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Totem

best place on 21 foot sunrader to mount permanant leveling jacks?

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So, I found a great deal on 4 (3 ton) leveling jacks and scooped em up.

Now I am left wondering from the forum, which mounting position would be the best? I am worried about bumper mounts being too wimpy; also i see this system as a possible way to jack up the camper off ground if i go frame, just not sure where a good place on frame may be.

Thoughts?

Edited by Totem

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Pic of the jacks, please!

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agreed..was thinking I would do that with a booger welder. cordless drill would be the tool to spin them.  looks like the bottle jack that came with it would be freed up for other uses, most likely on my ram.

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The jacks are not meant to pick RV's up just to stabilise them so they don't rock on the springs. If you try to support the weight you are asking for trouble level it first as best you can then put the jacks down to stabilize it. They may lift 5000# but any sideways movement will trash them those are the type you would see on a newer style large camper that's why are have a 2 foot reach because new trailers sit so high. Measure your frame I'll bet it's less than 6" off the ground so adding those jacks will lower your ground clearance by the collapsed height of the jacks. I got by for years with junk yard scissors jacks from Asian cars to stabilize my Toy home.

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I mounted my front jacks on the frame just where the bumper mounts attach. I had reinforced the rear frame and bumper for towing. So the jacks were mounted on the extensions where they would not interfere with the departure angle. The front jacks were sideways and the rear one front to back. These jacks are wobble so by mounting them 90 degrees to each other helps stabilize things. I tried to keep one rear wheel on the ground and the parking brake set or a set of chocks on a front wheel. NEVER have all 4 tires off the ground.

They are NOT lifting jacks they are just for stabilizing only, so keep the bottle jack.

Edited by WME

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I disagree. I think they would work fine for swapping out a tire with no one in the RV. This would be just a temporary lift in an "emergency" situation but if you are about to tell me that the 5000 lbs jack is somehow less stable that the stock crappy bottle jack that came with the RV I humbly call shenanigans (for said purpose of tire swap) . As to using them for stabilizing, I was thinking more along lines of leveling; hence yes one set of wheels would be on ground and crappy grade side would get risen, just enough to hit Fridge requirements..

Edited by Totem

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On 12/4/2017 at 10:50 AM, Totem said:

...i see this system as a possible way to jack up the camper off ground ...

First mention of only lifting one corner for a tire change. Yes, I'd say you could do a tire change. The other 3 wheels on the ground would supply the stability just as if you were using the OEM bottle jack. The usual other precautions would apply of course. :)

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The clearance question would be interesting to see.. because on my rig the lowest clearance point I believe is the poop tank protector, on my rig P.O. welded rebar "V" that points down lower than the tank and its welded right in front of it so that it hits curb before your tank gets busted taking the hit instead. My guess is that this would be the low point and would be lower than the collapsed jack profile. I dont offroad that much but I am very sure the exhaust and V of the pooper will continue to be the things that get beat on just as they always have.

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A quick way to check the approximate clearance is to drive a rear wheel onto a length of rope. Pull the rope tight to the rear bumper low point. Anything mounted below the rope will be a possible drag point.

Of course driveways and badly crowned streets will intrude into the "safe" zone. So remember it's just a guide and not a cast in brass rule of clearance.

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I didn't do any welding. Never mounted the jacks permanent. Found two self starting bolts, drilled the appropriate size hole and mounted a flat piece of steel on the frame. When we get to where we are going I slide the jack upon the flat piece and stabilize the camper. I mounted the bolts on the frame in the rear one on left one on right. On the front I slide two jacks under the frame behind the front wheels, one on right, one on the left I took off the U shaped holder so it would be flat. I purchased the jacks from Harbor Freight when they were on SALE.  The jacks come with a handle and you can stabilize the camper fairly quick with this method.

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I have always wanted to ask. Why do you use leveling jacks and not a leveling mechanism just for the fridge? Is there anything else that wants or wont work without leveling?

I understand that if your refridgerator space is built in and designed as it were originally you have no choice. But for remodels, why dont folks just mount the refridgerator so it can be adjusted to be level and not have to worry about the rest of the camper.

What gives?

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Solid propane lines might make that impossible. Plus the extra space around your fridge. Even if you don't insulate the outside walls at least it's tightly in a cabinet which adds some insulating factor.

Linda S

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9 hours ago, neubie said:

I have always wanted to ask. Why do you use leveling jacks and not a leveling mechanism just for the fridge? Is there anything else that wants or wont work without leveling?

I understand that if your refridgerator space is built in and designed as it were originally you have no choice. But for remodels, why dont folks just mount the refridgerator so it can be adjusted to be level and not have to worry about the rest of the camper.

What gives?

I go by the adage, "If you are comfortable, your refrigerator is comfortable" and the 3 degree rule. Anything more than 3 degrees out of level is probably not good for the frig long term. But it's also not comfortable for me for camping. I want to be at least within 3 degrees just for my own comfort so I'm not walking up hill in my camper or having stuff roll off the table and counters. Not to mention trying to fry an egg in a pan that's sitting at an angle!

Edited by jmowrey

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14 hours ago, Derek up North said:

I suppose you could, if you really wanted to, devise a gimbal mounted fridge, but they don't even bother doing that on boats where gimbal mounted stoves are common.

