Self levelling technology: Why is there not more of it out there?
Self levelling systems are popular with its users but there are only a few caravan and motorhome models that offer the technology
Thursday, 25, May 2017 03:41
by Daniel Cartwright
The caravan and motorhome industry are amazingly early adopters of technology, and modern leisure vehicle specifications are incredibly high. Some leisure vehicles have more specification than the average home, boasting huge fridges, solar panels, alarm systems, satellite dishes, LED touch lighting, even underfloor wet central heating in some models.
What you generally find in the leisure vehicle industry is that as soon as one manufacturer brings a technology to their premier specification vehicles, over the next few seasons these technologies filter across different manufacturers and down the model lists.
So what has happened to self levelling systems? Elddis introduced them into the Buccaneer caravan in 2015 and they are one of the most sort after aftermarket parts applied to motorhomes, so why 2 years later are they not standard on more caravans and motorhomes?
What are self levelling systems?
To put it simply, they are hydraulic motor driven corner steadies with built in technology that at the push of a button will level your leisure vehicle on any surface or incline.
The application in caravanning initially is obvious. Normally, you have to drop your corner steadies and it can be a faff and at times a bit awkward, particularly as you want the caravan level, which can take a bit of fine tuning. So, having a system that does it at the push of a button is amazing.
For motorhomes, whilst the application seems less necessary, we find that unless your pitch is completely level there is little you can do. You can use wheel ramps but depending on the gradient aspect you can end up level in one place but not the other. Anyone who has motorhomed, particularly if you like to go off the beaten track, will have, at one point or another, woken up in a pile in one corner of your bed, and/or had a sink that just won't empty.
That brings us nicely to the other more hidden benefits of self levelling systems, water drainage and security. Everyone has had issues with water draining from a motorhome or caravan shower or sink. with these systems at the push of a button you can temporarily change the angle of your vehicle to direct water down the sink during your shower time. For security, a caravan or motorhome with hydraulic corner steadies down cannot be raised without the unit being engaged. This makes it much harder to steal and acts as a huge theft deterrent.
Finally, there's the bling factor, those that have been either caravanning or motorhoming for a while will know there is a secret judgement when you arrive at site as to how well, and how quick you are able to get "rig ready" and get the kettle on. This can cause a bit of additional stress when you arrive. So why not have that cup of tea as soon as you arrive and turn the gas on?
Buccaneer - Made by Elddis, it uses the E&P (hyperlink here to https://www.ep-hydraulicsnews.co.uk/) and we have made videos of this when it was launched on the Buccaneer. It works, and they do sell proprietary if you want.
Goldschmitt - These are Hymer-owned, German manufactured systems that are the choice of many Hymer users. Again, here you can see it lifting a Nichman Biscoff motorhome with ease.
Lunar - The Lunar Alaria also offers self-levelling technology.
We asked Rachel Moncrieff of Elddis how well received the E&P system has been on the Buccaneer:
"The E&P Levelsystem is a high-level piece of equipment which forms part of the specification in our Buccaneer range - the UK's most luxurious caravan. It certainly contributes towards the 'wow factor' of the Buccaneer range and - combined with other class-leading attributes, such as the 8ft-width and ALDE Underfloor Heating - creates Customer demand reaching almost fever-pitch.
"Buccaneer Customers who have experienced the obvious benefits of the Levelsystem, would not choose anything else. I imagine once you have enjoyed the level of luxury Buccaneer offers, it would be a difficult choice to 'downgrade' to anything else!"
So do Elddis have any plans to include self-levelling on other ranges in the future? And if not why?
Ms Moncrieff responded: "No, we don't have plans to offer Levelsystem on any of our other products. From a commercial point-of-view, we need to have clearly defined brands and price structures and so to offer Levelsystem on Elddis or Compass models would not only muddy the waters, but also compromise our ability to offer class-leading products at the hugely competitive price we do. The system would also be too heavy to be feasible on some of our lightest-weight vans."
We don't like getting all preachy at CaravanTimes but come on industry, let's start seeing these in more ranges of caravans and motorhomes!