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Old 06-05-2016, 08:28 AM   #29
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I own a Thor and would avoid them like the plague. Very poor customer service and read your warranty. Window leaks after six months were my fault for not inspecting coach. Even though coach had been inspected by camping world techs. Ford did stand behind warranty on transmission cable issue that has become common knowledge. Enjoy whatever you choose
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Old 06-05-2016, 08:49 AM   #30
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My Power Gear Nightmare

I own a 2007 Class A 45’ American Eagle. Overall, it is an excellent coach with one major flaw. I have a Power Gear leveling system that I am taking back to the shop for the fifth time.

I bought my coach in January, 2011. The leveling system worked ok with the coach for about 6 months after I bought it, when the Power Gear control panel starting blinking when I drove and I started getting fault errors. I rarely needed to use the hydraulic jack system to level my coach during that time. I was in a non level site and used the jacks when I first noticed my fault and beeping problems. I was able to work the system by holding down the power switch on the control panel and resetting the system. This got rid of the fault error and allowed the system to temporarily work. I was also told by Valid Manufacturing (they control the air leveling part of the system) to disconnect two wires which tell the system that the jacks are up and this stopped the beeping of the leveling control panel. I rarely used the hydraulic leveling as the auto air work fine and I had little faith in the hydraulic leveling system. After traveling across the country to Florida and north to North Carolina, and having to occasionally use the jacks to level the coach on and off, the entire hydraulic leveling system stopped working as I tried to level the coach at a park in North Carolina.

I took my coach to Tom Johnson Camping Center in Marion, NC. This was our first trip to repair the Power Gear system. Tom Johnson checked the hydraulic system and determined that the RV needed a completely new, latest design, Power Gear pump assembly at a cost of approximately $3300. I have an extended warranty, so most of this cost was paid by the warranty company. The pump assembly was replaced by Tom Johnson with the newest Power Gear pump assembly. We, finally, thought that the system was fixed and we were all set. We left NC and were about two hours away when the fault warning light came on and the control panel started to beep again. I disconnected the two wires referred to above to stop the beeping and continued to a park near Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

After getting an appointment a week later, I took my RV to Majors RV in Falmouth, Massachusetts. They checked out the system and determined that the Power Gear motor was not working and, therefore, the jacks wouldn't go down. This is our second trip to fix the Power Gear system. They ordered a new motor from Power Gear, which took about 10 days to get. We headed back to Majors RV to have them replace the motor. They replaced the motor and tested the system several times and the new motor stopped working after several tests of putting the jacks up and down. We had to wait another 10 days to get a replacement motor and the second motor worked the pump assembly ok at that time. This was now our third trip to repair the Power Gear leveling system. Majors RV lightly (for obvious reasons) tested the system and it seemed to be working ok. We thought again that we were good to go, so we headed out to Pennsylvania to a park which did not have level sites. As we attempted to level the RV, the replacement motor stopped working again. We had to move our RV several times as more level sites opens up. At that time, I called Fleetwood, the maker of our RV, and asked them who could really fix the hydraulic leveling system. They stated that the real pros were at Eagles Pride in Titusville, Florida. A month or so later, after we set up an appointment, we worked our way to Eagles Pride. This is our fourth trip to a repair facility. They removed the second motor and sanded the inside of the motor casing that they said had heated and stopped the armature from turning. They stated that the lining of the motor was made of plastic and the armature heated up the plastic and caused the armature to bind. I also now see that the motor is made in China, that might explain something. This fix worked for about a year and a half where I tried to use the jacks as little as possible and just used the air leveling.

We are now in Michigan and moved into a site that was not level. After attempting to level the RV, the air and the hydraulic leveling stopped working again. This is the first time that the air leveling has not worked since I have owned the RV. I now have no way to level this thirty ton coach and I am at the mercy of a level or no level site. As I was leveling the RV, I noticed hydraulic fluid flowing down the left rear jack, just before the entire leveling system failed. As I have absolutely no leveling system, we have moved several times to find a level site so that we are not living on a slope.

We have taken the RV to Cummins Diesel in Mt. Clemens, Michigan. This is the fifth trip to a repair facility. I somewhat know this crazy leveling system and have checked out that the motor was not turning again and, it was obvious, that the leaking left rear jack had to be replaced. I told Cummins Diesel that the motor and the left rear jack needed to be replaced. So, Cummins Diesel, after five hours of diagnostic work at $135 per hour (no idea why it would take five hours) determined that the motor and the left rear jack needed to be replaced. I am now waiting for the motor and the jack to arrive at Cummins Diesel. We had to make one round trip to the repair facility to diagnose the problem and a second round trip to have the warranty man and the technician meet face to face with the RV at the repair facility for about 10 minutes. It seems the extended warranty man could have met us at our park and then drove to the repair facility to save us another round trip. At this stage, I have had some thoughts of trading this RV that I love (other than the leveling system) in for another RV that does not have a Power Gear system. After this latest fix, assuming that it will work, I will be over $8000 and many hours of aggravation into fixing this crazy leveling system. It is nothing but aggravation, wasted time, money and a continuing nightmare. I understand that Fleetwood is still putting the Power Gear system into their new RV’s. I feel sorry for all of these new owners of this nightmare system.

