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Old 05-11-2015, 10:57 PM   #1
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More Secure Kwikee 3-step electric steps

Our Kwikee 3-step electric steps go in and out of our 2011 Allegro 32CA with no problem. However, when they are extended, they seem to flex downward about 1" each time before either entering or existing the coach. We would like it not to "flex" and be more stable.

Is there a cure? I have adjusted the cams on each side to their maximum rise. The only cure I can think of would be a larger cam with a greater rise. Does Kwikee make such a thing?

Your help is appreciated!

Sincerely,

Howard
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Old 05-12-2015, 12:10 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Howard Janin View Post
Our Kwikee 3-step electric steps go in and out of our 2011 Allegro 32CA with no problem. However, when they are extended, they seem to flex downward about 1" each time before either entering or existing the coach. We would like it not to "flex" and be more stable.

Is there a cure? I have adjusted the cams on each side to their maximum rise. The only cure I can think of would be a larger cam with a greater rise. Does Kwikee make such a thing?

Your help is appreciated!

Sincerely,

Howard
Howard,
Well Sir, first off, it's a misconception that, those cams PREVENT flex while stepping on the steps. All those cams do is, allow for longer or shorter throw, at least up to the limit of the travel arm of the motor drive. That is, when adjusted correctly, those cams are supposed to make contact with the parallel traveling arms of the steps, at the same time the motor is at the end of it's travel.

If you lay down and look at point of contact of those cams and the arms, while someone is stepping on the step and putting weight on it, you'll see the arms disconnect contact from those cams, not push on them. They have nothing to do with support of the steps.

The short fix for you is what I do and some others. And that is, purchase a "Step saver" from Camping World. It's a simple screw-jack that is designed to fit under that lowest step and do all the supporting, while the steps are being used while camping or, even at home. It's a simple fix but, maybe not what you want to hear.

Our coach, an '04 Itasca Horizon 36GD with the C-7 330HP CAT, also has a "spongy" set of Kwikee steps. The main reason they're spongy is because of the way the steps are attached to the coach. The mounting points are flexing, not the steps. Not really a whole lot that I can do about it and, I've been fabricating steel parts for decades. Sorry I can't be of any more help. Good luck.
Scott
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Old 05-12-2015, 03:51 AM   #3
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Be carefull if you use the bottle Jacks under your steps.
remember if you turn on the key to the ignition for any reason, your steps automatically retract and it
will bend your steps. We know as it happened to our
steps and it took quite a while to straighten them out, they are still not perfect but at least they work normally. We will not use our bottle Jacks again, if fact we gave them to our grandson who is a mechanic.
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Old 05-12-2015, 06:50 AM   #4
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I bought step savers from cw, they attatch to bottom step with small machine bolts,they fold and store under step. they work great, just make sure you mount them to swing side to side,and NOT front to back!! They are made to swing harmlessly if stairs are retracted. I made a note to self, put near dash to remind me to fold them up,not that I would ever forget!!!
2 stepsavers works much better than 1.
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Old 05-12-2015, 08:03 AM   #5
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I found that on my steps, there is a lot of free play coming from the loosening of the steel rivet roll pins (there is probably a better name to describe them) that hold the linkages of the steps together, especially the far rear one on the left side as you look at the step from outside. What I do is take 2 large sledge hammers and peen the rivet between them with a few strikes to tighten them up. It usually lasts me a year before I have to do them again. A while back, there was another poster that was able to rig up a threaded hardened bolt and bushing to replace the steel rivet setup, but I have yet to try that, as the preening has been working quite well for me so far. If you do a search on rebuilding kwikee steps, you may find the post.
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Old 05-12-2015, 04:30 PM   #6
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Howard,
The Step saver I mentioned does not attach to the step in any way. It's simply a small screw jack that sits UNDER the step, to support the weight. And yes, any time the ignition is turned on and, the door switch is closed, the steps will auto-retract. So, you just have to remember that, that step saver is under there.

The steps should not bend if it's left under there and, someone turns the ignition on. There's not enough power in that little motor to bend those step arms. What will happen is, the step control function of high-amp draw, will shut down the motor, even if the step is half retracted or, have extended and, it hits a curb. That's a safety built into that operation.

