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Old 06-28-2013, 07:51 AM   #1
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DSDP - Steps not Extending

We are new to our 2009 DSDP and RVing. This our 3rd trip. The MH is in excellent condition and has been well cared for including a recent trip to Newmar for overall maintenance.

There are (3) systems I have been concerned about reliable operations - Slide-out, Leveling Jacks and the Steps - and so now, sooner than expected, the Steps have failed to extend.

The situation: (2) weeks previously we returned from a short trip to an area CG backed the MH into an individual storage garage shut the door - Steps retracted, I locked the door and closed the garage. I did not connect any electrical and shut off the DC circuit by turning the overhead switch to "Store". The facility is only a couple years old and in excellent condition and care - one of at least (40) garages so, I don't suspect a rodent issue.

When we arrived to take the MH on our 3rd trip I unlocked and opened the door and immediately knew I had a problem when the steps were silent. There have been a few times when the Steps did seem to have a mind of their own but never stopped operating so, I started the engine, shut the engine down, tried different switch position combinations. Nothing.

I did note that the battery voltage was down from the normal 13.4 to 13.0 volts when I "climbed" aboard. One suspicion I have is the magnetic contact in the door, since I had discovered several months earlier the previous owner had removed the "door side" magnet and duck-taped a small additional magnet to the back of the Newmar magnetic door plug. So, I removed it and manually tried to get some "action" but - nothing.

I had step carpet pieces on the steps secured with heavy duty wire ties underneath each step - bought these for the intended use. I wasn't comfortable with the thickness (although quite thin) but felt it could result in pressure on the step mechanism but they seemed fine. I removed the step carpet pads now and that did not change anything.

I like to look for the "easy" or "obvious" causes first, especially in this case where there were no earlier signs of a problem. I believe my next check would be the fuse(s) but not sure yet which location I will find the fuse or if there may be an in-line fuse as well.

It's been raining here now so I have not been aggressive about repairing the Steps. So, as I wait out the weather and research the problem, I would sure appreciate any suggestions.
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Old 06-28-2013, 08:30 AM   #2
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With the door open. Reach under the steps and tap the motor with a hammer.
If steps go out replace the motor.
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Old 06-28-2013, 08:49 AM   #3
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Check the overhead step switch. If you turned it off and the key is off it will stay stored.
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Old 06-28-2013, 09:08 AM   #4
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Since the previous owner added or changed the magnet to trigger the step mechanism, I would suspect the magnetic switch. Try to tap into the two wires to the switch with a meter and see if it closes when a magnet is applied. If not, change the switch.

Also touching the two wires together should make the steps operate, again showing steps operate but the switch maybe bad.
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Old 06-28-2013, 09:15 AM   #5
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Hi JC3625Cape,
CJGJR and I have a different experience. Simply put if the door is open the steps are out. It matters not where the switches are positioned. Consider checking some easy things:
1. The steps are powered by the chassis battery.
2. There should be a 12 VDC fuse in the main 12 VDC fuse panel for automotive fuses.
3. With a meter you'll need to get under the coach and determine if there is 12 VDC to the motor.
4. Tap the motor as previously suggested.
5. Check the ground from the motor to ground.
6. Using a jumper wire provide 12 VDC to the motor. Do the steps work?
7. If all this checks out, then you are at the switch the previous owner had altered.
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Old 06-28-2013, 09:50 AM   #6
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Been tapping my motor with a small hammer for 3 years now. Seems like I have to resort to this less and less as I use the motorhome more. Occassionally I will squirt the step motor with WD-40 just to make me feel better.
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Old 06-28-2013, 09:59 AM   #7
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A search of this forum will give info on replacement motor and mechanism for most steps. As I remember, they are a Ford window mechanism.
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Old 06-28-2013, 10:10 AM   #8
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Amazon.com: Stromberg Carlson Products SCSP1636669 Motor for All Electric Step: Automotive
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Old 06-28-2013, 10:11 AM   #9
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The Steps

Thank you all for taking time to read my long post and providing the suggestions. I will work my way thru the suggestions and report back when and if I get them working.
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Old 06-29-2013, 03:53 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryKD View Post
Hi JC3625Cape,
CJGJR and I have a different experience. Simply put if the door is open the steps are out. It matters not where the switches are positioned. Consider checking some easy things:
1. The steps are powered by the chassis battery.
2. There should be a 12 VDC fuse in the main 12 VDC fuse panel for automotive fuses.
3. With a meter you'll need to get under the coach and determine if there is 12 VDC to the motor.
4. Tap the motor as previously suggested.
5. Check the ground from the motor to ground.
6. Using a jumper wire provide 12 VDC to the motor. Do the steps work?
7. If all this checks out, then you are at the switch the previous owner had altered.

