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Old 06-22-2016, 03:55 PM   #1
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Lippert 6 point level system failure

To set the stage I have a 2011 37' 5th wheel with a Lippert 6 point leveling system. So far the sytem has worked ok with just a slight out of level condition that I easily tweak in the manual mode.

Well this morning I am moving the trailer off the site where it stayed for 6.5 months. In those 6.5 months the leveling system was not used. I try to raise the back running year and all I get is a grinding noise and no hydraulic movement. I check the fluid level and it is ok. So instead of getting the typical hydraulic noise like a sewing machine I get a kinda grinding noise. It was coming from the black motor. After a few dozen on/offs and retrying also getting the grinding noise and 1/10 hydraulic noise I get the back two sets of landing gear up.

When trying to raise I got the same grinding noise. I need to leave my RV site and the clock is ticking. Note: when I get the grinding noise I get zero hydraulic movement. I lower the front and that kinda works. I then raise the trailer and get 9/10ths grinding and 1/10 hydraulic noise. I finally get the front just high enough to get it on the truck.

Now I take the trailer to storage. Same kind of issue now trying to get the trailer off the truck.

Question 1. Anyone else ever have this issue and if so what is the fix.

Question 2. Think the rig sitting for 6.5 months without using the leveling system caused air to get into lines or the system somehow got 'un-primed'?

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Old 06-22-2016, 04:09 PM   #2
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Depending on your environmental conditions, you could have corrosion starting to form in those polished areas of your jacks around the seals due to not being used for many months. Could also be moisture in the hydraulic system has caused corrosion blocks in various parts of the metal parts preventing fluid flow.
Without being there in person to see what you are facing it is hard to give a good diagnosis.

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Old 06-23-2016, 04:46 AM   #3
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The jack pistons were not pitted as I keep them clean. The noise was coming from the motor. The black cylinder on top of the hydraulic fluid reservoir with the heavy electrical wires. I will take a picture when I go back to the trailer.

There are thousands of snowbirds that set up their trailer like I do with the Lippert 6 point leveling system. Anyone else have this issue?
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Old 06-23-2016, 09:26 AM   #4
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We do not have the Lippert system but the Big Foot and had an issue with one of our back jacks last week. Big Foot levelers each have individual hydraulic tanks and motors and after driving through a severe storm, one of the rear hydraulic fluid compartments was contaminated with water. You can tell because the fluid turns a pinkish color. We had to flush the tank 4 times and the lines once to get out all the bad fluid. It is now working as designed. It was making the same grinding sound as yours. Maybe that could be your issue?
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Old 06-23-2016, 09:35 AM   #5
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The grinding sound you describe seems similar to the sound I get when my legs are done retracting. Wondering if you have some corrosion above the visible part of the leg preventing them from moving. Not sure where are but I could see a high humidity climate causing that. Maybe use a large rubber mallet and bang a little on each sleeve (not too hard).
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Old 06-23-2016, 12:47 PM   #6
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The noise you describe makes sense if the hyrdaulic motor/pump is being overworked/stressed. I would look at the hydraulic valve body for the source of the problem.

1. Check the electo magnetic coils for a poor electrical connection or broken wire.

2. Remove the coils one at a time and make sure the posts they mount around are free of corrosion.

3. Tap lightly on the valve body in hopes of freeing up a stuck valve.

4. Get the weight of the kingpin supported (on your truck or otherwise supported and safe) and then slowly remove the valves (pieces the electo magnetic coils mount to) one at a time to inspect for broken "o" rings or plugged passages. When removing the valves remember they may be under pressure so go slow and expect a slight spray of fluid. Blasting passages with parts cleaner from an aerosol can or tapping them on a counter can help dislodge debris.

If the problem isn't within the valve body then I would suspect it is in the control. I might not be giving the correct signal to the electro magnets.

Good luck!
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Old 06-23-2016, 04:49 PM   #7
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jpharley - would you describe your issue as 'a grinding noise'?
Interesting Big Foot has a motor at each leg. So the motor with the contaminated fluid was making this grinding noise? If so I also desribe my issue as the hydraulic motor making the noise. But for me when I looked at the fluid it looked normal. And the trailer has not moved for 6.5 months.

I will try the rubber mallet and start hitting different components to see if i can debug this issue...thanks for that idea.

Oh...I did lightly tap the motor a few times with a wrench...emphasis on lighty.
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Old 06-23-2016, 06:36 PM   #8
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LCI recommends using this system monthly. When in Arizona overwinter (5 months), I re-leveled the trailer and ran the slides in/out each month. Also, lubricated and cleaned all the drives, pistons, etc. Have had no related issues.
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Old 06-24-2016, 08:31 AM   #9
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Yes, it was a grinding noise. Initially, the leveler would move a little, then stopped completely. From a previous thread on another forum, we figured out our issue was the hydraulic fluid. Once the bad fluid was purged and new fluid in place, the leveler worked fine. Each Big Foot leveler has its own motor and hydraulic chamber and will lift about 17k lbs. It is a robust system. Sounds like contaminated fluid is not your problem.
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Old 10-14-2016, 12:54 PM   #10
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This issue is fixed but I can not explain nor understand how. Let me set the stage again.

5th wheel was on RV site in Florida for 6.5 months w/o being moved/adjusted. It was plugged into 50 amp service the whole time. I moved the trailer to storage and the leveling system would not work. I had a grinding noise and no to very little trailer height movement. I had trouble getting the trailer high enough to hook to the truck. I towed it to storage and had a lot of trouble unhooking it as the leveling system was hardly functioning.

Well two days ago I checked on the trailer. I installed a new battery as it needed a new battery. After I installed the battery the next thing was to work (try to debug the LCI Leveling system issue) on the leveling system.

Well guess what...with the new battery it works perfect again. No grinding at all.

I do not know why it would grind while plugged into the 50 amp service. But the grinding noise is probably a solenoid that is not engaging. With the new battery it engages and raises and lowers the trailer as designed.

I would have never guessed the battery was the issue. Especially since it was plugged into a 50 amp service at the RV park when the issue started.
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Old 10-14-2016, 03:48 PM   #11
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The system works off pf your 12 volt. Lippertt recommends changing your oil once every 3 years . Also if you put a pit of anti stiction oil in it helps everything run smoother. It os used in motorcycle forks. Just drain the resorvior . A rearend manual rransfer pump works well.
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Old 10-14-2016, 06:16 PM   #12
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The battery probably could not hold enough amps even while plugged in. The charger would not be able to keep up enough amperage and volts to run the motor correctly. Low voltage can kill those motors..
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Old 10-15-2016, 11:21 PM   #13
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Same thing happened to me. Couldn't figure it out until I remembered that I forgot to reset my battery shutoff switch.
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Old 10-16-2016, 09:05 AM   #14
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I encountered this problem recently. It was an underperforming battery. Cabling from converter not big enough to move large amounts of current. I let it sit and charge battery awhile and all's good now. The motor takes big current. I had a buzzing sound that reminded me of chattering relays.

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