5th wheel landing leg issues

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Cameo 40th

Feb 27, 2019
This is my first posting to this site. I originally found a thread that discussed various landing leg issues however I've got a question/comments regarding a different resolution to what sounds like a common problem with 5th wheel landing leg system.

As background to my comments, I purchased a new 2009 Carriage Cameo 40th anniversary 37 foot fifth wheel after much research into the various models available to me in Canada. For the most part I am happy with my purchase however I've had several issues that have come up over the years where I've either fixed them myself or paid a professional to do the repair. I don't think I've had any issues beyond what are normally expected for an RV of this age.

Currently, while my landing legs are functioning, almost every time in the last 2 years, I've found my landing legs struggle to lift the unit high enough to either hook up to or unhook from my truck. When if fails to raise as high as I want it to, it starts to make a fairly loud clicking noise and it stops raising. On one occasion I had to assist the legs with hydraulic jacks of my own to get it high enough.

As part of my resolution to the problem, I made an on line inquiry with a mechanic who recommended the "Bull Dog" dual motor system as a permanent resolution to the problem. Since I used my RV all but one time last summer (and it's parked now) i didn't attend to the problem. Now, while in Florida (I'm renting a home down here) I've tried to source these legs and cannot get them. Prices on line range from $600 USD to $1200 CDN for the set. At either price, I'm having difficulty sourcing them. So, as an alternative, I'm wondering since I own a spare motor and gearbox, if I cannot install the second motor on the none motor driven leg, run my own wiring and with a second separate switch, essentially build something similar to the bull dog system. it will likely have less power than theirs but double what I currently have but ultimately should suffice (I get double the power with 2 motors). It should be noted that the noise I've heard comes from the motor driven side and I have since changed out the gearing and related components on this side to no avail. In my worst case should I pursue this, I'd have to buy another leg that can accommodate a separate motor and gearbox if the existing one (driven by the rod that runs from one side to the other) will not readily accept it. (If I was home right now I'd check and confirm myself). If it needs some minor modification I can do this myself.

I'm wondering if anyone has ever considered this, done this? or perhaps knows why I cannot do it?
On my fiver I had a non Lippert part, so I looked up the mfg web site and ordered the street side leg complete with motor and gear box.  Took a couple of hours to take the old leg assy out and place the new one.  Since I had already replwced the cheap reversing switch with a heavy duty reversing relay it was only a matter of wiring a second reversing relay then connecting the wires to a roggle switch and adding up limit switches to each leg.

Thank you for the response. If I understand you correctly you have already done what I have been contemplating. I got home from Florida late yesterday and today I looked at my landing legs and without removing the bar that connects power from one leg to the other, it appears to me that I can install a motor and gearbox directly on the other leg as i was hoping. What I've further gleaned from your posting however is that a relay is required in the circuit. I've yet to investigate the electrical system on my unit however I wasn't anticipating the need for a relay, which in retrospect is clearly required. Having said that and on the premise I install the requisite components, have you seen any downside to what you have done? Is there an obvious improvement to the power as I would expect? Any other tips that might help me in the work I have yet to perform?
Once I made the conversion I could have not been happier with the outcome.  The nose could literally lift the trailer and truck if needed.  My legs were built by Venture mfg.  To check mfg on the top of each leg is a cap.  Pop it off and look on its underside.  There will be a model and serial number.  Venture was great to deal with and everything was fairly reasonable.  I finally made the change when the plastic gear box case broke.  Replaced it with a metal gear box case.  BTW it is not as simple as mounting a gear box and motor on the current leg.  The input shaft if different.  So you might be able to get a new input shaft.  I bought the heavy duty reversing relays from Texas Industrial electric.  I found the switches for less than 15 dollars each online.  Cant remember the name right of the top of my head.  All pretty simple labor wise.  In fact i did the conversion on another trailer for a fella in an afternoon while he was in a RV park.

I'm 90% sure my legs are Lippert. As it turns out, I have two aluminum gearbox housings (the original plastic one failed on me). Long story regarding why I have so many spare parts and a great story about an RV dealer/maintainer outside of Tampa that I'll be eternally grateful for if you are interesting in the details. I also have another input shaft from when I rebuilt the powered leg. The only thing I found wrong when I rebuilt the gearbox was the thrust washer had failed which allowed the two gears to come out of mesh under power. The original input shaft is fine so I can use it on the other leg.  I was certain the washer was the source of my problem until the next time I used it. (it wasn't)

For now I'm unable to confirm anything else you are passing along as there is a mountain of snow in front of my 5ver. Likely in very early April and hopefully with the snow gone, I'll remove the non powered leg and using your feedback I'll install the 2nd gearbox and leg. If all I need to do is change the input shaft I'll be happy.

Lastly, my switch is in a compartment on the side of my unit with a lockable door over it. The current switch is dead centre so I can't simply install another one in there without it looking bad and likely wouldn't fit anyway. Alternatively I'm looking for a panel with two switches that can fit in the compartment. If I can't find a mounted pair that will fit, I'll buy two unmounted switches and fit them to a mounting plate of my own and figure a way to install it so it looks like it was meant to be that way.