But, that "Step Stabilizer" from Camping World it a real nice piece of equipment to have. It does a great job of really taking the weight off the mounting system of those steps and therefore, prevents premature wear and damage to the mounting system.

I created a warning label that sits on the steering wheel that says:
STEP SAVER IN POSITION

We have never forgotten to remove it, prior to starting the coach.
Scott

Stabil-Step Jack - 8" - 14" - Stromberg Carlson JSS-7 - Stabilizing Jacks - Camping World
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Old 05-13-2015, 10:00 AM   #7
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Thanks all, for your responses! I Do have one of those screw jacks which I have used with success in the past (even with our Nash 5th wheel). I guess I was just hoping that there was something I could do with the steps themselves.


Fortunately, I have not forgotten to remove the jack when I turn the ignition on! But I think I should go ahead and make a little label by the switch to remind me!
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Old 05-13-2015, 12:15 PM   #8
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Thanks all, for your responses! I Do have one of those screw jacks which I have used with success in the past (even with our Nash 5th wheel). I guess I was just hoping that there was something I could do with the steps themselves.


Fortunately, I have not forgotten to remove the jack when I turn the ignition on! But I think I should go ahead and make a little label by the switch to remind me!
Howard,
Making a "Warning" label would be a good move. On some coaches and, even Fiver's, the step mounting system is more stable and, stout. You get a way better feel when entering or exiting on those. But, our coach, what I would call a very expensive coach when new, an '04 Itasca Horizon 36GD with the C-7 330HP CAT, (we didn't buy it new, could never afford it) has a not-so-good Kwikee step mounting system.

I have laid under the coach while watching folks step on and off of those and watched the entire mounting system flex. There is no real flex in the step system themselves. The pivot points of all the arms, joints etc. are tight but, not too tight as to pose a restriction on the movement of the paralleling system.

It's simply a weak structural mounting, to weaker sub-frame components that present the flex. Kind-a odd for such a nice coach, in my opinion.

Now, you stated you were hoping that something could be done to the steps themselves to improve this situation. Well, there might be. It might be a simple re-enforcing of what's there or, the re-mounting of the system itself. In my opinion, you should do what I did and that is, lay down under that area and observe, just what's flexing when someone puts some weight on it, entering or exiting. Watch the mounting points closely. See if the metal that is used to mount the step system to the coach, is flexing.

Then, determine if some bolstering of that metal would enhance strength and therefore, make that entire system more stable. You might find some tearing of metal, cracked components etc. that are giving way and causing the flexing. Good luck.
Scott
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Old 05-14-2015, 10:31 AM   #9
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Thanks!
One thing that kind of got me started on this thread was that while we were getting prepared to leave in Santa Fe, NM, 2 bolts that hold the motor to the frame broke off and the stairs would not retract!


Fortunately, I found some bolts, made the temporary repair and we were on our way back to Colorado. I have since replaced all 4 of those bolts with the grade 8 variety. I will keep checking underneath the steps to see if I can come up with anything else!


Howard
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Old 05-14-2015, 06:18 PM   #10
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Thanks!
One thing that kind of got me started on this thread was that while we were getting prepared to leave in Santa Fe, NM, 2 bolts that hold the motor to the frame broke off and the stairs would not retract!


Fortunately, I found some bolts, made the temporary repair and we were on our way back to Colorado. I have since replaced all 4 of those bolts with the grade 8 variety. I will keep checking underneath the steps to see if I can come up with anything else!


Howard

I had broken parts last fall due to NY & NJ roads. First trip this spring and another broken bolt on the stairs. They still go in and out, but flex a lot when you put weight on them. Special step bolt on order, tomorrow morning I plan to stop at Lowes to jury rig something for the day's drive. Vibration just keeps loosening parts, especially the stairs.

OP, you might want to check for loose bolts as well
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Old 05-14-2015, 06:26 PM   #11
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My original Kwikee steps got very "spongy" just before they broke and almost dumped me on the ground. The original steps had a weld that broke, hard to describe but imagine a tee made out of 1" wide metal welded together. The same bracket on the new steps is made from one piece of metal, no welds.
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