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Old 06-18-2018, 09:19 AM   #1
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New Driveway - Good News Bad News

Ok, I Know I am flooding you all with new posts....but....got me a few pending issues now.

I feel like at the "ripe old age" of 35 now, I just keep having adult learning experiences...stuff that as it happens, and does not happen to the expectations I would have, I learn of all the ways I could have avoided this or that but was uncritical......sadly, my brand spanking new driveway is the newest example:

Ill likely do a walkthrough video and post it on here later, but in a nutshell for now...I had a driveway installed, concrete poured...the person that did the work, know my airstream, I stated what I wanted, he looked everything over, quoted a price I was happy with...and he said it was totally doable...yay I think.

Well...I was on no timeline, but it worked out that while I was away all last week, he could pour the job...I had some concerns about this...stated clearly to him that above all else, I was concerned about the grade, because as it is me pulling over the grass, bottoming out was close, but I didn't bottom out...so any added grade in the process would risk bottoming out...he acknowledged and carried out....well....I get home...start my approach, DW watching...first attempt straight on, and that low point below the bumper was gonna hit before the tires even got into the city water gutter....the street level is flat, there is a bit of elevation on the left side of this drive...sloping from left to right...the right side does not risk hitting, that left looking at it is where contact would be.

So, I came at it using a more like 70 degree angle to get the trailer on the low side, and the tires started up on the higher side...this allowed me to get in after 3 more attempts with LESS than an inch to spare...

the intent of the driveway was to make my life easier.

I have not paid the guy yet worth pointing out...just got off the phone with him...I told him that as it is its not workable...before my situation was "kinda annoying" at times, but totally workable...I wanted to work toward a driveway situation that I could take the kids out on my own over time...and my wife wanted to get to pulling the trailer more herself (whole other thread).

Well, the man that did the work was pretty resistant...he went on and on how he brought his own personal "34 foot 5th wheel" to check the grade"....I reminded him that my trailer sits a good deal lower than his, so while that was appreciated, it clearly was insufficient.

This is the "adulting" part of this, that I feel I "failed"....I should have KNOWN that this would happen...I should have asked a million questions...and said "hey, what exactly have you done to prepare to avoid this..."

I did at least clearly state my deep concerns about this very thing given my knowledge of the situation, I have that all in writing as a matter of fact (texts with screen shots)...he is gonna have to rip up some concrete and fix now....he seems ready to get into that discussion now after some initial deep resistance....

I have not breached the discussion of how this will go as far as payment...I talked to a buddy who works in concrete and gave me the reference, and he agreed (confidentially) that he messed up....that he would have only done the job in stages requiring we double check the work with the trailer as you progress..given the nature of the thing.

Predictably, he did start going on about how good a deal I got...which I reminded him that at this point the driveway is more of a hazard than a help, so the deal seems less value at this time

He seems like he will help fix this...I just don't know how the issue of cost is gonna play out...I think logically its on him...I suppose I have an advantage being I have not paid him, and I think what he will be fixing is his mistake, and not mine as he was not without all the parameters and conditions to do this job.

I suppose if I have to pay 300-500 more to fix this, I would not quibble, but im not sure what being a reasonable and experienced adult at this point would do....

That's where you fine people enter...I need advice...
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Old 06-18-2018, 09:51 AM   #2
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How about a dexter axle lift kit and he pays half or all?
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Old 06-18-2018, 10:13 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by PharmGeek View Post
. . .
. . . I need advice . . .


Well . . . in the spirit of your tone [hopefully ]. . . fewer words would have probably covered what seems like at least 2 problems for discussion . . . IMO.

1. A driveway problem -- regardless of causation/blame -- which could be discussed more productively with:
-- photos with the TV and AS shown at the crucial spots
-- photos with some lumber pads under the tires showing a temporary workable solution
[how much does the grade have to come up/down?]
-- what remediation work would fix this, and how much would it cost?

2. Causation/Responsibility/Blame
Without going into detail, you share some of the blame for this with the contractor IMO. Resolution TBD based on the cost of remediation per above.

Regardless of the solution [axle lift or not], it is important IMO to do a careful mock-up and post photos, in order to develop a good plan for a solution. Further discussion without these photos would be unproductive, and probably lead to analysis paralysis.



Good luck,

Peter
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Old 06-18-2018, 10:28 AM   #4
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I’ll do more photos and video in a bit - you are right.

I’m interested in more detail about my responsibility or blame here.

I have a buddy that works in the same field - he seems to think it’s on him - that in their work if this kinda thing happens they have to eat it.


But I realize some of this is complicated

Here is my text predating starting the job:

Note - I had no rigid tone frame for completion.

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Old 06-18-2018, 10:59 AM   #5
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Thanks. Personally I will wait until you post photos/videos about the extent of the problem.

As you likely appreciate, further "I said . . he said" negotiations between you and the contractor will need a context to resolve whether you had a "contract" in which the design was entirely his responsibility, which in turn depends on how out-of-whack things are as-built. Kind of a circular discussion which will be much more productive once we have the necessary visuals to assess things.

