2003 Southwind Jacks: Right-rear won't retract completely

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seanmc2

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Jan 17, 2013
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11
We recently purchased a Fleetwood Southwind 32V motorhome. We pulled into a parking lot the other day and leveled the coach with the jacks.  When we were ready to leave I retracted the jacks (pushed retract all jacks button), after a few minutes I did my walk around to make sure everything was in order and I discovered that the right-rear jack had not completely retracted. I was still extended by about 3 inches.

Has anyone experienced this?  What do I do?  Is there a way to safely retract the jack manually?
 
It would help to know what brand/model your jacks are.  That said, you can probably push the jack up with some sort of pry bar.  Likely, the jack just needs cleaned and lubed.  Run it all the way down and wipe the cylinder with transmission fluid.  Then try retracting.  If you still have a problem, it may have weak springs - which typically can be replaced.
 
i was having that problem with a couple of my  jacks.  i would keep a chunk of 2x4 in my storage bay as well as a block to pry it over. i would push it the last few inches manually. if you can push it manually the hydralic valve is open. my mechanic buddy told me to wipe the cylinders and then lubricate them. he gave me a can of stuff called fluid film. its a spray lubricant that sticks where you spray it.  he told me to spray my jacks for the next three or four times i put them down. i did this and they now return to the top themselves. i dont know if this is just postponing the need to replace the springs in the future. basically you have a solenoid that opens a valve and the springs return the jack to the up position. hope this helps.
 
Thanks for the tip!!  I was thinking along the same lines.  Although, the Fleetwood support rep doesn't recommend that.  A friend at work who has dealt with MHs for awhile suggested the same thing, but with the caveat that if it's a clogged filter, I could blow it out. I think I'm going to try the Fleetwood Rep's suggestion first -- run all the jacks out about an inch and then push the Retract All Jacks button, and see what happens.

I think for tonight, I'm just going to camp with the fridge off and use a cheap styrofoam ice chest to keep things cool.  I'm going home tomorrow after work, so I'll have to do some serious troubleshooting on the weekend.  I'm afraid that if I put the jack all the way down again, it won't come up at all -- if that happens, I'm up sanitation slough with insufficient means of propulsion! :p
 
There is a grease zerk on each of the rear jack cylinders (for some reason not on the front), every month or so give it a couple of pumps. For tonight: fully extend jacks, squirt the chrome pushrod all the way around at the top liberally with WD-40, and then go retract them... they'll go up all the way. As the ram retracts it squeegees most of the WD the rest of the way down the pushrod. Also, make certain not to put vehicle in Drive before retract cycle is complete, that will turn off the unit and the jacks will remain in whatever position they are in when shut off. WD should be in every tool kit.
 
each jack has a solenoid switch that opens a valve  to allow the fluid to return and the jack to retract. on top of these solenoids there is a T handle that will manually open the valve in the event that the solenoid fails. in my 2000 winne  they are located behind the front drop down grill and look like a short cylinder about 8 inchines long with a T on top.  there is one for each jack. we tested to find which solenoid was operating the sticky jack by levelling up the mh and opening each T valve slowly one at a time and see which corner came down. if the lube falls to fix the problem you may have a worn solenoid valve. i am no mechanic but have a friend who is a lifetime mechanic and he gives me lots of good advice.
 
Thank you everyone!!  The problem is now fixed.  With a help from all of you, the service manager at the dealer where I purchased the coach, and the techs at Power Gear (jack manufacturer).

Here's what I did:
1) Cycled the rear jacks all the way down and them back up again several times. Each time the "stuck" jack came up a little further.
2) Extended the jacks all the way again.
3) Wiped each plunger with a clean dry cloth and then sprayed them with silicon lube (Power Gear was emphatic the I NOT use WD-40 as it will damage the seals.
4) Wiped the zerks clean and then greased the rear jacks. 

Now they go down and come up like they were brand new!!!

Again, I want to thank everyone here for your help and advice.  I'm really beginning to love this forum.

Sean
 
I guess I should better keep some silicone spray in my tool box as well. Thanks, now I've benefitted too!
 
still a good idea to locate the solenoid valves so if there ever is an incident where the hydraulics malfunction you can still get the jacks up and get you home or to a service center.
 
"Power Gear was emphatic the I NOT use WD-40 as it will damage the seals."

I woke up last night with these thoughts, and it's not as though I "lost sleep" over it, just thoughts. I've never taken an hydraulic cylinder apart but I imagine there must be two seals. One on either side of the grease zerk. The bottom one prevents grease from escaping to the outside world and the top one prevents grease and hydraulic fluid from comingling. And even if that isn't exactly the set-up, my point is that the seals are in constant contact with petroleum based products (either grease or hydraulic fluid). In what way could WD (another petrochemical) cause damage. Like the initial poster, this was only ever a problem when I first got the MH (3+ years ago), regular maintenance has prevented recurrence. Although I will use silicone spray from this point forward if there is any future problem... it does still leave me wondering what the science is behind the recommendation to not use WD-40. 
 
Michael,

Although the exact formulation is a trade secret, the general composition is a known quantity:
51% Stoddard Solvent  (basically turpentine).
25% Liquid Propane
15% Mineral Oil
The remainder are inert ingredients.

WD-40 is basically a solvent compound, the lubrication comes from the mineral oil and whatever grease it dissolves.  Wired magazine (tech geeks) did an analysis using a gas-chromatograph and a mass spectrometer. Follow this URL to see their analysis --> http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/magazine/17-05/st_whatsinside

Don't get me wrong here, I love WD-40 for getting stuck (rusted) things open or to loosen sticky hinges.
 

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