 

So wait, marine fridges are non propane? or leveled differently?

This is illuminating. I have also never been on a boat in any sort of meaningful capacity. Ferries dont count. Yes, some people lead very limited lives.

The 3 degrees rule is also interesting, there are (likely leaking) airbags already there. Two of them can sort of gimbal me a few degrees here or there about if they hold air for a few minutes at least. I doubt I personally can tell plus or minus five. The fridge probably would be able to.

Now here is some peculiar another life background. I have seen extensive and really widespread (and I mean at a scale many multiples of all use in the usa) use of propane. Almost all of it sans copper lines. Infact, when I insisted and had copper put in some place, folks moved the tank to the other end of copper instead of using the copper line! They felt gas leaked through copper and pressure dropped (yeah, right). Here, for some reason flexible lines seem like they are always prone to leaks and shunned instead.  So I am going by copper only due to manufacturer choice and code/recertification reasons only.

The fridge is only a few pounds and a balanced platform that many pounds is not impossible to make. A stetchable diaphragm takes care of seals. Remember, this is all for relatively small motions, limited to some degrees by trucks abilities. You arent going to park on a 45 degree incline any way. This is probably practical. Isnt something I am going to try.  Because copper.  Another day. etc.

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21 hours ago, linda s said:

Solid propane lines might make that impossible. Plus the extra space around your fridge. Even if you don't insulate the outside walls at least it's tightly in a cabinet which adds some insulating factor.

Linda S

My propane lines are about, I dont know, give or take four feet to the oven, lets say. They have enough give to rotate the thing 90 degrees without kinking the copper. Not something one can do on a regular basis. But how often does one need to level? Once per trip? presumably a consumable elbow can be designed if fatigue is expected.

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My current rig and its predecessors had/have black iron gas pipe from the propane tank to each appliance then a flair to MIP half union with a 3 ft or so of copper to unit. The copper has enough flex so that you can pull the appliance out and then unhook the copper line.

The flex piping you see on a lot of home water heaters is NOT recommended for RV use

Edited by WME

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14 hours ago, neubie said:

So wait, marine fridges are non propane? or leveled differently?

This is illuminating. I have also never been on a boat in any sort of meaningful capacity. Ferries dont count. Yes, some people lead very limited lives.

The 3 degrees rule is also interesting, there are (likely leaking) airbags already there. Two of them can sort of gimbal me a few degrees here or there about if they hold air for a few minutes at least. I doubt I personally can tell plus or minus five. The fridge probably would be able to.

Now here is some peculiar another life background. I have seen extensive and really widespread (and I mean at a scale many multiples of all use in the usa) use of propane. Almost all of it sans copper lines. Infact, when I insisted and had copper put in some place, folks moved the tank to the other end of copper instead of using the copper line! They felt gas leaked through copper and pressure dropped (yeah, right). Here, for some reason flexible lines seem like they are always prone to leaks and shunned instead.  So I am going by copper only due to manufacturer choice and code/recertification reasons only.

The fridge is only a few pounds and a balanced platform that many pounds is not impossible to make. A stetchable diaphragm takes care of seals. Remember, this is all for relatively small motions, limited to some degrees by trucks abilities. You arent going to park on a 45 degree incline any way. This is probably practical. Isnt something I am going to try.  Because copper.  Another day. etc.

The problem with leveling for a 1980s fridge has nothing do do with propane lines of any sort and everything to do with the ammonia heating mechanism that if not reasonably level will clog and crystalize and ruin your fridge at worst or at best just wont get cold. The "remodeled" campers if using state of the art newer propane fridges don't require level. Its really that simple.

 

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Also of note, i have yet to have a trip where i get the hallowed level camping spot on any adventure; i find myself constantly disappointed at airing or deflating air bags, driving on boards etc to try and level. At a rally i once saw a dolphin with the scissors jacks and he was boom level done with a hand drill and half a beer. Been looking for good deal on jacks ever since. I would bolt them on but despise drilling frames etc and the cursing and swearing that goes with it; i love booger welding though each time i use the booger I get a bit better at it.

Edited by Totem

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Yea bolting is a PIA, but if you mess one up unbolting the old one is easier than grinding off a couple of welds.

Using a good 20v cordless drill with a 18" extension makes it a snap to level.

Edited by WME

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1 hour ago, Totem said:

The problem with leveling for a 1980s fridge has nothing do do with propane lines of any sort and everything to do with the ammonia heating mechanism that if not reasonably level will clog and crystalize and ruin your fridge at worst or at best just wont get cold. The "remodeled" campers if using state of the art newer propane fridges don't require level. Its really that simple.

 

All absorption fridges need to be semi level most newer mobile fridges tend to be 12 volt compressor units. In the case of  a boat the movement is enough to keep the fridge happy just as it is in MH on the road.

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6 hours ago, Maineah said:

All absorption fridges need to be semi level most newer mobile fridges tend to be 12 volt compressor units. In the case of  a boat the movement is enough to keep the fridge happy just as it is in MH on the road.

So, will a new fridge if put in require this careful calibration or not? If its a three way, at least one way is an absorption method, isnt it?

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