You might also consider sending the visual documentation to the contractor IMO, and to the guy who recommended him.

Peter
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Old 06-18-2018, 11:35 AM   #6
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I understand the need/desire for photos and objectivity in this matter....ill post more in a bit for you all to see...and Ive already agreed in talking with the contractor that getting together to look it over would be helpful, otherwise...

I think his mistake (and maybe mine? in hindsight bare minimum) was that he used his own personal camper to back it in as he did the job to make sure nothing bottomed out....turns out all campers have different dimensions....one has to wonder if he felt compelled to pull his own camper out to be sure, that it would be a moment of pause....

I have not considered a lift kit...not sure I would want one...does it affect towing...how much clearance would it add? I would need to somehow determine how much clearance I would need to clear this current problem first....not precisely sure how to estimate that, but
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Old 06-18-2018, 11:38 AM   #7
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Photo of the driveway

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Old 06-18-2018, 12:12 PM   #8
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The little dip by the curb is an unavoidable issue. It's there for street drainage.

Three possible approaches:

1) Make some sturdy ramps to bridge that gap temporarily when you back the trailer in. Use 2 x 8 material maybe 6 feet long with tapered ends and another piece for extra support in the dip.

2) Release your WD bars while the AS is in the street. That will drop the trailer front a bit, and give you more rear clearance...maybe enough to avoid dragging. Not a brag, but one of the reasons I'm going to powered WD jacks on my ProPride setup controllable from the TV cab is to try to deal with similar issues on MY new driveway--that the AS will drag on just like yours....and for the same reason--the drainage by the curb... ON mine, once I get the rear end started up the drive, I have to immediately re-tension to avoid dragging the FRONT end hitch parts on the curb...

3) Seriously consider raising the AS about three inches at the axles with a lift kit. It will NOT change the handling, but will give you more clearance over driveways, gas stations, rough roads, and other places. This may require minimal hitch rigging changes to get the AS level once again... It is something high on my AS improvement list as well. I have a nice "beauty mark" wrinkle in the rear curbside corner that came from HARD dragging the rear skid on that side over a driveway once..(sigh)
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Old 06-18-2018, 12:12 PM   #9
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I'm not expert or even close. But from what I can see in the pics, with that grade it's hard to imagine anything would work short of extending your driveway into the street. But I do hope you come to some resolution.
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Old 06-18-2018, 12:24 PM   #10
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hmmmmmmmm.....in my fatigue and haste....I have not tried that obvious solution...although I am not sure it will make a difference...

I have a propride and didn't have the bars loose......Just called sean and left a VM for input, but Im gonna get home tonight and fiddle and see if it changes clearance...

Keep in mind, the clearance issue for backing in even remotely at a straight shot is as I recall maybe 1-1.5 feet before a tire gets to the rain gutter.

Ive never considered a lift kit...

Keep in mind too, that all the talk about temp fixes seems interesting, but I can effectively back it in at this point, albeit quite tenuously so that "works"...but my hope/desire of doing the driveway was to make me going in and out solo easier...now its like threading a needle.

I suppose some kind of lumber contraption would bridge the gap....I started feverishly looking around for lumber last night (none around) and went with the like hard angle approach instead wich just made the cut.
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Old 06-18-2018, 12:28 PM   #11
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Understand. I get grumped at twice if I drag the Airstream on our driveway--once for scuffing the Airstream, and the other for gouging the shiny new driveway...I understand the pain...

Let us know what you come up with. And do get some rest--its hard to think properly with a fuzzy, sleep-deprived brain...
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Old 06-18-2018, 01:17 PM   #12
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. . .
1) Make some sturdy ramps to bridge that gap temporarily when you back the trailer in. Use 2 x 8 material maybe 6 feet long with tapered ends and another piece for extra support in the dip.
. . .
This should work for a test fit mock up IMO. I think I would start with longer planks, and a bit wider to give you some wiggle room. Maybe 2 2x10 10' long, with plenty of cut-offs to use as supports every 1/4 of the length. If you have any red bricks around, they would also work as supports.

If you can find any construction cedar 2x material [vs. CCA etc. pressure-treated lumber], you can use all the scraps as kindling for campsite fires, or in your Bonfire stove!

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Old 06-18-2018, 01:39 PM   #13
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. . .
.....in my fatigue and haste....
. . .
. . . feverishly looking around for lumber last night
. . .

. . . echoing rmkrum about rest . . . no point in hurting yourself . . . or causing any damage.



Haste makes waste.

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Old 06-18-2018, 02:11 PM   #14
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Well no harm done and I was extremely slow in approach

Thankfully by a miracle there is a needle to be threaded here - if the fates had it any different - my trailer would be sitting in the culdesac right now and I’d be going to HD to buy 2x10’s.

I just vacillated about this upgrade for years now - pull the trigger - and find it only made my situation more tenuous.

Gonna get home today and scratch my head and such and think about it...it’ll work itself out - I think the contractor will work with me to correct the issue.

He was concerned about creating an erosion issue on the left side cutting in further but that I think would be a more manageable issue vs this.
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