Tip # 75 for Bushtrackers in Planning, Jack Legs and Priorities....

Submitted: Saturday, Nov 19, 2005 at 01:34
ThreadID: 122332 Views:4522 Replies:12 FollowUps:2
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Here are both sides of this issue from the experience of the majority: The Pros and cons are outweighed by the priorities of weight concerns, and this is something you can probably do without.... Also the primary design is stiffening the van for the motion sensitive not side to side leveling... Here is the whole enchilada:

On the issue of these jack legs stands, there are long heavy duty ones available that can be fitted. We can put them on if you like, but with our suspension most don’t need them. We leave them off as they are not necessary for the overwhelming majority and so add useless weight. We did not put three sets on in the previous seven years before the BOG group made them popular in 2003. 98% or more of Clients do not need them, I don't have them on mine, Tracy does not have them on his, and most others feel the same way.. It is a fad of late with the Bushtracker Owners talking amongst themselves, but you will still have some minor feel of someone walking in the van even when you do use them... The far and above overwhelming majority don't require them, but if you feel that you want them we can add them on... In stormy wind conditions, they will work the soil out of the way and you will find tiny minor movement if you focus on it, even with the stands down. The jack legs accomplish little, and that is why we don't have them in our Standard Inclusions. They particularly are not designed to level the van, that is a common misunderstanding, as they just firm it up for motion sensitive people.

As to Levelling? My new van was just finished in 2005, and there are none on it… For the little 50mm or 100mm out of level side to side, I have been going with a Bushtracker longer than anyone else, and will still say there is no where I cannot scuff a little dirt with my boot, or put a stick in front of each tyre, or a rock, while I am waiting the Turbo to cool down… I will pull forward the six inches and level my van in about ¼ the time or less, of putting down jack legs. And the Jack Legs are not designed to take the loading of levelling, they are only designed to take out some of the motion from walking... But even that they do not eliminate entirely.. This is the problem when things become a fad, and then people think they are missing out if they do not have them, when in reality they were not necessary for the overwhelming majority in the first place. This all has a negative impact on weight, and the type of inexperienced person that takes it all on board from all the well meaning suggestions on the BOG, could add up to 400kg to their van of unnecessary little things…(Been done).. All of the good ideas need to be filtered and prioritized… A 20' van with the normal sort of selections from our Optional Equipment, most of which makes good sense and adds up to about 300-400 kg in equipment, with that on board a 20' can weigh about 2500kg. Lately I have seen them just under and just over. But the ones that try and add 67 more "good ideas" on board, can weigh hundreds of kilos more... Filter and prioritize for best results..

In saying all of this, there are always exceptions to the rule like an extreme sensitivity to motion sickness, and if you want the folding legs added on we can do it. I would say in defense of them, stiffening for the rare motion sickness sensitive Person- Yes. Leveling the van? No, absolutely not… So unless you are extremely sensitive to motion, it is not high on the list for extra weight to carry around forever...

The "Lone Ranger" has been dragging a Bushtracker just about longer than anyone... Yes this is a grey area, and there are some that will disagree, just know that some of those people that would disagree are overloaded, too heavy, even on their tow vehicles: Overloaded with a whole lot of really great ideas that add up to too much... To try and help on a "Grey Area Decision" I can only give you the “weighted majority of experience”, and in this case I say not worth the added weight and cost.

Legitimacy of my comments? I could just stay quiet and take your money... But we are out on the edge, trying to do the right thing, in really looking after you with your best interests in mind... OK?

Cheers, from the "Lone Ranger"


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Reply By: Bocky - Sunday, Nov 20, 2005 at 18:00

Sunday, Nov 20, 2005 at 18:00
At present we have a new 20ft BT ordered due March and I have rear stands included, however after reading this post I am not sure. Are any BT owners going to reply to this thread so I can get opinions from both sides?
Regards,
Brian & Linda

"Such is Life"

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Reply By: Turist - Sunday, Nov 20, 2005 at 18:35

Sunday, Nov 20, 2005 at 18:35
We have had 2 BT's, no stabiliser legs on van #1, had them fitted to van #2.
If I had another van built I wouldn't bother.
We very seldom use them, probably less than 3 or 4 times in the past 2 years.

