Self-Levelling Issues

Oct 12, 2018
108
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I think we've finally decided to take the plunge and get self-levelling fitted to our Travelvan. But what sort, electrical or hydraulic? Which brand? I've read all the existing threads and it seems that hydraulic is the most popular and Doncaster seems to be the place to get it but I'm more than a little perturbed by the numerous reports of E&P rams "dropping". MaVe claim their system has a lock to prevent this. No-one seems to mention the electrical variety which not only appears to be cheaper but presumably is immune to "dropping"; is there a problem with these that I haven't heard about? Most hydraulic systems seem to be in the same ball-park price-wise so how do you choose? What pitfalls should I be looking out for?
 
Apr 26, 2015
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Ottershaw
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Well, I am now truly getting torn in different directions with regards to how to best make a decision on this matter for our new van. Having been quoted for the E&P system, which needs to take up locker/garage space as I'm told it won't fit underneath the van thanks to the way Carthago mount their tanks etc, I discover that other C-Tourer owners have had theirs underslung by SAP & Courtside and with no clearance issues arising. Surely if it can fit under their vans, why not ours? Then someone throws in the TESA electric lift system which is not only cheaper, but has the advantage of being able to fold up neatly when retracted ..... sheesh, it's not easy trying to decide what's the best route forward here.
I don't have specific knowledge about Carthago, but SAP have developed a box that they put the pump in which is attached to the chassis so that you do not need to give up locker space, in my case it does not hang down any lower then the rams so no real loss of clearance as far as I can tell so far. Have you asked SAP? if they say it can't be done then it probably can't as they are very good at engineering solutions to challenging installations.
 
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Jul 5, 2013
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Well, I am now truly getting torn in different directions with regards to how to best make a decision on this matter for our new van. Having been quoted for the E&P system, which needs to take up locker/garage space as I'm told it won't fit underneath the van thanks to the way Carthago mount their tanks etc, I discover that other C-Tourer owners have had theirs underslung by SAP & Courtside and with no clearance issues arising. Surely if it can fit under their vans, why not ours? Then someone throws in the TESA electric lift system which is not only cheaper, but has the advantage of being able to fold up neatly when retracted ..... sheesh, it's not easy trying to decide what's the best route forward here.
Mick of SAP has designed his own box to mount underneath as E&P's is not very good. Suggest you ask him to give you a quote. If it won't fit he will know and tell you.

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Two on Tour

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This is SAP own supplied box fitted to the chassis under our van.

1627484432231.png
 
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Sep 26, 2011
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Well I have just come across a chap who has just had a set of HPC fitted to a Swift low profile so not a long van and he was struggling to get it level and came over to ask advice as we pulled in next to him and levelled up in less than a minute (EP).
After trying to level his van for some time on manual setting we gave up and he moved to level ground.
So my first thoughts of HPC the control panel is overly complicated and difficult to use, on the other hand it may have a fault of some description he only had them fitted last week.
 
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Oct 21, 2019
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* update * I have since had an apology from the firm quoting, and been told that the chap handling our enquiry was mistakenly under the impression that the low profile E&P pump had been discontinued and hence why they were looking to fit the taller pump which would have needed to be fitted internally. Apparently, the low profile pump is still available and they are able to fit it under the vehicle. They just need to specify a low profile pump on the order when they source the supplies from E&P .... (I still haven't made a decision though)

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Jun 14, 2021
15
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Bailey 76-4
I've thrown the towel in on my E&P levelers and it's gone back to Newport caravan centre today to have it removed for a refund .
I didn't ever get it to work on automatic when out on a site , even with fairly level gravel plots , Newport had it back for a few weeks , thought it was fixed , they had to change the display panel as it had frozen a few times , I had it back and had the guys who brought it back to my house try it , and it wouldn't work.
Like the idea of them , but got fed up it not working as it should , and for £5k+ , I think it should lol
 
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Oct 30, 2010
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I've thrown the towel in on my E&P levelers and it's gone back to Newport caravan centre today to have it removed for a refund .
I didn't ever get it to work on automatic when out on a site , even with fairly level gravel plots , Newport had it back for a few weeks , thought it was fixed , they had to change the display panel as it had frozen a few times , I had it back and had the guys who brought it back to my house try it , and it wouldn't work.
Like the idea of them , but got fed up it not working as it should , and for £5k+ , I think it should lol
Sounds like either a fundamental problem with the electronics or badly fitted.
Not heard of those sorts of problems before.
Ours must be five years old now, we always deploy them, even on level pitches, and have never had a problem.

