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Support blocks for maint??


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First off, I feel comfortable performing maint work on coach.  But supporting it is a question.... I understand drive on ramps & could build them BUT is placing blocks between the frame rails adequate as well?  If bags failed, house frame would rest on blocks?

I think I’d have to build 15” tall ramps to make up for 9” of house drop... I’m not a super small fella.  
 

Does a combination of both work (block & ramps)for protection?

there are a lot of tips & tricks, & great info but don’t really mention how they set up their protection barrier...

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The safest is to put properly rated (each, not the pair) jack stands under the Frame of the RV and the stands need to be on concrete or good sized 2x12 if on less solid surface.  The ground needs to be pretty level.

You can use timbers but that brings up their own issues of stability (tipping, or if stacked - the stack teetering and toppling). 

Driving up on ramps has it's own issues.  If the air bags drop, then you could get crushed even if the ramps are high.  You might be between axle and chassis which ramps do not protect.  You might be trying to access something and break an air line.  If you drive up the ramps and then drop the air out of the bags, then thats safer but might not give you the access where you need it.

The issue to be wary of is many suspension systems will move the RV forward / backward when the air bags settle.  This can unsettle stands or timbers or roll off ramps.  So just be aware of the effect.

Putting the stands underneath generally requires you to shimmy under and place them.  So, there are a few minutes of being unprotected.  Certainly you could put a block next to you first just in case the rare issue happens at that moment.  Most of us just take the risk with fingers crossed...but certainly ensure the RV levelers are solid and on solid ground, likely on 2x12's to raise the RV off it's wheels.  Remember...solid level ground.

Edited by DavidL
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Going to be in this spot this summer. I felt like 2x12's stacked up would work. But have the top landing at least 2 feet long for small movements from air dropping. 

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I cut 2” square 1/4” steel to lengths to support between frame and suspension when near full air height. 4 supports for back and 2 for front.  I also made ramps out of treated 2x12 stacked for 6” of extra height.  This made for enough room while chasing air leaks.

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The best solution is always properly rated jack stands, but they are somewhat bulky and heavy.
Properly made blocks to go between the suspension and frame are the next best option, but make sure they are secure and cannot jostle out of position if something breaks and the coach moves as it drops. 

Best to dump the air and let it down on the blocks solid, but sometimes you need to be aired up to troubleshoot an issue.

Whatever method you use, I'm glad to see people recognizing and discussing this issue. 🙂

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57 minutes ago, frankogrly said:

If you have jacks why not lower the jacks until they touch the ground. If the air bags fail the jacks will hold the motorhome. 

Frank O

01 Endeavor

Hydraulic jacks also depend on pressure to support the coach.  A leak anywhere in the system will drop the coach in an instant.
The ONLY safe way is a MECHANICAL means of support.

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I to was concerned about the vertical support while working on the underbelly and use a combination of supports. 1 block the tires front and rear - stops fore and aft movement (chocks on 6in ramps) 2 - When working on the rear 20 ton jack stands ( not from Harbor Freight) under the vertical structural tubes by the transmission which go to the main steel frame rails. 3 - in the front access to the frame is blocked by the generator and the H frame suspension, so 3 x 3 inch oak post from the H frame and the mail frame. 4 - Start with the ail suspension leveling system in the raised position. Would need for the tires to go flat ramps to fail and jacks and posts to crush/collapse. 

This is on a Roadmaster Raised Rail Frame coach.

JoeB 03 Exec PBDD 

 

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1 hour ago, frankogrly said:

If you have jacks why not lower the jacks until they touch the ground. If the air bags fail the jacks will hold the motorhome. 

Frank O

01 Endeavor

I'd like to share an experience I had one night.  I arrived to site, slides out,  let air out, then put out my hydraulic levelers.  Got them where I liked them, turned off the leveling system, and went outside the coach when they suddenly and without warning retracted with the engage brake light flashing.  The brake was engaged. My Nason switch failed.  I can say, had anyone been under that coach at that point,  it would have been bad.  There would have been no time to escape.  I replaced the switch and no more issues.  That was an eye opener for me. 😬😬

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1 hour ago, frankogrly said:

If you have jacks why not lower the jacks until they touch the ground. If the air bags fail the jacks will hold the motorhome. 

Frank O

01 Endeavor

You should never rely on either airbags or levelers (or both) to keep the RV up for servicing.  Note that the two systems are integrated.  When you hit the "store" button, both the bags and the levelers drop and squash whatever is underneath.  In way less time than it takes to shimmy out from underneath.

Use quality, rated jack stands on firm and level ground under the chassis.  Bottom line.

 

EDIT: Yup, just like Steven P just posted.

Edited by DavidL
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I carry 5 1/2" drill pipe, the white pipe in the photo.  Here I'm doing some welding, you can tell that from seeing my welding shoes.  Perfectly comfortable working in there all by myself.

Welding.jpg

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We made custom blocks from four sections of 4 x 4 timbers that just fit under the jacks when they are raised all the way up. We chose 4 x 4 timber because we can saw that on our DeWalt saw. We stack the four sections and cap each end with an 8 x 8 square piece of plywood. After parking the coach in the garage we slide the blocks under the jacks and dump the air. That is the way the coach sits until we are ready to use the coach. We have a large dual stage air compressor with an air dryer and when getting ready to use the coach plug the air hose into the coach and fill the air tanks and air bags. That way we don't fill the garage with diesel fumes building up air and can just pull out with a minimum of engine time inside the garage.

16 hours ago, Hypoxia said:

I carry 5 1/2" drill pipe, the white pipe in the photo.  Here I'm doing some welding, you can tell that from seeing my welding shoes.  Perfectly comfortable working in there all by myself.

