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Old 12-19-2010, 02:42 AM   #1
Ozz
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Looking into auto level system

I read that welding is required for Bigfoot install, looks to me like they are bolted onto the frame from what I have seen. I know Irv and Stiles like their different? systems.
I have read on other Forums, RV net, Heartland and others that many love the Bigfoot and I like the way the company is run, I emailed them to see if they will sell to me, but I imagine it will not be wholesale if they do, to protect the dealers they are connected to.
It all boils down to the expense, and whether it is worth it to me.
What do you learned folks say about them?
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Old 12-19-2010, 03:04 AM   #2
exav8tr
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Jim, I have thought long and hard about this subject and, to me, it boils down to the kind of camping one does. For example, Are you here one night, here the next and gone the next? If so I would think this system would be most useful. Are you physically challenged and have difficulty setting up the manual system? Then again this might be for you. OR are you not physically challenged, and tend to stay a little longer at each campsite? The latter fits me and my camping style, so for now I will remain with the manual system. And don't let me forget, when DW does most of the leveling and doesn't want to spend the $2-4,000 on an automated system, why bother? Others that have the systems will be along to share the pros of the system, I only hope they give you some of the cons also. Good luck my friend!!!
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Old 12-19-2010, 03:11 AM   #3
dieselguy
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Since Ozz open this subject up I also have a question ... how do the new "leveling systems" get around tweeking the frame enough to cause the bathroom door and the entry door to become hard to open and close? On my old 2980RL, if I jacked one side of the rear stabilizers more than the other to fine tune being level ... the above mentioned doors would always resist.
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Old 12-19-2010, 03:41 AM   #4
Ozz
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Phil, I am looking at this subject with my future in mind, as well as possibly doing much more 'Boon-docking', I hope to continue this lifestyle for a long time. I am pretty fit now, but don't know what the future brings. Setting up, as you addressed varies, nice campgrounds have level sites, but other remote locations??
Dieselguy, I was also wondering how precise the hydraulic systems are, the powerful energies involved could really do some damage if not absolutely tuned.

Oh, 8 months, 27 days and 7 minutes: Turn right, turn left, and I'm out a here!

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Old 12-19-2010, 04:39 AM   #5
Emmel
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Ozz, we were at the Keystone factory for the fall rally. The company was there displaying their system they installed, yes installed, for $2400 at their factory. Senior moment here, but it could have been Lippert? I looked long and hard at it but as Phil says, we do a lot of long term "camping" and I personally could not see the cost and added weight. If I moved quite often I might consider but when our winters are in one place, 4/5 months, I can't see it for me. Summer are weeks here and there.
Oh yeah, did I mention that the factory people, not Keystone, had a fuse that kept blowing? Not good for demonstration purposes.
This only MHO.
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Old 12-19-2010, 04:54 AM   #6
Ozz
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Steve, I heard that was a less-than-professional demonstration, also the Bigfoot people have been doing hydraulics exclusively for many years, I like their business experience. As I said, I am looking foreword at my desire to camp off the grid, and also I ain't getting any younger.
To answer my question, you do NOT need to weld the levelers on, bolting is fine.
Here are two great links:

http://tinyurl.com/29s75xk

http://www.dmbruss.com/zTige/Tige_BigFootSystem.htm

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Old 12-19-2010, 05:03 AM   #7
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We have had the Lippert System on since before the Fall Rally. We have setup 15 different times since then with no problems.
When our brakes were changed itb took me less than a minute to take all four wsells of the ground. It just dosen`t just make for an easier setup it also takes all the weight of your tires and gives you a much more solid feel.
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Old 12-19-2010, 05:08 AM   #8
Ozz
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Ron, that is a good testimonial. It's good to get all the information we can on a new product.
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Old 12-19-2010, 05:10 AM   #9
Trailer Trash 2
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Emmel

Ozz, we were at the Keystone factory for the fall rally. The company was there displaying their system they installed, yes installed, for $2400 at their factory. Oh yeah, did I mention that the factory people, not Keystone, had a fuse that kept blowing? Not good for demonstration purposes.
This only MHO.
Probably the same problem with the fuse as some of us have with our slides.

