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Author Topic: Are automatic leveler REALLY automatic?  (Read 649 times)

Boonieman

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Are automatic leveler REALLY automatic?
« on: August 24, 2017, 06:56:03 PM »
We are toying with the idea of trading our toy hauler for a newer one. I have convinced myself that it should have automatic leveling, but some posts I've seen suggest you still have to do a little blocking even with auto leveling. I can understand a really whacko campsite, but in general is it a push button deal? Leveling the one we have now is manual, but generally a 5-10 minute job, no biggie.
2016 Chevrolet Dually/Duramax
2011 Fuzion 322
2016 Harley Trike
3 cherished dogs, Moo, Molly, Mia the one eyed pup 😊
Originally from South Dakota, reside in Kentucky

scottydl

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Re: Are automatic leveler REALLY automatic?
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2017, 07:48:25 PM »
So, the question becomes... how much $ is that 5-10 minutes worth?  ;)

I think you'd find automatic leveling to go both ways... sometimes it'll end up great, and many times you'd want/need to do some fine tuning.
Scott, wife, 3 boys... and the dog
- 2008 Forest River Wildwood 32BHDS
- 1995 Chevrolet Suburban C2500 tow vehicle
- 1994 Thor Residency motorhome... owned 2007-2012

Boonieman

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Re: Are automatic leveler REALLY automatic?
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2017, 07:55:05 PM »
Thanks Scott, that's what I needed to know. At least I won't be surprised if I have to actually exert a little effort to go camping. 👍🏻
2016 Chevrolet Dually/Duramax
2011 Fuzion 322
2016 Harley Trike
3 cherished dogs, Moo, Molly, Mia the one eyed pup 😊
Originally from South Dakota, reside in Kentucky

Lou Schneider

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Re: Are automatic leveler REALLY automatic?
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2017, 08:05:57 PM »
If the automatic levelers don't have jacks near the trailer axles, you'll still want to drive the low side wheels onto a set of blocks if the site slopes side to side.  Trailers are designed to have most of their weight on the axles, not supported by jacks on the four corners.

SargeW

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Re: Are automatic leveler REALLY automatic?
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2017, 08:08:17 PM »
I had a 2012 Forest River fiver with electronic jacks. There was some pre blocking necessary.  The leveling system on that rig was from Lippert components.  My biggest complaint about that system was that if the pad was more than a few inches out of level, the system would go "out of stroke" IE not enough jack to level itself, and would just stop. You either had to start over, or accept it like it was.  And it was a 6 jack system. The middle jacks would be the last to deploy, and if the system went out of stroke, you couldn't get the middle ones down at all.

Not all systems work the same I am sure, but the Lippert system did.
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Boonieman

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Re: Are automatic leveler REALLY automatic?
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2017, 08:19:59 PM »
This is good info to know. As usually, everything isn't always as presented by the sales guys. But sticking a couple blocks under the wheels beats setting up and breaking down a tent, although in my younger years I totally enjoyed that style of camping.
2016 Chevrolet Dually/Duramax
2011 Fuzion 322
2016 Harley Trike
3 cherished dogs, Moo, Molly, Mia the one eyed pup 😊
Originally from South Dakota, reside in Kentucky

steveblonde

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Re: Are automatic leveler REALLY automatic?
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2017, 07:21:55 AM »
I have hydrallic levelers on my 2015 Voltage and yes they are automatic and yes they are awesome i have only run into issues when camping in the mountains where the campsite had a huge slope to it front to back, then i used blocks on the front two jacks, but never have i had to run it up on blocks for side to side leveling. I would never buy another rig without them - push a button its done amen thank you sir its beer oclock lol
2015 Voltage 3305 Toy Hauler - loaded
2017 Ford Escape my Daily driver - first Ford in 25 yrs
2017 Black on Black F350 Diesel Dually loaded (First Ford Truck after 17 GMs) 5200lbs cargo/weight capacity named Kong


" If you're not living on the edge you're taking up too much space"
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8Muddypaws

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Re: Are automatic leveler REALLY automatic?
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2017, 02:22:42 PM »
I don't back onto blocks at all.  I raise the rig higher than necessary, slide the blocks under the wheels and lower it down.  Much easier and safer.
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2006 Bounder 34H, 2008 CR-V Toad

keymastr

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Re: Are automatic leveler REALLY automatic?
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2017, 04:00:19 PM »
Seems like the biggest advantage would be when doing maintenance or changing a flat.

8Muddypaws

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Re: Are automatic leveler REALLY automatic?
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2017, 04:35:30 PM »
With our fifth wheel I used to spend up to 45 minutes getting it level in a place we went at least 3 times a year.  Backing it up on a stack of blocks over a foot high was never easy.