As Steve says, they are not really required unless you are annoyed by the small movement of the van on the suspension when you are moving around inside.
Most of that movement seems to go if the handbrake is well applied and the wheels are firmly chocked so I think a lot of the movement comes from the van wheels rockin 'n rollin'.

With most conventional van designs, Jayco, Coromal, etc they are required to control weight shift.
Put 4 or 5 people down the back of a conventional van and there is a good chance that the van will tip up on end.
Doesn't appear to be a problem with BT.

They are useless for levelling the van left to right, the main reason that I fitted them.
For left right levelling I carry a 1.5 metre length of 200 x 50 treated pine and several offcuts of same around 250 mm long.
On soft ground I put down the plank first and then drive on to it.
If extra height is required then I put some of the offcuts on top of the plank.
If the ground is hard then just use the offcuts, you can stack them 3 high and still pull the van onto them.

Regards
Bob
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Nobody is getting any younger.

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Reply By: Luvntravln - Monday, Nov 21, 2005 at 00:14

Monday, Nov 21, 2005 at 00:14
Well, someone has to speak to the other side of the issue.

Clearly, the legs are not meant for leveling - in fact, we have found that if you do them up too hard you can actually tweak the frame and have trouble with the entry door.

Having said that, we would not be without them - full stop!

They SIGNIFICANTLY reduce the motion inside of the van. Just the other day I had been a little lazy and had not put down the legs. Jackie was in bed with a migraine and was sufficiently bothered by the motion that I went out in the rain and put down all four legs.

Made a HUGH difference.

The is a solid caravan; not a moving yacht - something Steve and I have lived on in the past.

My vote will always be to have the legs.

Luvntravln
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Reply By: Pal & Sop - Monday, Nov 21, 2005 at 06:38

Monday, Nov 21, 2005 at 06:38
I also like using stands if I set up for more than one night.
But I use a set of 4 very light free standing aluminium framed stands with a screw thread. I bought them from a caravan accessory place, lengthened them about 50mm and have found them excellent. They stack together take up a bit more room than a 2 litre milk bottle and weigh less than 5 kg.

Palle
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Reply By: Bushtracker Buck & Babe - Monday, Nov 21, 2005 at 07:15

Monday, Nov 21, 2005 at 07:15
We lived in our van permanently for 13 months. We had the rear leg stands fitted by Vehicle Components and were glad we did. They were particularly good when we had strong gusty winds wrapping around the van (as was the Aussie Traveller awning). We wouldn't have been without them.

We also had a red stand up the front under the towing hitch and also the airbag suspension for levelling from side to side.

Our van was very stable and as I said, no problem when fierce winds were circulating outside the van.

Angie
AnswerID: 567459

Reply By: Bushtracker - Monday, Nov 21, 2005 at 18:52

Monday, Nov 21, 2005 at 18:52
The Lone Ranger has a thought for those of you on the edge so to speak,
"To have or not to have, that is the question"....

If you are not extremely sensitive to motion sickness, go without them. You can always add them on later if you like... Err on the side of weight conservative, and at first try it without. Then if you want to see the difference, buy a cheap $30 set of plastic stands from any caravan shop and try them to see the difference... OK? I think if you New Bushtracker Owners were to go through this excercise, at least half of you would not bother, and probably more like 75% would not

For most, I venture it is not necessary. Again, my advice comes right out of my pocket, but we always try and do the right thing by our Customers.. If I am wrong, I see no

Kind Regards
AnswerID: 567460

Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Monday, Nov 21, 2005 at 18:54

Monday, Nov 21, 2005 at 18:54
(Distracted, sorry).. Continued.... I see no disadvantage to adding them later, OK?
Regards from the Ranger
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Reply By: Suncoasters - Tuesday, Nov 22, 2005 at 05:47

Tuesday, Nov 22, 2005 at 05:47
I have a 18ft van and do not have legs fitted but when stating for longer than one night I (like Pal & Sop) have a lightweight set of jack stands that I use to stabilise the van front to rear. I also carry several lengths of treated pine to level from left to right. My two bobs worth.

