Problems with new Kodiak Auto-Levelers - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 05-06-2017, 10:42 PM   #1
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Problems with new Kodiak Auto-Levelers

Wow...what a crappy design of Lippert auto-levelers on the new 2017 Kodiak Ultimate. Each of the four levelers has its own small motor that sticks out the side of it. Turns out that these motors are very fragile and break off very easily when bumping something. In my case it was a large boulder at a campground and a cement post anchor at a gas station. Yes, that's two motors broken off on our first camping trip with the new trailer. It's impossible to see the motors since they are underneath the trailers and even though you clear the trailer (in your mirrors), anything that protrudes at a height below bottom of the trailer is a hazard that could break the motor. To make matters worse, you CANNOT replace the motor; you have to replace the entire stabilizer assembly. (Cost me thousands to replace two of them.) The motor housings appear to be made of pot metal.

C'mon Dutchmen and Lippert. You can do better than this. Dutchmen..how about attaching some sort of steel bumper to the frame on either side of the fragile leveler motors. Lippert...how about positioning the motor on the leveler so that it does not stick out the sides that are subject to turning obstacles?

Dutchmen's response was to submit it under warranty through the dealer (which of course is not a warranty-eligible fix). The dealer's response was to try that, but not with them, rather directly with Dutchman. What a joke. This was my second Dutchman...and due to what it has cost me and the dealer and company response, my last.
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Old 05-07-2017, 09:50 PM   #2
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Wow...just imagine how much damage you would have done to the trailer itself if you hadn't been warned by the levelers that you were too close to an obstruction !

Sorry...couldn't resist.

Stuff happens !
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Old 05-07-2017, 11:08 PM   #3
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Do they hang below the axles? Sounds like they could have saved you some money.
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Old 05-07-2017, 11:44 PM   #4
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No worries

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Originally Posted by gotohatteras View Post
Wow...just imagine how much damage you would have done to the trailer itself if you hadn't been warned by the levelers that you were too close to an obstruction !

Sorry...couldn't resist.

Stuff happens !
You're a real "glass half full" guy, aren't you.
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Old 05-08-2017, 12:01 AM   #5
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As in both cases I was slowly maneuvering out of tight spots, if the leveler motors hadn't been there, the obstructions would have bumped into the tire -- much preferable to the thousands I had to spend to replace the darn motors. You can see the positioning of the motors in the attached photo (circled in red). These are attached to each of the four levelers in front and rear of the trailer.
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Old 05-08-2017, 10:10 AM   #6
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That does look like a poor design. What else is new? I have heard rumors that the units are actually designed by the sales team. They decide what they think the consumer wants and away we go. Very few people in the RV industry actually use RV's, especially the lower end stuff. I guess if you spend all day working on them you really don't want to have to deal with them on your time off.

Also I think what you have are actually power stabilizers not levelers, are they automatic or do you have to run them down one at a time?

Aaron
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Old 05-08-2017, 01:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mindsurge View Post
As in both cases I was slowly maneuvering out of tight spots, if the leveler motors hadn't been there, the obstructions would have bumped into the tire -- much preferable to the thousands I had to spend to replace the darn motors. You can see the positioning of the motors in the attached photo (circled in red). These are attached to each of the four levelers in front and rear of the trailer.
Can't these things be swapped side to side so the motors are inward? Are the motors and legs all one unit?
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Old 05-08-2017, 05:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
That does look like a poor design. What else is new? I have heard rumors that the units are actually designed by the sales team. They decide what they think the consumer wants and away we go. Very few people in the RV industry actually use RV's, especially the lower end stuff. I guess if you spend all day working on them you really don't want to have to deal with them on your time off.

Also I think what you have are actually power stabilizers not levelers, are they automatic or do you have to run them down one at a time?

Aaron
I have no doubt that the sales team drives the options. You would think, however, that any good engineer would take into consideration the functionality of the unit on the larger assembly. Guess that's too much to expect, eh? It's kinda depressing that a trailer that costs 42,000+ is considered "lower end." LOL.

In any case, the reason I decided on that model was because it was the only one I could find with auto-levelers (first year they did it I'm told). I was tired of messing around with stabilizers and leveling pads as I had done with my previous two trailers. These levelers are actually so strong it's possible they can lift the wheels off the ground.

The levelers are automatic. There is a computer-controlled pad inside the storage compartment that monitors the leveling. You just push one button and it takes care of adjusting the four individual levelers until the the trailer is level. The function is great; it's just the design that's a pain in the @$$.
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Old 05-08-2017, 05:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sundancer 87 View Post
Can't these things be swapped side to side so the motors are inward? Are the motors and legs all one unit?
The motor housing unit is permanently attached to the leg assembly. You would think they could make the motor housing unit or the motor detachable so you could simply replace the assembly or, even more preferable, the motor; but no. I now have two massive leg assemblies without motors sitting in my garage. I just need to figure out how I can use them manually for some other purpose. Wanna buy them. LOL
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Old 05-08-2017, 06:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mindsurge View Post
I have no doubt that the sales team drives the options. You would think, however, that any good engineer would take into consideration the functionality of the unit on the larger assembly. Guess that's too much to expect, eh? It's kinda depressing that a trailer that costs 42,000+ is considered "lower end." LOL.

In any case, the reason I decided on that model was because it was the only one I could find with auto-levelers (first year they did it I'm told). I was tired of messing around with stabilizers and leveling pads as I had done with my previous two trailers. These levelers are actually so strong it's possible they can lift the wheels off the ground.

The levelers are automatic. There is a computer-controlled pad inside the storage compartment that monitors the leveling. You just push one button and it takes care of adjusting the four individual levelers until the the trailer is level. The function is great; it's just the design that's a pain in the @$$.
With all due respect, there is your first problem: You bought something the first year they did it. Never buy something, especially regarding RV's, the first time they've done it. You know the braintrust in the Dutchmen design department hasn't put down the crayons long enough to really consider if it would work well or not. It's only after they had to pay for several warranty claims that they design something to last so they don't have to pay for it anymore.
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