If you can come up with the place where you purchased the switches I'd appreciate it but at the end of the day I'm sure I can find what i need. Thanks for the info regarding the reversing relays. I'll update this site with my results once completed. Again, much appreciated for the feedback. I'm glad to hear you are happy with the result on yours.
Hey John,
Since those factory reversing switches are so prone to failure.  Lots of current on really small contacts I simply threw mine in the garbage.  Instead I got ahold of a basic center off toggle switch.
Please keep my email address handy and I`&ll be glad to feed you any information I have on what I did.  Its been a few years, and I no longer have the trailer, so its all from memory.
If I remember correctly the up limit switches I used were like 15 dollars from places like Norvac Electronics or Allied Electric.  Luckily they dont need to carry much current as all your doing is powering the low amp side of the reversing relay.

With every response from you, it raises more questions for me. Sorry about that but it's helping to weed out my assumptions about how to do this and come to know what i don't know. Two questions immediately come to mind as I read you posting. 1) I'm assuming when you say "centre off" toggle switch, you are simply referring to a switch that has a centre detent where the circuit is left open. 2) Your reference was singular, not plural, did you tie both motors into a single switch? or is it just a reference to the kind of switches.
With respect to the reversing relays, I'm unable to see them in my unit and I'm not clear on exactly where to find them in the circuit. I also see no reference to them in any diagrams on line. I can speculate as to where they must be but to be sure, would you be willing to provide me with a sketch that shows the complete motor, power, relay, switch circuitry or is it simple enough to outline here with words alone? Either method is fine with meCan you purchase switches with relays?

Note: I don't believe I have access to your email ?? (new here) but will clearly keep checking back to this site. Emailing you directly is preferred however you likely don't want it broadcast to the general public.

I know I'm getting pretty picky here but I've got at least a month before I can do this and frankly this is why I'm here ;-)
Sent you a PM.
On your rig there is no reversing relay.  All power is run through the really cheap switch.  This switches are prone to failure due to the high current draw of the motor and small contacts.
If your the least bit handy, and I suspect you are since you have already worked on the legs adding two relays, two up limit switches all tied to one toggle switch should be no big deal.  On/off/on toggle switches are less than 10 dollars.  This will allow you to power both legs from one switch.  Once up limit switches are mounted they will shut off the leg as they come up and before the clutch starts hammering.  Remember each motor is rated at around 25A, so with a total power draw around 50A a 30A switch will fail first time.  Thats why I bought reversing relays.  As I remember I paid around 75 dollars each for the relays, but the rig I did for another fella he found them locally for much less.
If you choose to bullet proof your landing gear and need help, feel free to let me know.

Sorry but I am unable to reply to your personal message. There is supposed to be a reply icon there that is missing on my screen. (I'm going to try a different browser) The "help" doesn't help with this particular problem or at least I've not found it as yet.

Feel free to use my email, I've activated access in my profile.

Relative to your request, I will do what I can to document the process however Don, whom you can see within the thread related to my original posting has done this and as you can see has been extremely helpful. Given that you also have a Carriage product, there may be some things about this job unique to both of us so I will indeed keep that in mind for you. Right now I'm sourcing the requisite parts, most of which I already have so this job for me at least will be quite inexpensive. A couple switches, two relays and perhaps some upgraded wiring to ensure I don't have voltage drop or too much current for what is there now. What Don has done and what I am planning to do is essentially the same as the kits out there marketed by companies like Bulldog and I think another one called Fulton? Based on what Don tells me, this is a viable and quite possibly superior upgrade to products offered by both of these products at a fraction of the cost if done correctly.

I'm going to be starting this work likely in early April. Last month we got a great deal of snow here and I need the vast majority of it to melt away before I can attack this job and I'm going away for a couple weeks anyway. If you can send me your email address, I'll provide you with as much detail as I can, likely more than what I'll be posting here.
My landing leg job is now complete. It works great and once parts arrived, it took me less than 3 hours to finish the job. If anyone needs details on how I completed the work, feel free to contact me via email or through this forum. Thanks to Don for all the help.
I am new here.  I have 5th wheel on ranch, will stay under cover and not be moved.  Is it fine to keep the landing gear engaged?  Suggestions?
Lardybaseball12 said:
I am new here.  I have 5th wheel on ranch, will stay under cover and not be moved.  Is it fine to keep the landing gear engaged?  Suggestions?

1st Welcome to the forum. Usually you're better off starting your own post when you have a question and also a new post for every question you have.
As far as your question, what do you mean landing gear engaged. It's always going to be engaged while it's disconnected from the truck. Maybe I misunderstood your question.  Do you mean put it on blocks of some sort and take the weight off the landing gear?  My trailer is a 5th wheel and is always on the landing gear and has never seen blocking.
Lardybaseball12 said:
I am new here.  I have 5th wheel on ranch, will stay under cover and not be moved.  Is it fine to keep the landing gear engaged?  Suggestions?

Im going to go out on a limb here.  Level the trailer side to side.  If it was me after thant I would block the trailer taking as much weight off the tires as possible.  I would not be afraid to place blocks maybe every 6 to 10 fet of length.  This would make for a very stable platform to live in.

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