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Old 05-28-2014, 08:18 AM   #1
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Bent Jack


The last time we were boondocking we had the front of the coach up as far as the jacks would go to compensate for the slope. When we retracted the jacks we heard a loud "bang". I got out and checked to see if I could see anything. One of the springs had broken and the pad was left dangling. The piston was only partially retracted. I tried pushing it up with a 2x4 to no avail. We weren't going far so we drove the motorhome to storage where it is now. I'm worried that the piston may be bent or the tube. If that is the case do you have to replace the whole jack or is there something to be done to straighten it out?



2000 Alpine 38 FDS
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Old 05-28-2014, 08:30 AM   #2
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If it's bent, it's done as I have never heard of a hydraulic ram (which is what it essentially is) being successfully straightened. It may just be that the spring failed, which after 13 years is not uncommon.

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Old 05-28-2014, 09:15 AM   #3
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If your jacks were still in "retract mode" you should have been able to pry it up with a 2x4. There could still be other reasons why the jack will not retract. Collapsed hydraulic line (internal lining separated), or also a bad or sticking solenoid valve.

I have a rear jack that I believe is bent. It will not retract on it's own, but I can "pry" it up in retract mode. (It is very hard to pry up even with the springs installed.) To help isolate the problem, you can loosen the line fitting on the jack. If the jack goes up and pushes oil out, then you have a problem between the jack and the pump/tank unit. If the jack still won't go up with the line disconnected, then you most likely do have a bent jack.

I also have never heard of straightening a hydraulic cylinder successfully.
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Old 05-28-2014, 01:19 PM   #4
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I would replace both springs on the jack first and see what happens. Almost impossible to bend.
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Old 05-28-2014, 05:09 PM   #5
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Is there a time limit on the jack springs to be replaced like every 8 or 10 years.
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Old 05-28-2014, 05:17 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone.

That's what I thought on all counts! I'm going to try the springs first or maybe the pry try and then replace the jack. I'm going to pick up the coach in Mt Vernon WA next week....if it's ready. I've waited about 7 weeks now for my awning to be replaced. It took them 5 weeks of me bugging them as well as the insurance to get just the estimate for a new awning and install. I could have called CW and got the estimate in about 5 minutes! The RV place where it is now was going to fix the jack too but they haven't had enough time to do it so I'm fed up with them and will do it myself or take it to Aubrey's .

Thanks for the replies

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Old 05-28-2014, 05:47 PM   #7
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Who is (not) doing the work in Mount Vernon? We've found Action RV in Burlington to be quite helpful. Also JR's in Sedro-Woolley.
Janet and Todd Legg
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Old 05-28-2014, 08:27 PM   #8
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I-5 Uhlmann's RV in Chehalis replaced my jacks a year ago. They were prompt and did good work. I have nothing but good to say about them. BTW, they have been my go-to place for repairs for the last 6 years.
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Old 05-30-2014, 07:53 AM   #9
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Hi Janet and Todd and Jeff

Thanks for the recommendations. As for who is not going to be doing the work on the jacks I don't really want to say but they are a large outfit with 5 locations to "serve" you but they don't have a location in Poulsbo which is odd as that is part of their name! They called yesterday and told me that the awning is on and isn't that great and now they have to look at the jack situation. It seems to me that as I took the motorhome in on April 14th for the estimate and the 22nd to start work on it that they had ample time to check out the jack.

It may be that I am the only one who had a bad experience but I'm not having them do anything more for me ever.

BTW in case anyone is thinking that the awning may have been backordered hence causing the delay by the dealer, I called Dometic and asked them if an A&E Power Awning was in short supply. They answered that if they receive the order today it is built tomorrow and shipped the next day.

Thanks again everyone for your suggestions. I'll let you know what eventually happens with the jacks.

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Old 05-30-2014, 11:19 AM   #10
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This is why a carry a bunch of 2x10's of different lengths to put under the tires so as not to force the jacks to take more of a load then they need to.
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Old 05-30-2014, 02:59 PM   #11
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Depending on the make of jack the pad has some "Wiggle" to compensate for not hitting the ground squarely. With the spring broke, the "Whiplash" effect likely moved it on its ball mount to the maximum tilt..

Pushing it up with a plank is very hard to do and the piston is likely in good shape.. Try this.. Using a floor jack, jack it up an inch or two, then hit RETRACT, it should go up a bit,, Do it again and again and odds are it will fully retract.. (You can use a bottle jack if you have the room but a floor jack is way easier to use If you put the jack under the low edge of the pad it may flatten it out some too.

DO NOT GET YOURSELF UNDER THE JACk or under the RV if you raise it more than 2 inches per retract. Jack can pop off the base and .. Well that would hurt.
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Old 05-30-2014, 03:10 PM   #12
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I had the same thing happen last night setting up. A bang and while checking found that the cylinder had moved out through the two bottom bolts holding the cylinder to the frame. That is, the plate attached to the cylinder had gone through the bolts creating a bigger hole. I am now on 3 cylinders with a mountain of blocks on the right front. I will have some work to do before our next trip.

The other front cylinder will not retract at all without using a lot of convincing. Not sure how to fix that.

Looking forward to the expertise and advice from others. I have an HWH system on a '00 coachman mirada 340mbs
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Old 06-03-2014, 02:54 PM   #13
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Well I was able to retract the jack and not bent. I did the manual retraction procedure and used a galvanized pipe to "help" bring it up. I'll be ordering the new spring kit shortly and then will have to figure out a way to install them without busting my jaw! One thing to keep in mind if you do have to manually retract is that when you turn the T-handle counterclockwise around 3 turns it will be easy and then you feel some resistance. You have to turn a little more as that is when the valve actually opens. This is explained in the manual but easily ignored as your tendency is not to turn too far so that the handle doesn't fall out!

Thanks for the help

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Old 06-03-2014, 05:14 PM   #14
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Cheap trick--push washers between the spring coils [pry old spring coils apart/bend new one]. As you add more washers to each side the length of the spring increases. Once hooked inplace, just use pliers to pull out the washers......

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