Steep Driveway

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slam308

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Feb 14, 2017
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I measured our driveway and came up with a 9? grade.  I haven't measured the street yet but it does have a very slight crown.
One RV that I really love has a 6? departure angle (220" wheelbase), another one we're considering has an 8.2? departure angle (208" wheelbase).  (All measuremets confirmed by mfg.)

I realize that neither of these would work in a straight on approach, but how much can be compensated for by approaching at an angle? 
For what it's worth, our driveway is over 30' wide at the bottom, and then tapers for around 20' before hitting it's minimum 12' width.  There are no obstuctions within 10' of the driveway that might factor in.
I plan on going out this weekend and getting more and better measurements.

I've never been good at math, so I'm hoping one of the better minds on here can help me out.
Shari
 

Isaac-1

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With those sort of wheel base numbers I assume you are looking at gas front engine coaches, if this is the case you might be able to get some extra rear clearance entering the driveway by adding a rear Airlift airbag and compressor system.  Cost would be around $700+ labor, this would give a pair of rear airbags and a compressor that you could operate from the drivers seat to gain extra low speed rear clearance when entering your driveway, and other steep drives, such as at gas stations, etc.

I have low rear clearance on my coach and adding one of these systems is on my to do list.
 

slam308

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Feb 14, 2017
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Isaac, you're correct.  The first is a Class C, the second is a short Class A.  Both are gas engines.
I didn't realize that airbags could be added aftermarket.  Especially on Class C's.

Would an airbag system make up for that 3? difference?  If so, the cost would definitely be worth it for us!
Shari
 

HappyWanderer

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Approaching at angle makes a significant difference. I need to enter and exit my driveway at about 45 degrees or I'll bottom out. Fortunately, it's wide enough at the end.

I've never measured anything. I just know that I don't hear scraping noises anymore.
 

Larry N.

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If it's a local purchase, you might see if the dealer will let you test it before purchase. When I bought my Beaver (45') I wasn't sure that I could get it into my driveway, but the salesman said let's try it, so we drove the 30 miles to my house and tried it. While there wasn't a large margin, I was able to back it in.
 

Rene T

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Larry N. said:
If it's a local purchase, you might see if the dealer will let you test it before purchase. When I bought my Beaver (45') I wasn't sure that I could get it into my driveway, but the salesman said let's try it, so we drove the 30 miles to my house and tried it. While there wasn't a large margin, I was able to back it in.

That would be great but also keep in mind all the tanks are empty and there  will be no cargo.  If the RV just clears empty then you'll know it will hit loaded. That's where maybe just using the dolly wheels will be just enough and they're not expensive.


 

garyb1st

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slam308 said:
Isaac, you're correct.  The first is a Class C, the second is a short Class A.  Both are gas engines.
I didn't realize that airbags could be added aftermarket.  Especially on Class C's.

Would an airbag system make up for that 3? difference?  If so, the cost would definitely be worth it for us!
Shari

We had airbags on our 32 foot Rexhall gas motorhome.  I'm not sure what a 6% angle equates to in inches from the street to rear hitch, which I assume is the critical factor.  But 9% would be a 50% increase.  While I never measured how much my air bags raised the rear end, I doubt it was anywhere near that much.  Maybe 2 or 3 inches increase when aired up. 

Approaching at an angle also helped when we parked along side our driveway.  Our approach was challenging because of a street light that partially blocked my approach and limited space.  What I ultimately did was build two 4' x 4' ramps that butted up against the curb.  They were made with 3/4 in plywood.  I used 2 x 6 lumber cut at diagonals so the ramp raises up by 7 inches at the curb.  Make sure you have enough 2 x 6's.  The ramps are heavy but work very well. 
 

Larry N.

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Rene T said:
That would be great but also keep in mind all the tanks are empty and there  will be no cargo.  If the RV just clears empty then you'll know it will hit loaded. That's where maybe just using the dolly wheels will be just enough and they're not expensive.

On the Beaver, the weight wouldn't much matter because the air suspension keeps a constant ride height. But the "margin" I mentioned was turning radius, not potential scrape. The reason I brought it up was to give the idea of trying it at home.
 

slam308

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Feb 14, 2017
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Most of the time I'd be coming and going on my own so castors or air bags would work better than having to parking on the street and moving wood or ramps around. 
I did have one dealer offer to let us take a test drive to our house, but we weren't in any position to buy yet so didn't want to waste his time.
 
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