landing gear problem

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Howard Kelly

Well-known member
Apr 22, 2010
My landing gear is giving me an interesting problem. It works well raising the legs, but will only lower till it takes on weight.
The motor works fine, but the clutch ?? or whatever  just spins.
Can use the manual mode to raise the rv.
Two rv repair places say I need a new motor but I am convinced the mechanism that attaches the motor to the gears is faulty. what ever it is called  :eek:
Any suggestions on what the mechanism is called  ??
Does it go "clunk, clunk, clunk" on a regular basis when the legs stop moving?  If so, it sounds like the torque limiting clutch has gone bad.  It is made up of two disks pressed together by a heavy spring and a ball pressed into a detent.  One disk is the drive disk, attached to the motor and the other is the driven disk, attached to the shaft that drives the landing gear.  When the torque exceeds the limit, the ball rolls out of it's detent compressing the spring and the driven disk stops but the drive disk continues to rotate.  When the ball aligns itself with the detent again, it drops in and if the torque is lower than the limit, drive continues.  Otherwise, the ball rides back out of the detent and the cycle continues.  I'm not sure if the clutch is a service item for your particular unit or not.  You might check the manufacturer's web site for further info.
After sleeping, I realized I only provided one possible answer to your problem.  Another possibility is a poor electrical connection.  If the motor simply stalls when trying to lift your trailer, you may have a poor connection somewhere between the battery and the motor.  Possibly, the spade connectors on the back of the Extend/Retract switch.  I've seen those connectors loose tension, become loose and result in poor current carrying ability.  Signs of heating at any connection point (spade lug, ring terminal on a circuit breaker, corroded wires at a wire nut, etc) can result in poor performance of a motor. Hope these hints help!  Let us know what you find.
I would look for sheared pin or missing Woodruff Key in either the Drive or the Driven gear.  With either of situation their is generally enough friction between the shaft and gear to provide drive until it encounters a load (lifting the weight of the RV).

The fact that the motor spins tells the motor and the connections are all right. 
Agree it is probably a clutch rather than the motor itself, but the clutch  may be part of the motor assembly, at least as it is ordered from the jack manufacturer. But if you can identify the clutch component manufacturer, you may be able to get it somewhere else. It will almost surely be a standard component.
I believe the disks are held together by a clip that slides into a grove on the rod holding the disks, but do not know what it is called.
When I get to my final destination I will take the motor assembly apart and see what
the problem is.
Thanks for all the info and suggestions, will let you know what transpires.
I think you will probably find that it is the clutch unfortunately. They aren't as well made as we'd like to think and they do wear out and/or fail.  Last year the plastic housing on mine broke and rendered the whole thing useless. Luckily we were on our way back home and boondocking so leaving it hooked up to the truck for a few days wasn't a big deal as long as we didn't have to level fore/aft.
Most people tent to believe the over travel clutch is there to tell them by noise when they have raised their legs far enough.  Sadly this causes a lot of damage.  Too tight and the clutch fails to stop breaking lots of expensive parts.  Too loose and it will not extend the legs under load.  The simple solution is to never rely on the clutch to stop up travel.  Instead install a rather simple up limit switch that will shut the motor off when it has reached a point of safely up but not so far as to damage the expensive parts.  Unfortunately I discovered the hard way how to protect the system.  Since then ,In 7 years I have never had another problem with my landing gear.
I never go far enough to 'hit the clutch'. I just raise them far enough to provide plenty of clearance. I did have problems with one landing jack on my previous 5'er. There is a helical gear that the motor shaft gear interlocks with. I managed to strip the teeth off the gear......twice. Can buy the gear from the local RV dealer. Each jack has its own motor, and the one in question's motor ran faster than the other. Causing most of the weight to rest on the one jack. Had to remember to alternate them in a way to keep equal weight on both legs as best as possible.

As for motor/clutch replacement, more than likely they are a set and not sold separately. My electric motor/gearbox for the slide out was not sold separately. Sucked as the motor was fine, just broke the gearbox housing.
It's as I thought.. took the gear box off the motor a sure enough the clip ring was off the rod. drill a small hole on a 1 in deep piece of wood and placed the rod in it.
with help of 2 friends we used 2 C clamps to compress the items on the rod till the grove in the rod was visible, then using a pair of clip ring players inserted the ring in the grove...
reinstalled the gear box on the motor and it works .
SO much for needing a new motor .
Shared a couple of beers with my friends
now onto the next job  :)

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