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Old 05-17-2011, 11:44 AM   #1
UB1
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Blown airbags underneath.

Hi guys!
I just looked over this site for the last hour. Thanks to all who share their wisdom with us newbees.

I just bought my first Motorhome. A 1997 class A Fleetwood 34' with 12' slide. As I drove it 600 miles home, the ride got progressivly worse. I crawled under there to find blown out, dry rotted airabgs. Do you think that is the cause?

Also, the Kwikee electric steps stopped working along the way. I got the meter out and power is reaching the switch. I also have power underneath and the light comes on. I can hear a click from steps as the door switch is activated. Is it time to buy a new set or am I missing something?
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Old 05-17-2011, 12:25 PM   #2
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Hi UB1 and welcome,

With airbags I assume there is a compressor so do the dash gauges show air pressure. That is how ours works anyway. When first starting out it gives a dash warning light until the bags have enough pressure. I would think if yours are worn out they would not inflate to start with but I am no expert.

The steps might just need lubrication. I believe Kwikee recommends white grease but I find good old WD40 works the best. Give all the the joints a squirt then if they don't go out try giving them a yank when they should be.

The good news is that if you can use a VOM you can fix a lot of stuff yourself.
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Old 05-17-2011, 12:32 PM   #3
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UB1,
Congrats on your getting your first MH and welcome to the party! ...Sounds like you will be very successful at this wonderful lifestyle since you are able/willing to diagnose and fix things yourself.
Others will have to chime in on the airbag issue since I don't have much knowledge of that, but as for the reluctant steps, since you have already verified electricity at the step motor, try this:
While the circuit is energized, 1. tap sharply on the drive motor to rule out a dead spot on the armature, then;
2. try "assisting" the steps in extending and/or retracting. This may free up the drive motor or the clutch ...or un-bind the scissor arms. Be careful to keep fingers clear of the scissors and other moving parts while doing this.
Hope this is helpful and again, welcome aboard!
Jim
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Old 05-17-2011, 12:46 PM   #4
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Welcome to the group and congrats on your recent purchase.

It would probably be best to include vehicle info in your signature. Makes a difference to those responding with possible solutions to any issues. If your MH is a diesel engine air pressure will be displayed by guages somewhere in the dash. If it is a gasser, likely no such guages or dials will be there and your air suspension will be driven by a dedicated compressor. Think the system is called "tru Air" or something like that. At any rate, it is probably time to replace the air bags (13 Years if origional). Others will chime in that have more experience in this area.

Above posts will probably lead you to a solution concerning the steps.

Enjoy your travels and welcome again to the community.
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Old 05-17-2011, 05:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UB1 View Post
Hi guys!
I just looked over this site for the last hour. Thanks to all who share their wisdom with us newbees.

I just bought my first Motorhome. A 1997 class A Fleetwood 34' with 12' slide. As I drove it 600 miles home, the ride got progressivly worse. I crawled under there to find blown out, dry rotted airabgs. Do you think that is the cause?

Also, the Kwikee electric steps stopped working along the way. I got the meter out and power is reaching the switch. I also have power underneath and the light comes on. I can hear a click from steps as the door switch is activated. Is it time to buy a new set or am I missing something?
The steps are operated by a small electric motor. (it is a power window motor) the steps have no switchs to stop them as they travel in or out. Instead, they use a control box. The magnetic switch on the door jamb tells the steps wheather to go in or out. The step runs all the way in or out, and when they get to the end of the travel, the control senses the rise in amprage draw and shuts off the power. The problem is, if the steps close hard and get in a bind, the next time they try to operate, the control senses the rise in amps and shuts off. That is what is happening to your steps. That is the click you hear. You will have to take the three 5/16 screws loose from the gearbox cover. Open or close the steps about halfway. Reinstall the gears. make sure you don't drop the gear center pin. Before you cover the gearbox, install new grease. Make sure the steps are unplugged while you do this. They will hurt you. ( I know this personally) As for the airbags. Is this a chevy. with the airbags in the springs?
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Old 05-17-2011, 10:39 PM   #6
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I had the same problem when I bought my 1999 Ultimate Freedom last year. Had power, like you. A local MH mechanic made short work on it by sqirting contact cleaner on the plug and socket. That was last fall . . . still a workin'. Might wanna try that before goin' an' takin' things apart! Good luck.
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Old 05-18-2011, 04:48 AM   #7
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UB1, sounds like you have a Chevrolet chassis under your coach. If so the airbags you speak of are inside the coil springs, and are not factory supplied with the chassis, they are after market. More than likely you will find a small air line going to them, to a valve that looks like a tire fill valve, thats where you put air in them. More than likely they are worn through by rubbing on the coil springs and will need to be replaced. If my memory serves me corectly you replace them through to hole on the lower A frame. If you have a Ford chassis the bags are aftermarket as well. The purpose of the bags ia added stability and load compacity. Sadly most coaches are over loaded when fully loaded and ready for travel.
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Old 05-20-2011, 05:10 PM   #8
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UB1, sounds like you have a Chevrolet chassis under your coach. If so the airbags you speak of are inside the coil springs, and are not factory supplied with the chassis, they are after market. More than likely you will find a small air line going to them, to a valve that looks like a tire fill valve, thats where you put air in them. More than likely they are worn through by rubbing on the coil springs and will need to be replaced. If my memory serves me corectly you replace them through to hole on the lower A frame. If you have a Ford chassis the bags are aftermarket as well. The purpose of the bags ia added stability and load compacity. Sadly most coaches are over loaded when fully loaded and ready for travel.
You are correct about ford not having airbags, but 97 chevy comes from the factory with airbags in the springs.
If they are black rubber, they are factory. If they are polyeurathane (usually red) they are aftermarket. Never go back with the GM. Always use th poly's. They last much longer. One last thing. You have to have the airbags installed for the GVW on the front of the MH to be correct. I think it is 1000 lbs less without the airbags.
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