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Old 10-21-2011, 06:27 AM   #1
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Eliminate Smart Bed Hydraulics?

Anyone thought about eliminating the Smart Bed hydraulics completely and just sliding the bays in and out manually with a lockable handle or perhaps with a fast-acting electric motor / rack & pinion as another option like my front generator bay except faster?

After reading other posts about Smart Beds, I'm getting to the point with my '08 FDDS 36' Alpine, that there must be a better way to open and shut the four Smart Bed doors rather than messing with hydraulic hoses, solenoids, rams, seals, hose fittings, etc. and the attendant problems with Smart Bed compartment creep (bad solenoids), hydraulic leaks (rams/seals, solenoid fittings/seals, hose ruputures, hose fittings) and other issues.

For example, how does one shut a Smart Bed when there is a hydraulic / solenoid failure that results in a Smart Bed being stuck "open" while traveling? Fortunately, for a stuck leveling jack in the down position, there is a simple way to raise the jack to be roadable.

How nice it would be to just unlatch a "Smarter" Bed compartment and slide it out and in manually or at worst actuate an electric motor and use the ancient, but "no-fluids" rack & pinion approach with a fail-safe manual hand crank through a small hole in each bay door as a backup if the motor failed!

With my recent issues (see Alpine Hydraulic Cooler Rupture), I'm becoming a bigger believer in simpler and/or redundant systems, or at least, early warning / monitoring whenever feasible.

Thoughts?

ray
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Old 10-21-2011, 09:49 AM   #2
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WRV spent a lot of time trying to make them simpler, but found they need power. If you are not level when you need to get into them, it can be a major problem. Either roll out too fast, far etc or can't get it out at all. The electric motor solution too slow.

To get a bed in without power or solenoid or motor failure, there is a valve on the solenoid to open, which will allow you to push in the bed.

While I frequently "over kill" solutions to problems that I MIGHT have, I decided that a back up motor and one bed/slide out solenoid should get me by most any problems.
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Old 10-22-2011, 12:12 AM   #3
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I agree with Dale's comments.

To open them in an emergeny, there is a large nut on the end of the hydraulic shaft that is on the very bottom center of the door that could be removed and put it back on.

I would think if you wanted to go back to manual, you would have to take the smart beds out. Then you would have to put on hinges and a locking latch on. This would be similar to the doors on the battery bay or the acess door for the HWH bay.
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Old 10-22-2011, 03:07 AM   #4
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Or, you could trade in the alpine and get another brand with just the kind of door on it you want.

I have had trouble with SB's, but nothing I could not fix or figure out a workaround for. I do need to re-arrange the components in them so I don't have to keep opening them all the time. Every time I come up with a plan, I remember why I have that thing in that place, and why moving it won't be as handy or as logical.
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Old 10-23-2011, 01:08 AM   #5
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Helpful HWH Service Tech & Spares

Thanks Dale, Kraig, & Monty for the feedback! I guess I just get a tad frustrated with the lack of good OEM specs, manuals, and contingency "How To's". This is our second Alpine, fifth motorhome, with the first Alpine being #40 that WRV ever built (Spring 1998). We put well over 100k miles on the first Alpine and it and the current one were far better than anything we ever had before. Since we're all dealing with a defunct coach OEM, it usually means long and often costly delays to take care of sometimes trivial problems.

For example,
-- 2 weeks plus shipping for a replacement HWH hydraulic ram (unless you drive to the factory in Iowa like we did in September)
-- 6-8 weeks typically for one of the four stacked replacement AKG coolers
-- 1 week for the Sauer Danfoss pump as long as the limited supply lasts in Georgia; then it’s 14 - 18 weeks
-- Hydra Max Power Boost appears to be more readily available?

And the list goes on. Also, the cost goes up considerably when one doesn't have a replacement so that the defective item can be repaired rather than replacing it with a new part. Consequently, since we occasionally travel to Alaska, Canada, Northern Territory, across U.S., and until fairly recently throughout Mexico in our RV, these delays can be onerous compared to calling Yakima and asking them to ship a part to where-ever.

