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Old 12-09-2014, 09:07 AM   #1
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Alpine Owners Club
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Jack re-track very slow

I have one jack that re-tracks very slow. Any suggestions on cause?

Dennis & Brenda
2006 Alpine Coach 40Fd Limited
2014 Cadillac Srx
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Old 12-09-2014, 09:41 AM   #2
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Do your jacks have springs on the sides to pull (retract) the extended jacks back up? If so, the springs do get stretched and weakened. Many have had to replace the springs. If you don't have springs to retract the jacks, then they must use hydraulic or pneumatic pressure to retract them. In that case, you can start by cleaning and lubing the shiny surface of the extended piston. Use a lube recommended by the jack manual. If that doesn't improve the motion, you'll have to check the valves that might not be opening or closing properly to divert the fluid from extend to retract sides of the jack mechanism.

It would help get more specific help if you tell us what brand of jacks you have.


Bob & Donna
'98 Gulf Stream Sun Voyager DP being pushed by a '00 Beetle TDI
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Old 12-09-2014, 01:13 PM   #3
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I had a similar problem with one of my jacks. I had the ram cleaned and two new springs installed and its the fasted one to retract now.

The two springs for my HWH jack cost about $80 plus a half hours for installation.

I have heard many stories about what to use for cleaning the rams. HWH (manufacturer) says to just use a clean cloth and wipe them down. The tech at the dealer where I purchased our rig suggested a rag and automatic transmission fluid. The tech who replaced the springs used a spray-on brake cleaner, wiped them down good and inspected the surface, and then sprayed them with a silicone lubricant.
Retired and livin' the RV dream!
2005 Newmar 43 ft. MADP, Cummins ISL 400HP, 2008 Honda CR-V toad
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Old 12-09-2014, 01:39 PM   #4
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HWH recommends WD-40, and the stuff really works on the jacks to decrease the retraction time. I find that my normal retraction time after cleaning with WD-40 averages about 60-70 seconds, which I think is excellent. During extended trips when I notice the retraction speed increasing another wipe-down with WD-40 always brings the time to fully retract right back to the 60-70 seconds.

I'm not so sure about the theory regarding the springs getting weak. Our coach, the same year as yours, is usually stored in my hangar for a couple months at a time, averaging three storage periods a year. I always do an automatic leveling process keeping the air bags deflated and the jacks extended for the entire time the coach in in storage. If there has been any significant stretching of the springs, this certainly is not indicated by increasing the speed in which the jacks retract.

As with any chromed, or polished strut, be they HWH jacks or an aircraft's landing gear struts, keeping them scrupulously clean (which will also help in reducing the debris that will eventually create wear on the seals and subsequent leaks) and consistently wiped-down with WD-40 will definitely result in reduced retraction times.
2006 Alpine 36' FDTS
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Old 12-09-2014, 02:02 PM   #5
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X2 what Bflinn said, the springs can get weak and even break, causing the slow retraction. Although ours are hydraulic both ways, the Mechanic advised me to spray wd-40 on them every so often and don't wipe it off. This allows the seals to self clean when they go back up and keeps them fresh.
Mike & Charlotte
2014 Newmar Canyon Star 3610
Orange County, California
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Old 12-09-2014, 02:57 PM   #6
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Check the owner's manual for the recommended jack lubricant and apply as per instructions in manaul
Home is where I park it!
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Old 12-09-2014, 04:45 PM   #7
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Hello Dennis, one of my Rear Jacks is always slow to retract, I have lubed with WD-40 or wiped it with transmission fluid. I even installed the heavy-duty springs all around and it is still the slowest. What I do now to waste time when leaving is retract all the slides and then the jacks. Then I do a walk around the site where we stayed and check for forgotten items and I do my final disconnect of the power cord. By the time, I am finished all the jacks have retracted and I start the Coach and let the air pressure build and we leave. I then turn on the HWH and hit the Jacks up again and I usually do not have a Jacks down alarm scares the S*/t out of me.
Dave Fernandez
2001, 38ft FDDS, 350 ISC, Tow 2004 Yukon
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Old 12-10-2014, 05:28 PM   #8
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Interesting comment regarding retracting the jacks, THEN start the coach to fill the air bags. I've found if I start the coach first (and let the air bags fill every so 'gently' and evenly), retracting the jacks isn't quite the violent affair as the opposite. But most of the places I camp are pretty un-level and the dumping the hydraulic pressure (retracting the jacks) tends to be quite 'noticeable'...
2000 Alpine 36' Mid-door, Single slide
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Old 12-10-2014, 05:56 PM   #9
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I too have been following Dave's method of retracting slides, retracting jacks, followed by the engine start.

This procedure seemed quite logical until I had some routine maintenance done at Redlands Truck & RV (great people doing good work by the way), and was talking with one of their service writers, Rolando, about the retraction sequence. His suggestion was to bring the slides in, then start the engine so that the air suspension inflates while the jacks are extended. His theory is that it is much better for the air suspension system to inflate while the jacks are still holding a substantial portion of the load -- much less stress. It sort of makes sense, but if your jacks are of the "slow" variety, you might not be the most popular person in the campground sitting there with the engine running while waiting for the jacks to do their thing.
2006 Alpine 36' FDTS
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Old 12-10-2014, 06:25 PM   #10
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Mine typically retract in under 2 minutes, unless it is cold. Back ones are always last to come up. And I have not done anything with the springs or cleaned them. But I also follow the procedure Dave outlined. If for no other reason, you can retract the jacks without listening to the buzzer blaring at you!!

If you retract the jacks before you start the engine and air up the suspension bags, the falling coach will quickly retract the jacks part of the way. If they tend to stick, it will get them started, and sliding friction is lower than static friction.

Jim A
'04 Alpine Coach 36' MDDS
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