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Bus Discussion => Bus Topics ( click here for quick start! ) => Topic started by: Cary and Don on December 18, 2009, 11:56:08 PM



Title: Leveling Question
Post by: Cary and Don on December 18, 2009, 11:56:08 PM
I know some of you have used motors on the leveling arms to adjust the air in your bags for leveling.  I was wondering if anyone could tell us what type of motor you used, and hopefully have a picture of the installation.

Don and Cary
GMC 4107
Neoplan AN 340



Title: Re: Leveling Question
Post by: Sean on December 19, 2009, 05:37:33 AM
I used Electrak-1 linear actuators, which I bought on eBay.  I basically searched on "linear actuator" every day for a couple months until units suitable for the application came up.

The actuators in their centered position were longer than the factory adjustment rod, so we had to modify the mount on the A-arms as well as the levers on the valves.

(http://odyssey.smugmug.com/Other/Miscellaneous-Stuff/IMG0893/264678481_yi2N2-L.jpg)

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com (http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com)


Title: Re: Leveling Question
Post by: bevans6 on December 19, 2009, 07:28:13 AM
Sean, how much stroke did you feel was required on the actuators?  I looked on your site for a page that described your system buy couldn't find one - if you have done a description I'd appreciate the link!

Brian

Brian


Title: Re: Leveling Question
Post by: rv_safetyman on December 19, 2009, 09:15:31 AM
What size actuator would I need for my Eagle ;) ;D

Out of curiosity, do you put leveling valves on each wheel, or go with the one valve per axle?  If you go with one per wheel, it would seem to me to get a bit complicated when returning the bus to traveling configuration unless you had some sort of sophisticated control system.

Jim


Title: Re: Leveling Question
Post by: Sean on December 19, 2009, 10:32:43 AM
Sean, how much stroke did you feel was required on the actuators?  I looked on your site for a page that described your system buy couldn't find one - if you have done a description I'd appreciate the link!


Our actuators have 6" of travel and they are normally set dead center.

Sorry, I never got around to making a page on them, but have described them here on the boards in the past:
http://www.busconversions.com/bbs/index.php?topic=7632.msg74845#msg74845 (http://www.busconversions.com/bbs/index.php?topic=7632.msg74845#msg74845)
http://www.busconversions.com/bbs/index.php?topic=7632.msg74868#msg74868 (http://www.busconversions.com/bbs/index.php?topic=7632.msg74868#msg74868)
http://www.busnut.com/bbs/messages/233/5646.html (http://www.busnut.com/bbs/messages/233/5646.html)
http://www.busnut.com/bbs/messages/233/6595.html (http://www.busnut.com/bbs/messages/233/6595.html)


Out of curiosity, do you put leveling valves on each wheel, or go with the one valve per axle?  If you go with one per wheel, it would seem to me to get a bit complicated when returning the bus to traveling configuration unless you had some sort of sophisticated control system.


I put one actuator on each existing factory ride height valve.  That's a three-point system (four-point systems can induce chassis twist that will break things; don't ask how I know), one on each side in the front, and a single valve in the rear on my Neoplan (MCI and Prevost are the other way around).

I bought actuators with position-reporting potentiometers in them, then built a simple electronic circuit to be able to return the valves to factory ride-height position.  Three switches, six LEDs, a pair of quad voltage comparators, and six trimmer pots.  Less than $20.

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com (http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com)


Title: Re: Leveling Question
Post by: Busted Knuckle on December 19, 2009, 12:08:30 PM
Quote from: Sean
I put one actuator on each existing factory ride height valve.  That's a three-point system (four-point systems can induce chassis twist that will break things; don't ask how I know), one on each side in the front, and a single valve in the rear on my Neoplan (MCI and Prevost are the other way around).
-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com ([url]http://http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com[/url])



Sean our Setra's are the same as yours I guess those others weren't smart enough to copy the Germans ;D (opps did I just type that out loud? ;D)

Quote from: rv_safetyman
What size actuator would I need for my Eagle ;) ;D

Out of curiosity, do you put leveling valves on each wheel, or go with the one valve per axle?  If you go with one per wheel, it would seem to me to get a bit complicated when returning the bus to traveling configuration unless you had some sort of sophisticated control system.