My recent trip to HWH was very productive. When no one else could find my HWH hydraulic leaks except Mark at Aubrey’s and the time delay was a killer, Lon and his team (Josh and Troy) at HWH, found two leaks in #2 and #3 hydraulic rams (both rear DS/PS Smart Beds), plus two malfunctioning solenoids in the “close” hydraulic lines for #1 room (primary LR/Kitchen) slide out and #4 Smart Bed (PS, front SB, which allowed both to creep out over time).

Today, HWH Service Tech Randy eased my mine about any “stuck open” Smart Bed. He said for a “stuck open” Smart Bed, "find the affected Smart Bed “close” solenoid (preferably map by touch or sound and store the map or mark the solenoids); at the end of each Smart Bed / Slide Out solenoid is a 1/4" nut; open it precisely 4 & 1/2 turns; then push the Smart Bed back in fully closed and re-lock the solenoid. When I asked whether this would dump hydraulic fluid into my HWH primary pump compartment, he said "no, it will allow the hydraulic oil to bypass in the solenoid back to the reservoir". Since I only have two slide outs, I have extra, unused solenoids on the primary and secondary manifold (like EMike), allowing me to use plugs to take out a spare solenoid and replace a defective one.

To help minimize future delays and allow for cycling a failed part into a re-build queue, I'm stocking some new spares that have a significant lead time. So far, I'm stocking a new AP35776 HWH hydraulic ram, two plugs for half of my unused solenoids in the manifold, a new AKG hydraulic cooler, an extra 65 psi hydraulic cooler bypass check PR valve, and some Cummins engine belts, some filters, extra windshield wipers (still working or replacing just the rubber and not the entire wiper arm assembly). Under consideration is a new Sauer Danfoss pump that I likely will go ahead and order. Most of the above, except maybe the pump, are DIYP’s to install.

Crazy? Maybe, but perhaps if we all stock different items, we could have a cooperative of sorts that would allow immediate shipment of a defective part for the shipping cost and any extra costs to replace, e.g., OEM new price vs last spare price. Alpines, someday, will be dinosaurs, but for now and quite a while, I think they are and will remain the best driving and handling RV around for the money (except for hard braking which forced me to install a SMS DuoBrake for my tow car). ray
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Old 10-23-2011, 01:04 PM   #6
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I have advocated we get the ACA to have a parts inventory, however, the logistics of how to administer it, and all the other things associated with having a place to keep them would be daunting. If I ever build a shop, I could put aside space for stuff, but who pays, etc for the parts? Does the administration rotate between different people? I'm thinking we all carry a few things which we keep as spares, and send out a "help" signal if we cannot find it within a few days time via this forum to see if anyone has the parts we need.

The good thing is Alpines are all made from mostly the same things even across model years. I suspect a transition occurred in 04/05 for many things but that is just a guess from reading issues here. Short of opening a warehouse, I just don’t see how this could happen.
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Old 10-23-2011, 05:06 PM   #7
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I sold my spare slide solenoid to a chap at last year's DRR, then ordered a new one, but probably wouldn't do that again. My current spares have the 2-hole ends, for which I have built a special removal/install tool which I'll have available at DRR this year. The new lever release type defeats the tool. I believe HWH will rebuild your solenoid to new specs (don't know if you get the lever or your old 2-hole/nut setup back). The lever type might be nice on the non-SE/Apex rigs due to more limited access to solenoids.

Then I "lent" a pair of rear Koni's to a fellow Alpiner who had a rear end issue in the neighborhood and needed to get roadable. He dropped off replacements a week or so later.

