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Author Topic: How are you Leveling your Bus when parked?  (Read 3627 times)
BRUISER
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« on: January 26, 2012, 08:24:52 AM »

I have searched and can not find any info on this topic.

I have a 83 MCI-9 and when I get places I seem to be finding myself on more un-level ground then level.

I have used 4x4 and 2x4 under tires to get the bus level but it is all a guessing game, due to after a few days of being parked and the bus air settles out and it will not be level anymore..

so what are others using? have you installed leveling kits? or just made wood ramps etc?

also are your bus loosing air when parked or settling after a few days? mine usually drops to 65PSI after a few days

thanks for any info
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iMPAKS.com
Raleigh, NC
1983 MCI MC-9
brando4905
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« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2012, 08:38:54 AM »

Bruiser,

I leveled our bus with blocks up until last year. I had a simple leveling system installed that just includes 3 guages and 3 push-pull type valves (2 for the rear, 1 for front). Eliminated the factory ride height control valves. One of the best things I've done for the bus. Found out all of my leaking down suspension issues were from leaking ride height valves, now the bags stay aired up for months! These bags were replaced within the last 4 years.

I initially was concerned that i'd miss the factory ride height system, but once I figured what the sweet spot was for the air pressure, I just fill them to my settings and hit the road. No way would I go back to having those valves, definitely not needed in our applications.

Brandon
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thomasinnv
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« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2012, 08:59:55 AM »

x2 what Brandon said. I installed a similar typr system about a year ago and it has been awesome. I put the system together myself. Total cost including new dot airlines to all the bags with all associated fittings was around $250.
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There are three kinds of people in this world....those that make things happen, those that watch things happen, and those that just wonder what the heck is happening. Which one are you?

1977 MCI Crusader MC-8
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95% converted (they're never really done, are they?)
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« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2012, 09:18:02 AM »

  10-4 on the tossing the leveling valves and using the air suspension for a leveling system.

  One thing to be VERY careful of though, is rear ride height. The driveshaft needs to run in a perfectly straight line between the transmission and axle at all times. Running the Coach higher or lower at the rear will put an angle on the driveshaft and it can wear rapidly. The automatic levelers keep the ride height pretty close to optimum height and you want to do the same. The front isnt critical in that way, but you dont want to run un-level front to rear. Just find the correct height in the back and match the front.  

  I want it as simple a system as practical. Im thinking gauges, mini pressure regulators, and some kind of push-pull dump valves. Once your parked the Bus does not need to be standing a foot in the air, you can drop it down so your step in is more reasonable.

  
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BRUISER
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« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2012, 10:12:36 AM »

so did you guys buy a system if so what kind, brand etc..

I have had air bag systems on trucks I have had in past.. and what you describe sounds just like that.. gauges showing pressure with release valves connected to compressor so I could control bad height?  does that sound correct?
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iMPAKS.com
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« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2012, 11:06:34 AM »

  There isnt any system you can buy, you make your own. Your working with standard DOT airline. You need some basic hardware store plumbing or gas valve parts, etc..

  You currently have an air line running to both axles. The front has one leveling valve, the rear axle has two valves. The rear axle levels from side to side while maintaining ride height up and down. The front only maintains ride height (up and down), both sides are interconnected. You want to bypass the leveling valves, but you need to control air bag pressure at the three current valve locations.

  Its really not that complicated you just need to understand what you have and how you want to go about altering it. You can do searches online as well as these forums, there is a lot of information to help you figure this out. It is quite common to hear people say their bus stopped leaking down flat overnight (or within hours) after getting rid of the leveling valves. Many will sit for months without dropping once the system is bypassed.

 
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Bussman84
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« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2012, 12:29:48 PM »

As always some really great information here. I have been pondering the same question back and forth but haven't gotten that far yet. Does anyone who has done this have any pictures they could post of what kind of valves and gauges they used and they set them up in the bus? Thanks in advance.

            Billy
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boogiethecat
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« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2012, 01:11:31 PM »

How are you Leveling your Bus when parked?

small piles of 2x6
cheap, effective and they don't fail!
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1962 Crown
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« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2012, 01:37:03 PM »

  Ive done a lot of reading on this over the last few years, as well as looking at a lot of pictures ive found online on these forums. Ive seen setups I wouldn't want, real plumbers nightmares. Ive seen other systems that while very professional looking, rely too heavily on electronics making the system much more complex than I want or need. But obviously everyone has their own needs and desires, as well as their own abilities. Perhaps the Bus is, for many of us, a place to show off our talents as much as anything else, a "look what I can do" blank sheet of canvas.

  3 point system vs 4 point. There is a great deal of discussion on this. I dont personally believe you could twist the Bus anymore than what a pot hole would do. But there really is no need to split the front axle system. There is much greater weight on the rear axle, the 3 point system works perfectly well, its just adding un-needed complexity to split the front.

  Keep the levelers or say bye bye. Were building an RV not a passenger coach. Your never going to have 5 tons of passengers coming and going, or tons of weight of passengers moving about, or cargo bays fully filling and emptying. Once the bags are at a set pressure out on the road to set ride height, its not going to change much. We've all read, or experienced what running a diesel fuel tank empty will do, at most were looking at 300-350 pounds of change at the front axle burning off fuel. And whatever were carrying in our fresh water or waste tanks, its not going to change until we stop somewhere to dump or take on water. I vote to get rid of the valves and simplify your life.

  Looking at my Bus, I need to tap into the line to the rear, add one extra line to the rear, and run new a line to the front. I will remove all three leveling valves and connect the lines direct to the air bag feed. I'll put three mini regulators with gauges on a manifold, and mount the manifold on the dash somewhere fed with line pressure off the Bus main air supply. I will run the three lines up to the manifold/regulators and im done. If needed I could put shut off/dump valves in the system. 
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luvrbus
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« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2012, 01:47:52 PM »

You can buy the system from HWH and others they are a little pricey for what you get check out www.hwhcorp.com there are some schematics for air levers on the HWH site fwiw


good luck
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« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2012, 02:11:23 PM »

  Heres what Gumpy did. Quite interesting if I might say.

  http://www.gumpydog.com/Bus/MC9_WIP/Mechanical/Leveling_System/leveling_system.htm
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bevans6
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« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2012, 02:41:13 PM »

I use run-up blocks, and sometimes a shovel to dig a hole for the tires to nestle into.  My suspension stays up for a long time, so that works for me.  Adding a system to work the air bags is definitely on the list though.

Brian
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Lee Bradley
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« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2012, 04:33:30 PM »

One of our members used to sell leveling systems, I got one of the last he built, that went between the factory valves and the air bag.  Mine is wired so the factory valves are enabled when the ignition is on and the manual valves are enabled when the ignition is off.   
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lostagain
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« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2012, 05:05:26 PM »

The Courier 96 didn't have a levelling system. I just used wood blocks when needed, and never wished I had a fancy system.

The 5C came from the PO with a nice system operated from the dash with switches and yea, it is nice. And hasn't given me trouble yet. One advantage is you can raise or lower the bus if need be, which is handy.

If I was building a bus, I probably would go with a simple valve system to manually inflate/deflate the air bags, and do away with the levelling valves.

JC
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JC
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« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2012, 05:11:58 PM »

Quite a while back I remember a post on the board of someone putting a small pancake style air compressor in one of the baggage bays. He installed a receptacle at that location and plumbed it into the bus air. When plugged in and air valve opened to the bus air system it kept the air pressure up and if you are trying to leave a campground early in the morning you don't have to fast idle to build pressure. I take no credit for this just giving the previous author his dues.
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