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Old 06-19-2014, 06:06 PM   #1
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Entry steps stuck in the up position

Hello RVers. I was returning from a week of camping and when I opened the RV door the exterior steps did not drop. Presently I am dealing with a torn Achilles tendon and cannot repair the unit. I was wondering if anyone with a 2009 Southwind 35J has had this problem and what is the repair procedure. Thank you in advance. Wes Daily

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Old 06-19-2014, 08:32 PM   #2
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I don't know about the Southwind, but my Itasca and a few other RV's I have seen have a series of plunger actuated switch contacts in the door frame that are actuated by the door. I had a similar problem and got the step operational by spraying WD40 around the contacts. Hope your problem is solved that easily.

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Old 06-19-2014, 08:42 PM   #3
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Could the door magnet not be disconnecting? That would do it...
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Old 06-19-2014, 08:53 PM   #4
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Recently, I got the rig prepared for another outing and the steps would not work... again. I went online, called CW and everything trying to find an inexpensive motor I could go get and install for the trip the next day. CW had one for $163.00! The next morning I called the Tiffin service dept and was given information that allowed me to remove the pin holding the actuator arm to the steps. Once I got the motor out (very easy to do). I checked the parts label and it had the manufactures name, part number and another important bit of information, "10.4v", indicating a minimum of 10.4 volts to operate. Prior to removing the motor I'd checked the power at the connector to the motor and got a reading of 10.14 volts. Realizing the power was insufficient to operate the motor I used my car battery to operate the motor to ensure it was functional. I then reinstalled the motor and it functioned properly. I guessing the low power, which was sufficient to operate the step light, was too low to operate the motor. One thing I forgot to mention, the pin I removed from the motor actuator arm is steel and it it's inserted into aluminum parts (dissimilar metal corrosion). I will be keeping the pin and all of the moving parts of the steps properly lubricated.
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Old 06-20-2014, 11:27 AM   #5
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Thanks everyone for the quick replies. Presently I am unable to do the
repair but in a couple of weeks I will begin to solve the problem. Thank you
for your advice. Amazingly it just stop working so I know the answer is
within one of the email responses. Wes D.

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Old 06-20-2014, 01:59 PM   #6
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I would pull the MOTOR fuse first. There are two fuses for the steps.

After hours of documenting what happens I've found several symptoms all are temporarily fixed by pulling the step motor's yellow 20 amp fuse. And you HAVE to leave it out for 60 seconds before re-inserting it. 30 sec might work but lets say a minute to be safe.

The symptoms are: (no order)
-My steps will work fine for two - three weeks than one day they magically stop working.
-Steps dont operate up or down.
-Chassis battery dead with nothing left on.
-Also Serpentine belt squeals at start up. (long story)
-Step grounding - cleaned grounds they worked for a while then stopped working again.

One way to tell if this is the problem is to use the screen door - Open and close it quietly and from outside listen near the steps. You will hear the click as the contact is pulled inside the step controller. As you open and close the screen door you'll definitely hear it - it's soft but audible.

I've found that when the steps magically stop working there is a 6 amp load pulled from the chassis battery thru the yellow 20amp fuse that feeds the step motor. If not plugged using the converter you also get a mysterious dead chassis battery.

Others have stated they disconnect the motor wiring for service and it magically starts working again when power is re-applied. This is the same problem. Removing the fuse does the same thing as disconnecting the motor wiring.

Pull it out - wait a good minute (it matters). Then re-insert the fuse and the steps will work.

I now store it with the steps sown and the fuse pulled. Every time I take it for a trip I put in the motor fuse and the steps always work. Still have not found the exact resolution. Controller board or motor. My foam finger is pointing to controller but not sure enough to drop the dough.
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Old 06-20-2014, 07:32 PM   #7
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The manufacturer says to lubricate the step monthly. The motor controller works by sensing amperage draw. If the mechanical moving parts are not lubricated, it creates a "false" high amp reading and the motor will not operate.
The motor, if bad, may be replaced with an electric window motor from a Ford car, I don't remember which one. It is discussed in a previous thread, which may be found by using the search feature at the top of this page.
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Old 06-21-2014, 09:25 PM   #8
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Go here, http://www.powergearus.com/diagnostic-videos

May or may not be the same brand of steps you have, but their troubleshooting video is good info.

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