Question about LCI Auto Leveling system - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 04-14-2014, 10:47 PM   #1
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Question about LCI Auto Leveling system

So my wife and I finally were able to take our trailer out on our first trip this past weekend, and it went great. However, I do have a question about the LCI Auto Leveling system that is installed on our 2013 Denali 262RLX.

We pulled into the spot, which was gravel and pretty level. I dropped the landing gear, unhooked, and I was adjusting (Retracting) the landing jacks down to try and bring it closer to level front to back before dropping the stabilizers, and hitting the "auto-level" button.

However, I had two issues. At first I could hear the motor going as I was retracting, and then the motor changed tone, and I got "ERROR LF JACK, MANUALLY RETRACT ALL JACKS AND PRESS ENTER."

At this point the jacks wouldn't respond to anything. So I power cycled the system, and tried it again. Got the same error message after a quick reaction from the jacks again trying to retract. So I pulled the truck back under it, hooked back up and once the weight was off the landing gear, was able to retract the gear all the way back up. I then placed a 2x6 under each landing gear, put them back down, unhooked and dropped them again. This time upon retracting the gear I got "ERROR LOW VOLTAGE."

At this point I thought perhaps something was up with the batteries? There is two batteries installed, and the unit is only a year old, and the LCI interface reads voltage at something like 13.9V which I'm not sure if that's low considering two batteries are hooked up or not. So with the low voltage error message, I plugged into the 30amp connection and resumed adjusting the landing gear, this time it all worked fine.

Next I hit "Auto-Level" and upon doing so I sat back and watched as the trailer made all sorts of adjustments, and while in the end it did level it out nicely, I noticed one thing that seemed off...both axles and tires were a good 4-5" off the ground!! (sorry no picture of that)

So now I'm new to this, but it doesn't at all seem safe or logical to support all that weight and try and make the trailer stable with people in it, when you take four tires out of equation and float that extra weight in the air off of just the four corners. So not knowing really what to do/expect, I decided to get inside and grab the manuals that came with the unit to try and figure out whats going on here. It was when I was inside the trailer walking to where the manuals are kept that I heard a very loud BANG!! that shook the entire trailer. I ran outside to try and see what had happened, but didn't immediately realize that the noise was the sound of the axles dropping, as now all four tires were sitting on the ground.


So here's my questions:

1) Am I correct that the tires SHOULD be on the ground, and they should not have been up in the air after the auto level?

2) Do you think perhaps the axles should have adjusted during the auto level, but perhaps due to sitting for awhile they just stuck, which is what caused them to raise off the ground and then fall?

3) Check out the following pictures. You'll notice the silver oval shaped pieces with bolts in them as they sat when the unit was raised in the air (picture 1) and then after I dropped everything down at the end of the weekend in picture 2.


After lowering everything at the end of the weekend and hooking back up to go home.


Once I got it rolling down the road, and we hit a few bumps, I eventually heard another loud bang, and when pulling over to check, I noticed those silver "tabs" had adjusted so they are now both angling from high on the outside to low on the inside, which is how I think its supposed to be.

So I can't imagine that its good for the suspension to get beat up like that. Did I do something wrong, has anyone else had this happen? Do you think it was just a fluke due to them sticking? I just want to make sure to do things correctly in the future, and not damage our trailer.

Thanks for any input.
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Old 04-15-2014, 09:20 PM   #2
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Old 04-15-2014, 09:51 PM   #3
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Sorry can't help I don't have that option on my V3605
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Old 04-16-2014, 01:41 AM   #4
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I was told trailer should not go off wheels as they are to always carry the main weight of RV. It looks like one of the auto systems LCI has has you dropping front stabilizers first manually to get tongue off tow vehicle then they go up/down as needed to level front to back then rears go down to finish / stabilize. Never do they lift wheels off ground. I think that is a bad thing. Look up LCI. They have manuals and videos on web.
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Old 04-16-2014, 01:42 AM   #5
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Use the manual when you set it up the first few times. Sounds like things might just be a little stiff. You might hit those pivot points on the axle with a spray lube. Then use the level system to level up a couple of times and let things work in. The first time I used mine it lifted one side completely off the ground. I let it down and leveled it manually and it's never happened again. Just some thoughts.
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Old 04-16-2014, 02:16 AM   #6
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You have a problem. The wheels should never have left the ground while you were leveling, and when it did, your spring shackles turned over when your springs flexed. That was the big bang, but possibly more concerning it the fact that they flexed even harder when you put the weight on it. Both of the shackles (the silver bars) should be above the springs.