Yesterday I did locate a fuse in the breaker panel in the compartment underneath the Driver's seat. The fuse was only 5 amps but was identified as the Step Fuse and was fine.

Access to the motor when the steps are retracted isn't possible. I suppose there is a pin I should know that when removed allows the steps to be deployed without the motor. But I am going with the the likely issue being the frame mounted switch or the a faulty Ground connection.

Trying to not make this a major issue while at a CG - wanted to enjoy the surroundings, but it's tough because I have to have everything work as it should or better.

Maybe today I find the problem.
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Old 06-29-2013, 04:50 AM   #11
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John, there are grounds to feed the step control, I have found three, one is the heavy ground wire ,one that comes out of control and is attached to control mounting screw and one probably your trouble the wire lead from the door magnet on door casing.
Its a thin wire possibly gray and its attached to a metal cross member,square D, its hard to find would not be directly near step.
You need to back off the screw and clean loop wire connector sand the D frame surface than use some di-electric grease to protect the connections.
That ground feeds through the door switch to control unit.
You need to take the extra magnet off the other.
Also you may want to pull door switch wiring out from behind the door casing you will find two wire nuts, just check to see if the wires have a good connection with twisted wire nut connection, some times they work loose or wires not stripped enough.
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Old 06-29-2013, 02:24 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by "007" View Post
John, there are grounds to feed the step control, I have found three, one is the heavy ground wire ,one that comes out of control and is attached to control mounting screw and one probably your trouble the wire lead from the door magnet on door casing.
Its a thin wire possibly gray and its attached to a metal cross member,square D, its hard to find would not be directly near step.
You need to back off the screw and clean loop wire connector sand the D frame surface than use some di-electric grease to protect the connections.
That ground feeds through the door switch to control unit.
You need to take the extra magnet off the other.
Also you may want to pull door switch wiring out from behind the door casing you will find two wire nuts, just check to see if the wires have a good connection with twisted wire nut connection, some times they work loose or wires not stripped enough.

PROBLEM SOLVED:
Thanks to everyone who contributed suggestions.

I did not want to start right off with an invasive stepped process so, I considered everyone's input and what I could determine know the situation and background before going very far. I find in life the best solutions are typically at hand. And so was the case this time.

I checked the door magnet switch first as it was easy to access. Found no issues but did not pull out far enough to find the wire nuts as it was become hard to pull and didn't want to possible create a problem at this point.

Next I crawled under to examine the ground wires because they were easily accessible and sound suspect. They all look solid and I pulled them and wiggled them to be sure. No corrosion - nice clean contacts.

007 was absolutely correct about the ground wires and the gray wire from the switch. I also check the wires leading to and from the controller.

I had positioned the inside switch above the passenger seat to "on" so if I caused an intermittent correction I would see the amber light glow and hear the steps move.

The culprit - a 9-pin connection leading to the controller. I unplugged the connection then re-plugged - which could have sent me to the emergency room if I had not been careful to position my body as far from the steps and against the front tire as possible. The fact the coach airbags were lowered because the leveling legs were down didn't help matters but, I considered all this - AND still the steps reacted very fast and caught part of my chest - red and scraped but could have been much worse.

I will watch the 9-pin connection now and if necessary take steps to better secure the connection. Also, I think I will do what 007 suggested and remove the additional magnet the previous owner had duck taped to the back of the OEM magnet. Wish I knew why it was done like that.

So, all is well and I have learned a little more - at multiple levels. Hope this helps someone else who will eventually experience their steps not extending.
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Old 06-29-2013, 03:05 PM   #13
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Glad to hear you figured it out ---- and shared the info about how. Sorry you were in it's way when it started working!
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Old 06-29-2013, 03:16 PM   #14
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You bring up an interesting point, when working or checking a connection be sure that you are clear of what will happen when the connection completes the circuit.
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