HWH hydraulic cylinder repairs

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John Stephens

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Last year when the front cylinder blew out on my largest living room slide, I had my house mechanic rebuild all six cylinders for the front two slides, knowing that when one blows, the rest will usually follow. I am presently on my first trip after these repairs, and after extending and retracting the slide two times, it again is leaking fluid from both the middle of the coach as well as the outside end of the ram, and extending crooked, with the front end going too far and the rear not going far enough. The front end damaged my interior trim that holds the slide in place when extended, and the rear didn't drop to floor level. When I realized fluid was leaking, I decided to retract the slide and not use it for the rest of our month-long trip, figuring I would take it back to my house mechanic and ask him to make good on his work. I assume there is something wrong with the sync cylinder that caused the slide to extend crooked, more on one end that the other, and the leak is either the front cylinder blowing again from extra pressure, or a fitting blowing or coming loose because that end of the slide went too far out.

Our house was in the bullseye of Hurricane Ian in Cape Coral, FL. We have no power, water, cell, internet, or mail until further notice. We may not have power for one to two months because much of the grid has to be rebuilt. We were fortunate to be on the road when this happened, but I see no reason to go home until power is restored. My driveway has a 20 degree slope, so we can't park it there and use the fridge, and there is nowhere else to park it near the house. I have made reservations at a park in Lake City, FL for a month, hoping the power will be restored by then. If not, we'll stay longer.

We are traveling with three large dogs, so this coach is beginning to feel cramped without the use of our largest slide. I'm beginning to think it would be a good idea to have it repaired so we can use it for the rest of this longer than planned trip. Does anyone know of a reputable mechanic or company that can work on hydraulics anywhere close to I-75 between Knoxville, TN and Lake City, FL? Obviously, the cylinder(s) will have to be rebuilt again because new cylinders won't be available from HWH within a reasonable time frame.

Another question for anyone who may know: when speaking with a mobile mechanic in our current park, he said he heard that HWH is up for sale and has already closed or sold their facility in Georgia. I didn't know they had any satellite operations outside of Moscow, IA. Does anyone have any reliable information regarding HWH? I planned on driving to them next year to have this repair done right if it can't be done before then, so I don't want to make wasted plans. I know that when this problem happened a few weeks ago, I wrote them an email that hasn't been answered yet.

Thanks in advance to anyone who can provide me information on these questions.
 

John Canfield

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Oh my John, when it rains it pours :unsure: . I had a look at HWH's Facebook page and they don't keep it very current but they were advertising for help a year ago (like everybody else.) Nothing about the company came up with a quick interwebs search.

Start new post about a service facility option - probably the best board would be General Discussion to get the most eyes the topic.

So sorry about your home in Cape Coral, that area of the coast got hammered. I've been watching drone surveys of the damage and it reminds me of a war zone. We have good friends in Ft Myers and they are still out of power and the sewage lift station for their area is inop. A nephew lives in Naples, their power was restored a day or two ago. Their damage was minimal.

What drove us out of central Florida was going through two hurricanes in 2004.
"Doctor! It hurts when I do this! Well don't do that!"
 

John Stephens

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Jan 27, 2015
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Cape Coral, FL
John, thanks for the advice. I have placed another post in 'General Discussion and will wait to see if anyone responds. We are leaving Pigeon Forge tomorrow morning and beginning the drive back home after hearing we might have power by the weekend. However, I have given a deposit for a month-long stay at Lake City RV Resort and will stop there for at least two nights to use up the deposit on the way home.

If HWH goes out of business, what are the owners of the older coaches supposed to do for repairs they can't do themselves? It's getting to the point where you can't find parts or anyone to make repairs on coaches older than 10 years a lot of times. I won't go back to LaMesa RV after they ripped me for almost $2,200 to install new steps plus a $200 diagnosis fee.
 

youracman

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Denver, CO
Via Google I found this: HWH International is HEALTH · WEALTH · HAPPINESS · Creating a purpose-driven business model enabling home-based people in the new GIG economy to create lasting wealth.

Alset Capital is merging with HWH International in the 4th qtr of 2022.

Hopefully, this announcement is what is creating all the angst; and HWH Corp in Moscow, IA has nothing to do with it?
 

Ray-IN

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Locate a farm equipment hydraulic shop along your route, preferable in Lake City area. They should have no problem rebuilding HWH cylinders.
HWH does have a list of authorized resellers and repair shops on their website.
Also, an HWH employee is a member (AZPETE) of irv2.com and a few other RVing forums, when contacted he freely offers his advice and knowledge of their various systems
If you don't know the model of your slide-room system, this will help. The first step is to identify is your slide system is type A or type B, then drill down.
 