Welding.jpg

I have never seen anyone work on their coach while barefooted.

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I don't want to get into a longer discussion, but I have to make a couple of points that relate to my motorhome only. The air bags and jacks are not integrated. If I dump the air in both tanks with the bleed valves on the tanks the air bags stay inflated, they only deflate if I push the dump switch and that takes a long time. It is likely if I blew an air line the bags would not deflate. The jacks only retract if I push the retract button or try to drive off with the jacks down. I agree no one should be in the coach so there is no chance someone would mess with any system that would retract the jacks. The jacks would only take the weight of the coach if something catastrophic happened to the air system as the jacks are just touching the ground. I am not saying jack stands or any method you feel safe with is wrong, I just believe two independent systems, in my case, is safe and convenient to use. I also understand some of the coaches have a more sophisticated leveling and air dumping system than mine. 

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For wood blocks I've made some using 2x6s with a piece of 1/2" OSB in between.  Adhesive used is both ext. glue and construction adhesive, both sides of the OSB.   They're put together using screws until adhesives are fully cured; then screws don't matter anyway..  Result is a 3 1/2" x 5 1/2"; Lengths run about 12" to 16".  I believe these are less likely  to split when stacked than 4x4 or 4x6.

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10 hours ago, Bob Nodine said:

We made custom blocks from four sections of 4 x 4 timbers that just fit under the jacks when they are raised all the way up. We chose 4 x 4 timber because we can saw that on our DeWalt saw. We stack the four sections and cap each end with an 8 x 8 square piece of plywood. After parking the coach in the garage we slide the blocks under the jacks and dump the air. That is the way the coach sits until we are ready to use the coach. We have a large dual stage air compressor with an air dryer and when getting ready to use the coach plug the air hose into the coach and fill the air tanks and air bags. That way we don't fill the garage with diesel fumes building up air and can just pull out with a minimum of engine time inside the garage.

I have never seen anyone work on their coach while barefooted.

The bare feet allow you to feel how much current you're using while welding. 😉

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2 hours ago, dl_racing427 said:

The bare feet allow you to feel how much current you're using while welding. 😉

I like that 😄 I've been welding for nearly 60 years as a novice; I don't claim to be a welder.  Everyone has their experiences; my brother had a piece of slag go into the top of his boot and burned a hole to the bone.  He couldn't get the boot off fast enough.  I do protect myself but I do wear flip-flops 6 months of the year and wouldn't fit in with the OSHA gang.

I take the issue of protecting myself under the coach seriously but really, some comments must be from folks that are nervous Nellies.   Does anyone here really have to be told to be careful?

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8 hours ago, Hypoxia said:

  I do protect myself but I do wear flip-flops 6 months of the year and wouldn't fit in with the OSHA gang.

 

Sounds like you may be a Jimmy Buffett fan. I love the line "stepped on a pop top and blew out a flip flop".

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4 hours ago, Bob Nodine said:

Sounds like you may be a Jimmy Buffett fan. I love the line "stepped on a pop top and blew out a flip flop".

It all is cured by that frozen concoction!  I do enjoy Jimmy and sure miss John Denver and Chris LeDoux.

I blew out my flip flop
Stepped on a pop top
Cut my heel, had to cruise on back home
But there's booze in the blender
And soon it will render
That frozen concoction that helps me hang on

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I block mine same as Jim but use 4x4 1/4 inch steel square tube.  11" long fits just fine when you air up extra height, place blocks, air down just until contact, block wheels, shake it real good.  One on each side never a problem.  Bonus... the 4x4 stacks next to fuel tank on the pass side so they are always with you. 

Gave up the flip flops and wearing Crocs for comfort.  😁

Love the site since leaving Yahoo...  New Years Resolution, No writes on the RV.net,  only Monaco on Irv2, and then concentrate here.

Edited by Twomed
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On 1/11/2021 at 10:03 AM, frankogrly said:

 The jacks only retract if I push the retract button or try to drive off with the jacks down. I agree no one should be in the coach so there is no chance someone would mess with any system that would retract the jacks. The jacks would only take the weight of the coach if something catastrophic happened to the air system as the jacks are just touching the ground. I am not saying jack stands or any method you feel safe with is wrong, I just believe two independent systems, in my case, is safe and convenient to use. I also understand some of the coaches have a more sophisticated leveling and air dumping system than mine. 

I thought that too.  But found otherwise.  If you didn't read my post above, please do.  I understand your theory using both jacks and airbags, but wanted to share my jacks experience. 

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5 minutes ago, Steven P said:

I thought that too.  But found otherwise.  If you didn't read my post above, please do.  I understand your theory using both jacks and airbags, but wanted to share my jacks experience. 

I did find that post informative.  I have had occasion to scoot underneath the front without supports.  I put the generator out which leaves a cubbyhole to hide in and also can hide under the axle.  I scoot in quickly and make sure I have my phone in case the coach comes down and imprisons me.  I'll need someone to deliver beer... 

19 hours ago, Twomed said:

I block mine same as Jim but use 4x4 1/4 inch steel square tube.  11" long fits just fine when you air up extra height, place blocks, air down just until contact, block wheels, shake it real good.  One on each side never a problem.  Bonus... the 4x4 stacks next to fuel tank on the pass side so they are always with you. 

Gave up the flip flops and wearing Crocs for comfort.  😁

Love the site since leaving Yahoo...  New Years Resolution, No writes on the RV.net,  only Monaco on Irv2, and then concentrate here.

I store my pipe the same place as you.  I carry two pieces of the large pipe and have two pieces slightly smaller that fit inside the big pipe.  I can't raise mine quite as high as you as I have limiting straps which you can see in the photo.

I gave up Crocs for the flip-flops :classic_laugh:  I still use the Crocs sometimes.

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