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Old 03-24-2010, 09:48 PM   #1
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Slow HWH Jack, Again

We have a slow passenger side rear HWH jack. It's always been slow retracting, and we replaced the jack springs shortly after we bought it in 2006. Then it got even slower on this winter's trip to Palm Springs and it remained slow. We replaced the springs again, and they helped a little bit, but it still takes 5 - 7 minutes or more longer than the other jacks to retract. I am debating between replacing the jack solenoid or trying some method of lubrication on the jack ram, which I've never done.

I read the previous threads on this and saw where members were wiping the ram with automatic transmission fluid or silicone lubricant, all of which were recommended by HWH, along with not wiping anything on the jack, just cleaning it, also an HWH recommendation.

My question is, what has worked well over time since those of you wiped the jack with ATF, or silicone, or just kept cleaning it, or did something else? Or is is it time to replace the jack?
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Old 03-24-2010, 10:21 PM   #2
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I have had jacks retract slowly especially the last inch or so. If the jacks have been down for some time (a few weeks) I spray some silicone spray on the shaft and wipe it down. That always makes a big difference on the retract time. It could be a good sign that the seal is very tight, keeping the contaminates out of the cylinder.
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Old 03-24-2010, 10:37 PM   #3
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I had a slow drivers side rear jack when it was retracting. As it turns out the rod (don't know if that's the right term) was slightly bent - very hard to detect. I had the jack replaced and that fixed the problem.

To improve sluggishness, with the jacks down, I periodically spray WD40 on them - that speeds things up-particularly that last inch or so.
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Old 03-24-2010, 11:22 PM   #4
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I have replaced a jack front drivers side when "O" rings locked up the piston. I spray silicone on jacks and wipe off and they slip back quickly now with the same original springs.
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Old 03-24-2010, 11:44 PM   #5
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I too have used silicone lube over the years when a jack gets slow. However it's just as easy to help the jack up using a 3-4 foot long wooden closet rod I carry for just this reason. Just push the jack up using a little leverage.
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Old 03-25-2010, 12:25 AM   #6
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Bill- a little known fact: if you have a spare HWH solenoid valve for your slides, you can use it for a temp in lieu of the jack solenoid (you can't do the reverse). The jack will move slower both up & down vs. book timing, as the orifice is smaller in the slide valves, but the threads & valve end are the same size w/same size O & square rings. Oddly, the coils have the same resistance in the Jack & slide valves.

There is a chance you have a solenoid valve going bad- unplug the electrical connector & put your ohm meter across the two contacts for the valve. Compare reading to the good jack valve next to it; if they are the same ohms, the coil is good and should be drawing the needle valve open properly, but if the resistance is higher on the bad jack valve there may be a problem w/the coil developing. Might also want to use T-pins in the connector end or piercing type probes while the valve is operating, to see that the bad jack's solenoid valve is getting full battery voltage to fully open the valve.

If you don't have a spare valve and want to save about 2 months turn-around over ordering a new one, HWH will rebuild the valve in 2 weeks. If you want to go that route & plug the hole in the mean time, I have some machined plugs that will close the hole & keep you on the road. Also, if its a "retract" solenoid valve for a slide or SmartBed, the oil really pours out of those (different internal valving in the manifold for retract vs. extend valve openings), and the plug is the only really good stopper to keep from making a giant mess (ask me how I know- Duh).
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Old 03-25-2010, 11:06 AM   #7
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Oldforester - As I have said in previous posts, I use ATF. The same as I use in the resevoir. If my jacks are extended for a period of time in dusty or dirty conditions, I always wipe them down with a rag and a dab of ATF. I use ATF because, if any of the lubricant gets through the seals, I know it will be compatible with the fluid that operates the system. Have been successfully doing this for 17 years, experienced good retraction, and have not had a leak around the seals since I started doing it.
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Old 03-25-2010, 08:00 PM   #8
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All,
HWH hydraulic oil also works as a wipe down fluid, and it's available at camping world for around $3.50 a quart. Just my TCW.
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Old 03-25-2010, 10:37 PM   #9
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Thanks to all for the suggestions. Think I will try the ATF/HWH hydraulic oil on the jacks first, and I bought a closet rod today to help pry the jack up to speed it up. I thought about a 2x4 but the closet rod is a lot easier to carry and I hadn't thought of that even though I'm an old forester, and we used to make closet rod from our Ponderosa Pine in Oregon and Radiata Pine in New Zealand. Mike, I'm going to try putting the ohm meter on the contacts and see if there's a difference in resistance between it and the other solenoids. I just have to chase down my meter, which I haven't used in a while (been getting by with my test light for the minor problems I have had) and take a little time to check it out. I'll fit it in between my next two golf games. I don't think I need the plugs for the solenoid because it works; it's just slow. I have never lubed the outside of the jack rams so it will be interesting to see what the ATF does to it.

Also, we will be going home in a couple weeks, and if the jack continues to work, I'll wait until we get home to do more serious work on it if we have to. A lot of the places we stay along the way to Tacoma are so level we don't even put the jacks down for an overnight, and we just extend the bedroom slide. I was looking for ideas to try now and on the way home before I do too much to it. The ATF/closet rod/and silicone if that doesn't work are all easy to do; checking the resistance on the contacts for the coil is also not a big deal, once I find my meter.

I'll let you all know what works.
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Old 03-26-2010, 01:17 AM   #10
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Bill- you can also do just an air dump and not put the jacks down if you want to put out both slides.
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Old 03-26-2010, 06:36 PM   #11
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When you wipe down the jacks, be sure to extend the rear ones completely first to get maximum shaft exposure for the wiping. Then the weight of the coach will push the jacks in and the springs can do it the rest of the way.
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Old 03-26-2010, 09:16 PM   #12
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EM & All,
My manual says to level the coach prior to extending the slides, as the weight of the rooms twist the frame to much if not level, although I saw a MH yesterday, put out his big slide then level the coach (not Alpine) so I guess its a different ball game depending on who made the thing. When we looked at Tiffins, they ran the slides in and out, and I don't think it was level. Guess I will keep doing what I have been doing, since I have not had any issues.
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Old 03-26-2010, 09:40 PM   #13
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Our front slide will not go out without the jacks down. Guess things changed over the years?

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Old 03-27-2010, 01:32 PM   #14
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Barb - Don't know if you are interested but you can probably extend the slide if you partially lower one of the jacks...I do that to trick the system all the time with no problems.
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