I have decided to add a couple of areas together on this page with a view to keeping the page count down. So there will be a couple of sections, each with their own gallery of pictures, after all the major part of the levelling and the suspension are roughly in the same area.
Levelling: We decided on building our own system after seeing some of the prices being asked by the RV re-sellers. When you think about it the essential parts are
- A powerpack, or some means of creating hydraulic pressure. I have heard of people discussing doing this with the power steering pump, but as I have never seen it, think that it is fairy land stuff. That leaves a hydraulic pump on a PTO, again not something I have seen on a coach, though it may have been done, certainly more feasible than the above. So, the common way to do this is with a DC electric powerpack or motor and pump. I purchased 2 from ebay 24 volt, and each came with 2 x 2 way valves operated by electric solenoids. I robbed the valves off one and sold the rest, this gave me a powerpack and the valves I needed for $750.
- Cylinders. Most of the cylinders that come with the supplied systems look very fancy, lots of plates to weld on and lots of bolts to do up. I purchased 4 x 3″ x 16″ stroke off ebay for about $500 and they work fine, double acting, they are pumped up and down.
- Hoses. Fortunately I had 1,000 mtrs of suitable hydraulic line lying around, as well as the reusable fittings needed, so it was simply a matter of running 2 hoses from the valves mounted on the powerpack to each cylinder, running the pump through that valve to get the air out, then connecting them up. Still have plenty of hose, if you are inspired to DIY give me a call.
- Control. Some of the fancy systems will sit there for five minutes making minute adjustments because the control isn’t happy. I have my coach levelled and have finished a beer before they are done. How bloody accurate do you want to be ? We don’t even bother most of the time unless it is annoying. So don’t spend the big bucks when you don’t need to. My control consists of 2 switches, one powers up the control switches, the other activates an air solenoid that pulls my safety locks out (a bit anal about them creeping down while travelling, I know will never happen, but I am happy now) The rest of the control is 2 x 4 gang Clipsal switch pads with bell presses instead of mechanical switches like for your house lights. I set is down, the other set is up. Press the button for the leg you want down and it goes dow, when it is down far enough, let the button go, it ain’t rrocket science like some say !
So you can diy a levelling system with not much effort and save yourself over 5 thousand bucks which is serious money in a bus conversion. If you can build a bus you can make one of these. Ours will lift the front clear off the ground, maybe the back as well but there is too much weight back there for me to want to find out. One other benefit I hope never to use, if you get bogged but can get something under where your legs land you can still lift the coach to assist in you getting out. Pics follow.
When you are doing a serious rebuild of a neglected coach you really should consider the undersides as well, there is no point in having a really nice interior if the underside might let you down. We decided to do quite a few things and had others decided for us. I don’t think there is a pic of one of the tag backing plates, but the round hole that the S cam fits into could have taken a large sized egg, on it’s end. So that decided us on total brake replacement. What we have done under VP:
- All hub and diff oil seals
- All brake linings
- 2 brake drums
- 2 backing plates
- All brake cans
- All new brake hoses
- Alloy wheels
- New studs and nuts for above
- Adjusted steering box and replaced universals
- Wheel alignment
- All new airbags
- Recoed power steering pump
- 12 new Shock absorbers
Only now do we feel confident about the underside performing as it should, indeed we have had no issues “down there” on any trip so far, once the stud question was sorted out.