Take a good look under there, and see if anything got bent, like the shackles on the inside, or the spring brackets at the forward end of the front axle, and at the rear of the back axle. It took a lot of force to turn them back over with the weight on the spring. Take a close look at everything that attaches the axles to the trailer, including the brackets on the trailer frame.


Next time, when you unhook the truck, you should just hit the auto level button, and the trailer should take off and level itself. I noticed that you said that you dropped the stabilizers and then hit the auto level button. That could be why the trailer raised up so high. If the stabilizers were down in the back and the auto level needed to raise the front, it would, but if the stabilizers were down in the back, then it would pivot on the stabilizers instead of the axles, causing the wheels to raise off of the ground. The auto level system is designed to do everything itself, so you can just unhook and push the button. When my system auto levels, it uses the front jacks to get the trailer close to level, then it lowers the back jacks, and re-levels it again, then it lowers the mid stabilizers, and then runs all the jacks down about another 1/2 inch to preload them and completely stabilize the trailer. When I am ready to hook the truck back up, I have a selection that says "raise rear jacks", which picks up the mid and rear jacks, then you can hit the left and right buttons simultaneously, and the front jacks will automatically return to the height that they were when you unhooked the truck. Makes it much easier to hook back up again.

I hope that this helps.
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Old 04-16-2014, 02:16 PM   #7
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Thanks for the posts everyone. As it sits now, the shackles are in the position they are supposed to be again. In a couple more weeks we will be heading out on another weekend trip, and I plan to use some spray lube on all those parts, and try just auto leveling it after unhooking, and see how things go.
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Old 05-05-2014, 03:53 PM   #8
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Update after second trip out

So, just wanted to post a little update since we just got back from our second trip in the new trailer.

I think I figured out what happened last time when using the LCI Auto Level system on our trailer, and why it lifted the tires and axles off the ground.

First off, I followed the advice here and got some spray lube, and made sure to lube up all the suspension parts, as well as the slides before heading out, and then I hit them again upon loading up to come home.

So for the Auto Level system... I re-read the manual a couple times and followed the steps to a T and what do you know it worked flawlessly. What the manual tells you to do, is turn the system on and go to the option to "automatically drop front jacks" then hit enter, and it'll automatically drop the jacks until it hits the ground, then from there you manually hit the button to drop them farther to make the trailer raise up off the truck so you can pull away.

THIS is where I messed up the first time. Last time, I manually lowered the front jacks, unhooked the trailer, then I hit "Auto Level". What I found out, is that the Auto Level system (for whatever reason) wasn't designed to sense/know whether or not the jacks are extended when you manually drop them. So on the first outing when I manually dropped them, then hit auto level, the computer decided it need to drop them from their fully retracted position in memory then auto level, which is why it jacked up the trailer so much.

So, by telling the computer to automatically drop the front jacks, then making only the small manual adjustment to raise it off your hitch, when you hit auto level, it already know the jacks are down, and just makes some minor adjustments.

So I'm glad we figured this out, and everything went smoothly. I know too that this is indeed what is happening, because my in laws just upgraded to a new trailer, and they joined us at this campground for their first trip in it, and their new trailer has the 6 point hydraulic (its sick BTW, I'm totally jealous! the hydraulics move those jacks fast!!) LCI auto level system, but their trailer has a switch on the exterior for you to manually drop the landing gear. So he did the same thing I did, used that button to manually drop the front gear, then hit auto level, and boom it started lifting the tires and axles off the ground! We hit cancel, dropped it back down, then he just put it into manual mode and leveled it himself.

