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How to Block up a Signature 40 chassis for HWH servicing


jjroxus

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Hello,

I need to service My HWH manifolds/six-packs/pressure valves, aux compressor,etc.  I have been reading a lot of good info here on troubleshooting issues, finding and repairing leaks and replacing components in the HWH system.  It is always mentioned to block up the chassis before going under the coach to work on it.  I need some insight on how you guys did the blocking to give you room to work and protect yourself and the coach.   I dumped my air bags today and slid under for a quick look and soon realized there's no room to work when the air bags are deflated, especially where the rear manifolds are located above the drive axle.  What procedure did you follow and where did you put the blocking material?  What materials did you use to block it up.

Thank You,

JJ

2002 Signature 40

 

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6 hours ago, jjroxus said:

Hello,

I need to service My HWH manifolds/six-packs/pressure valves, aux compressor,etc.  I have been reading a lot of good info here on troubleshooting issues, finding and repairing leaks and replacing components in the HWH system.  It is always mentioned to block up the chassis before going under the coach to work on it.  I need some insight on how you guys did the blocking to give you room to work and protect yourself and the coach.   I dumped my air bags today and slid under for a quick look and soon realized there's no room to work when the air bags are deflated, especially where the rear manifolds are located above the drive axle.  What procedure did you follow and where did you put the blocking material?  What materials did you use to block it up.

Thank You,

JJ

2002 Signature 40

6 hours ago, jjroxus said:

JJ, on my 2000 Signature I use 4X6 treated lumber cut to length and placed between the frame and the suspension inside behind the front wheel and in front of the rear dual. I raised the coach as high as it would go and measured the gap. Cut my boards to be about an inch less than the gap. The boards sit solidly on the corner of the suspension frame. 

 

 

 

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I drive mine up on wood ramps I made. I stacked 2x8 cut at different lengths to make a ramp for each tire. I stacked  a total of 5 levels for a total of 7 1/2” of raised minimum level. That way if the suspension system is completely dropped no mater what happens nothing gets pinched or squished, including me. This is just my way and there is always more than one way to get something done.

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Glad to hear about your ramp. 

I must be on the right track.  I tried a similar thing using 2x12's last week.  I was trying to raise the front end of the coach.  I had a problem with the boards sliding away.  I screwed the stack together and still had one side that slipped forward when I drove up on them.  I started out with a board length of six feet and reduced the length on each step. I have five 2 x 12's in the stack.  I set it up in steps about 7 to 10" on each side.

As I thought about, could my tire pressure make a difference?  I checked the side that was slipping away and it was 15lbs down from the side that was not slipping.   I got that front tire pumped up now.   So today I will give it a try again. 

How did you setup your board stack and what lengths did you use?  Have you used this for the rear dual tires to raise the back?

Thanks,

JJ

2002 Monaco Signature 40 Centurion

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I put about 12-14 inches between each step. That way the tire does not push on the next step before sitting on the first step. You can attach a chain/rope/strap to the first step then lay it out in line with your tire. The tire will be on the rope or strap first . That way the ramp can not slip forward. I have a series of 6 ramps. 4 of them are longer than the other two. Those longer ones are for the rear drive and tag axle.

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For the front I made 2 ramps out of scrap lumber I had…I glued and screwed the 3 layers of 2X10 together plus used one layer of plywood. They are 3’ long and have not had any issues driving up on them although I did cut the ends of the 2X10s at a 45.
For the rear, once on the ramps, I raise the coach up and put 40” long 6X6 crossways under the hitch, not just the receiver. Won’t post the picture of a wrecker towing a rig by the hitch so we don’t get off topic again. The hitch structure is strong enough to support the back of a S-10 chassis.

I don’t like steel on steel supports/Jack stands as it only takes a slight angle to have them kick out.

