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Old 02-02-2013, 11:53 PM   #3186
Da Bear
Twisted toy maker
 
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Joined: Sep 2008
Location: Portland, oregon. The Great North Wet
Oddometer: 1,795
The sink hole, or how to fuck up a leveling jack......

It's been a little over a month or so since we brought our 2003 Newmar Dutchstar home and parked it in the driveway. Since our driveway is just dirt, with a thin layer of crushed rock over it, I made a set of four 12"x12"x4" pads out of pressure treated lumber and positioned them under the jacks before activating them. In no time at all, we were nice and level, and the slides were out. last week I was doing some work changing a set of blinds over the galley window ( I hate those metal mini blinds,and I had a nice honeycombed Bali that fit perfectly in the space and matched too boot) all of a sudden, the rig lurched at the back, and there was an awful sound .It was well after dark by this time so I grabbed my flash light and went out into the rain(This is Oregon after all) got down on the ground and shined it on the right rear jack. I couldn't crawl under there, but everything looked stable enough to wait 'til daylight.
The next morning I went out to survey the damage. I won't repeat what I said. However, a 2 foot across sink-hole, about 18 inches deep had opened up under the jack.You can imagine the words that came forth. We had some sewer work done a few years ago and there must have been a void in there just waiting for 16,000 pounds of RV to find it. The pad I had made, in this instance did more harm than good, as the hole opened up in just the right place for it to tilt into the hole, causing the foot to come off the jack. The end of the hydraulic piston was embedded deep in the hole where I couldn't see it. I retracted the jacks. they all came up except that one. Ok Plan "B" owners manual, manual retraction, ok got it. followed them to the letter. No good. OK, plan "C" Start up rig let suspension air bags fill. unit lifts. Place filler in hole then set 2x6 chunk between it and jack piston. dump air, forcing piston upwards. Repeat as needed until levelling system warning light goes out and shrill alarm stops. reversed all of the instructions on the manual retraction. and now we're ready to roll, from the looks of things, I'm going to at least need a new retractor spring. I hope to hell those feet are designed to do what this one did. A new jack would be a serious pain right now. I'll get under it again tomorrow when I can get it onto solid concrete and try to get the foot back in place......
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