We both think its kinda dumb that the system doesn't have a sensor to check where the landing jacks are as it associates the needs for auto level, and with his having the exterior switch to manually drop the landing gear, must just be a convenience thing for when your moving the trailer to and from storage and such, or small adjustments, and not when your actually going to use it for camping.
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Old 05-05-2014, 08:06 PM   #9
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west1134, I have a 262rlx, and also experienced the problem of raising the tires off the ground when auto leveling the first couple of times out. I didn't experience the shakle flip like you did, but knew the tires should not be off the ground. So I have just been manually leveling the trailer with the LCI controller ever since.

I too was manually lowering the front jacks, instead of using the automatic drop front jacks feature. Next trip, I'm going to give another go at auto leveling based upon your routine.

Thanks for sharing!
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Old 05-05-2014, 08:31 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by tahoemc View Post
west1134, I have a 262rlx, and also experienced the problem of raising the tires off the ground when auto leveling the first couple of times out. I didn't experience the shakle flip like you did, but knew the tires should not be off the ground. So I have just been manually leveling the trailer with the LCI controller ever since.

I too was manually lowering the front jacks, instead of using the automatic drop front jacks feature. Next trip, I'm going to give another go at auto leveling based upon your routine.

Thanks for sharing!
Yeah, give it another go following the routine I mentioned, it really works great, and the auto level feature is pretty awesome!

As for the flipped shackles, I'm pretty sure that was due to the suspension being new / sitting awhile and it stuck. My wife and I noticed that when we took off for this trip our trailer was making all kinds of squeaky noises rolling out of our neighborhood. I had sprayed some lube on all the parts prior to leaving, and by the time we arrived in the campground, it wasn't squeaking anymore, so I'm thinking it just needs to be worked in. I'm just going to keep up on lubing it all up.
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Old 05-05-2014, 10:13 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by West1134 View Post
Yeah, give it another go following the routine I mentioned, it really works great, and the auto level feature is pretty awesome!

As for the flipped shackles, I'm pretty sure that was due to the suspension being new / sitting awhile and it stuck. My wife and I noticed that when we took off for this trip our trailer was making all kinds of squeaky noises rolling out of our neighborhood. I had sprayed some lube on all the parts prior to leaving, and by the time we arrived in the campground, it wasn't squeaking anymore, so I'm thinking it just needs to be worked in. I'm just going to keep up on lubing it all up.
I just had the suspension on the trailer (ours is a 2012) worked on a few weeks ago by a frame/welding shop with a very good reputation as I don't think the factory set up was up to the job. I was getting a lot of squeeks too, and it seemed like a little too much bounce in both the trailer and the truck.

We had the wet bolt kit installed with the EZ flex, and the springs were upgraded with one more leaf. I also added air bags to the truck as I think the factory springs with 10yrs of service are starting to get tired and may have been adding to the trailer bouncing effect.

Had it out last weekend and I am quite pleased with the improvement in comfort and ride. No squeeking, and a lot less bounce for both the trailer and the truck. There was a lot less stuff moving around in the trailer too.
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Old 05-05-2014, 10:22 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tahoemc View Post
I just had the suspension on the trailer (ours is a 2012) worked on a few weeks ago by a frame/welding shop with a very good reputation as I don't think the factory set up was up to the job. I was getting a lot of squeeks too, and it seemed like a little too much bounce in both the trailer and the truck.

We had the wet bolt kit installed with the EZ flex, and the springs were upgraded with one more leaf. I also added air bags to the truck as I think the factory springs with 10yrs of service are starting to get tired and may have been adding to the trailer bouncing effect.

