Among the motorhome accessories, one of the most spectacular (both in terms of cost and functionality) are hydraulic supports . Many premium class manufacturers have been offering them in the accessories / optional equipment catalog for years. One thing is certain - whoever tries to travel with supports will definitely not want to part with them. The genesis of the problem is known and includes several aspects. Even seemingly even parking spaces often require correction - then we go back and forth, we reach for the alignment wedges. The end result is perhaps satisfactory in terms of the "level", but still moving around the vehicle we can feel every deflection of the suspension. What if ... stand steadily, without "rocking", be able to tilt the vehicle to empty the gray water tank, and even weigh the vehicle without driving on the truck scale? Such "miracles" are made possible by the modern supports of the German brand Sawiko / AL-KO , which we would like to introduce to you in this article.
Universal solution for most motorhomes
The HY4 system is a solution consisting of 4 separate supports - one mechanism for each wheel. This is a fundamental difference between HY4 and the competition - but we'll come back to that in a moment. It is compatible with standard Fiat chassis (X250 / 290) and related structures from Stellantis (Citroen Jumper, Peugeot Boxer), Mercedes, and - of course - AL-KO frame structures. The manufacturer is currently working on a solution that allows installation in the new version of the Ford Transit . The spectrum of compatible models is wide. The maximum weight of a motorhome is 6 tons. In outline, the control is carried out using a wired remote control, optionally we can retrofit the system with remote control via an application - this is a significant convenience, but also a platform that allows full use and monitoring of all functions that this solution may be equipped with. Many people who carefully watch the weight of their motorhome will probably ask the question about the weight of the set - the average additional weight that we have to take into account when installing it is 67-69 kg.
Motorhome hydraulic supports - benefits
The selection of hydraulic supports available on the market is not overwhelming - since the market is niche, the competition is not impressive either. The latest system from AL-KO is a successful combination of all the advantages of solutions available on the market. Basic advantages and details:
- No interference with the bodywork and its tightness - unlike many alternative structures, the installation does not require any culverts / perforation of the chassis and bodywork. Giving up a centrally located pump connected by hydraulic hoses to the bellows at each wheel is an innovative approach. And so, at each of the wheels, a separate pump is mounted with the control system for a given support. This reduces the risk of fluid leakage (also inside the vehicle) and significantly shortens the response / leveling time of the vehicle - the entire process takes less than a minute (this is basically a gap compared to the sluggish E&P HYDRAULICS solution, for example).
- Intuitive operation with a remote control - two programmable buttons are sewn into it - in practice, this means that in the blink of an eye we can select a predefined position, eg for sleep or emptying the tank. The integrated sensor also informs us whether it will be possible to level the vehicle in a given area.
- The icing on the cake in the specification of the AL-KO support system is the possibility of weighing the vehicle with an accuracy of 3%. The advantages of this option do not need to be explained to anyone. Already while packing the motorhome, we can monitor the weight and avoid exceeding the GVM. A remote application (available as an option) for a mobile device will help us in reading. Such a function is a real "punch"!
- The hermetic design of individual pumps and control systems at each wheel (tightness class IP66) reduces the need for service and maintenance to a minimum. In addition, the entire system is protected against interference from the outside (e.g. by children), at the same time providing additional protection against amateurs of someone else's property.
- In order to avoid the load on the structure, the supports are lowered in pairs. The whole is connected to the starting battery, and in the event of a breakdown and immobilization, we always have the option to "free" the vehicle and continue driving using the emergency valve.
At the beginning of the article I mentioned that whoever tried to travel with supports will not want to part with them. The truth is, not only will he not want to, but he won't have to. Due to the design and method of assembly, we can take the complete system with us and use it in a new vehicle. Until now, in the case of most competing systems, it was at times extremely difficult and expensive (the hoses that required replacement and complicated disassembly were already a sufficient obstacle). HY4 is an investment that we do not have to "regret" when reselling our vehicle and it will be successful in each subsequent car.
Leveling props are an ingenious system with a number of advantages. Ease of use, stability regardless of the situation and the vehicle weighing function are the advantages worth the price of this solution. Taking into account the usual amounts for alternative solutions with a more complicated (potentially emergency) structure, the equivalent of approx. EUR is absolutely not excessive.
Recently, we participated in a training organized by the AL-KO company, after which ACK was the first company in Poland to obtain the manufacturer's authorization for the sale and installation of hydraulic supports of this brand.
If you want to know more about the HY4 props themselves and the mounting options in your motorhome, please contact ACK Benimar directly.
I feel best in the form of trade fairs and meetings with enthusiasts. Technical freak. In my life I have dismantled many motorhomes for the first time. Fan of large vehicles, mountain biking and traveling without weight and financial restrictions. At CampRest, I am responsible for all publications on automotive topics.