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In my battle to get our RV completely level, I finally pulled out the Nuclear Option. I installed automatic leveling jacks from E&P hydraulics on our ProMaster-based Winnebago Travato. Check out this video to see them being installed, and to see them in action:
Level. Oh you sweet, tasty level…
If you’ve hung around here a while, you’ve seen me “get my OCD on” around getting our RV level. It’s true. I’m kind of a freak about it. I’ve tried blocks, and I’ve tried weird curvy blocks (that I didn’t like). I’ve bought super expensive levels, and used them to install a leveling box in our rig. That I did like, and while it gave me data about level, it didn’t do anything to get me level. So after a couple years of obsessing, all I had was the same Hosspads I started with, and perfect knowledge of exactly how out of level I was.
Then, came our visit to Advanced RV. They’re a custom Class B maker. And since it’s their business, they get to experiment with pretty much any technology their customers want. Fortunately, I’m not alone in my level geekiness, and the folks at Advanced RV had been installing automatic leveling jacks from E&P Hydraulics in some of their Sprinter motorhomes.
Knowing this, I checked out E&P and found that besides Sprinters, they also manufactured leveling jacks for the Fiat Ducato. The Ducato is the European cousin of our Ram ProMaster. So I made some inquiries and asked if their Ducato system would work on a US ProMaster. There were a few emails back and forth, and pictures of the underbelly of Lance. In the end the folks at E&P and Advanced RV are just as eager to try new things as I am, so we decided to give it a go! The install went smoothly, and ahead of schedule, and you can see the finished product in the video.
Oh I’m level… but there’s more.
And yes. In practice, the E&P jacks work exactly as I had hoped they would. The automatic leveling gets me more or less level, and then I can tweak it to my heart’s content using the manual mode to get my head the just-slightly-higher-than-my-feet that I prefer for sleeping. It’s AWESOME!
But there’s another benefit that I hadn’t even considered that I’ve grown to love (and Stef likes, as well). You see, when the jacks are down, the vehicle isn’t resting on its suspension. So besides being level, it doesn’t sway at all! We can get in, get out, run back and forth front-to-back, and you’d never know from looking at the outside of the van. There’s no sway, no rocking… nothing. We never really realized how much our van moved when we were inside it – until it quit moving.
And Before You Ask
I tried to show this in the video, and since the install, I’ve measured myself. Installing the leveling jacks did not decrease the ground clearance of our Travato. The jacks are higher than the rear axle, which has always been our lowest point. I haven’t measured the departure angle yet, but I suspect that the rear hitch is still our sticking point there. But even though it didn’t decrease the absolute ground clearance, I obviously do have a few extra things hanging down underneath the van. I haven’t scraped one yet, and I think being reasonably careful (as you should driving any RV) will keep me out of trouble there.
And, since a couple of you have asked…
Yes, the capacity of the leveling system is quite a bit greater than what we showed in this video. I haven’t tested the absolute capacity of the system, but I know it’s greater than the two inches of Hosspads I was carrying before. We once deployed it on a loading ramp. How’s this for leveling?
So in short. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE our automatic leveling jacks from E&P Hydraulics. I love being level. I love being steady. And Stef loves me not having to drive all over the campground for about an hour trying to find a spot that’s level. Everyone wins.