881C8871-7836-445F-BB0C-F5DFE086D1FF.png

Edited by Ivylog
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On 10/26/2021 at 12:42 AM, jjroxus said:

Hello,

I need to service My HWH manifolds/six-packs/pressure valves, aux compressor,etc.  I have been reading a lot of good info here on troubleshooting issues, finding and repairing leaks and replacing components in the HWH system.  It is always mentioned to block up the chassis before going under the coach to work on it.  I need some insight on how you guys did the blocking to give you room to work and protect yourself and the coach.   I dumped my air bags today and slid under for a quick look and soon realized there's no room to work when the air bags are deflated, especially where the rear manifolds are located above the drive axle.  What procedure did you follow and where did you put the blocking material?  What materials did you use to block it up.

Thank You,

JJ

2002 Signature 40

 

I am in the same situation as JJ to do some work on the air system under the coach.  It appears to me there are TWO methods being described.  ONE is using wood ramp to raise the entire coach and TWO blocking between the chassis and suspension.  Am I correct in what I am reading?  Is it best to do both methods or just one is needed for the best and safest approach to lifting the coach to check for leaks and work on the air system?

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32 minutes ago, Bill R said:

I am in the same situation as JJ to do some work on the air system under the coach.  It appears to me there are TWO methods being described.  ONE is using wood ramp to raise the entire coach and TWO blocking between the chassis and suspension.  Am I correct in what I am reading?  Is it best to do both methods or just one is needed for the best and safest approach to lifting the coach to check for leaks and work on the air system?

Bill, it depends on what you are wanting to do. Blocking between the frame and the suspension allows for changing the air bags and working on the control valves safely. The ramps allow more room between the suspension and the ground but doesn't keep the body from coming down onto the frame. There are probably times where you might want to do both.

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18 hours ago, SteveC said:

Bill, it depends on what you are wanting to do. Blocking between the frame and the suspension allows for changing the air bags and working on the control valves safely. The ramps allow more room between the suspension and the ground but doesn't keep the body from coming down onto the frame. There are probably times where you might want to do both.

As mentioned by others in previous posts. There's a lot of ways to build ramps.   In my case I've got HWH issues with travel mode leveling and the automatic leveling.  That's going to require a lot of testing of the three banks of solenoids & pressure switches to find what's not working. I will eventually be removing, repairing and or replacing manifold components.  For safety I'm using ramps and blocking.  I completed my rams yesterday and will be cutting up an 8 x 8 and a 4 x 6 to make my blocking material.  After that the fun starts...

image_6487327(4).JPG

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I have used wood ramps as others have mentioned. I needed to get to my auxiliary compressor behind the genset in the center of the coach. The wood ramps didn’t seem protective enough. I went to a steel supply shop and had four round heavy steel posts cut to measurements by each of the four front airbags. I inserted them then lowered the coach down on them. This avoids any chance they could kick out. 

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On 10/28/2021 at 9:33 AM, jjroxus said:

As mentioned by others in previous posts. There's a lot of ways to build ramps.   In my case I've got HWH issues with travel mode leveling and the automatic leveling.  That's going to require a lot of testing of the three banks of solenoids & pressure switches to find what's not working. I will eventually be removing, repairing and or replacing manifold components.  For safety I'm using ramps and blocking.  I completed my rams yesterday and will be cutting up an 8 x 8 and a 4 x 6 to make my blocking material.  After that the fun starts...

image_6487327(4).JPG

Those ramps look nice.  Do you have the lengths/dimensions for them?

Dan D, 2012 Diplomat 43DFT 

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Dan,

Yes they work fine and give enough room to access the rear manifolds located above the drive axle with the system air dumped.  I built four separate ramps to accommodate the drive  tires.  There is just enough room for me to use a creeper I purchased from Harbor Freight to roll under the coach.  On the down side--they are very heavy and will require some storage room. The levels are minimally screwed together so they are easily disassembled if desired.

The lumber is 2 x 12's from Lowes

Dimensions are 6,' 5', 4', 3' and top board is 27".  I cut a 45 degree angle on each step face and then used a grinder to take off the sharp edge. Each level is screwed onto the level below with 3 or 4 galvanized exterior screws 2 1/2" long.  I pre-drilled a hole for the screw  in the upper level to minimize cracking.

