Levelling the van "TIP"

Submitted: Sunday, May 22, 2005 at 22:21
ThreadID: 121993 Views:3274 Replies:8 FollowUps:7
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When one side of the van was down hill, or the back corner down hill, I have always placed timber under both wheels on that side, but John and Helen (Tripsn'taps) called in the other day and showed me the easier way.

On this ocassion they stayed the night and parked on the vacant block across the road which has a bit of a slope on it. The flatest way to park the right rear of the van to still require raising up to get the van level. John simply used 1 set of 3 blocks, each about 75mm thick, and did it so that the top one was a ramp that folded down onto the 2 underneath as the rear right wheel went up onto them. This put the simplicity suspension on an interesting angle with the right rear wheel well up into the wheel arch but it levelled the van up perfectly.

In future I will do the same.
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Reply By: Motherhen & Rooster - Monday, May 23, 2005 at 05:15

Monday, May 23, 2005 at 05:15
With all the tricks and tips we inherited from the previous owner, was a folding triangular metal "ramp" which bolted to the a-frame for storage when not in use. Made to drive just one wheel onto it, we used it only if on very sloping ground, and it did the job effectively and easily.
Motherhen

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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 00:21

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 00:21
Please see a Follow up at the end of the thread about the reasons to do it on both wheels... Cheers.....
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Reply By: Panna Trackers - Monday, May 23, 2005 at 05:29

Monday, May 23, 2005 at 05:29
Brian
Having trouble working out how the blocks worked. How wide , long where they? Was it 3 short planks 75mm thick using two to make a ramp for the one and in doing so lifting the one wheel up 150mm ?
Thanks
Trevor
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Follow Up By: Noosa Fox - Monday, May 23, 2005 at 22:00

Monday, May 23, 2005 at 22:00
Trevor,
As Steve has stated below, what John has is several pieces of timber about 75mm thick and about 600 - 700 mm long. They are about the same width as the tyres (eg 200mm).

He placed 2 blocks on top of each other, on the ground about 250mm behind the rear wheel, and then used the 3rd one as a ramp by placing just behind the tyre and laying it on top of the 2 other blocks.

When he reversed up the ramp the ramp then flattens out as the wheel reaches the flat blocks and then the ramp forms the 3rd plank under the wheel.

It is important to have someone watching to tell you exactly when to stop. As Steve said, Low range is good for these occassions.

Also for those with a Techonsha prodigy brake controller, because they are so easy to adjust, I have found that it is a good idea to turn the trailer brakes down to zero, so that when you apply the vehicle brakes , the caravan brakes do NOT push the timber blocks out of the way. For those with other controllers it would probably pay to disconnect the trailer plug to prevent them comming on.
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Reply By: Freewheelers - Monday, May 23, 2005 at 07:56

Monday, May 23, 2005 at 07:56
Brian,

Same here - not sure exactly what you're describing. If you could take a pic or 2 when convenient and add to your album, would be much appreciated.

Cheers
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Reply By: Bushtracker - Monday, May 23, 2005 at 18:00

Monday, May 23, 2005 at 18:00
Hello Fellow Boggers,
You know, I have never been anywhere in Oz, but what there was a few little rocks, or wood, or sand to scuff under the tyres; while the turbo diesel was running to cooling down. But about half the time I am carrying some timber in the cargo hold to start fires with. And I did just what Brian is recommending just a couple of weeks ago at Gatton in the Showgrounds at a Reining Horse Competition...

I is just a few blocks of wood, the one block leaning down to make a little ramp for the tyre to climb up on the other blocks.... Very simple... Only I do it on both tyres on one side for level.... Mind you, if I did not have any timber, there is nothing wrong with rocks... I arrange it while the diesel is cooling down before I shut off the engine, and put it into low range to "crawl up on the rocks".... Using local sand, rocks, firewood, timber, whatever; saves carrying around graduated ramps and works well. But since I usually carry some firewood in cutoff pieces, this has proven to be convenient in the last few years...

Happy Trails....
AnswerID: 566395

Follow Up By: Freewheelers - Monday, May 23, 2005 at 22:55

Monday, May 23, 2005 at 22:55
stg whats the geometry of the axle do when only one wheel rises or fall does the suspenion keep the van level or does the van follow the rising or dipping wheel ???
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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 00:09

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 00:09
Hello,
I put timber or rocks or whatever under both wheels.... Because if you only put a small amount under one wheel, the load is shifted onto the other wheel, and in effect you only lift 1/2 of the distance for the smaller increments of measure until the other wheel is fully loaded. #@%&! Since I cannot draw you a picture, let me try another way to explain it....

In other words, a 50mm block under one wheel, could amount to only a 25mm lift to the caravan, as the suspension tandem ends are connected by the inverted springs (Load Sharing).... And the geometry involved means you do not get the full 50mm lift.... Only half at the "linear mid point between the two suspension arms" where the van lift point is.... Lift one end of the "see-saw" a value of two, and the midpoint fulcrum only lifts half that, or a value of one...

Where a 50mm block under both wheels will give you a 50mm lift... In other words, lift both ends of the "see-saw" a value of two, and the fulcrum mid point is lifted a value of two...

Hope my explanation can paint an adequate picture.... Ha!
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Follow Up By: Freewheelers - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 03:12

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 03:12
thanks steve thats what i would have expected whats the wheel base of the tandem cheers
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Reply By: Panna Trackers - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 01:09

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 01:09
Brian & Steve
Thanks for the detail. Another bit of knowledge to add to the learning experience that is this forum
Kind Regards
Trevor & Lyndal
AnswerID: 566396

Reply By: Freewheelers - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 03:23

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 03:23
hi all notice in luvntravin photo no 30 they use a jack under the spring to level seem effective but fussy comments / alternatives cheers
AnswerID: 566397

Reply By: Motherhen & Rooster - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 08:16

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 08:16
When travelling Europe in a motor van some time back, we used to jack the van up if on a sloping spot - simple & effective.
Motherhen

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Reply By: MattandLana - Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 05:54

Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 05:54
Anthony included with the van a little hydraulic piston jack with a custom doohickey made up to sit over (in fact around) the central suspension bolt for a nice positive engagement. We used it once on the way home. Not too fiddly and probably less fiddly than arranging stuff to drive on. Plus a benefit was less movement of the van because it was effectively rigid on that side.

This was only an overnighter - would probably have done something different if we were stopping for longer. Although that said I think it was pretty safe. On a moderately sloping site both wheels were still on the ground (this is why you don't use that spot for wheel changing, as Steve has explained recently) and it seemed to me that the worse that would have happened if the jack let go was a big wobble as it settled back onto its suspension.

Any comments anyone on the wisdom of using the jack solution?

Matt
AnswerID: 566399

Follow Up By: Noosa Fox - Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 06:51

Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 06:51
I like the description of the custom made device. a "doohickey", I cannot find that in a dictionary so I take it that it is something like a whatsamecallit or a thingamajig. {smile}

I think you are correct with what you have said Matt. When we have parked somewhere and after un-hitching decided that it required levelling side to side, I have jacked up one wheel and slid blocks in underneath.

As you said, jacking from that centre bolt requires a very big lift to get the wheels off the ground, and a bit of effort as you are lifting nearly half the van weight.
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Follow Up By: MattandLana - Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 22:28

Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 22:28
You're almost right re terminology but I think thingamajigs usually have a bigger flange, and often a left-hand thread! :)

I've now realised you can see a photo of Anthony's device in luvntravln photo no 30, as Freewheelers cited above.

Matt
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