HWH – Active Air System Failure & Repair

My coach was taken into the dealer for warranty repairs of a few small items on Tuesday April 23. Friday I went to pickup the coach as it was supposed to be fixed. When the tech drove it around front, the buzzer for jack down was sounding, and the coach air bag on front left was empty.

No problem I thought, just hit reset. I did this, air went into all the bags normally, and all was well. I hooked up the toad, and left the dealership. I was ½ mile down the road, and alarms went off again, saying that my right front air bag was empty, but the coach felt like the front left was empty. I pulled into a parking lot, and sure enough, the front right was FULL, and front Left was empty.

There is a screen on the HWH that shows the pressure of each air bag. It was reading 0 for the Front Right, and 15 for front Left.

So now I was wishing that I had actually printed the manual and read it at least once, because I did not know what to do. The coach was in a twist, and I did not want to continue driving like this. I dumped all the air, and called HWH customer service.

The operator took a message, and I was told to expect a return phone call that day. I wasn’t sure how long that would take, so I kept doing the same thing over (definition of insanity right) EXPECTING a different result. I tried power resets, I looked for loose wires. I assumed the dealer must have done something like a slow power drain to 10v or disconnected a cable.
After about 30 minutes, I got a phone call from Joe @ HWH. Described the problem, and he had me go through a series of tests to verify that the system was acting normal. One of this was to air level the coach. I did this, and the coach did level properly. I could also manually add air to the system and bring it up to normal ride height, but as soon as I started driving, it went out of sync again.

Then Joe told me to do something that I already knew, but just wasn’t thinking of…hit the STOP button once the coach is at the proper ride height. Very simple, all done on the inside of the coach. Magically the coach was drivable!
Joe left me in a drivable position, and hung up to discuss the plan of action with the powers that be. I decided to return the coach to the dealer, as there was still a problem with the dash air, and slide.

Monday morning Joe called and said that they believe that a sensor on the air manifold had gone bad. He agreed to overnight it to me, and to pay for a truck service center to remove and install. I informed him that the coach was left at the dealership, and that I wanted to do the repair myself. I had pictures of the air manifold that I took while the system was being installed, and the location was such that if I slid the generator out, it was easy to get to. Joe agreed.

So today, about 30 minutes worth of work, and the new part fixed the problem. A very simple sensor failure, that according to Joe, only 1 other has ever failed. They have requested the part back to inspect it for cause of failure.
I am very confident in the redundancy built into the HWH Active Air system, and now that I have a copy of the manual printed and in the coach, hopefully I won’t forget how simple it is to deactivate and manually air the bags to proper ride height.

HWH Active Air – First 30 Days

I got to put some real mileage on the coach. I did the drive home from Nappanee, IN to Fort Worth, TX by myself, and really got to enjoy the handling of the coach. With Comfort Steer, and Active Air, there was absolutely no stress passing semi’s or with wind.

The real beauty of the air leveling was when I got to pull into a parking spot where I could run out a slide. The air level was fast, I ran out the full wall slide, and slept for a few hours. Put it back in, and on my way. I know others have leveled with Hydraulic in Wal-Mart’s and Rest stops. The real problem is that in the summer heat, the jacks will sink into the asphalt, and cause damage to the parking lot. In addition, it could cause damage to the coach as it slips into the hole, and causes movement.

My wife drove the coach to Branson while I played with the electronics, and enjoyed being a passenger. She was amazed at how well it drove. After a while she wanted to know how much was because of the “active air” and how much the comfort steer. I had her hit the “stop” button on the active air, and immediately she could tell a difference in the wind. It was blowing a steady 20-25MPH, and for the first time she white knuckled the steering wheel and demanded I turn the system back on.

The reality of what was taking place is the coach was still driving in a straight line, but now the leaning of the house was occurring because of the wind, and you could feel the pressure. Hit the “reset” button and 20 seconds later the active air was taking over, and immediately the stress was gone.

I think that is a demo that should be on a commercial somehow. Sold me yet again!

HWH Active Air – First impressions

The install started at 7:00am on Wednesday in Davenport, IA at Interstate power. There the Allison transmission needed to be coded to send a signal when road speed hit approx 8 MPH. This signal is used by the new computer HWH installs. This process took all of 10 minutes, and I made the short drive to HWH headquarters in Moscow, IA.

My plan was to get the Air leveling system, which allows leveling the coach using either Air or Hydraulic, one or the other, not both. Air leveling has a lot of draw to me, allowing the leveling of the coach on softer grounds without the worry of digging in.
The installation was to take 2 days, so I planned on staying in the coach. They put the coach in their heated garage, on a 5 ft. platform. I had electric, and could open the slides. Perfect setup. They gave me a set of keys so that I could come and go, and offered to let me act like I owned the place. I cannot say enough good things about the company.

I left to do some shopping, letting them work. About an hour after I left, I got a phone call from Paul, the owner of HWH. He asked if I had ever heard of Active Air, which I had, and if I would consider upgrading to that. After answering a few questions, and getting more information about what the system does, I agreed. This meant that the install was going to take 5 days, but in the end I was going to have a very advanced system.
The final result is truly amazing. On the test drive, I decided to see if this 43 foot motorhome could handle the 25MPH corner @ 25MPh, vs. the normal 15. The answer is YES…There was NO LEANING, and no loss of weight distribution.

This next part will cause HWH some problems unless I make it very clear – THIS IS NOT ENDORSED NOR RECOMMENDED BY HWH. THIS IS SOMETHING I DID ON MY OWN FREE WILL. Hopefully that clears up the legal issues.

I took the same corner at 45MPH. Crazy? Yes! Stupid, Yes! I don’t recommend this as an option to drive a motorhome like I drive my BMW, but let me tell you…the coach handled it. What did not was my Residential refrigerator, because I forgot to lock the doors! Lucky for me, HWH’s Engineer, Mitch, was in the coach, and was able to pick up the mayo & butter, so I could try some quick lane shifts. I did a simulated emergency lane change…AND IT WAS SO MUCH FUN…I was giggling.

I don’t think I will ever drive this that way, but there are other things that are of big benefit, and the company actually mentions these on the website.
Sharp turns, the coach doesn’t rock. Going down the highway with a big side wind, the coach doesn’t rock or lean.

In fact, with comfort steer, Active Air, and a Tag axle, I drove 200 miles in a 30MPH wind gusts, and never knew it. My first sign of wind was when I stopped at a Pilot to get fuel. When I opened the door, it almost came off its hinges, the wind was so strong! Up to that point I did not know that there was wind!
Leveling the coach is so easy with the Air level system. I chose to use Air the first night, because the temps were below 18F, and the jacks would be very slow to retract in the morning. Also, they had accumulated a lot of ice. Another good reason to have the air option.

I will post more after I have had some time with the system. Please feel free to post comments or ask questions.