Richard.

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Peppadog

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Oh dear. Sorry to read that. I use my E&P remote controller more manually than auto, and find it very quick and easy. Only because it sets it a bit to nose up on auto for my liking, and I have been too lazy to get in touch or look up how to re-set it.
 
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Jun 14, 2021
15
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Yes a shame , this is how it was parked when brought back , I would expect it to level here
Screenshot_20210915-113720_Bubble Level.jpg


20210915_113618 (1).jpg
 

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Jun 14, 2021
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oops wrong one !

And nothing wrong with the app as when it did work on a fairly level car park , the level on the phone was nearly zero on X and Y

Screenshot_20210915-113720_Bubble Level.jpg
 
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Peppadog

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The auto setting just needs recalibrating. I don’t use a phone app for mine. I bought the E&P remote unit. So not familiar with that. Level calibrated on the main panel I think.
 
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Jun 14, 2021
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The auto setting just needs recalibrating. I don’t use a phone app for mine. I bought the E&P remote unit. So not familiar with that. Level calibrated on the main panel I think.

I've done that about 10 times , Newport caravan centre had it for 3 weeks trying everything , even a new control panel , and it still doesn't work , I've had 3 different level apps on my phone , used a builders level on the floor , I think we have tried everything !

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Apr 26, 2015
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I've done that about 10 times , Newport caravan centre had it for 3 weeks trying everything , even a new control panel , and it still doesn't work , I've had 3 different level apps on my phone , used a builders level on the floor , I think we have tried everything !
I'm really sorry to hear that you've had so much trouble with yours, the only thing I can suggest is when you get your refund if you are still interested in levelling Jack's ring Mick at SAP in Doncaster, explain to him what's happened and see if he can help, they install more E&P systems then any other dealer in the UK, many of us have used them and I'm not aware of any of us having any major issues with them, my own has worked faultlessly so far, and Mick also gave me his personal phone number and said any issues you can ring me, 24/7 in an emergency if need be, you don't get many companies that would tell you that.
 
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Peppadog

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There is clearly a fault then after all that work. Removal or replacement of the system seems the right solution now.

Doncaster is a long way from Newport. Have you or the Newport installers called E&P themselves? I think they would say replace the whole lot.
 
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Apr 26, 2015
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Doncaster is a long way from Newport
It is, however you can stay overnight in your van outside the workshop on hook up, and sit in the waiting room watching television or doing whatever you like whilst they are working on it.

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Sep 28, 2015
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Someone may correct me if I’m wrong but when I started looking into a self levelling system for motorhomes several (4ish) years ago there was SAP in Doncaster doing the E&P and AS Suspension in Warrington doing HPC.
Over the last couple of years there appears to be more and more companies offering to fit both systems. There was even a company at Lincoln show claiming to a customer that the HPC system was theirs.
Regardless of which system is chosen I feel the most important decision is who fits it and for me it’s SAP for E&P or AS for HPC regardless of where you live in the country.
Just make a trip of it, we are going across to Warrington for an oil change in a couple of weeks but will be staying away for five nights.
Too many companies have jumped on the band wagon for my liking without the necessary experience.
 
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OP
Blackadder
Oct 12, 2018
108
107
Somerset, UK
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Buerstner Travel Van
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Not long enough!
Someone may correct me if I’m wrong but when I started looking into a self levelling system for motorhomes several (4ish) years ago there was SAP in Doncaster doing the E&P and AS Suspension in Warrington doing HPC.
Over the last couple of years there appears to be more and more companies offering to fit both systems. There was even a company at Lincoln show claiming to a customer that the HPC system was theirs.
Regardless of which system is chosen I feel the most important decision is who fits it and for me it’s SAP for E&P or AS for HPC regardless of where you live in the country.
Too many companies have jumped on the band wagon for my liking without the necessary experience.

