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Old 04-14-2014, 09:45 PM   #1
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Problem with steps!

Due to take off from here tomorrow on a long trip and now the steps are not retracting property. '14 Itasca 35F. Steps not retracting when door is closed no mater what the toggle switch setting. When the system is not working, I notice that the under step light also is not working. The system will periodically function for a short period of time, then quit working again. I parked it earlier this after noon, steps retracted properly, but when I went back later to check the temp on the fridge, the steps were extended and again I could not get them to retract. Anybody got any ideas?
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Old 04-14-2014, 09:51 PM   #2
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Possibly the magnetic door switch? Mine went bad after only three years, caused intermittent non-retracting like this. Do you know what brand your steps are? Some manufacturers have a troubleshooting guide in their manual or on their website.
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Old 04-14-2014, 10:08 PM   #3
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Thanks for the quick reply. Unfortunately I don't know and can't find out until the morning. Is there a temp work around until I can get it to the shop.
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Old 04-14-2014, 10:14 PM   #4
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Is the step switch in the off position?

Did you try starting the coach shutting the door and putting it in gear to see if the steps would retract?

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Old 04-14-2014, 10:24 PM   #5
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With the Lippert/Stromberg step we have, it does not matter which position the step switch is in, the step will retract when the ignition is turned on unless the door is open. If the door switch is bad the step will stay open when the ignition is turned on.

As jfran304 says see if it closes when you turn the ignition on. If it does not it could be other intermittent connections but my money is on the door switch. BTW cold weather made my door switch more cranky.
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Old 04-14-2014, 10:42 PM   #6
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Normally, while in storage mode, I keep the switch in the position allows it to extent when I open the door, retract when door is closed. For security, I only lock it open while on extended stays at a park. It is staying open, regardless of switch position or ignition on or off.
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Old 04-14-2014, 11:06 PM   #7
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This might be a long shot but check the wires to the motor under your steps, had a similar issue a couple years ago and the butt splice connectors that were used from the factory were corroded and causing an intermittent connection. I redid the splices with heat shrink type of butt connector, they are the best thing since sliced bread, typical crimp style connector but when you apply heat they shrink with a hot glue inside that squeezes out to permanently seal the connection. Never have to worry about them again.

Good luck!
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Old 04-14-2014, 11:27 PM   #8
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The most common issue is the ground lug is not secure or is corroded. This is common to most brand steps.

The ground is one of the wires under the step frame going to a bolt or screw into the frame. It would be the first thing I checked.

After that is the magnetic switch between the door and door frame. Use a magnet to try to close the switch as a test.

Finally, the controller might be failing. You need to know make and model to troubleshoot.

Best luck
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Old 04-14-2014, 11:33 PM   #9
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Your coach is a 2014 so I assume it's under warranty. This should be fixed under warranty so if you don't want do do experiments or to cut wires I don't blame you!

The dealer should be able to tell you how to retract the step and then disable it by pulling the fuse so you can get it to their shop safely. Winnie also has great documentation on their website including full schematics and wiring diagrams.

But if you really want to experiment:

It really sounds like the door switch. The symptoms are exactly what I was experiencing. Here's an experiment you can do: Start by gently pulling at the wires going to the door switch (the part on the door frame should have two wires coming out of it). Hopefully they'll pull out of behind the frame and you'll see a couple of splices on the wires.

Find a paper clip or something to short both wires at the splices and see what happens. Shorting them will close the steps if the switch is normally open or keep them open if the switch is normally closed, depending on the brand of your steps.

You can also cut one of the wires, if the switch normally closed and is not opening the step should close. Just make sure you can re-splice the wire. Note this is all 12V, shorting them will not shock you or hurt the step controller.

Do all this experimentation with the door open so you can be sure the paper clip or cutting the wire caused the steps to close.

If neither of those work, it's time to go under the coach and look for bad splices as other posters have said.

Another thing I remembered, I now have two magnets on my step switch, it would intermittently open with only one magnet so I doubled them up. Found this out while driving down some country roads, looked in my convex mirror and saw the step out. I was quite lucky that I had not broken the step off on a telephone pole or snowbank on those narrow country roads!
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Old 04-14-2014, 11:36 PM   #10
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Sounds like you may have a motor going out. Just replace mine last week. When i got the old motor off i took the cover off of the gears and found them to be stripped! It worked for me.
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Old 04-15-2014, 07:26 AM   #11
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Want to say thanks again for the ideas and suggestions. It's almost 5:30 a.m. here and I'm waiting to daybreak to bring it up from the HOA storage lot to check it out again. Would appear, even though it's loaded and ready to roll, I'm going to have to delay the trip and take it to the shop for repairs. Hoping it would be something simple.
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Old 04-15-2014, 09:24 AM   #12
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It should be a quick fix as long as it is misbehaving in front of the service tech. Hopefully the dealer will understand and get you in and out quickly.

Good Luck!
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Old 04-15-2014, 02:30 PM   #13
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Thanks to the help from this 4M, I found and fixed the problem early this morning. BTW, the steps are Kiwee, and the problem was the in the magnetic door/step relay, but not the relay itself. As I got the door frame part of the relay partially loose from the frame and the steps retracted, but extended again immediately. As I pulled the relay slightly away from the wall, I noticed both wires were extremely frayed, one completely separated from with them only making occasional contact due to an inadequate length of wiring from the undercarriage harness. Soon as I touched them fully together steps functioned perfectly. I spliced in an additional section of 14 gauge wire, replaced the fork connectors with ring connectors and put it all back together. Works fine, so all I can say is Thanks again from a now happier camper. We will now be able to depart for out trip to Texas on time.
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Old 04-15-2014, 04:33 PM   #14
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Good for you!

Since kwickie they are designed for failure...in a good way.

What I mean is they are designed to be manually used upon failure.

Look close with battery off (do not want it to get you) and you will see a motor attached to a gearbox with a lever that has a link to the step.

At the end of the link is a pin that comes out easy so you can move the steps if motor will not.

Next look at the arms and you should see some 1/4 inch holes and some in the steps.

You place the pin from the link in that hole to lock the step up or down.

We have hinge pin at door to pin the steps down as dw hit switch once and steps came in and turned switch off with lights.

Next am she stepped out and landed face first...did not spill coffee...

The controller is fine with this added safety pin...
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