Thank you!! It's great to get advice from folks with WAY more experience and knowledge than I.
The paragraph below caught my eye (emphasis added). I will probably get the new springs but am expecting a new cylinder.
If the jacks will retract completely but exceed the allowable retraction times, replacing the return springs will in most cases resolve the problem. In normal conditions above freezing, if a jack will retract with a little assistance, replacing the springs may resolve the problem. If a jack has to be forced up, as with a
pry bar, the cylinder will most likely have to be replaced. If replacing the springs does not solve the problem, the cylinder must be replaced. NOTE: If the jack is equipped with the new style tapered springs, do not replace the springs, replace or repair the cylinder.
I'll check it like HWH said and go from there!!
I've had a variety of HWH products on different RVs and, overall, I've been pretty happy with them. However, HWH says the "Allowable retraction time" for my jacks is fifty (50) minutes! If the jacks retract within that time they're considered to be operating within specs. That's right out of my owners manual and right from the HWH guy I spoke with when I contacted them about a slow retracting jack. I'm sorry, but 50 minutes seems ridiculous. Ours have the newer tapered springs but it has not made any difference.
Here's what I've learned about the jacks and this all-too-common problem. We store our RV with the jacks partially extended so we can keep one of the slides open. Doing so, however, seems to cause the jack springs to develop a memory of sorts, and one jack in particular takes a long time to retract. As a test, I stored our RV for a few days with the jacks fully retracted, and then I extended them and then retracted them. Well guess what... they worked fine. The jack springs seem to lose some of their tension - their ability to retract - when they're left in an extended (stretched out) position for any length of time.
From what I've been able to read about HWH springs, they're not known for being made out of the highest quality metal. Several people have opined that zinc coated springs are much better suited for retaining their ability to retract over time. There's actually a post on this forum, that's several years old, about HWH springs (Sorry, I don't have the URL handy). In it, the OP goes into some detail about this issue - pictures and all.
In the end, I decided to not wait 50 minutes for my jacks to retract, and to not pay the $470.00 HWH quoted me for a new cylinder (labor not included). After all, it's simply spring tension that retracts the jacks. Instead, I put two inexpensive zinc coated "helper" springs on the outside of the problem-jack's existing springs, and I haven't had a problem since. FWIW