Jack warning!

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by barrywi, Sep 3, 2013.

  1. barrywi

    barrywi Read Only Funster

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    Having recently acquired a 2008 Autocruise Gleneagle which is in really good condition I decide to set about it and eliminate any rusty bits both out of view and in view.
    The first task was the underneath so I drove my Motorhome up onto the also newly acquired Milenco Quattro levelling ramps. Great fun was had grovelling underneath with an ice cream tub of clear Waxoyl and a handy brush. The main chassis was fine as I suppose it is galvanised so I dabbed away at various nuts and bolts and screws that looked vaguely rusty including towbar fittings. The worst bit was the metal support for the waste tank which were rectangle shaped hollow bars which had been powder coated but had flaking paint. A mental note was made to take them off one by one and get some waxoyl inside the cavities, obviously when the tank was empty!!. I covered every brake pipe in sight and it was useful to see what was where under the van. Also noted was no insulation on the plastic waste pipes feeding the tank so that is another job on the list. I found out that the handbrake cable runs to the back and operates on the rear disc brakes, so the cable linkages were also covered. I greased the two nipples at either end of the tube which link the left suspension with the right.

    Under the front was harder as the engine drops down further than the back and my portly frame got in the way but I managed to get at most items including the brackets for the mini steps on the front doors which were unprotected. I was interesting to see the eight bolts on each side linking up the cab chassis and the Alko back end.

    After a day or two break my next task was the wheels. As the van has steel wheels and the cost of buying a set of alloys is high I resolved to remove the wheels and trims and have a go at the rusty wheels seen through the Peugeot trims.
    Using the scissor jack supplied with the van I lifted a front wheel up and despite it being a real struggle to undo the bolts ( not nuts like on most cars these days) I managed to get the 16 inch wheel off. Not being alloys they weighed considerably more than the 19 inch wheels on my Jaguar XJ so that was hard work. A few hours later the wheel had been pressure washed sanded and then dried off with a heat gun and I got them looking pretty good with one coat of Hammerite smooth silver. Obviously they will be mostly out of site behind the trim but I will know they will not rust for a good while. The nuts were also painted as they can be seen. I fitted the spare wheel which I had previously removed from the frame at the back of the van so I could rotate all the wheels. Now that is definitely a job to be avoided at the kerbside...get the Rac or AA to get the spare out and fit it in case of a puncture!!
    After the front wheel had dried overnight I jacked up the opposite side to remove that wheel for treatment and got about two thirds of the way up with just two bolts holding the wheel on when the scissor jack collapsed. Luckily I was not under the van in any way and I could only get it out by using an old trolly jack to just ease the van up enough to get it out.
    Needless to say after this all work was halted and deep breath were taken.
    After a bit of research I have ordered a FOUR ton bottle jack and a two piece extended wheel brace as the wheel nuts were stuck on in a couple of cases. My Aldi air impact wrench could not move them so I had to stand on the long socket set brace I have. The supplied wheel nut spanner would not have moved them.
    I will continue the work when the new jack arrives tomorrow and will try and get an axle stand I have under the chassis for safety when the wheel is off. I will keep the bottle jack in the motorhome as it only weighs one Kilo

    I am telling this tale so that you all know that the scissor jack supplied with the vehicle is not fit for this sort of job and in my opinion is downright dangerous and yes I was working on level ground.
    I will report back any problems in using a bottle jack.
    A post note is that my Motorhome weighs 4000KG and now has one beautifly painted wheel fitted . One other painted so three more to go...wish me luck.
     
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  2. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    Best thing to do with a scissor jack of any description, is throw it away before you are tempted to use it. They are down right dangerous. You were using one in ideal conditions on flat ground in daylight at home. Imagine in darkness, in a hurry and at the side of the road with other vehicles driving past. A recipe for disaster if ever there was one.
     
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  3. icantremember

    icantremember Funster

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    We have the Autocruise Augusta which is very similar to yours in size and weight.

    The supplied jack is just not suitable as you have discovered so I use 2 10t bottle jacks along with 3t axle stands to grease the AlKo axle.
     
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  4. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    a wise tale......:thumb:

    scissor jacks......throw it away and buy a good bottle jack.
    they work fine for a small trailer wheel change but not a 7500kg plus motorhome

    NEVER rely on a jack alone...even a large one...as hydraulics can fail at any time.

    ALWAYS use an axle stand, correctly rated for the GROSS vehicle weight at least....not just a quarter that weight because you only jack one corner at a time.....same with the jack but go bigger.

    many RV owners have one of around 20ton rating...even with a 7.5ton RV.

    you can never be too safe.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2013
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  5. Wildbill

    Wildbill Funster

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    [FONT=&quot]Scissor jacks are inherently dangerous and should only be used as a last resort I tend to throw the supplied jack away an ether use my trolley jack or Bootle jack as I nearly got killed a few years ago and if all els fales call green flag :Rofl1:[/FONT]
     
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  6. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    Thanks to all of you who have already commented for your advice.