I was thinking of doing this to mine also, but the cost and the travel to the manufacture would not be cost efective for me. I am now looking into adding another motor on the passinger side front leg, I can do that, and its a lot less money all bolt on retrofit.
Leppert will sell me all I need to do the change.
I will also have to purchase REAR stabelisers because most 0f the 04 Montanas (2980RL) had rear stabelisers that were too flimsy and weak causing or allowing movement, according to the conversation I had with Lippert.
but getting back to the OP I still would love to have hydrolic front legs, but I think it would be a bad spend for me were like weekend worriers not a full time camper we bought it for vacations and to be very comfortable doing it.
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Old 12-19-2010, 05:29 AM   #10
Ozz
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as a businessman, I would wager that was a special, and considerably more money now than the $2400.
I can't see anything that would be too hard on the install, the Bigfoot is a kit. If they can train the different shop's mechanics to do it, many of us guys could handle it. (From reading the Bigfoot install manual Link above.)
Don, do you not have hydraulic landing legs now?
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Old 12-19-2010, 06:44 AM   #11
Captain Joe
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I have been in contact with Lippert. The cost will be $3,600 at next year's rally vs. $2,400 this year.
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Old 12-19-2010, 07:33 AM   #12
Hooker
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With only 6k axles, is there a weight issue?
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Old 12-19-2010, 07:34 AM   #13
mhs4771
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OK, I'll add my $.05 worth. I was not at the Fall Rally, but contacted Jarrold Lippert and made a deal for the system. Went to TrailAir for the install in mid Oct (TrailAir is the only authorized installer at present for the Level-Up System). While there I talked to the Gentleman who designed the system and has been in that type of business for years (he's started numerous ventures then sold them off for a good price). He sold the Level-up system to Lippert. The Level-up system is a microprocesser controlled system, So it requires the jacks to work together to prevent any twisting of the frame, it levels front to rear, then side to side. It uses a total of six jacks, the front landing gear (if you presently have electric they must be changed out), a pair in front of the axles and a pair behind. The mounts are welded to the frame then the jacks bolted to the mounts. I too had some recent brake work done and used the rear jacks to get the wheels off the ground. Because of the late install I haven't had a chance to really use the system. One draw back, at times you may still need some 12x12x2 pieces under the pads, as there is only so much travel in the rams and if the ground is really uneven. Under normal leveling it doesn't lift the wheels off the ground, but it does take some of the weight off making for a rock solid feel to the unit. Pricey, maybe, but what isn't. We plan to use the Monty much more this coming season and were looking for anything to make set-up easier. After all the Winegard Travlr dish wasn't cheap either, but it sure makes locking in the satellites a snap. We are way past our days or roughing it.
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Old 12-19-2010, 07:41 AM   #14
stiles watson
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I have no experience with Big Foot, but Orv does and he likes his. He has two or more years on them. Compared to the LevelUp by lippert, they are about 1/3 higher priced.

I should let Orv speak for himself, but I remember him saying that his had a hydraulic reservoir and pump at each wheel. The Big foot system has four "feet" while the LevelUp has six, one in front of the wheels and one behind as well as the front legs. The LevelUp operates off one enlarged reservoir and pump which also operates your slide.

Lippert's installer in Goshen is TrailAire. I think TrailAire is now a division of Lippert. Lippert bought this system from the folks that designed it. The designer and his technicians are involved in the installation in Goshen.

If you ever saw it work, you would not be concerned about twisting the frame , etc. I am convinced you get more stresses on your frame while traveling down the road than you get in the two minutes or less it takes the computer to finish its setup process.

After installation, I traveled from Goshen to North Carolina and then from NC to Texas, traveling no more than 250-300 miles per day. So I don't know exactly how many sets ups we did. But all went well and quickly (around a minute after the "auto Level" button is pushed). The only blip was that the rear legs had to be manually rather than automatically retracted when the ambient temperature got around freezing or below. Manual retraction is a matter of pushing a couple of buttons and holding for two or three seconds.

