
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Old 09-30-2011, 12:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masseyfarm View Post
The following is a quote from the POWER GEAR site, confirming the necessity of ALWAYS lifting the front of the coach first so as to allow a pivot point.

Note: if you have an automatic leveling system the same principles apply to a 3 point system. THE FRONT JACK HAS TO BE ENGAGED FIRST TO ALLOW A PIVOT POINT.

2. Push “FRONT JACKS” button until the front of the coach rises at least 3 “. This is important and necessary to allow the coach to pivot when leveling side to side. If there is insufficient jack stroke to lift the front of the coach at least 3 inches the coach will have to be moved to an area with less front to back slope.

My 4 jack system is really a 3 point system as the front two act as one.
These directions are better than the pamphlet that came with mine, mine said contact front first, but these directions saying lift it at least 3 inches makes more sense if front is being used as pivot point.

I lift the front as much as the port starboard variation as the back jacks are individually moved can twist frame. I have noticed entrance door closing is affected. I have seen where not lifting front enough will actually lift one of the front jacks off the ground, if the back jacks have more movement on either jack to level left right.
When we were at JC there was a 390 there to replace cracked front windsheild due to twisting.
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Old 01-13-2012, 09:46 AM   #12
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For those who have recently purchased a motorhome, I will add this caution.
On these hd lift systems it is easy to lift the the rear axles off the ground
IF you have picked a parking spot that you think you need to drive into the grade.
IF YOU LIFT THE REAR AXLE OFF THE GROUND, YOU WILL LOOSE ANY BRAKING ABILITY OF THE REAR AXLE AND YOUR UNIT WILL NOW BE ONLY RESTRAINED FROM MOVING BY THE EXTENDED JACKS.
If you have the lighter jack systems, this will result in expensive damage.
The heavier jacks may hold the unit, but chances are they will not retract when you are ready to leave.
ALWAYS PARK SO THAT THE FRONT OF YOUR MOTORHOME IS ELEVATED AND USE THE REAR JACKS FOR SIDE TO SIDE LEVELING.

Another thought is, if you have disc brakes, your unit will have a driveshaft EBRAKE and one elevated drive wheel will defeat the EBRAKE holding ability.
Dave


"When picking a site to park, try to put the rear of coach into the positive adverse. Why??? Well it will be a lot easier (closer to the ground) to escape out the rear emergency exit in one of those exciting moments that we all hope will never happen. This will also, in most sites, give you the view out the front windows.
THIS ALSO ALLOWS THE FRONT OF THE COACH TO ALWAYS BE ELEVATED SO THAT IT PIVOTS ON THE FRONT JACK'S (only one front jack as on the Clipper)"
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Old 03-24-2012, 10:38 PM   #13
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Spring is here and I am doing some maintenance checks on all systems in preparation of hitting the road.

On my Power Gear jacks I see I have now a minor (at this point) leak on one of my rear 16000# legs.

When I started looking for information, I find that Power Gear has updated their web site recently to include more user friendly information.

This is the repair instruction manual 82-L0352 for the different models of Power Gear hydraulic jacks.
http://support.powergearus.com/techdocs/82-L0352.pdf

It gives you a good idea what the repair job entails so you can determine whether you want to do it yourself or take it to a shop.

Dave
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Old 03-25-2012, 07:46 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masseyfarm View Post
It gives you a good idea what the repair job entails so you can determine whether you want to do it yourself or take it to a shop.

Dave
Great discriptive literature, checked over tools needed, read some of the cautions, but not an easy decision, not used to working mechanics like a surgeon.
I had the minor leak you found a couple of years ago at left rear, put in half a bottle of transmission stop leak, cycled a few times over a week. Leak stopped, then changed fluid in the system. now two years later a right front one is leaking.
PO had sent one to be repaired and it is different from the rest in that it has a grease fitting at the shaft entrance, seeing that I tried to at least look at cylinder before retracting and spraying with silicone.
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