How do you put your foot down?

Sam Vimes

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Not quite the question you may think since I'm the master of the house - well in my opinion :)

Having just returned to caravaning after having a motorhome I now have to worry about winding down the corner steadies. How do you guys know when you have them down securely enough?
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Not quite the question you may think since I'm the master of the house - well in my opinion :)

Having just returned to caravaning after having a motorhome I now have to worry about winding down the corner steadies. How do you guys know when you have them down securely enough?
I just feel the tension in the winding handle. Do all four in turn then go around a second time just to retension. After a while in use they may need a slight adjustment as the van settles. As you may gather I’m an alumnus of the Dinosaur school of setting up a caravan.
 
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May 24, 2014
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Remember they are just that.....steadies. As long as they are in contact with the ground it should be enough. To much pressure and you will begin to put strain on the floor and can often be the cause of a creaking floor. Its the axle and jockey wheel that take the most weight load. Never did understand those that drop the steadies then wind the jockey up.
 
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I don't know if it still applies but the saying used to be "to the ground and then once around" always seems to have worked for me.
A lot of vanners use a cordless drill and adaptor set to a low torque setting to wind the legs but this is not for me, maybe if I had to do it 3 times a day it might justify the weight and the faff.
 
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Not sure what the faff is Izzy, I assume the weight refers to the weight of the drill, my cordless isn’t very heavy at all so is of no consequence, as for faffing it’s a case of putting the extension socket in the Chuck then I set the torque to around 5 and if I feel it needs a bit more it’s simple to increase it slightly, I would think that you can wind the steadies using the cordless in less than half the time than winding them manually, I can’t see any faff at all, please enlighten me as I’m not fond of faff.

BP
 
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Jun 20, 2005
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I’m a cordless drill fan of many years. Set on a low torque wind down. Then finish off just before the steadies begins to lift. On soft ground I place pieces of timber to spread the load. These are not jacks and under no circumstances should be used as such. As Thingy said they are just steadies .
 
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Always use steady blocks, firmer contact, use cordless now. When I used a winding handle, wind down till it touched then about half/full a turn.
 

Sam Vimes

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Thanks for the replies.

I have pads and just on the drive I've been doing the touch ground and one more turn but this could be different on grass. I guess I'll get used to it again.

Decided against using drill bit as exercise will come in handy.
 
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Not sure what the faff is Izzy, I assume the weight refers to the weight of the drill, my cordless isn’t very heavy at all so is of no consequence, as for faffing it’s a case of putting the extension socket in the Chuck then I set the torque to around 5 and if I feel it needs a bit more it’s simple to increase it slightly, I would think that you can wind the steadies using the cordless in less than half the time than winding them manually, I can’t see any faff at all, please enlighten me as I’m not fond of faff.

BP
When out in the caravan time isn’t of the essence.
 
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Thanks for the replies.

I have pads and just on the drive I've been doing the touch ground and one more turn but this could be different on grass. I guess I'll get used to it again.

Decided against using drill bit as exercise will come in handy.
The idea of just one more turn very much depends on the surface your making contact with. There is a lot to be said for using a torque controlled driver to set the foot down. If the ground is hard it will stop quickly, if its softer it will turn until the torque is satisfied, then just add one more manual turn.
 
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Currently on a site with soft ground (motor homes either side had to be towed off their pitches within a few hours of arrival).wound the steadies down, but everything gradually settling, shower door more difficult to shut than usual. Do I need to unwind the steadies?
 
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Currently on a site with soft ground (motor homes either side had to be towed off their pitches within a few hours of arrival).wound the steadies down, but everything gradually settling, shower door more difficult to shut than usual. Do I need to unwind the steadies?
Only you can really answer the question as I have no idea how hard or not you tensioned the steadies. You could try just relaxing them all and seeing if the shower door closes more easily. If it does then just gently wind each one down and keep checking the shower door. As someone said above they are steadies not jacks. The other cause might be because the caravan is not level side to side and would need levelling if it is not.
 
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Currently on a site with soft ground (motor homes either side had to be towed off their pitches within a few hours of arrival).wound the steadies down, but everything gradually settling, shower door more difficult to shut than usual. Do I need to unwind the steadies?
I've had this with one of my old vans. I worked on each steady in turn checking door each time. One might need winding off, another might need winding down, on a corner. But do it gently.
 
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We have Caravan Jack Pads on our corner steadies an my wife uses the winding handle until they touch but we also have Silverline two way mini Levelling and so far it has worked
 

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Jun 20, 2005
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BB I’ve made a note to get SWMBO on the crank handle😁. So how does your wife set up the transverse level? I use boards but have been thinking about the lock and level system. Just thinking long term maybe
 

JTQ

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As already been identified the nature of the ground, its propensity to allow the load carrying wheels to settle into it , is particularly relevant.

