Hydraulic Levelers PROBLEM Help...

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austinwino

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We are newbies on our first outing...

We picked up our new(used) 1998 Class A Tradewinds on Thurs and were eager to hit the road. We stopped the first night and took off the next morning with no trouble at all. Today when we got ready to leave our campsite we could not get our leveler jacks to retract.

We have POWER GEAR Hydraulic leveler jacks. The power comes on, the jacks will go down but will not retract when you push "All Up"

We have checked fuses, switches, parking break...tried with the rig on and off, as far as I am concerned we have tried about everything.

Does anyone have any suggestions???

Any help would be greatly appreciated...We need to get home tonight!

 

Tom

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A couple of possibilities:

1. If you have your owner's manual, it should give you a procedure to "manually" retract the jacks. In my case, "manual" still means hydraulic retraction, but the procedure bypasses the electrical switches.

2. I was having trouble with one of my jacks not wanting to retract. Following the procedure in the owner's manual, I topped off the fluid (ATF in my case) and the problem appears to have disappeared.
 

Jeff

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As a last resort my Tradewinds dumps the jacks when the transmission is put in gear. Just make sure the brakes are on.
 

John From Detroit

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Power gear jacks retract using nothing more than a spring.  The hydralic valve simply opens.. I'm not sure which of the valves it is though (there 4) Or if it's all of them w/o the pump running.  You could blead the hydralic fluid off at either end and the jacks should retract.  However there is more

Questions:

1: have you observed the jacks.  Do they move at all when you press and hold the RETRACT button for a few seconds (you have to hold the button for a few seconds)

2: The Jacks Down light... On or Off.

Power Gear jacks will sometimes retract, sometimes fully, but the JACKS DOWN light stays on, I can fix that
(or tell you how) and it's very simple to do.

The other option is I think when the jacks down light goes out the retraction stops... I can override that too

For now.. Spray the extended part of the jacks with Silicon Spray.... Folks here will tell you not to use Silicon but Power Gear specifically calls for it in the owner's manual
 

Ron

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For now.. Spray the extended part of the jacks with Silicon Spray.... Folks here will tell you not to use Silicon but Power Gear specifically calls for it in the owner's manual

Sure doesn't say that in our manual.  Basically unless a silcone oil is what is used in the hydrualic system silicone should NOT be used on the the jacks.

 

John From Detroit

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Ron said:
Sure doesn't say that in our manual.  Basically unless a silcone oil is what is used in the hydrualic system silicone should NOT be used on the the jacks.

I may have to scan the page... The jacks use standard fluid (power stering, brake or transmission, I forget which, it's on the sticker on the thing so I'm reminided when I need to know)

However the manual clearly says Silicon.. Hold on a sec

Page 9 of the following PDF http://www.powergearus.com/DATA/ops%20man-4%20leg%20air+hydraulic%20leveling.pdf 

That is the official Power Gear US site and the official owner's operators, manual
 

Ron

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If it is the Power Gear manual I would question the abilities of their engineers responsible for putting it in there.  I have had the opportunity to work with some of the best hydraulic engineers and havealso read that silicone oil should not be used on hydraulic systems unless the system uses a silicone based hydraulic oil.

 

Jeff

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Ron:

I am prety sure Power Gear reccommends lubing the exterior surfaces of the actuators with silicone spray.
 

John From Detroit

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I agree with you Ron, however I posted a link to a Power Gear manual.. You can read it yourself

IN addition they have handy little ZERK fittings on those jack legs.. Don't ask me why if they want you to spray them weekly with silicon
 

Ron

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Well all I can say in this particular case I would not go with their instructions and use silicone guess because I have been taught better. Personally I would use WD40 before using a silicone product on them. 
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Definitely use the zerks on the Power Gear jacks, at least annually. If you don't, they will gradually lose their ability to retract smoothly and quickly and may even fail to completely retract.  But then, I don't spray the exposed surfaces weekly either. Maybe if I did I wouldn't have to lube via the zerks? I guess I don't believe that... ;)

As for using silicon or WD40 externally on the jack legs, I guess the Power Gear engineers have faith in their seals. After all, if the hydrualic oil stays in, the silicone probably will stay out as well. Obviously the best choice is to wipe the exposed surfaces down with a compatible hydrualic fluid, but few Rvers are going to do that. I doubt if there is much risk of contamination from the jack legs, but you certainly wouldn't want to be spritzing it around  the hydraulic reservoir if the filler cap were off or exposed.
 

Just Lou

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I prefer WD-40 to silicon simply for it's ability to displace the moisture that may be present.  I don't think eithe WD-40 or silicon will get past the seals but RUST certainly could if it were to get a foot hold on those jacks.
lou
 

John From Detroit

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Ron said:
Well all I can say in this particular case I would not go with their instructions and use silicone guess because I have been taught better. Personally I would use WD40 before using a silicone product on them. 

I may get a chance to talk to them in person in a month or two.

And I have one jack that is loath to retract, sprayed or not

However....... One thing I can do is use the recommended hydralic fluid in a spray bottle.  i'm told however that doing this will encourage dust to build up on the legs, and this can jam the seals.  Where as silicon lubs dry dry and the dust tends to "slip off" (Silicon is very slippery) and this is why the recommendation of silicon.

Just now I only have two jacks exposed... the two that work best (front) as the rig is parked in my home lot.
 

Jeff

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Went to Power Gear today here at Pomona. My unit has zerks and I wasw told to use one pump of grease gun with white lithium grease. When I asked about silicon spray I was told I can use it if I want but it will not stay on the barrel long enough to make any difference. Weeping of dexron fluid through seals will keep barrel lubricated.
 

Ron

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I still stand by my recomendation not to use silicone on any hydrualic system unless the oil used in the system is silicone base.
 

bfred

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Have 2004 Airstream 396XL and my front jacks will not extend.  I have check fuses,etc. according to operators manual without ant success.  Have the semi-automatic system with #500535 touch pad.  Any advice or assistance will be appreciated, otherwise we are headed to Airstream factory in Jackson Center,OH.
Thank You.
 

Mike and Sherrie in VA

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John From Detroit said:
Power Gear jacks will sometimes retract, sometimes fully, but the JACKS DOWN light stays on, I can fix that
(or tell you how) and it's very simple to do.


I have an intermittent problem in that regard (system says jacks are down occasionally when they really aren't), so if you'd post the fix or PM me I'd appreciate it.

Thanks,
Mike
 

bfred

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I believe my problem is the front jacks coil.  I've troubleshot the problem according to the operators manual and it sure points to the coil.  My system is powergear. the motor works fine and the two rear jacks extend with no problem.  Can't find a dealer to sell me the coil, so I'm headed to Airstream anyway.
 
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