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Author Topic: Do you use pads with your auto-leveler?  (Read 1267 times)
Pax
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« on: September 07, 2013, 08:47:22 pm »

Do any of you use pads under your autoleveler?  If so, how often, and what have you found that works well?  From what I've read, there may be alot (?) of instances where your metal leveler 'feet' may sink into gravel, soft soil or dirt, etc.  Some sites might be so not-level that you might need a bit of height under one or more of the jacks? I've been looking at many of the pads out there, including descriptions of home made blocks, and what appeals to me most at this point are the 'Utility Blocks' by Campers Friend.  Here are the links:

YouTube Video:
http://youtu.be/WpXLh7cMkl0

Manufacturers Site:
http://www.campersfriend.com/product_details.php?ID=4%22%20class=%22footerlinks%22%3EUtility%20Block

Basically promoted as leveling blocks, which I don't think I need, but having something that is durable under the leveler jacks seems appropriate.  I'm thinking they would do well under the tires while the rig is stored, too.  Opinions?

  - Mike


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« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2013, 08:15:56 am »

Many years ago I was going to a FMCA rally at Bowling Green college in Ohio. They had us parking on the gravel parking lot. They asked us to use jack pads to not sink into the gravel. I found (I don't remember where) a cheap set of heavy duty plastic pads that had three foot u-shaped metal handles on them. They worked fine and I did not have to get down on my knees to insert or remove them. I had made a set out of half inch plywood but they did not last before the splinters started attacking me. I think I have only used them twice since then at Myrtle Beach while parking on the sand. I have been there several other times without them and really didn't need them.
If I wanted to make a set, I would put a rope or some type of handle on them so I could remove them without getting on my knees. I have seen several guys using the bright orange leveling pads, but they don't seem to cover much more surface than the jacks own feet. They must help some otherwise why are they using them.
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« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2013, 12:56:58 pm »

Mike

I find that jack pads come in handy when setting up on anything but concrete pads.  In addition to keeping you from sinking in they also keep the jack feet clean and cuts down on corrosion.

I use 12"x12"x1" pads made from High-density polyethylene (HDPE).   HDPE is expensive but if you go to a plastic factory you can buy scrap pieces very reasonably.   No need to worry about size or shape since it cuts very easy.  Also, they are very smooth, completely water proof and no cavities to collect dirt.  A quick wipe with a paper towel and they are clean, dry and ready to be put away.


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« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2013, 01:28:20 pm »

Thanks Barry and Tom.... Handles seem like a good idea. One of the interesting features of the Utility Blocks are the slots that you can use to slip in an awning rod to help place or retrieve the pad.  I think I'll go with Barry's suggestion on the HDPE and steal the Utility Block idea and cut some slots and a hole in them and use a rod to save my still-somewhat-young back.  Was wondering about the dimensions to use, so thanks for that too, Barry.

   -Mike
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« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2013, 09:44:32 pm »

I don't know if this is a good example to follow, but the four 12" x 12" pads that we carry helped us to get the coach level during our recent stay in a very side sloping site.  We could back in far enough to get the rear end level side to side, but the front right wheel was very low.  We first extended our leveling jacks to about the maximum that I felt safe to do.  We were still on a downward slope to the right side, enough to feel uncomfortable inside.  That's when an idea came to me:
There was a 5 ft. length of 4" x 6" lumber and another shorter length of 2" x 6" near the rear of the site.  I guessed that someone had used these before.
I used three of the 12" pads to build a step up to the 4 x 6 we had laid lengthwise in front of the right tire, and then continued forward on to the 2 x 6.
Then we used a stack of the pads to insert under the jacks before starting to extend them. This time we could extend the jacks enough to level the coach.

It looked strange and maybe unsafe with the right front tire balanced on the 6" wide lumber, but we camped there for 9 days with no problem.

Maybe someone can tell me if this was safe?

Thanks,
Bruce
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« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2013, 10:23:10 pm »

We do lots of national forest type camping which means uneven and unpaved ground. Therefore, we usually use leveling pads. They were also great on my granddaughter's asphalt drive where we would have surely sunk in because of the heat. Purchased them at Wal-Mart and have seen the same ones in any RV store parts section. They do not have handles, but we always having hiking poles that work great to position the pads and scoop them out when moving.
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« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2013, 11:00:46 pm »

That's exactly what I was wondering about.  We plan on doing pretty much the whole spectrum of camping (from overnighting at golf courses, national parks, state parks, normal RV campgrounds, all the way to a couple of 'ritzy' RV resorts) I imagined there would be those instances where we would need to really level up a corner or two.  It looks like 12x12 is the optimum size, but how many do you carry?  Right now I'm thinking at least four, maybe six?
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« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2013, 01:51:06 am »

After our last experience, I would say 8 or 10 of the 12" pads would be useful at times.  Some to roll a wheel(s) on to and some to place under the jacks.  Might only need that many in an unlevel site.
Bruce
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« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2013, 07:38:49 am »

Probably not needed but I'll offer: Never set up in a position where either or both of your rear wheels are off the ground. The parking brake only works on them.
I saw a Class C roll forward and fall off the jacks, hurting a person who fell inside.
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« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2013, 08:02:44 am »

I agree about the lifting the rear wheels off the ground. I have had the motorhome roll when I was setting up one time. The jacks are made to fold so no harm comes to them, but my shorts where another thing.

Also think about the outside door step. The higher you go the bigger the step will be. Now you will need to carry a portable step as well.  Wink
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« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2013, 11:22:11 am »

When we traveled full time in our Monaco Diplomat I purchased three jack pads from DICA, Inc. (only needed three because the coach had two jacks in the rear and one centered in the front). I also carried sections of 2" x 10" lumber to put under the tires to help level before putting down the jacks. I cut these 2" x 10" to three different lengths to form a ramp. This combo worked well and the pieces of lumber were easy to store.

When we purchased the PC I bought one more pad to match the existing pads. I use the 15" square pads, but they actually measure 14.5". I do not carry the 2" x 10"s to avoid adding extra weight. The DICA pads are pricey, but will flex, not break and will return to original shape.

I am attaching an article (I hope) from the January issue of Motorhome magazine that covers the use of pads and has a good comparison of the options, prices, etc.

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« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2013, 11:54:35 am »

I also carry two 4"x4"x12" wheel blocks. Each block has an eye with a rope to each other. I put these around the high side tire to prevent movement. When on the road, these blocks fit to the right of the entry door behind the screen door. I also carry four 1/2" plywood pieces cut to fit the slideout drawer to use as pads.

George
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« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2013, 01:18:04 am »

We experienced another situation today that put our jack pads to work.  We're now in Southern Oregon where the temperature is expected to reach about 100 degrees each day this week.  Because of this heat, the RV park owner where we're staying is requiring all RV's using metal leveling jacks to use jack pads in order to protect the asphalt sites.  We're happy that we have the required pads with us. 
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