The idea of spares w/in the family is good. I'd suggest a new iRV2 thread like "Anybody got a spare... I can use till replacements come in?" One thing's for sure Ray, w/all your spares, folks will be calling.
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Old 10-25-2011, 04:59 AM   #8
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SPARES: here's a thought (since it's now after 2 am, probably a dumb thought) --
-- Set up a Virtual Spare Parts inventory via ACA.
-- Anyone wanting to participate, just list your spares (in detail) so everyone knows whether it is a match (organized by category).
-- In an emergency (not roadable or marginal roadable and normal lead times will delay a trip, or keep one stranded), request someone's spare on the ACA list.
-- Provided the replacement part can still be purchased, and the spare's owner wants to do it, sell the spare part to requestor for the current replacement part cost + shipping cost to replenish owner's spare + shipping from owner to the requestor (i.e., no profit, just full cost recovery to the spare's owner)
-- Honor system to differentiate anything that might be used, e.g., I have a perfectly good Xantrex 2 KW inverter / charger that I had firmware upgraded and checked out by Xantrex dealer in Portland OR (ASE Supply / Josh / Shawn) because I upgraded to Xantrex 3 KW last October. Since Xantrex inverter / chargers are available lots of places, we could use another subset of ACA site to list used, but perfect working condition stuff for sale.
-- On another sub-set of the ACA web site, start a member's satisfied vendor's list, again by categories so it's easy to sort or find stuff (or google it). This would be single place to get the best, quality deal on anything. For example, I paid twice as much for windshield wiper blades as I should have and while it's now buried in the forum's archives, would be better if we just kept a running, current list of where, who, how much, and if someone finds a better vendor, the last one get's bumped but not lost. The vendor's list could even be sorted by location, e.g., who is the best in Oregon to buy and/or install a SMS DuoBrake and at what cost with or without a wireless driver panel RF light and audio signal to alert driver that all is functioning as planned, etc.; or, e.g., why get the Cummins/Fleetguard ~$9 hydraulic filter and not the NAPA/Wix ~$50 hydraulic filter? (cause 10 micron Cummins filter is adequate and should have less pressure drop than NAPA/Wix 3 micron filter, i.e., less back pressure, was specified by WRV, and is cheaper)

"Information is Power only if it is converted to Knowledge" said somebody.

ray
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Old 11-08-2011, 02:42 AM   #9
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Just used one of my four spare HWH solenoids to fix a room "creep in" problem. Thanks to EngineerMike's prior comments about using the extra solenoids on the primary or secondary HWH manifolds, I was able to fix a pesky problem with our main LR/Kitchen slide (Slide #1 on HWH schematics). Whenever we opened and shut any SmartBeds, the fully open main LR/Kit slide #1 would creep in 2-4 inches instantly. Open/close another SmartBed, slide #1 would creep in some more.

Following HWH's excellent 'Instruction Sheet' bulletins on their website about replacing solenoids, I located the extend/retract pair of solenoids for room slide #1 (turned out to be in solenoid position #4 on main manifold, i.e., the front PS where hydraulic reservoir, pump, motor are located). For the record, I've identified what Beds and Slide are controlled by the solenoids on the main manifold on my coach (Solenoid1E/R -> Bed3 PS rear; S2E/R -> Bed4 PS front; S3E/R -> Spares/Unused; S4E/R -> Slide1 main LR/Kit). To confuse things a little, WRV had a "retract" sticker on the wiring that went to my "extend" solenoids. However, the attached link to HWH's Instruction Sheet had the extend and retract solenoids exactly as I have them on my coach with each pair of solenoids going to SmartBeds (#3 and #4) and my large (LR/Kit) slideout (#1, DS Front) as indicated in the previous sentence.

Note Solenoids 3E and 3R on the HWH (linked) diagram are my unused or spare solenoids and Solenoid 4R is the one I just replaced to fix my LR/Kit 'creep in' problem. For numbering and location of these solenoids, see HWH's Instruction Sheet MI15.9502 01APR04 at http://www.hwhcorp.com/mi159502.pdf

