Way back in late June, when we arrived at Prairie Rose State Park in Iowa and started settling into our site, Barry started leveling the coach as he always does, using our Atwood Power Leveleg system. Within two seconds, the alarm sounded on the driver's side front leveler. We've had occasional problems in the past with the leveling system, but normally pulling the fuse and trying again clears things up. In this case, that didn't help, so Barry took a look underneath the rig.
Uh-oh! He quickly discovered that the gearbox housing had completely cracked through, rendering the leveler useless. We have no idea how this could have happened, but I guess in a nine-year old coach, things just give out, or we may have hit the leg on something as they hang down below the chassis and are a bit vulnerable to potholes and the like.
With only three level legs operational, the automatic leveling function of the leveling system was inoperational. So now, leveling the coach required manually extending each leveler one at a time, checking the level, and adjusting each again (rinse and repeat). And depending on the slope of the site, putting boards under the driver's side front tire was often required as well. Of course, this required additional time (and headaches) at each campsite. No, we were not happy campers!
Getting the old leveler off was a real battle. Barry's socket wrench wouldn't budge it, so he bought a breaker bar. Still no luck. As a final attempt before taking Pearl in to a service shop or calling a mobile RV repair outfit, he bought an impact wrench to use with his air compressor. The third try was a charm. He got it off! And it was a heavy, heavy thing to move. But here it is. By this time we were at our next campground, Brown South in Jackson County, MN.
We looked into buying an entire replacement level leg but this would have cost around $600. And the leg itself was fine, so we hated to spend that much when only the gearbox was broken.
Barry emailed the Atwood company about the possibility of replacing the gearbox only. They told him the part number, but nowhere online could we find a picture of the item to ensure that it was actually what he needed. After chatting in email and on the phone with an employee at CarID, the company Atwood recommended, we decided to take the risk even without a photo. We ordered the gearbox and had it UPS'd to the campground. With shipping, we paid less than half the cost of a full level leg.
When the gearbox arrived, Barry thought it would be just fine. There were some extra wires that were not used in our older system, but another email to Atwood confirmed that he could simply tape these off.
In around an hour, he had the gearbox installed on the level leg.
And the entire assembly bolted back onto Pearl's chassis!
But now for the moment of truth. I can't lie; I was terrified. Barry fired up the engine and gave the leg a try. IT WORKED!
So, we saved a bunch of money over going to an RV dealer, and Barry got the satisfaction of fixing something that most RVers would probably not even tackle. And we have a working automatic leveling system again. Definitely one of our better accomplishments since becoming RVers and a happy day indeed!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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