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Old 12-17-2011, 10:51 PM   #1
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Hydraulic RV Levelers

I have a 1999 Fleetwood Pace Arrow and when I put the electronicly contoled levelers down when camping they work just fine. When I pulled them up the light took forever to go out and it beeped for at least a dozen miles like they were still down. I had to get out several times to check but they were just fine. When I took it in to the dealer I bought the RV from, they told me it probably just needed oil. Well, since it's hydrolic I assume the oil is some kind of hydrolic gear oil. They fixed it by adding this oil to the leveler hydrolic system but it cost me a couple hundred bucks. I asked why so much, well they said they had to check this and that and that's what the labor and oil came out to. Well, I figure I can add my own oil if it happens again but in reading the old manual, I could not find what kind or where to add it. The dealer was reluctant to tell me as the service writters really didn't know. Has anyone out there ever added the hydrolic oil to their levelers? If so, can you tell me what kind I shoud add and where in the world do I add it to. Thanks a bunch in advance.
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Old 12-18-2011, 04:17 AM   #2
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You can use automatic transmission fluid (usually Dexron III ) to the hydraulic pump reservoir (located at the pump). Be sure when checking that all rooms are in and jacks are up before adding fluid. If you do not know where the pump is, have someone listen for it outside as it is being ran when leveling.
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Old 12-18-2011, 07:24 AM   #3
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This sounds like either a misunderstanding or a complete rip off. If the jacks were already extended properly, there's no way I can think of how a low hydraulic fluid situation would prevent the jacks from coming up and staying that way. Going down far enough, sure, but not coming up? Not unless you have a pool of fluid under the coach somewhere, and that should be pretty obvious?
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Old 12-18-2011, 07:39 AM   #4
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There are multiple discussions regarding this topic on this forum - use search - here's one - What type of hydraulic fluid for levelers?

Sounds like you were taken advantage of at the dealer...but they do charge $80-100+ an hour so if they went over all 4 jacks it could take that long (including pulling it in the bay or whatever).

My understanding on how the levelers work is that the hydraulics are used to raise and level, and when retracting, the springs on the levelers do the work - the hydraulics are not used - simply 'drained' from the levelers and the fluid returned to the reservoir. Sounds like a sticky sensor. What I don't know is that if the sensor for the up (light off) is a level detected in the reservoir and if so that could explain what they did - I would think there are limit switches on the jacks themselves, but maybe not - it is a motorhome...
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Old 12-18-2011, 07:46 AM   #5
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On my coach, the hydraulic oil is plain ole Dexron III....about $3-$4 a quart at the auto parts store. Likely didn't take more than two quarts. The reservoir is easy to get to, so $200.00 sounds like a rip-off!! However, low fluid says that you may have a leak somewhere and you do need to check for that. Rook
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Old 12-18-2011, 10:27 AM   #6
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I suspect you have Powergear Manual leveling system. I've (hopefully) attached a parts & service manual, which covers several systems.

Your system has a fluid sensor in the ATF reservoir. When you lower the jacks the fluid is pumped to the jacks. When you raise the jacks, the springs force the fluid back to the reservoir. If/when the fluid gets low, the sensor doesn't "see" the fluid rise back up and then the system warns you the jacks are still down.

The simple fix is to add fluid until it reaches the dipstick in the reservoir. This is so common and the first thing you check when this happens. It's totally unbelievable an RV service dept would take the time to check the Jacks first (which are already up) before checking the fluid level. IMHO you got ripped off.

On my '99, the tank is accessible via the front engine compartment. The tank is a steel cylinder about 5" x 18". Mine is also covered by a black plastic shroud held in place by two screws. If you have one you'll need to remove it to gain access to the filler plug/dipstick. If necessary, you can locate the tank from under the coach, the tank will have a noticeable drain plug in the bottom.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf powergearJacks.pdf (1.68 MB, 545 views)
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Old 12-18-2011, 10:42 AM   #7
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You didn't mention what chassis your on but my FIL has a 99 Bounder and his resevoir and pump are in the front passenger wheel well. Not exactly an easy thing to get at but that's where they put it. He is on Ford chassis so a Workhorse may be different. Dexron III probably would work but if you now have the manual I would only use what they recommend. I doubt they put much in at all especially if the jacks were extending with no problem. Did you check your springs? I don't know what leveling system that you have but the springs may be getting a bit weak to secure the jacks all the way up. Just a thought.
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Old 12-18-2011, 10:49 AM   #8
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If you had said you had HWH levelers, I would tell you that it sounds like either the springs are getting old, or the seals are bad. On HWH, the levelers come back up because of the springs once the retract signal is given to the system. On cold mornings (or if really unlevel) it can take a while for old springs to get it back up - and then as they warm, bounce, as you are going down the highway, they can give a little and move just enough so that the contact is lost at the top of the jack - - and the horn goes off. Had the same problem, put on new springs and everything was good. If you have a Power Gear system, then that is different.

It really does help if you identify systems, etc. when making the post so that people can give you the best answers.

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Old 12-20-2011, 06:01 PM   #9
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I have a 1998 Georgie Boy Swinger,It has big Foot levelers .
Each leveler has its own reservoir and holds about 2 quarts of dexron III transmission fluid. But I still have the same problem with them falling over a period of time.
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Old 12-20-2011, 06:18 PM   #10
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Just for some clarification, there are systems out there that have two hydraulic lines going to the jack. One for extending, and a return line for retracting - an no springs. Some that do not have a spring evident may have an internal spring not visible to the eye. If there is only one hydraulic line to the jack then most likely it has a spring for a return.

My system, although not the year nor model you mentioned, has the two hydraulic lines (Kwikee system) and no springs.

Just a little clarification that not all systems are the same, nor even generally speaking.
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Old 12-20-2011, 06:34 PM   #11
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My tank in in the engine bay and says Dexron on it. I have springs on my jacks.
A side note. When reading my manual for my jacks I saw where you are suppose to use wd40 on the outside of them. My jacks were slow in returning so i wd40 them. Well then they did not go all the way up... left about a 1/2" of shinny metal showing and of course the alarm was annoying. So does anyone else use wd40?
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Old 12-22-2011, 12:20 PM   #12
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Thanks, I appreciate the attachment. Whenever you bring an RV in you can almost see the Ca Ching in their cash register eyes. When you live in Southern California you get ripped a lot.
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Old 12-22-2011, 06:42 PM   #13
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my power gear jacks when turning on key the pad lights up and wont go out has anuone had this problem thanks in advance
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Old 12-22-2011, 06:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TDiGuy View Post
My tank in in the engine bay and says Dexron on it. I have springs on my jacks.
A side note. When reading my manual for my jacks I saw where you are suppose to use wd40 on the outside of them. My jacks were slow in returning so i wd40 them. Well then they did not go all the way up... left about a 1/2" of shinny metal showing and of course the alarm was annoying. So does anyone else use wd40?
I use parts cleaner try not to use anything with oil base cause it attracts dirt and u only want to clean the jacks
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