Wheels off the ground - Jacks.

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Bob Buchanan

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Mar 3, 2005
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Philadelphia, PA
This is my first rig with hydraulic jacks. Have noticed other rigs at times over the years in slopped parks that leveling caused the front wheels to be raised completely off the ground. That appeared to be a lot of weigh just on the jacks and the associated hydraulics. So -- I googled the subject and like a lot of other RV topics, there are conflicting opinions.

Some say it "does" put too much pressure on the hydraulics.

Some say they have doing it for 15 or more years without a problem.

Some say it will cause the windshield to twist and shatter, or pop out.

Several pointed out that if the rear wheels are off the ground, the brakes are also.  ;)

One fellow wrote to WH Corp and asked. The response was that it is OK to raise the wheels and the their jacks will handle it. Here's a copy of that response:

Quote:
Good morning

The jacks will support the weight of the tires being off of the ground. We
do try to shy people away from putting blocks under the jacks for extra
lifting, because the potential to fall off the blocks is great. The only time
we recommend using blocks in the leveling process is if you are on soft
ground, then using a two by is not a bad idea.

Hopefully I have answered your question, if you have any other questions
feel free to contact me.

Thank you
Joe Portelli
[email protected]
UnQuote


Anyway, yesterday when I leveled my front wheels came about an inch or so off the ground. Today I plan to re level and put 2x's under the front wheels to allow them to help support the weight.

Any thoughts here -- or experiences?

TIA
 

Bob Zambenini

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Mar 4, 2005
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Orange County California
Bob, in both my RVs with HWH jacks I have raised the wheels off the ground.

With my current DP, I would not raise the rear wheels off the ground, as that is the brakes.  But I did once at the Santa Rosa Fairgrounds with the front jacks down and blocked.

I park at my in my son's driveway and raise the front way off ground, using blocks under the front jacks. I have never had a problem.

I know the HWH jacks will support the weight fine.

As for windshield, my current jacks operate in pairs to prevent twisting.

Bob
 

Karl

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Bob,
I asked that same question a few years ago, and was advised to level side-to-side first, then front to back to avoid twisting the frame. Mine has 3-point jacks, and the sequence is probably different for 4-point systems. Your idea of using planks under the wheels is probably good for long-term stays, but could be a hassle for one-nighters. You'd have to raise the front or rear considerably to get them underneath, which may require blocks under the jacks; then you'd have to let the jacks down and repeat the leveling process. Of course, if you could drive up onto the planks initially, that would be a better way. 
 

Jim Godward

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Mar 6, 2005
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Hillsboro, Oregon
A couple of things, if your jacks are the fold to store type, HWH advises to not lift the wheels off the ground for the rear jacks.  I have straight jacks and in that case both HWH and FL say it is OK but not advised, whatever that means.  I believe the concern is that the jacks could slip on a hard surface and ??? things could happen.

I made some blocks out of short lengths of 4x4" lumber and tied 4 of theses lengths together with 2X4" across the ends.  I used a cabinet handle for easy  handling on one end.  One set is about 20" long and the other is 18" long
 

John From Detroit

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Apr 12, 2005
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Davison Michigan
My Damon has PowerGear jacks (I think that is the name, I know they are not HWH)

They can easily lift the wheels off the ground, (all six wheels) however the manual says "DO NOT"

I've done it, When the park was very un-level, but I do like to plank under the wheels when I can in those cases
 

Ned

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USA
The jacks are rated to carry the entire load of the closest axle, at least they are if the coach manufacturer didn't cut corners.? Our HWH jacks are.  However, our rear jacks don't go straight down, but are slightly angled.? That can make using blocks tricky.? Also, on most diesel pushers, the rear wheels are the only ones locked with the parking brake so you don't ever want both of them off the ground without blocking the front wheels.

The 4 point HWH jacks work 2 at a time so it's almost impossible to twist the frame if the ground if firm.  That avoids the windshield problems reported by some.
 

Chet18013

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Mar 5, 2005
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Full time in RV. Home is where we are parked
Bob, The one thing you have listed ithat is an ABSOLUTE NO NO, is do not, under any circumstances raise the REAR wheels off the ground. If you do, you have no parking brakes to prevent the vehicle from rolling. This is not only a safety hazzard, but can do damage to the jacks and frame, if the vehicle moves. 

Chet18013
 

Ron from Big D

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Jan 30, 2005
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Dallas, Texas
Bob:

      Unless the weight is fully on the ground and wheels, having them partially touching the ground or completely off the ground makes no difference.  There is little or none of the weight of the vehicle on a partially raised jack.  Only the weight of the axle and wheels.

Ron
 

Karl

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Elkhart Lake, WI for the summer. Work at Road Amer
Ron,
There is little or none of the weight of the vehicle on a partially raised jack.

I think maybe you've got that a little reversed. As soon as the jack touches the ground, a portion of the chassis weight transfers to it from the springs, wheels, and axles. The more you raise it, the more weight the jack carries until you're completely off the ground and the springs, etc. no longer carry any weight.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Feb 2, 2005
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At my Silver Springs FL home
My Power Gear jacks have sufficient rated lifting capacity to lift the entire weight on the adjacent axle, front or rear, so there is no problem with the jacks.  But we strenuously avoid lifting the front wheels off the ground because of prior experience with a 96 Southwind, which did pop the windshield out at the bottom.  If I need to lift enough such that the wheels unload, I lower again, drive onto a couple 2x8 boards I carry for the purpose, and then jack again. That way I have at least some weight on the wheels.

I never lift the rears, because of the parking brake consideration.
 

Jeff

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Apr 8, 2005
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Location
SD/AZ
I have lifted the front wheels off the ground without problems. I am in the middle of replacing a windshield I cracked because I DID NOT have the front jacks down. We spent a month near Chicago with our kids and were parked on grass when it rained for a month. I had to block the left rear jack with 8 2x12x12 to finally stop them from sinking in the wet ground. Because the front of the coach was level I did not  bother going for more blocks for the front jacks.

BIG MISTAKE!

About three weeks later the front copilot windshield cracked from the twisting stress the left rear jack put on the front of the coach. The manual tells you to deploy the front jacks first, now I know why! ::) ::)
 

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