I am very satisfied with the LevelUp experience and the support from the installers. Whatever you decide, I think you will enjoy the leveling system.
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Old 12-19-2010, 07:47 AM   #15
Ozz
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Charlie, the systems mount to the frame, so we are good there.
Michelle good story, I think that is a good system, most of these hydraulic systems are good, I'm sure they have worked the 'bugs' out of them by now. I bet that was interesting talking to the guy that designed it.
We went with that dish as well, what a sweet deal that is!
Stiles, good to have you back. Enjoyed your travel story.
Good report on your system.
Do you experience any 'creep' or drop of the legs with cold hydraulics?
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Old 12-19-2010, 08:08 AM   #16
stiles watson
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Not that I have noticed, Ozz. The cold weather issue occurs only on the retraction and only on the rear legs. The technician said the greatest stress on the hydraulic system occurs on retraction, not on extension.

By-the-way, we will be in central Texas for a good while. We are about 10 miles west of I45 down Hwy 7 and 5 miles east of US79. I would be delighted to visit and give you a thorough demonstration should you come this way when you head toward South Padre.
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Old 12-19-2010, 08:12 AM   #17
Ozz
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Well, in 8 months 26 days 20 hours and 48 minutes we will actually be heading out Lonnie's way on to Sedona and Santa Fe...we think. But thanks for the offer. We will hopefully be on the road all over the place.
Padre, done that, it was great, but on to other things.
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Old 12-19-2010, 08:36 AM   #18
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OK,I will take a shot at this discussion....we had Big Foot and stabilizers installed on our 08 Big Sky just before the MOC Rally and we absolutely love it....no complaints with either the installation or the operation. It has made hitching and unhooking a snap...we are done in a few minutes, and as far as leveling is concerned it's amazing....we have never had an issue with the bathroom or main door...as a matter of fact that was the first I checked when it was installed....I hated that the bathroom door was always wide open...we like to keep it just ajar for the AC. The system works as advertised and it was a pleasure to dispose of all the lumber we were carrying. We are Full Timing and have stayed at many CG's and have never needed our lumber the big foot adjusts to grass, gravel, concrete anything we have experienced so far without a problem. We are currently wintering in FL on concrete and love that, a lot cleaner...Anyway that's my two cents...DH may be by later to add his nickel.....Yes, it was a little pricey but decided if we were going to do this for 5 or more years it was worth the investment, not sorry we spent the money at all... love the rock solid feel of the rig even when doing the laundry.....Happy Decision making!!!!

Betty
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Old 12-19-2010, 09:12 AM   #19
Ozz
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Thanks Betty, a great testimonial.
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Old 12-19-2010, 09:56 AM   #20
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The Level Up system was originally available on the Double Tree 'Suite' series. This was a manual hydraulic leg system, with 6 jacks as described in earlier posts. The auto-level feature is fairly new. So the hydraulic legs shouldn't be a big issue as the Suites have had them for 3 or 4 years. I had them added just after the Fall Rally and I received the new legs all around, they are aluminum. This will reduce the weight and issues associated. Now I am not an engineer and have no idea if aluminum is better/worse than steel. I was assured the aluminum legs were better, so who knows?

I have 8 or 9 set up and downs and it does make it much easier setting up and leveling. There appears to be little frame twist and it feels solid once set up. The initial rally price was really good. I believe the Level Up and Big Foot are about the same price, retail, within a couple hundred dollars.

The Level Up uses one pump for all hydraulics, legs and slides. The Big Foot has a pump for each leg. So that may be a plus for the Big Foot vs the Level Up. If a pump is bad it would impact just one leg. Where as the Level Up if there is a hydraulic issue it will impact the entire system.

A company called DABODA designed and made the original Level Ups. It was then sold to Lippert recently. Lippert has been purchasing a number of small RV supplier businesses; Kinro Windows, a RV sink/counter manufacturer, RV doors, bed mattresses, and others. Lippert appears to becoming a conglomerate in RV Supplier.

Just my view and opinion
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