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Old 01-25-2013, 01:08 PM   #1
Rivet Master
boatdoc's Avatar
1973 Argosy 26
Norristown , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 645
Images: 1
Boatdoc's electric/hydraulic leveling system

Set up process made easy.
Some time ago I came up with idea of having hydraulic leveling system in my 26' Argosy. Over the past winter I have worked diligently on my lathe turning aluminum piston cylinders of 1.500" diamemeter ID and 5" stroke. Since my recently built Stainless Steel frame is 6" tall I was able to keep the piston tube 6" long overall while having 5" of piston stroke.

Realizing that leveling can be achived within 5" of piston travel I have designed four aluminum jack stands with 0.5" adjustment capability. Holes in the square stock are drilled at 1" centers. The outside tube on the other hand has two holes at 2.5" centers. This allows for 1/2" adjustment. Here is a pic of the base jack.

Above pic shows a trailer supported by piston rods on top of the jack stand. Jackstands weigh only 3.5 lbs. They are shown placed on top of cinder block to gain 3' height for comfortable working condition during installation. The system as tested is capable of lifting the trailer wheels 3" off the ground when the trailer sits at rest on all four tires. Since the hydraulic pump is operated by 12 Volt battery, the tire changing on the road can be done with ease.

Hydraulic pump is a Parker Oildyne. It is commomly used in Mercrusier Stern Drive power plants as Outdrive trim pump. It is capable of delivering 2800 Psi on the up circuit and 800 Psi on down side. Pump has a three wire motor and the polarity is controlled by energizing polarity reversing solenoids. On the up circuit hydraulic fluid is pumped into up manifold with four Peter-Paul SS electronically controlled hydraulic solenoid valves. By utilizing 12 one way diodes in the circuit I am able to open one two or all four solenoids at any given time for up circuit. Down switch opens all four solenoids to retract pistons. The reason for the 12 diodes is to prevent backfeeding unwanted circuits. To minimize size of the hydraulic lines we have used highly ressistant to corrosion Ez-Bend 3/16" brake tubing.
Fluid flow is regulated via manual adjustment vale shown just above yellow fill cap. The remote control cable plugs in on the street side of the trailer at the rear of the trailer and the 25' control cable allows me to walk around the trailer.

Remote control has two power up switches. One for up and one for down mode. In up mode the four switches operate the pump motor in up mode and each hydraulic solenoid individually, in pairs or all four. For down circuit I have chosen to use only one switch to operate all four hydraulic solenoids and reversing the pump motor at the same time. One way diodes separate up and down functions thus preventig crossfeeding.

Our system worked flowlesly when tested and it had to be slowed down a bit in order to have more precise control. Being able to set up jacks within 1/2" of the piston pin leaves us a 4.5" of lift. Jack bases have four Panhead bolts on the underside which helps with stabilty od the jacks. Top of the jack stand have recess to prevent the piston pin from slipping off accidently. When leveled the trailer sits rock solid. My determination to develop this system finally paid off and as ussual my wife Margaret is very proud of my accomplishment. Thank you, "Boatdoc"
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Old 01-25-2013, 03:36 PM   #2
65th Anniversary CLIPPER
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1996 36' Clipper Bus
Tub City , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2009
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Old 01-25-2013, 03:41 PM   #3
Rivet Master
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1972 27' Overlander
Longmont , Colorado
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 951
That's quite a system you've crafted- looks like fun to play with.
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:39 PM   #4
Rivet Master
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1971 21' Globetrotter
Arvada , Colorado
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 3,044
I really wish I had access to your shop. You come up with the neatest things. I'm still banging away on the Globetrotter when I have time. I'm up in BC right know, 2 weeks on, 2 home, until mid April and then off to Nashville in May until mid July.
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Old 01-25-2013, 06:54 PM   #5
Vintage Kin
Fort Worth , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 8,014
Images: 1
Great to see! Goes right past what I can do, but I dream of such a thing, even if manual (I may copy what Streamline did years & years ago). Thanks for the pics and descriptions. Bookmarked.
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Old 01-26-2013, 05:46 AM   #6
Rivet Master
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1973 Argosy 26
Norristown , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 645
Images: 1
Hi Aerowood: Thanks for your compliment. The one who truly deserves it is my Father who thought me to be creative and determined. I was tired of getting under my trailer and having to crank acme screw jacks at times knealing in a pool of water. After building my new Stainless Steel 6" frame couple of years back, which is almost 450% stronger. With two 2" x 3" rectangular tubes stacked and stiched I ended up with 6" tall frame. Building a 6" overall lenght pistons I was able to totaly conceal them inside the belly pan. I do not like to have anything hanging down below the belly pan other than my Stainless Steel LPG pipes and dump valve. With Acme thread screw jacks I was often forced to do many corrections to get a perfect leveling results and at my age and my serious injury couple of years ago it became most bothersome. Now the leveling takes two minutes flat without much work. Even my wife can set up the trailer. The only thing left for me is to teach her to tow safely and how to back up so that I can enjoy the free ride. The 3/4" ID grommets seal the circumference of the piston pins when retracted. This keeps dirt and mud dubbers from entering the enclosed belly pan. I was aware of aftermarket kits but I was determined to build my own system. Kits, for me are too easy and too cumbrersome and they do not keep my brain sharp. Since everything mechanical that we see was man made I hate to be less than rest of men. The only difference is that I like to create things that are practical and and cost effective. Having plenty of hydraulic pumps and aluminum stock for pistons I had to purchase only the hydraulic solenoids E-Z Bend tubing and diodes. At total cost of $700.00 and my labor to me it is a very satisfactory result. Thanks, "Boatdoc"
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Old 01-26-2013, 09:34 AM   #7
Vintage Kin
Fort Worth , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2006
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Since everything mechanical that we see was man-made I hate to be less than rest of men.

Well said. It's what spurred me to learn to repair & maintain & rebuild.

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