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Old 07-16-2013, 02:53 PM   #1
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Step Issue

When unplugged from shore power we are unable to retract the steps on our 07 Dolphin. Neither the step switch or putting the MH in drive gets them to work. We end up having to start the generator and let it run for a minute or two before they finally retract. Is this normal or is it that the coach batteries need replacing? Although the coach batteries have no trouble at all retracting the slides.
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Old 07-16-2013, 03:36 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Resist View Post
When unplugged from shore power we are unable to retract the steps on our 07 Dolphin. Neither the step switch or putting the MH in drive gets them to work. We end up having to start the generator and let it run for a minute or two before they finally retract. Is this normal or is it that the coach batteries need replacing? Although the coach batteries have no trouble at all retracting the slides.
Not sure on your 07, but older National steps operate off the chassis battery.
Will the engine start? If so, do the steps still act that way?

If they do operate off the coach, what it *sounds* like is the steps need some lube. It's taking the genny to boost the battery(s) enough to move them because they are sticking or tight. I would check that first.

It is certainly possible those batteries are getting weak though, but that doesn't account for the slide working. So I'm still thinking lube. How long have you been without shore and are you seeing other low voltage problems without the genny? If you have a voltmeter handy, the steps should work fine at 12.1v, but it's also time to charge them as that's 50% discharged.
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Old 07-16-2013, 05:23 PM   #3
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Lubricate all of the pivot points of the step and your problem will go away. You will probably need to do this every couple of months.
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Old 07-16-2013, 05:55 PM   #4
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The engine starts fine. I'm not convinced that the step issue is because they need to be lubed. I say this because I can't even hear the step motor try to extend the steps and I'd think it would. There are no other low voltage issues without the generator.
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Old 07-17-2013, 04:45 AM   #5
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My coach did the same thing that yours is doing. I completely removed the step motor, took it apart , cleaned it and then replaced it. No change. I then lubed all pivots and it works fine now. First use a good penetrating spray then use a dry lube.
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Old 07-17-2013, 07:08 AM   #6
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I do not disagree with lubing the steps but it sounds like they work when the batteries are being charged.. I would check all the batteries, lube the steps. Mine retract when the key is turned ON. Are your steps Kwikee brand? They have an owners manual with testing instructions.. You might get it online..Kwikee service number is 800 736 9961
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Old 07-17-2013, 11:59 AM   #7
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First verify which battery bank, so you know which direction you're going in. Ours are fed from chassis power.
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Old 07-19-2013, 10:28 AM   #8
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First verify which battery bank, so you know which direction you're going in. Ours are fed from chassis power.
I had thought it used the chassis batteries, they are older than the engine battery. The engine always turns over fine. But I still don't get why the slides work fine on batteries.
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Old 07-19-2013, 04:18 PM   #9
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On my '02 Georgetown, the steps always retract when the ignition is turned on. They're a brand wit Teflon-lines bearings that the book says never need lubrication. I can't remember tha brand, but it's not one of the two biggies.

We do have a disable switch on the steps. When you switch it over, it leaves the steps in the position they were in when you switched it and they don't go in and out with the entry door. In the alternate position, they follow the door every time. I haven't checked which battery they're on, but I think it's the chassis system. Even with the house batteries switched to "store", the steps still retract when the ignition is turned on.
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Old 07-19-2013, 08:33 PM   #10
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I had thought it used the chassis batteries, they are older than the engine battery. The engine always turns over fine. But I still don't get why the slides work fine on batteries.
The chassis battery is the engine battery, which normally supply the steps and the house batteries most likely supply the slide.
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Old 07-20-2013, 01:07 PM   #11
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The chassis battery is the engine battery, which normally supply the steps and the house batteries most likely supply the slide.
My mistake, I meant to say house battery.
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Old 07-20-2013, 01:27 PM   #12
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What ever steps or batteries you have you need to have good ground connections for steps to work.
Just went through this with my steps one ground that maybe over looked is the ground for the screen door switch it maybe to the chassis frame not near the step location, mine was on a square D frame welded to chassis up near compartment floor.
Another is on the controller that goes to stair steel base plate than the last is the heavy green wire that on the steel chassis frame.
Sand the positions to get off rust and use di-electric grease for protection.
Battery positive needs a good ground to get back to the battery negative post.
After all the grounds were reconnected I needed a new controller because of intermittent operation of steps.
Every thing works great now.
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Old 07-21-2013, 07:48 PM   #13
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I tried silicone on the step pivot points, it didn't change anything. I'm still thinking the house batteries aren't holding a charge long enough and need replacing. Because they work fine on shore power or with the generator running for a minute or so.
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Old 07-22-2013, 07:28 AM   #14
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I tried silicone on the step pivot points, it didn't change anything. I'm still thinking the house batteries aren't holding a charge long enough and need replacing. Because they work fine on shore power or with the generator running for a minute or so.
Ok, we KNOW the slide works off the house batteries. Does it come in/out without shore or genny? If so, it isn't a house battery problem.

If the steps do run off the house, what you describe means the steps will not operate in the 12v range, but do work in 13+v range (plugged into shore), so that indicates to me a bad connection or ground at the steps or a weak step motor.

If they run off the chassis, it would be apparent the chassis is being charged when on shore and the same problem with the steps exist.

If you want to figure which bank operates the steps, disconnect the house batteries at the batteries (house disconnect will not work in this experiment) . Operate the steps. If nothing, start the engine and operate them again. If they work now, you know the chassis operates them and they do not operate with low voltage.
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