I agree with these sentiments. Having now read umpteen posts, heard several horror stories and talked to dozens of "experts" we've finally made a decision. Firstly we've chosen the HPC system - it's a bit lighter, seems to be well engineered, and gets 99% good reports. It will be fitted by LNB in Bristol. I went there for a demo which was done by one of their installers, which is always reassuring, (after a lifetime in service engineering I never, ever, believe anything a salesperson says :)) who made some interesting comments about MaVe systems they had installed in the past compared to HPC which they use exclusively now. They seem to know what they're doing, look quite professional, can install it this year and are only an hour away. The big day (actually two as they like to keep the installation under pressure overnight to make sure there's no leaks) is in December. Fingers very firmly crossed!

Forgot to mention - LNB also provide a courtesy car so I don't have to a) hang around an industrial park all day or b) persuade 'er indoors to get up in the middle of the night to follow me there in her car(y)

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Mar 19, 2016
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I agree with these sentiments. Having now read umpteen posts, heard several horror stories and talked to dozens of "experts" we've finally made a decision. Firstly we've chosen the HPC system - it's a bit lighter, seems to be well engineered, and gets 99% good reports. It will be fitted by LNB in Bristol. I went there for a demo which was done by one of their installers, which is always reassuring, (after a lifetime in service engineering I never, ever, believe anything a salesperson says :)) who made some interesting comments about MaVe systems they had installed in the past compared to HPC which they use exclusively now. They seem to know what they're doing, look quite professional, can install it this year and are only an hour away. The big day (actually two as they like to keep the installation under pressure overnight to make sure there's no leaks) is in December. Fingers very firmly crossed!

Forgot to mention - LNB also provide a courtesy car so I don't have to a) hang around an industrial park all day or b) persuade 'er indoors to get up in the middle of the night to follow me there in her car(y)
Again I'm an E&P fan having given our system some serious use. ( Even some real abuse to lift our 4.4ton axle weight out of a sandpit in Portugal. But we don't talk about that😢). With these systems it's all about the fitting and as others have said Mick at SAP Doncaster is the only choice.IMO it takes longer than 1 day to do the fit properly and Mick certainly wouldn't be saying to hang to look for leaks!
 
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Peppadog

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SAP is not the only choice at all. You can only speak with accuracy of the installer you used, and the system you chose. I chose Courtside Conversions in Tiverton for our E&P system. Because they are a lot closer than Doncaster and because I had not seen any negative reviews and one good one from another Hymer user. They are a family business building disabled conversions, mini bus conversions for twenty years. And premium installers for E&P and VB Air suspension. They clearly fit plenty of them, including removal for re-fit to existing customers new vans. They really know the E&P system well. I would gladly go back to them again. Thats my only personal experience.

You should list the bad experiences people have had, the rest are probably just as good as SAP and Courtside in Tiverton.

The OP has now made a decision. Is changing, due to lack of confidence and trust to HPC and LNB in Bristol to install. I have no knowledge of issues with either, so wish him every success this time. If its a disaster, I'm sure we will hear soon enough.
 
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Oct 21, 2019
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Marlow, Buckinghamshire
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We went with Rosmia in the end, largely due to time constraints and logistics on our end. So far, the system is seemingly doing what it is supposed to. We've had two pitches which have caused the automatic system to refuse to level, but in fairness they were on slopey Welsh fields masquerading as campsites :ROFLMAO: If we'd taken some extra blocks to lay under the pads I suspect it would have done the job, but we chose to move and find a less sloping pitch. I do have an error message appearing after every retraction, which occurs when I drop the handbrake off. Not got to the bottom of that one, as I wait until the system has fully retracted the four rams, de-pressurised the pump etc, but then error message pops up telling me there's a "pull parking brake" error once I have released the parking brake. If I ignore it, it eventually disappears .... anyone else getting that on their E&P system?

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Apr 26, 2015
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We went with Rosmia in the end, largely due to time constraints and logistics on our end. So far, the system is seemingly doing what it is supposed to. We've had two pitches which have caused the automatic system to refuse to level, but in fairness they were on slopey Welsh fields masquerading as campsites :ROFLMAO: If we'd taken some extra blocks to lay under the pads I suspect it would have done the job, but we chose to move and find a less sloping pitch. I do have an error message appearing after every retraction, which occurs when I drop the handbrake off. Not got to the bottom of that one, as I wait until the system has fully retracted the four rams, de-pressurised the pump etc, but then error message pops up telling me there's a "pull parking brake" error once I have released the parking brake. If I ignore it, it eventually disappears .... anyone else getting that on their E&P system?
I've only got that message when i forgot to put the handbrake on, not when I've already retracted them.