Now that we have the motorhome with automatic leveling jacks I put blocks under the jacks with more than about 8 inches of clearance, hit the switch and in less than 2 minutes I'm level.  Then I put a stack of blocks under any wheel that's off the ground.  That makes it about 12 minutes total.  And that's one of the worst places (level wise) that we go.

We only go there once a year now but I'm not about to give up my levelers.
Retired computer professional
Musician, songwriter and music director
2006 Bounder 34H, 2008 CR-V Toad

blw2

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Re: Are automatic leveler REALLY automatic?
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2017, 02:37:54 PM »
I had auto levelers on my strong "want" list when we were shopping.  As it turned out the rig we found and liked didn't have them.  Not on my "must have" list so ok....

I seriously thought I'd add them eventually.  Fast forward a couple years....I've found that FOR THE PLACES WE GO it hasn't been too much of a problem.  I've had to break out the boards a few times but usually not too big of a deal.... one time though, it was a battle and we even ended up moving to a couple different sites

Still, if I could have them I'd love it...but have gotten by without just fine so far.

Based on what I've seen and read, I suspect many folks are very careful about putting down boards or pads under the jacks every time....even when not absolutely necessary (to protect the jack feet?)  For those folks, definitely not push and forget...
Also, I get the idea that often the "auto" part gets it close, then some folks tweak it to get it better.
So to answer your question....I suspect a lot of it depends on what type of personality you are..... can you live with it being just a bit less than perfect?
Brad (DW + 3 kids)
13 Thor Chateau 31L Class C on Ford E-450
'06 Silverado
'05 Rockwood Freedom 1910 (5-1/2 years)
former tent campers

Memtb

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Re: Are automatic leveler REALLY automatic?
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2017, 10:08:39 AM »
Boonieman,
I realize that we're responding to a quite old post but thought we would give our findings and opinions.  Please understand, this pertains to our 5th wheel and the Bigfoot leveling system.    Our Bigfoot is fully automatic and has been very reliable.  The only time I contacted Bigfoot was on a weekend immediately after purchasing our used unit and needed some adult supervision on how to operate it.  The customer support was great and remember this was on a weekend. 


  • blocks under jacks - should not be necessary if site is anywhere level; we primarily boondocks and use blocks often. There is a limit to the amount of travel in any system
  • placing low side wheels onto blocks - again should not be necessary "IF" the trailer frame is of substantial strength.   Frame strength appears on be an issue on many of the newer units.  It appears that most of the newer Lippart systems are 6 jack systems and some people are still experiencing frame flex when on the 6 jacks.  Our 5er weighs in at 20k, only has a 4 jack system and you can lift tires completely off the ground (for brake work, bearing packing, etc) and have no frame flex.  You can go inside unit, doors open and close as they should and no flexing when you walk across the floor. It all comes down to frame strength/integrity.       

    If you have not already purchased your new toy hauler, the frame is the most important main component.  It is the platform/foundation to which everything else is attached to. 

In looking at your name, I presume you do some boondocking.  If so, I will offer this as a suggestion - as most toyhaulers are pretty heavy and most jacks have a fairly small footprint, when camped on fairly soft terrain, we place a large wooden pad under each jack.  I laminated two 12"x12"x 3/4" plywood pieces together with a nylon strap for a carry handle.  I have never had one of these sink into the ground yet. 

Should you find yourself camping in freezing temperatures, I place a small piece of tar paper beneath each wooden pad.  This way I can pick up my pads and bring them home rather than leaving them for the spring thaw...or someone else.
Todd and Marianne
Miniature Schnauzers - Sundai, Nellie and Maggie Mae
2007 Dodge Ram 3500,  6.7 Ram 6 speed manual, 4x4
2004 Teton Grand Freedom
2007 Bigfoot Class C

Boonieman

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Re: Are automatic leveler REALLY automatic?
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2017, 05:16:04 PM »
Thanks all for taking the time to reply and offer advice. BTW, I use the name Boonieman because we actually do live in the middle of the woods, my mom says me and my better half are throwbacks in time and  refers our place as the boonies. We have decided for this year at least, to keep our Fuzion, we have overall been very happy with it.  I have read where it is a buyers market, but we haven't found that to be the case, across multiple states. Anyway, it doesn't takes us long to set up without auto leveling, and we did start out in tents, so spoiled we are not. 😄 But we sure do enjoy the nicer side of camping. Sounds like to me, auto leveling for us would be nice, but not a necessity. Thanks again!

Boonieman
« Last Edit: September 21, 2017, 05:18:49 PM by Boonieman »
2016 Chevrolet Dually/Duramax
2011 Fuzion 322
2016 Harley Trike
3 cherished dogs, Moo, Molly, Mia the one eyed pup 😊
Originally from South Dakota, reside in Kentucky

 

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