Jim


Jim bring it on over to our shop, we'll take care of it for you, and cheaper than a new engine I might add! ;D
;D  BK  ;D


Title: Re: Leveling Question
Post by: rv_safetyman on December 19, 2009, 05:18:53 PM
BK:  Cheaper than a transmission? ;)

Aren't these buses inexpensive to operate?

Jim


Title: Re: Leveling Question
Post by: Dreamscape on December 20, 2009, 04:58:31 AM
Jim, Spray 'em down with some oil and add a little red dust to them they should be just fine! ::)

Paul


Title: Re: Leveling Question
Post by: Busted Knuckle on December 20, 2009, 06:14:45 AM
BK:  Cheaper than a transmission? ;)
Aren't these buses inexpensive to operate?
Jim

Yes they are Jim, and by the way I have one with an engine down too ('85 MCI 96A3 w/6V92TA)! But it is paid for and not as big a headache as the '05 Setra with the bad trans, and a $5,000 a month payment!   ;D  BK  ;D


Title: Re: Leveling Question
Post by: uncle ned on December 20, 2009, 03:58:00 PM

"HUGGY" has a four point leveling system. uses the four air bags to level first. Then has four hydraulic jacks on each corner.

Been this way for years has never broke yet. I can pick up one wheel to change a tire.
 but when it is level i can't see where a 3 point system is any better.

looks like you have a better chance of twisting the bus with it

And with the four jacks down it is steady as can be.

uncle ned


Title: Re: Leveling Question
Post by: Tim Strommen on December 20, 2009, 11:36:38 PM
...Been this way for years has never broke yet. I can pick up one wheel to change a tire.  But when it is level I can't see where a 3 point system is any better.  Looks like you have a better chance of twisting the bus with it.  And with the four jacks down it is steady as can be...

The triangle is the most stable base you can have.  If you have a square and three points are higher than the fourth all of the weight is on theose three points until you push down on the fourth.  With a three-point leveling system, the two wheels on one axle shift to distribute the load for the given pressure provided to the axle (essentially the axle self-levels).  The independent bags on the one axle give you the side-to-side leveling, the single point on the one axle gives you the front to back leveling.

On a 4-point system, you need to ensure that the front and back axles are level side-to-side while you also adjust the front-to-back leveling (this isn't really easy to do unless it's automatic...).


The nice thing about the way Sean did his, is that you can set an upper and lower limit in software (which reads the potentiometer in the actuator), and merge that with an inclinometer attached to the chassis - and let the bus level itself.

I've replaced my auto-ride-height air-valves with 3-way solenoid valves (1/16", 1/8", and 1/4").  This lets me totally digitize the height control.  For height sensing, I have a few hall-effect absolute encoders that use the same old arm method fro sensing the height of the chassis above the axle.  That info gets fed into a microprocessor which uses a PID algorithm to adjust the height using the valves (which will either inflate or exhaust air from the bags using 1/16" through 7/16" by using combinations of the three sizes).  When I go into "in-station" mode, it will auto-level the bus using 4 ultrasonic height detectors at each corner (this keeps the bus from bottoming out if the ground is not even), and two accelerometers coded as inclinometers.  If I hit the ignition switch "on", the bus automatically switches back to "road-height" mode and sets the air bags to the correct height. Because I don't have the leveling valves that are constantly reading the chassis height it doesn't settle if people move around inside...

-T


Title: Re: Leveling Question
Post by: Jeremy on December 21, 2009, 04:12:39 AM
Caravans (Travel Trailers) here are leveled by four legs operated by electric screw jacks (not enough weight to need hydraulics). Self leveling is very simply achieved by means of mercury switches mounted longitudinally for fore-and-aft leveling, and transversely for side-to-side leveling. Power is fed to the jack motors until the mercury switches become horizontal and the electrical circuit is broken.