Regarding not levelling on auto because the slope is to steep, you should have been shown how to do it manually, i've managed to get mine level manually with the front wheels nearly 6 inches off the ground.
 
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Oct 21, 2019
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I've only got that message when i forgot to put the handbrake on, not when I've already retracted them.

Regarding not levelling on auto because the slope is to steep, you should have been shown how to do it manually, i've managed to get mine level manually with the front wheels nearly 6 inches off the ground.
Thanks for that info. Yep, we were shown how to level manually, but the slope was just too steep to achieve a level setting. With the front rams fully extended we were just about there, but not quite. We lived with it for three days, but it also meant we couldn't then reach to pull down the centre section on the polar screen, even with a small hop up step to reach higher :ROFLMAO::LOL::ROFLMAO: Equally, the waste pipe at the back end of the van was getting close to grounding too, so it was probably not an ideal spot to have pitched.
 
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Two on Tour

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Thanks for that info. Yep, we were shown how to level manually, but the slope was just too steep to achieve a level setting. With the front rams fully extended we were just about there, but not quite. We lived with it for three days, but it also meant we couldn't then reach to pull down the centre section on the polar screen, even with a small hop up step to reach higher :ROFLMAO::LOL::ROFLMAO: Equally, the waste pipe at the back end of the van was getting close to grounding too, so it was probably not an ideal spot to have pitched.

Blimey, did you see many mountain goats while you were there ? :ROFLMAO:

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OP
Blackadder
Oct 12, 2018
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Mick certainly wouldn't be saying to hang to look for leaks!
Then IMO Mick is putting too much trust in both his materials and workmanship. Any competent hydraulic engineer will tell you that a pressure "soak test" is the only 100% reliable way to check for leaks. That's why a competent plumber will turn the mains back on and wait to see if anything oozes. That's why, in my early life in the nuclear industry, we always pressure tested all fluid/gas systems for extended periods. It doesn't matter who you are or how long you've been doing it, when you crimp an hydraulic pipe connector, or make any other type of connection, the only way you can be 100% certain it won't leak is to put it under pressure and wait. Whatever, if it eliminates that last 1% chance of a leak then I'm totally in favour of it.
As for fitting time, I'm not an installer so I'm not competent to comment except that I imagine it depends on the kit being installed, the compexity of the installation (pump in a box? 12V source convenient? Easy control panel location?), the definition of a working day (LNB insist that the van is ready and waiting at 08.00) and the number of interruptions (tea breaks or, judging from the number of people who seem to have consulted Mick, interminable phone calls!).
 
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Apr 26, 2015
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Then IMO Mick is putting too much trust in both his materials and workmanship. Any competent hydraulic engineer will tell you that a pressure "soak test" is the only 100% reliable way to check for leaks. That's why a competent plumber will turn the mains back on and wait to see if anything oozes. That's why, in my early life in the nuclear industry, we always pressure tested all fluid/gas systems for extended periods. It doesn't matter who you are or how long you've been doing it, when you crimp an hydraulic pipe connector, or make any other type of connection, the only way you can be 100% certain it won't leak is to put it under pressure and wait. Whatever, if it eliminates that last 1% chance of a leak then I'm totally in favour of it.
As for fitting time, I'm not an installer so I'm not competent to comment except that I imagine it depends on the kit being installed, the compexity of the installation (pump in a box? 12V source convenient? Easy control panel location?), the definition of a working day (LNB insist that the van is ready and waiting at 08.00) and the number of interruptions (tea breaks or, judging from the number of people who seem to have consulted Mick, interminable phone calls!).
They took three days doing mine (because they had to fabricate brackets for my motorhome) and they certainly did make sure that it was tested properly and that I understood how to use it. SAP are not a one man band, Mick is the Boss, he has extremely competent staff who do the installs and he only gets involved if (as in my case) an install is not straight forward or they are so busy that it's all hands to the pumps. I come from a background of welding and fabrication for the Petro/Chem/power station industries and i've worked with some excellent engineers in my time. I would have no issues at all about recommending SAP to anyone who wants levellers fitted.

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Theonlysue

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Adding to the above endorsements for the HPC hydraulic system, especially when fitted by AS in Warrington. If you search this forum you will also find some evidence of rusting/pitting of the working surface on the hydraulic legs on other systems.
If the instruction book use silicon when raising up.
Some people never use it!
 
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