David
AnswerID: 567461

Reply By: Downunder - Tuesday, Nov 22, 2005 at 07:02

Tuesday, Nov 22, 2005 at 07:02
When we bought our van back in 2001 I don't believe they were an option so no choice there. However I did install a set on the rear last year and in my opinion they are definately worth having.

Most people know they are not for levelling a van they are simply a stabiliser as their name implies and they do a good job of that. Quite frankly if a set of stabilisers was going to throw me over the weight edge (so to speak) I would need to re-assess my original requirements as I am cutting things too fine.

Bottom line, get rid of something else and fit stabilisers you won't regret it.

Regards, Bill
AnswerID: 567462

Reply By: Tassie Bushies - Tuesday, Nov 22, 2005 at 07:46

Tuesday, Nov 22, 2005 at 07:46
Yes we have them front & back, because Jennifer has ongoing inner ear problem, so they are a must for stability only, not for levelling. We had them fitted by BTI so they would be included in the tare. Yes our 20ft is 2700Kg. but towing with a F250 who cares?
Regards Peter.

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AnswerID: 567463

Reply By: Tellem Bugrem - Tuesday, Nov 22, 2005 at 18:36

Tuesday, Nov 22, 2005 at 18:36
Hello rockers,

Copeton 2004, .....our van wriggled off a levelling chock whilst 3 ladies were moving around inside discussing layout, cupboards etc. (Actually my fault for not chocking the wheels properly to suit the slopy site.) However, the result was that Liz wanted to win the stabilizer legs (donated by Vehicle Components) in the raffle.
Guess what......she did! So, en route through Brisbane we called into VC and had them fitted - welded to the lower rear cross member of the frame, hanging down to the same departure angle as the steps.
When in use they are dropped to a slight angle outwards (like a girraffe's front legs when it is drinking). They only have to be in firm contact with the ground to provide a stable interior. We use them whenever we are unhooked from tow vehicle.
Near Algebuckina Bridge on the Oodnadatta Track this year, we scaped both the steps and the stabilizers whilst traversing a gully. Only minor damage, and a quick repair with the dumpy hammer. We are about to have them relocated such that when they are in the "up'' position, they are ouside the BT departure angle. I have also designed a KISS method of making the steps so they can be removed for when crossing steep embankments. Jay had BTI modify his steps so they can be removed. What I am doing is using 2 ball bearing gate hinges as sliders, and 2 lockable "over centre latch hatches" to lock the steps in place...much easier than Jays.......will post a photo after fitting next week.

Cheers............Rob and Liz
AnswerID: 567464

Follow Up By: Landy - Tuesday, Nov 22, 2005 at 19:05

Tuesday, Nov 22, 2005 at 19:05
You gotta love the Ranger he knows the business so take notice from the Guru. What I did was buy a set of scew type jack stands from Supercheap at around $39. Have not used them yet but what the heck if they do not work they transfer to the Disco for maintenance work.

Regards

Bill C
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Reply By: Richo - Wednesday, Nov 23, 2005 at 03:15

Wednesday, Nov 23, 2005 at 03:15
I used to use car stands for leveling (front to rear) and provide some stability, particularly under the rear on the step side as entry and departure caused some rock and roll.

I recently fitted 4 wind down stands purchased from Vehicle Components and find them very convienient to use and certainly "fit for purpose". As for weight it is probably 6 of one half a dozen of the other (compared to stands)!

Probably a personal choice, I happy to have and use mine.
AnswerID: 567465

Reply By: MattandLana - Tuesday, Nov 29, 2005 at 19:42

Tuesday, Nov 29, 2005 at 19:42
We've only done a couple of trips in our second hand BT, but here's an observation. For overnight stops on a slightly sloping site we used a hydraulic jack to level the van, lifting on the centre pivot bolt between the wheels as described elsewhere in this site.

Unexpected side effect - almost zero van movement!

We've not yet used the legs Anthony fitted to our van when he had it.

Matt
AnswerID: 567466

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