I was able to get my RV to Cummings Diesel on Friday, 6/3/16, as the motor and the jack were shipped promptly by Power Gear. Cummins Diesel replaced the motor for the pump assembly and installed the new jack. It was not cheap, but the entire system seems to be working for now and the cost was worth it just to get the work done promptly. The cost to me was about $1100 and the cost to my extended warranty company was $1800. I am not sure why, when I have $100 deductible with my warranty, that I still had to pay $1100. The warranty company does not pay for diagnosing the problem.

Power Gear has been bought by Lippert Components and, at least, now you can call them and talk to a technician, where before you could only send them emails. I am assuming that Lippert is a well financed company and, hopefully, they can address the shortcomings in the Power Gear hydraulic leveling system.

In conclusion, I hope that I never have to repair this system again. I spoke to a technician at Valid Manufacturing, the company that makes the air leveling part of the leveling system, and told him of my experience with the Power Gear system and he stated: “If it were me, I would not use the hydraulic leveling system at all, I would just use the air system for leveling”. Unfortunately, there are some sites that are so non level that you have to use the hydraulic leveling system. He did state that some new RV builders, such as Newmar are going to strictly air leveling and are eliminating the jacks and the hydraulic leveling system entirely. He definitely did not give a positive endorsement for Power Gear. He stated that he has heard from other owners with similar nightmares and his statement was definitely a logical conclusion from my experience. I still wonder how all the new owners of the Fleetwood’s and other RV’s that are installing Power Gear systems will fare in the future. Ultimately, I guess, this is a money maker for Lippert as they can sell new parts as the old ones break down after the new owners level their RV’s a few times. At least, for now, I can say I that I have an RV with a hydraulic leveling system that is working. As long as I don’t use it, it will work just fine and it won’t cost me or my extended warranty company any more money. That won’t help me to level my RV in the many non level sites, but it is a mild sense of comfort right now.
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Old 06-05-2016, 08:56 AM   #31
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Having worked in the construction industry for over 20 years, I have owned and lived in almost every type of camper / RV on the market. I presently own my second class A. I like it very much when it is parked and like it somewhat when I travel. I once owned a converted Greyhound MCI bus that was a great ride, but too long for most parks. I've done most of my own repairs and maintenance over the years because I usually enjoy the work and because of the labor rates at mechanic shops. Although as one post stated, at 66, I am ready to stop being a constant RV repairman and start enjoying RVing.

However, I am not so certain that the expenses and troubles of RVing is really worth the pleasure. As someone once said to me: An RV traveling down a road is similar to a house sitting on an earthquake - go figure.
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Old 06-05-2016, 09:05 AM   #32
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I don't know where you come up with that advice, the generator supplies the same power as when we are hooked up to the 50 amp service at a full hookup spot.
With all due respect that is not correct. A so-called 50A RV hookup provides two 120V "legs" each of which is capable of providing 50A for a total of 12.0kW, far more than the 5.5kW generator is capable of providing.

A lot of newer RV have power management systems to permit two A/C's to run off of smaller generators and 30A hookups. Without a power management system, older RV's, like mine, usually had a 7.5kW generator to handle the load of two A/C's.
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Old 06-05-2016, 12:26 PM   #33
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If I remember correctly, my 7 kw Onan has 2-30 amp breakers. Doing the math, 2-30's at 120 v equals about 7.2 kw, so quite a bit less than 2-50s from shore power.
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Old 06-05-2016, 06:28 PM   #34
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Thor

We, the DW and I own one and won't buy one again. If anyone wants details pm me.
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Old 06-05-2016, 06:35 PM   #35
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With all due respect that is not correct. A so-called 50A RV hookup provides two 120V "legs" each of which is capable of providing 50A for a total of 12.0kW, far more than the 5.5kW generator is capable of providing.

A lot of newer RV have power management systems to permit two A/C's to run off of smaller generators and 30A hookups. Without a power management system, older RV's, like mine, usually had a 7.5kW generator to handle the load of two A/C's.
We have the power management system and our generator runs both AC's. The OP was looking at new MH's, so I don't see where I was incorrect.
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Old 06-05-2016, 10:08 PM   #36
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We have the power management system and our generator runs both AC's. The OP was looking at new MH's, so I don't see where I was incorrect.
Your statement "the generator supplies the same power as when we are hooked up to the 50 amp service at a full hookup spot" is incorrect.

You would have to have a 12kW generator in order to have the same power as you do when you are connected to a 50A hookup. It doesn't matter if your power management system lets you run both A/C's; you still don't have the same amount of power.
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Old 06-06-2016, 11:55 PM   #37
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Your statement "the generator supplies the same power as when we are hooked up to the 50 amp service at a full hookup spot" is incorrect.

You would have to have a 12kW generator in order to have the same power as you do when you are connected to a 50A hookup. It doesn't matter if your power management system lets you run both A/C's; you still don't have the same amount of power.
OK, I see what you are saying and agree with that. I'm in no way an Electrical expert and probably worded that part wrong. But I guess what I was responding to was the poster that said the 5500 won't run two AC's and that is not necessarily correct. The way my manual reads and the way it was explained to me that that the Power Management System will automatically make it so that the AC's start up at different times, as that is when they draw the most power, and the two AC's will then both be able to run on the Generator power. So far it has worked that way and they do both run at the same time, and blow nice cold air as they should.
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