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Ride Height First Aid

 

After two months in Utah, we fired up our 2004 U320 to head for Nacogdoches. Before we got out of our camp site, the ride height valve started to leak/gush air quite heavily. The rear passenger side was really dragging and was unsafe to drive. After I shut the engine off, the air continued to leak out until most of the air was gone.

I discovered that the dreaded rubber cover on the bottom of the valve and the filter were gone. (I should have read earlier posts on this forum that warned the cover would disintegrate.)

I cleaned the inside of the valve out with a toothpick and gently banged on the outside of the valve with a small hammer. I covered the hole with a breathable heavy cloth. Now, air is no longer leaking and all appears to be operating normally.

Question though. Do we dare make the 1,500 mile trip to Nac. without at least a spare valve? Any opinions on whether the back yard mechanic hammer trick is just a Band-Aid not to be trusted? Thanks for any help or ideas. Byron Knight 2004 U320 3/9/08

No problem at all. The bottom cover just keeps dirt & water out. Your valve is now working, so just forget it until you get to a place where you can do a better job for the bottom. I used a length of clear hose and some filter material and valve is permanently ok. No need for Nac to fix. Not necessary to replace valve just to get a new rubber cover, because rubber parts are not available separately.

A little effort to protect valve bottom will keep the valve working. The valve bottom just vents excess air bag pressure.

When our ride height valve broke on the road, I disconnected the 'arm' that rotates the valve depending on coach height. Then found the 'neutral' position by turning the part where the arm was and taped it to prevent it from rotating. Then I used the level system to adjust air bags and they just stayed in that position for the next hundreds of miles until I could get a new valve.

Valve rotates very little from fill air bags to dump air bags. And in the middle of the fill and dump position is neutral where air bags stay at same air pressure.

Single front valve controls front to back level. Dual rear valves control side to side level. by Barry and Cindy 1997 U270 36'

Actually if you got stuck while on the road, you could probably hit a hardware store and get a in line gate valve that fit the tubing and by-pass the valve and adjust the bag with the gate valve to travel level and leave it there. If nothing else worked. Bob Pete 96 U320

If you find neutral position the ride height valve will remain closed. And the level system can be used to raise or lower for driving, then turn off level system. The HWH 6-pack valve will keep the level system out of the picture and the closed ride height valve will keep air bag with same psi as your drive.

No need to work with air lines or get under to change air pressure. This is how we kept on driving with a broken ride height valve. Each time we stopped, we leveled with HWH, Each time we drove we set the height and drove off. Until we replaced valve.

by Barry and Cindy 1997 U270 36'

Emergency Leveling Valve Overide Procedure HWH

Makes sense and this is easier than working under the coach. It removes power from HWH 6-pack control for that wheel position. So the ride height valve does not open and air cannot leave air bag after level is shut off. Good find. We should print it out and stick it in the Foretravel HWH documentation.

Ride height valves will last a very long time if missing bottom covers are replaced with something to protect bottom of valve from the elements.

Replacing valve with a new same model Meritor valve is probably only a temporary fix as I don't think Meritor has re compounded the rubber material, even though they know about the problem. My replacement new rubber bottoms fell apart within 2 years again. And replacement rubbers are not an available part, even though they are cheap & easy to put on. So a different valve or a do-it -yourself protection is my suggestion.

© Barry Brideau 2003-2017