DBarton02

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Chicago, IL
Locate a farm equipment hydraulic shop along your route, preferable in Lake City area. They should have no problem rebuilding HWH cylinders.
HWH does have a list of authorized resellers and repair shops on their website.
Also, an HWH employee is a member (AZPETE) of irv2.com and a few other RVing forums, when contacted he freely offers his advice and knowledge of their various systems
If you don't know the model of your slide-room system, this will help. The first step is to identify is your slide system is type A or type B, then drill down.
The hard part is crossing your fingers that the 3rd party outfit that rebuilt your cylinders did it exactly to HWH Spec. My bedroom slide cylinder blew out last summer, and in quick haste (and due to the fact that I couldn't really drive my coach anywhere as a result of the problem), I had a mobile 'tech' come out and we were able to get the cylinder out, and I paid about $500 to have it rebuilt at a place that handled crane outrigger jacks for a company I worked for at the time.
The seal they used failed and I had the same problem this past summer - drove it out to HWH in Iowa (Thankfully, it's just a 3 hour run for me being outside of Chicago).

One of the main guys there (Curt was his name, I think) flat out told me that HWH uses a specialty seal for those cylinders and having anyone else do it is a dice roll.

I wish they'd manufacture some more of the older stuff - as I'd happily buy a few extra cylinders/fittings and keep them on hand.

Either way - I feel your pain - as I've dealt with it twice in 2 years on the same slide.
 

John Stephens

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Cape Coral, FL
The hard part is crossing your fingers that the 3rd party outfit that rebuilt your cylinders did it exactly to HWH Spec. My bedroom slide cylinder blew out last summer, and in quick haste (and due to the fact that I couldn't really drive my coach anywhere as a result of the problem), I had a mobile 'tech' come out and we were able to get the cylinder out, and I paid about $500 to have it rebuilt at a place that handled crane outrigger jacks for a company I worked for at the time.
The seal they used failed and I had the same problem this past summer - drove it out to HWH in Iowa (Thankfully, it's just a 3 hour run for me being outside of Chicago).

One of the main guys there (Curt was his name, I think) flat out told me that HWH uses a specialty seal for those cylinders and having anyone else do it is a dice roll.

I wish they'd manufacture some more of the older stuff - as I'd happily buy a few extra cylinders/fittings and keep them on hand.

Either way - I feel your pain - as I've dealt with it twice in 2 years on the same slide.
You are describing my quandary very well. I took my coach into my house mechanic who rebuilt the cylinders yesterday and told him the seal lasted two extensions before blowing out. I told him what you said about using anything but HWH seals being a crap shoot. He said he agrees with that. BUT - HWH will not sell or ship rebuild kits for their cylinders. Anything else they make, yes, but not cylinder kits. And right now, they refuse to provide an ETA for shipping new cylinders. So unless I want to attempt to make an appointment with them when they are too busy to return phone calls or emails, and then drive all the way up to Moscow, IA from SW Florida, what am I suppose to do? I wrote them as soon as the cylinder blew out in early September and haven't received a response from them yet. I can't drive up there without an appointment and have them tell me they can't help me. If they can't ship new cylinders, you would think they would aid their customers in any way they can, such as shipping rebuild kits.
 

Mark_K5LXP

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In a past life I used to maintain and repair a small number hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders in factory press equipment. This stuff is used pervasively in industry and there are many sources of cylinders and component parts like seals. HWH doesn't make their own parts, they buy them from someone. Possibly built to their dimensional spec but odds are high a good portion of their cylinders/actuators use commodity parts. I don't have a hydraulic slide so haven't gone down this road but I would be looking at these cylinders closely to see if I could make out where they come from or to what standard form factor they are comprised. Sometimes seals will have markings on them, will have a unique color, lip arrangement or other attribute that will indicate a manufacturer, part number or generic spec. Once you figure out these details you can approach a hydraulic shop that can source those parts (or "better") and effect a repair. Could be too with a bit of digging around on the intertubes that someone has already done this legwork. I may be totally off base and making wild assumptions but in my experience there's not much new under the sun with hydraulic cylinders. The last thing I would do is make a trip halfway across the country to allow some fabricator to install parts I could get delivered to my house.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
 

DBarton02

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Chicago, IL
You are describing my quandary very well. I took my coach into my house mechanic who rebuilt the cylinders yesterday and told him the seal lasted two extensions before blowing out. I told him what you said about using anything but HWH seals being a crap shoot. He said he agrees with that. BUT - HWH will not sell or ship rebuild kits for their cylinders. Anything else they make, yes, but not cylinder kits. And right now, they refuse to provide an ETA for shipping new cylinders. So unless I want to attempt to make an appointment with them when they are too busy to return phone calls or emails, and then drive all the way up to Moscow, IA from SW Florida, what am I suppose to do? I wrote them as soon as the cylinder blew out in early September and haven't received a response from them yet. I can't drive up there without an appointment and have them tell me they can't help me. If they can't ship new cylinders, you would think they would aid their customers in any way they can, such as shipping rebuild kits.
It was easier to set up a service appointment at HWH than I thought - though that is me saying it only having to drive 3 or so hours out of my way.
If you're calling to set up something with a tech, you won't hear ANYTHING back for some time. I left a number for one of their guys to call back, and got a call back (I think) 1.5/2 months after.