The van's chassis is designed to carry the weight, the steadies as their name implies simply steady it from tipping down.

What the chassis really does not want, is to become a "beam" with the steadies at either end carrying any significant part of the load.

If since setting up, the wheels carrying the load begin to sink, then amounts of the van's weight they had carried, gets progressively transferred to the steadies if they are firmer, developing that beam situation and consequently the chassis sagging in the middle.
If on soft ground, ease and reset the steadies, typically the next morning and again a few days on if on a long period stay.
The chassis and van's structure will benefit from it. If the van is bouncy/springy it is this long beam loading state starting, and the last thing needed is to tighten the steadies to stop it. If the van tips as the occupants move from end to end they are too loose.

Lightly loaded, with decent area load spreading pads, to me makes sense, as does sitting the wheels on two foot long decking planks, on other than hard standings, so the wheels can't sink much.

The logic underpinning using a hammer impact action drill, as so often heard on site, baffles me.
 
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I’ve got Big foot pads on each of the 4 steadies and if I’m on a grass pitch which to be honest I don’t remember ever being on anything other than hard standing I would use the 12 inch boards cut off a pallet I’ve been carrying around for the last 10 years
 
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BB I’ve made a note to get SWMBO on the crank handle😁. So how does your wife set up the transverse level? I use boards but have been thinking about the lock and level system. Just thinking long term maybe
DD My wife always put the blocks of wood down and then unwind caravan corner Steadies legs down on to them I cannot get down to my lower Limbs so I do what I am able .
 
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As already been identified the nature of the ground, its propensity to allow the load carrying wheels to settle into it , is particularly relevant.

The van's chassis is designed to carry the weight, the steadies as their name implies simply steady it from tipping down.

What the chassis really does not want, is to become a "beam" with the steadies at either end carrying any significant part of the load.

If since setting up, the wheels carrying the load begin to sink, then amounts of the van's weight they had carried, gets progressively transferred to the steadies if they are firmer, developing that beam situation and consequently the chassis sagging in the middle.
If on soft ground, ease and reset the steadies, typically the next morning and again a few days on if on a long period stay.
The chassis and van's structure will benefit from it. If the van is bouncy/springy it is this long beam loading state starting, and the last thing needed is to tighten the steadies to stop it. If the van tips as the occupants move from end to end they are too loose.

Lightly loaded, with decent area load spreading pads, to me makes sense, as does sitting the wheels on two foot long decking planks, on other than hard standings, so the wheels can't sink much.

The logic underpinning using a hammer impact action drill, as so often heard on site, baffles me.
Good article, thanks. One addition. Always use the jockey wheel for longitudinal levelling. Leave it in place all the time whilst the steadies are in use.
 

Sam Vimes

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The idea of just one more turn very much depends on the surface your making contact with. There is a lot to be said for using a torque controlled driver to set the foot down. If the ground is hard it will stop quickly, if its softer it will turn until the torque is satisfied, then just add one more manual turn.

That's a good concept. I think for the time being I'll still use the manual method rather than have something else to carry around. Then later consider a small cheapy driver rather than my heavy duty one.

FWIW: I've been playing with an App that came on my phone to level off the van. Mind you only on the hard standing at home so far.

When it's perfect the centre goes green. I'm currently looking for an App that will allow me to see this screen on another phone so that I can see for myself directly the affect of winding up/down the steadies

Screenshot_2021-04-14-16-37-11-76.jpg
 
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Ensure wherever you place the phone the surface is truly level! It took me some time years ago to establish a true level spot.
It could be the floor, a work surface, or even the chassis if you can find a usable spot😀😀
 

JTQ

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Ensure wherever you place the phone the surface is truly level! It took me some time years ago to establish a true level spot.
It could be the floor, a work surface, or even the chassis if you can find a usable spot😀😀

For transverse I use the van's vertical side wall, it is so available, from end to end, side to side.
For longitudinal, I use the awning skirt rail, again as it is so accessible, and in our case fitted both sides.
 
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For levelling our caravan, the spirit level it placed on the work surface just inside the door, we have an area marked on the level so we know when the shower and kitchen sink will drain properly.
I have a walkie Talkie in the car and reverse up the car, on a ramp until Mrs H is happy. Unhook the car, and then front to back levelling until level. And wind down the stays with a drill. Then after setting up everything else. Just recheck the stays one they have settled, we have the big foot plates on the end of the stays.
It is interesting to know that ALKO state the steadys are rated from 800 kg load to 1250 kgs static load capacity.
 
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That‘s a massive load weight variance Hutch. On most caravans the steadies are mostly secured to the floor panel and the chassis ends. 1250 kgs concentrated on a small floor area would really worry me!
 

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