Jeremy


Title: Re: Leveling Question
Post by: robertglines1 on December 21, 2009, 04:52:48 AM
another non electrical way....I changed the fixed end of the leveling rod to be movable....used a barn door spring (hindge type) with the bottom of rod attached to one side and the oppisite secured to bus.attached a morris cable  to the movable end and ran the cable to a lever(one for each side)to the utility bay Just adjust to desired height. Over road return to travel position..slot in slide.front is single lever located left hand side drivers seat..food for thought..good luck!


Title: Re: Leveling Question
Post by: Ed Hackenbruch on December 21, 2009, 05:44:17 AM
Well Tim, sounds to me like there are a lot of little things that could go wrong with your system. :)  l like simple, maybe because i am simple. ;D  I have a 4 point system put in by the PO. The ride control levelers are disconnected, (one less thing to go wrong) I have 4 valves with gauges so i can set each corner for whatever pressure/height that i want.  When leveling i bring each corner up or down a little at a time so that i will not have any part of the bus way out of level with the rest. I think that if i was very unlevel and just ran one corner all of the way up or down then i might run the risk of twisting the bus, but if i am in a spot that is going to require more than a couple of inches of adjustment, i run the bus up on a few blocks so it is closer to level to start with.


Title: Re: Leveling Question
Post by: RTS/Daytona on December 21, 2009, 07:14:08 AM
here's my simple - direct pneumatic campsite leveling systems -

$399 (uses Electrical Solenoid to retains OEN Height Control while traveling)   
or
$299 (does away with OEM Height Control valves + no electrical devices at all) 

http://good-times.webshots.com/album/559324954HVWVXC (http://good-times.webshots.com/album/559324954HVWVXC)

Pete RTS/Daytona


Title: Re: Leveling Question
Post by: uncle ned on December 21, 2009, 08:13:21 AM


Pete i have basically the same system but with four controls. You may remember the person that sold them.

His name was Red Ridout I think, It is called "Level It". Been working great for years.

uncle ned


Title: Re: Leveling Question
Post by: Ed Hackenbruch on December 21, 2009, 08:50:58 AM
Uncle Ned, i also have the Level It setup except that i don't have any hydraulic jacks, just the air bag controls. I also have a toggle switch so i can choose between manual and hiway,  but don't know if the hiway function works as i have always just left it on manual. Might have to try it next trip and see if it works......if i can remember to switch it :)  Other than that it has worked well for me and the PO. No idea how old the setup is, we have had the bus for 6 years and he had it for 20 years before that.


Title: Re: Leveling Question
Post by: JackConrad on December 22, 2009, 05:03:52 AM
Ed,
   We had the "Level-It" system on our 4106.  We purchased it from the gentleman that made them in 1983 or 84. They were made by Red Rideout from Evansville, Indiana.  I have not heard anything about Red for several years. It is a very basic sysyem with very few failure points.  Jack


Title: Re: Leveling Question
Post by: robertglines1 on December 22, 2009, 05:22:04 AM
Will check on Red Rideout,haven't seen him for awhile,Lives or lived about 5 miles from us.


Title: Re: Leveling Question
Post by: luvrbus on December 22, 2009, 05:33:16 AM
I been around buses for a long time never saw a 3 point hydraulic system installed by Big Foot or HWH on a bus always a 4 point system. 


good luck


Title: Re: Leveling Question
Post by: Ed Hackenbruch on December 22, 2009, 07:20:30 AM
Jack,  from the paperwork i have, it looks like the PO converted my bus in the last 4 months of 83.  I don't know if he put the system in then or added it later. I think that he was a member of Southeastern BusNuts. Maybe you know him?  He is out of Missouri, Dick and Virginia  Jasinsky.  He did a nice job, well thought out layout. We have made a few cosmetic changes in the 6 years we have owned and lived in the bus, and there are one or two things that we might have done a little differently, but overall we have been very pleased with the bus.


Title: Re: Leveling Question
Post by: robertglines1 on December 22, 2009, 07:22:40 AM
Red Rideout  812 423 3401..Talked to his son Dave ,,said dad still has bus but doesn"t drive it anymore..prob some of the systems left..Dave said OK to call..