If you call HWH's number, and then ask to set up a service appointment, you'll get transferred right to their office, and can schedule an actual on site appointment, which is what the gentleman from Stuart's Service in Elkhart, IN told me to do.
I was in and out in less than a day.

AGAIN - easy for me to say being so close, but unfortunately, that may be your only option.
They DO have hook-ups on site for electric and water, I believe, but YMMV.
There were a couple other coach owners there that were on their 2nd day staying there because their problems were a little more complex, and they sort of rotate all their techs working on multiple coaches at one time (it's kind of weird how they do it).

Sorry you're dealing with all this. I know they took my cylinder and rebuilt it on site at their facility as they didn't have a new one - so maybe you'd be able to send them the cylinder itself and they could rebuild, repack, and send it back to you to have your local guy put it back in.

Spit-balling here, but might be an option if there's really nowhere else to go with it.

Good luck!
 

John Stephens

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I received a letter of apology from HWH today after writing to them and explaining my problem. They said they do not remember seeing my letter from six weeks ago and are willing to make special accommodations for me if necessary. They said they do, in fact, make their own seals for each cylinder, which is why they do not sell rebuild kits. They need the individual cylinder to know what to put in it. They offered to rebuild mine or sell me a new one. So now, the question is which will be cheaper - two shipping charges and rebuild the one I have, or buy a new one and pay one shipping charge. I'll speak to my mechanic and get his opinion tomorrow.
 

John Canfield

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If the cylinder shaft isn't compromised with pitting, being scored, etc I would just have it rebuilt. However if a new cylinder is within about 20% of the cost of rebuild, I would go new.
 

John Stephens

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If the cylinder shaft isn't compromised with pitting, being scored, etc I would just have it rebuilt. However if a new cylinder is within about 20% of the cost of rebuild, I would go new.
John, give me your opinion, please. My mechanic says he thinks the statement made that HWH makes all their seals and o-rings is bull, and he agrees with what Mark B. said above about there being a limited number of seal manufacturers. He said he already tore mine apart and found the o-rings used were compromised because they were not the kind of material that took kindly to ATF, and they were already failing. He bought the most expensive seals made, about $5.00 each, and says he thinks they will do the trick. He is currently waiting on a new fitting to arrive because one of the old ones was scored, and should have the coach slide back together by end of next week. Do you agree with what he has said, or do you think HWH actually does make their own seals and o-rings?
 

Old_Crow

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John, I have no idea who makes seals for HWH, but I had all 4 of my leveling cylinders rebuilt by an industrial hydraulic shop in 2017. Haven't had a problem since. Even the one that had pits in it that the shop wouldn't stand behind hasn't leaked.
An aside, to address the pits in the one ram, they cleaned it real well and filled the pits with epoxy and it seems to work fine. I live in my coach full time, so the levelers get a lot of use.
 

John Canfield

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John, give me your opinion, please. My mechanic says he thinks the statement made that HWH makes all their seals and o-rings is bull, and he agrees with what Mark B. said above about there being a limited number of seal manufacturers.
100% agree with Mark. I doubt that even very large manufacturers would invest in equipment necessary to make seals, it would make no financial sense. Even car manufacturers job out a bunch of the parts to various vendors. The other possibility is that HWH has seals made to their specifications but again that would make very little financial sense unless they were a major manufacturer and ordered thousands of seals a year.

I occasionally spray various herbicides on the ranch so when I had a spray rig made to my requirements I had to specify what chemical I would be spraying because the pump impeller (or maybe the seals) has to be suitable for the chemical. Some mixes even use diesel (I don't) so there's another consideration for getting the correct impeller.
 

Mark_K5LXP

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Ideally you'd have a sample of the original seals, that would reduce some of the guesswork. Barring that though, hydraulic suppliers have selector guides to narrow down the choices. Example:

Hydraulic Seals

I'm still leaning to this is a standard product as there's nothing going on here that's extreme or unusual in terms of pressures, loads or environment. The fact that the rebuild failed immediately tells me that's more of a improper size/type of seal vs material incompatibility. There is little doubt in my mind that most any reputable hydraulic shop would have both the expertise and seal sources to effect a rebuild of these cylinders.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
 

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