To do the solenoid replacement, I first retracted all jacks, slide outs, and SmartBeds (don't know whether this was helpful or not, but just felt better about starting with everything shut or retracted in case I messed up and needed to get help). The 12-volt wiring to the spare 3R solenoid (located on the attached Instruction Sheet) was already uncoupled from its female counterpart since this was a spare, unused solenoid valve. I then opened the 1/4 inch nuts at the ends of my two spare 3R and 3E solenoids exactly 4 turns to allow any possible pressurized fluid in the manifold to bleed back into the hydraulic reservoir. Using channel lock pliers, I removed the 3R solenoid and immediately inserted a plug (~$12) I purchased from HWH into the open 3R hole in the manifold where my spare solenoid had resided, tightening the plug with a 1" open end socket wrench to ensure that I seated the O-rings that came mounted on the HWH plug. I then tightened the 3E solenoid 1/4" nut back until it was snug using a 1/4" nut driver that had a large enough opening inside the socket so as to not damage or break-off the fairly fragile end of the small screw coming out of the end of the solenoid. I then uncoupled the 12-volt wiring to the 4R solenoid that retracts my #1 main LR/Kit slide out, opened the 1/4" nuts exactly 4 turns on both the 4R and 4E solenoids to ensure that any pressurized room slideout hydraulic fluid was bled off into the hydraulic reservoir, used channel lock pliers to remove the defective 4R (LR/Kit retract) solenoid, inserted the spare solenoid from 3R into 4R and tightened with the channel lock pliers to ensure that I re-seated the O-rings on the solenoid into the manifold, re-tightened the 1/4" nuts on both the 4R and 4E solenoids, re-connected the 12-volt wiring to the 4R solenoid, and tested the two SmartBeds and LR/Kit slideout to make sure everything functioned properly with no hydraulic leaks in the main manifold area.

When I finished, the creep-in problem with the LR/Kit slideout was fixed. No creep. No leaks. I am now down to three spare solenoids and have three spare plugs in case I have a problem with any of the other extend or retract solenoids on the SmartBeds or the other slideout. I plan to check with HWH to see if they have trade-in / repair program for used solenoids since the one I removed is probably repairable at considerably less cost than buying a new one. ray
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Old 11-08-2011, 09:22 AM   #10
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bobbyray, thank you for the link to the HWH solenoid valve replacement procedure & your experience doing it. I have a bad one and ordered a $178.25 replacement yesterday from HWH.

I would not have thought of releasing pressure on both the extend & retract solenoids and would probably have hydraulic fluid spewing all over.
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Old 11-09-2011, 12:51 AM   #11
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Basil, good luck with your repair. The advice for releasing the room slide-out fluid / pressure from both the extend and retract solenoids came from HWH via their referenced #159602 Instruction that I linked in my post, next-to-last paragraph. Also, while I was at HWH in September, a relatively new tech accidently broke off the screw stem where you loosen the 1/4" nut at the end of a new extend solenoid for my Bed#4 while he was replacing the 2E (see link) solenoid to fix a "creep out" problem in that SmartBed. His supervisor was pretty upset about the cost of ruining a new solenoid. That experience caused me to be pretty careful about loosening and tightening the 1/4" nut making sure there was plenty of clearance in my nut driver socket for the fragile end of the screw to be unaffected by my loosening and tightening the nut. An excellent "Hydraulics and HWH Systems - 26APR11" primer which I highly recommend can be found at the following link: http://www.hwhcorp.com/HydraulicsandHWHSystems.pdf ray
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:44 PM   #12
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Hello Robbyray, I'm having a problem with creep on one of my slides. Ive found the bad one. but I'm looking for an aftermarket solenoid. Ive found a manager at an HYD supply Co. says he can match them up he has replacement coils, and thinks that Delta makes the valve also. They have a big inventory and can get most valves. I was wondering if you still have your bad one and if there is an identifying number on the base or under the coil? If you cant find the number and would consider sending it to me so this fella can ID it for me I would be happy to pay for the shipping. It would be a good thing for a lot of the folks here if we can find a source at a better price!!!
Thanks Steve
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Old 06-14-2012, 12:29 AM   #13
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Steve- the hydraulics on our rigs are HWH and they make their own proprietary valves. The needle valve orifice screws into the solenoid coil body & is fixed w/a keeper panel nut, unlike other types where the coil slips over a valve body. If there is an off the shelf replacement it would likely be much cheaper, but I'm guessing the form factor is going to be impossible to match.
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Old 06-15-2012, 01:25 PM   #14
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Mike- I'm not sure, I want to give it a shot. The fella at the warehouse said he has seen both styles of valves 1/4 release nut and lever lock. He said he got coils for a RV dealer in Gig Harbor and they repaired some bad valves. I called the parts manager at the dealer and they repaired 2 valves! He couldn't tell me anymore than that. They did this because there were no valves available at the time. Delta was the manufacture of the coils, and possibly the valves, I'm going to give it a try. The manager said the valve he believes are about $45!!!! NEW
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