Had it out last weekend and I am quite pleased with the improvement in comfort and ride. No squeeking, and a lot less bounce for both the trailer and the truck. There was a lot less stuff moving around in the trailer too.
That's good to know. Might be something to consider down the road for us. I'm going to see how the squeaking goes on future trips, etc. but if it continues to be an issue I might look into that as well. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 05-06-2014, 09:01 PM   #13
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Mine work great, but is the little 'pin' supposed to go through one hole or two? It goes through one then the pin is at a 45 degree angle. It looks like it's going to break off.
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Old 05-06-2014, 09:11 PM   #14
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Mine work great, but is the little 'pin' supposed to go through one hole or two? It goes through one then the pin is at a 45 degree angle. It looks like it's going to break off.
I'm not clear on what you're referring to. Are you talking about the pin you pull to extend (telescope) the landing gear out to get them closer to the ground BEFORE using the LCI control panel to drop the front landing gear? If so, then yes, mine goes through both holes. Perhaps yours originally went through both, then one time it only made it through one and when the weight sat down on the pin, it bent it?

Not sure if I'm responding to what your asking correctly. Please clarify and maybe take a picture.
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Old 10-22-2015, 04:56 PM   #15
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Problem solved!!

Just wanted to update this thread regarding the issues I was having with my LCI Auto Level system.

After a bunch of research, talking with some reps at LCI, etc. I was still unable to figure out why when I hit the auto-level button, it wanted to keep jacking up the front, then the back then the front again, etc etc until it was indeed level, but then the axles and tires were off the ground!

So we were on our last camping trip of the summer, and another couple walked up to ask us what we thought about our Denali, as they were staying a few sites down, and had the exact same unit. Long story short, through conversation we talked about the auto-level issue, and the guys goes "I'll bet I know how to fix it."

Turns out he had the same issue, and found that although there is no documentation that he could find either to tell you this, its actually a really simple solution, and one that should work with pretty much any auto-level system (not the hydraulic models I'm assuming) out there. Here's how it works:

When you go to unhook the trailer, you have to pull the pin in the front landing gear to drop down (telescope) the inner tube from the outer tube, until they are near the ground. Then you use the LCI module to use the electric motors to drop the landing gear the rest of the way, unhook the trailer, pull away etc. It is here that I was "causing" the issue. When I would pull the pin to manually drop the landing gear prior to using the motors to ground them for unhooking, I was simply dropping them a random number of holes so they were close to the ground and the same on both sides. Now while this works just fine for unloading for parking, it messes up the LCI system for the Auto-Level as it doesn't allow enough "throw" for the motor to extend without lifting the unit off the ground.

The "magic" number is 10 holes exposed when dropping (telescoping) the landing gear (on the passenger side 12 holes on the drivers side, more on that below), then using the LCI module to electrically ground them. By only going 10 holes (vs the 15 or so I was originally doing) not only does it allow the electric motors to drop another 4-6" it also makes for a more solid overall stance since you now have more of the inner tube inside the outer tube creating a more stable double wall.

From here, once the front jacks are grounded, you pull away, telescope the rear jacks to be near the ground (I didn't have to mess with the number of holes here, just extend them so they are close to the ground) and hit auto-level, and the unit will do what it's supposed to and level the rig perfectly, without taking the tires off the ground!

Not only did this work last weekend when we took our trailer tailgating, but it was also the most stable the trailer has ever been with people moving around inside it as the front end wasn't so high up, it had doubled walled stance in the front landing gear, and overall to level it didn't require lifting it so high in the air. The only downside (which was a small one) was the front end sat so much lower that it was a bit more difficult to get into the front hatch for stuff than before, and required bending over a bit more, but no big deal considering everything worked right this time.

So that is my "DUH!! Simple solution" that makes perfect sense, yet NOBODY from LCI, the dealer, documentation, or even here on the forum suggested to try. The guy that told me said he learned it from a different forum. And it makes sense the factory intends you to know this as well, as when you telescope out the inner front landing gear, they are painted black up to the 10th hole (bare metal beyond that) on the left side (passenger side) and 12th hole on the right (drivers side) of the trailer, as the there is a slight difference as to how low the electric motors are mounted, and the two hole difference is the difference in height between the two.

Hope this helps someone else!!
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