All The Best,

JJ

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I blocked the front and back of the front tires as well and the dumped the air before going under.  I think for working on the rear of the coach it's about as safe as it can be.  

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OK, I admit I’m frugal… I figured the ramps pictured above cost $200 for 8 2X12 10’ long plus they are fairly heavy. You also do not need 2X12 as your tire are not even 10” wide.  A 10’ 6X6 costs $40 and each 40” section is manageable and 3 should fit under the hitch after you raise the coach up.

With ramps you need to lower the coach down as that’s the clearance you are worried about. With blocks under the hitch the rig is not going to get any lower.

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For the record, I like Ivylog’s method for the blocking up the back of the coach. Sounds like it should work…and who doesn’t like being frugal?  Live & learn.

My actual cost for the lumber and screws was $145.  I used longer lengths of 16’ , 12’ , & 10’ to come up with the lengths I needed.  

I think this is an example of how cool this site is for exposing our cumulative brain power.  Lets keep it coming!

JJ

 

 

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On 10/27/2021 at 7:54 AM, Ivylog said:

For the front I made 2 ramps out of scrap lumber I had…I glued and screwed the 3 layers of 2X10 together plus used one layer of plywood. They are 3’ long and have not had any issues driving up on them although I did cut the ends of the 2X10s at a 45.
For the rear, once on the ramps, I raise the coach up and put 40” long 6X6 crossways under the hitch, not just the receiver. Won’t post the picture of a wrecker towing a rig by the hitch so we don’t get off topic again. The hitch structure is strong enough to support the back of a S-10 chassis.

I don’t like steel on steel supports/Jack stands as it only takes a slight angle to have them kick out.

881C8871-7836-445F-BB0C-F5DFE086D1FF.png

When you say 6x6 crossways, I can’t picture that. You mean 6x6 wooden posts cut to 40” lengths and positioned standing end to end upright under the hitch right?

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10 hours ago, Pduggs said:

When you say 6x6 crossways, I can’t picture that. You mean 6x6 wooden posts cut to 40” lengths and positioned standing end to end upright under the hitch right?

No, they go side to side on top of each other for 18” (actually 16.5”) high.
The picture is the ramps I built out of scrap 2X10 and some plywood. 3’ long down to 25”. The plywood helps to keep the 2X10s from splitting.

Edited by Ivylog
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2 minutes ago, Ivylog said:

No, hey go side to side on top of each other for 18” (actually 16.5”) high. 

Okay thanks, that makes more sense. Is that three 6x6 posts laid horizontally on top of each other under the hitch?  Is this in addition to rolling the drive and tag tires up on wooden ramps?

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Guess you could block after driving onto ramps (no need for ramps for the tag) for even more clearance but with the rig raised up and the blocked there’s a fair amount of room plus in some places by the axle you can almost sit up. Problem with ramps you still need to lower the rig once on he ramps to see how much clearance you really have…about 5” less. 

Edited by Ivylog
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Yes. I had four heavy gauge steel posts cut to a length of 9”. They fit next the air bags. I lower the coach down on them so that they are jammed and unable to pop out. I carry them as a full timer. I’ve only used them up front, but I think they’ll work in the rear too. 
 

The wooden 6x6 posts for laying under the hitch as mentioned above, should work well and you could stow in a bay as a full timer. 

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2 hours ago, Pduggs said:

The wooden 6x6 posts for laying under the hitch as mentioned above, should work well and you could stow in a bay as a full timer. 

Wooden 6X6 won’t help for the front. Instead of metal posts 9” long, why not 12-13” to put in after raising the coach up?

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5 hours ago, Ivylog said:

Wooden 6X6 won’t help for the front. Instead of metal posts 9” long, why not 12-13” to put in after raising the coach up?

I raised my coach as high as it would go. It measured roughly 9” next to the airbags. 

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