Jump to content

Smelly clutch

Roy stone

Recommended Posts

Hi Roy. is your MH a Ducato? My first one was and for the first 10,000 odd kms if I drove up a steep  uphill road section the clutch would smell of hot oil. It was not evident after that and it did not appear to have caused any issues. cheers,

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Roy's motorhome is a Hobby T65 model with 140bhp CITROEN motor. Technical details here


There is plenty of on-line advice/argument about using levelling ramps (GOOGLE on motorhome driving on to levelling ramps) and this link is to a 2017 discussion on this forum.


I've seen large heavy motorhomes clamber gently on to ramps with the motor at near tick-over speed, or small light motorhomes being driven brutally up ramps with the clutch slipping and the motor revving madly.

The steeper the ascent on to the ramps the trickier the exercise will be, and the higher the motorhome's bottom gear and the less 'torquey' its power delivery at low revs the more attentive the driver will need to be to avoid stressing  the clutch.

As I said in the 2017 forum thread, my 2005 Ford-based Hobby was very challenging to put on to the high levelling ramps I had at the time, whereas my 2015 Rapido could easily be trickled up the lower ramps I had changed to.

I feared the Hobby's high forwards and reverse gearing and, at low revs, its shortage of torque and  propensity to stall. I deliberately used to avoid standing starts on hills whenever possible and, on the one occasion when I was forced to reverse slowly around a very tight corner on a very steep slope, the Hobby's clutch really took offence, with an acrid burning smell permeating the cab.

Even if a driver is mechanically sympathetic and light-footed, care will be needed not to over-stress the clutch if the ramps are steep and the motorhome' is uncooperative at low revs. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This assumes you'll have a friendly banksman 🙂 with you to shout "STOP" as you hear the top of the ramp. 

The easiest method I found (aided by said friendly banksman) was to drive or reverse straight to the top of the ramp in one hit, in preference in trying to inch up the ramp in small increments, and then, once as near to the top of the ramp as is safe, to allow gravity to slowly roll the van back down the ramp (for which only use of brakes is necessary) until satisfied with the level.  Then, handbrake on and cuppa!  😄 

Result: level van with no fried clutch.  😉 

Edited by Brian Kirby
Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK in theory, but, with the Hobby, I used to carry really high Milenco "Quattro" levelling ramps


and my wife (High Priestess of Ambiguity) could not be relied on to shout "STOP" before it was too late and I'd overshot the end of the ramp. So - although I employed the 'one hit' technique you've mentioned - I only dared to go partway up the Quattro ramps, which defeated having ramps with such a high lift.

A solution would have been to add a vertical stop to the end of the level (simple enough with the Quattro) but I found that I rarely needed the Quattro ramps,  and I usually used a lower, more user-friendly set that carried less overshooting consequences.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess it depends quite a bit where one is trying to get level.  Almost all our overnight stops involved campsites, and campsites, with a few exceptions, tend to have fairly level pitches, so extreme situations were relatively rare.  Also, most sensibly laden motorhomes, again with a few exceptions, tend to have a nose down attitude when on level ground, so a pitch with a slight rise on it could often be exploited to get level without recourse to ramps.  Then there are often trees to provide shade to pitches, especially in Southern European countries, and trees have roots, and tree roots often cause a bit of local ground heave, so a critical look at the pitch can from time to time reveal a useful "root hump" on which to place a (usually front) wheel to compensate for a diagonal pitch slope.

I think one of the most useful hints to anyone pitching a motorhome, is to get and have a critical look at the pitch before driving on - for which daylight is a considerable advantage!  🙂 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I concur with Brian about getting out and having a look before driving on to the pitch. Rather the same as a golfer lines up a putt! You get to see the lie of the land and an indication of where to go.

I have mentioned before, but I have a simple plumbline I can attach to where the rear view mirror was sited. I then have a mark on the dash which is dead level. So ..... slow on to the pitch while using the plumbline and more often that not no ramps are required.

When they are, the plumb line tells me which wheels to put the ramps on and how far up to go .....my wife is also a good STOP shouter!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, crocs said:

I also adopt Brian's method but my Banksman/Wife has the opposite tendency to Derek's ie she puts her hand up tentatively before the end. By the time she has changed her mind, I have stopped too early!

That sounds about right, are our wives sisters?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...