    I bought a 6 tonne bottle jack a few years ago (our Autoquest gross weight was under 3 tonnes) but I've never used it.

    Somebody (Dave Newell?) replied to a post pointing out that changing wheels at the side of the road is what we pay our breakdown services for. I think the bottle jack is still in the garage - I know it ain't going back in the van :Smile:
     
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  7. mitzimad

    mitzimad Funster

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    when changing wheels i always stick the one going on under the van so if the jack does go you can still get another jack under
    the jack with my fiat works well but i wouldnt get any part of me under a van on a jack alone the wheel brace that comes with the van is as much use and as strong as a chocholate fireguard in fact i think fiats should be sued for suppling something so obviously inadequate mine was in two pieces within a minute
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2013
  8. rangitira

    rangitira Funster

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    Taking Wheels off is for Tyre Companys or Green Flag:thumb:
     
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  9. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    Leaving aside all the good advice regarding scissor jacks, I want to pick up on a small point you made in the original post. You refer to driving the vehicle onto ramps and then greasing the nipples at each end of the suspension. I presume you are referring to the rear Alko axle tube? If so, I believe this has to be greased with the wheels hanging free of the ground. In other words, it can only be done correctly with both ends of the axle on stands,not perched on ramps. Perhaps easiest done in a workshop with the appropriate lifting / jacking gear and a hoist or pit?

    I have no personal experience of the Alko chassis; I am simply reporting what I have read elsewhere.
     
  10. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    Correct Philip, grease cannot penetrate the full length of the torsion bars when under load.

    must be greased 'off the ground'
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2013
  11. barrywi

    barrywi Read Only Funster

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    Thanks for the advice guys, I have a 4 ton bottle jack on order but will obviously use Green Flag for punctures.
    I did not know about the greasing procedure, maybe I should lift the van on two scissor jacks?:Rofl1:....joking of course , I will leave that to the experts.
    On with the wheel painting tomorrow, I will only do it once. I am getting too old for grovelling on my back with 4 tons over me..
    Changing the subject slightly...well a lot. My van passed its MOT recently with an advisory on slight splits on the tyre walls . At what point do I throw away the Michelins with loads of tread and get new tyres?The van is a 2008 and the tyres look as if they were on from new. The spare has never been used and has no splits.
     
  12. TheBig1

    TheBig1 Funster Life Member

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    Any time now would be a good idea, or if your not planning to use the van through the winter months, in the spring. tyres deteriorate in sunlight and under load. the most dangerous cracks are on the inside of the tyre wher you can see them.
    common advice is 5 to 7 years maximum on a set of tyres regardless of apparent wear, or earlier if the walls start cracking. all it will take for a blowout is one pothole, turning a tight corner or if they get hot on the motorway. motorhomes by their nature load the tyres to near maximum constantly unlike a delivery van which varies in weight due to differing loads

    I am surprised that if you just bought the van, that you didnt get the dealer to replace them before taking delivery

    damaged tyres are a safety risk just like the useless scissor jack, I wouldnt trust them
     
  13. grumps147

    grumps147 Funster

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    We got a new large van at work, garaged when not in use. Came to it one day and obvious slow puncture. Even in the storage garage when partly jacked up this was wobbly and you soon realised on a motorway it would be blown off the jack by passing HGV's.

    Discussed with our sensible fleet manager who agreed, contract with tyre company, or as has been said, breakdown insurance contract which is what I now rely on for the MH.
     
  14. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

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    Scissor jack- emegency use only.

    For working on the van- level stable surface, workshop jack, axle stands-ALWAYS!

    If you are removing a wheel, ALWAYS slacken the nuts and when refitting, finally tighten the nuts, with the WHEEL ON THE GROUND SO YOU DON'T DESTABILISE THE JACK WHEN YOU ARE SWINGING ON THE BAR OR TORQUE WRENCH!

    Easy!:thumb:
     
  15. icantremember

    icantremember Funster

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    The recommendation is that tyres are changed between 5-7 years regardless of amount of tread.

    Your m/h being 2008 means that the original tyres may be quite a bit earlier as the base vehicles can stand around for a year or so prior to convertion.

    There is a four figure manufacturing date code on each tyre as per;-
    [​IMG]This particular one shows the tyre was manufactured during week #27 in 2004.

    Check each tyre as they may not all be the same vintage and if they were something like 6-7 years when you purchased the m/h I would have expected the dealer to replace them.

    On the subject of the supplied scissor jack, this would have been meant for the base vehicle and not for the much heavier motorhome conversion.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013
  16. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    Emergency use only......Thats the problem with having a scissor jack. It could be that the one time its used in an emergency is the time it traps you. Dont take the risk and throw that lethal unfit for purpose tool away. Buy a decent bottle jack and only use that in an emergency. I lost the end of a finger when a good bottle jack slipped and I have been using them all my life. It could have been a hand or worse.
     
  17. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

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    I think we have found a good case for the fix and go kits!

    They stop untrained people killing themselves attempting to change wheels at the roadside!
     
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