Imagine levelling at the push of a button… with hydraulic levelling jacks you can.
By Mark Allen
We’ve all experienced pulling up at camp, hauling the manual leg winder out, winding each of the legs down to steady and level the camper-trailer, caravan or motorhome… only to find the legs won’t actually lift to level. So, as good as they are to stabilise your outfit, they rarely lift more than taking a little weight off the suspension.
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Enter the 12V-powered hydraulic system that will lift and level all at the push of a wireless remote controlled button. RV Daily magazine sat in on an installation with the Sydney dealer/fitter at Total Care 4WD during fitting of a levelling jack system to a motorhome.
The drive in/drive out job is made fairly easy (by the well-known Titan parent company that specialises in all things trailers) via the complete supplied kit being an all in one system that does not require an electrician, hydraulics fitter or any other tradesperson. Obviously the kit fitter needs the relevant capabilities and be certified to complete the install but being a complete bolt-in system, it is made relatively straightforward. This kit is certainly not one for DIY.
Once the extendable lifting pads have been secured to the four corners of the chassis and the electrical control unit fitted into a side locker of the motorhome, it was a simple matter of hooking up the prefabbed hydraulic lines, power up the hand-held wireless remote, take a seat (on a milk crate in the factory) and watch in amazement as the motorhome took on the attributes of one of those crazy doof doof pimp mobiles that bounce themselves silly at traffic lights.
Fair enough, the hydraulic lifting rates in these kits are much slower than that, but being able to lift and level a van or rig this simply from inside or out would be a thrill in itself for some. Say you’re a little less mobile than you used to be; no worries just push a button. Say its freezing cold outside or pouring down, again no worries just push those buttons from inside the comfort of your own home on wheels and hey presto your tea and coffee will be dead flat in your cup.
In manual mode either the two ends or two side jacks can be lowered simultaneously. There are safety systems in place that don’t allow two diagonally opposite jacks to be lowered at the same time to prevent twisting of the chassis.
In automatic mode, as each foot pad touches the ground a load sensor comes into play allowing the automatic levelling system to do its thing resulting in a nice level bed, table and cooking surface. Another good safety feature is the non-return valve that retains the set height of each hydraulic lifter. The large 10-inch square pads provide enough footprint to prevent most instances of sinking into soft ground. Each hydraulic lifter is capable of raising five tonnes, so given there are four lifters you’d be doing well to outdo a 20-tonne system.
The same goes for pack-up time; a simple push of a button retracts the vertical hydraulic legs and you’re ready to roll. There’s no need to remove or stow the legs in a separate compartment as they retract enough to be a complete compact kit. There are different stroke length kits to suit all applications, so if you’ve got anything from a low-riding van or motorhome to a higher off-road model, there will be a kit to suit.