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Old 01-08-2010, 01:31 PM   #1
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Jack will not budge

Man, is it cold and snowy here in Tennessee. The rig has been parked for about a month and we're going to Red Bay for a service appointment in a couple of weeks, so I thought that I would run some of the systems except the water, then take it for my monthly ride.

The rig has HWH series 325 straight acting hydraulic jacks. I started the engine and when I pressed the store button nothing happened. After a minute or two, the jacks started to retract. It took about 10 minutes for three of them to fully retract but the left rear did not budge. It is really cold here and has been cold for some time now, so maybe the cold caused the problem. I hesitate to manually retract the rear jacks by opening the valve before I try other methods.

So, does anyone have any ideas how to get the stuck jack to move without opening the valve and then having to take the MH in for service. Maybe some warm air applied to the jack will help. Thanks for the help.

Bob
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Old 01-08-2010, 01:42 PM   #2
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Hi CoastieSCPO,
If you think it is the jack, consider a hair dryer and some lubricant sprayed on the cylinder. Do not wipe off the lubricant, just spray it on. Make sure the jack is not frozen to the ground. As a long shot, the valve that controls the jack may be stuck manually retracting the jack should have no adverse side effects.
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Old 01-08-2010, 01:45 PM   #3
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It sounds like you may have water in the fluid, and it froze. Look in the reservoir, if it looks like Pepto Bismal" then it is bad and needs to be purged. If it looks like tranny fluid then it should be ok. Warm air should free it up in the mean time. Agree it may be froze to the ground. Did you try setting all jacks and retracting again?
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Old 01-08-2010, 02:39 PM   #4
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Thanks for both replies.

I'm thinking of trying the hair dryer as soon as the wind and snow lets up, as well as using some lubricant. Gary, are you saying that I can manually retract the rear jacks and possibly not taking it in for service?

Kenyonman, I will check that fluid and I did try to reset the rear jacks with no luck. The rig is parked under cover and very little snow or rain falls on the cement pad, but I will make sure it's not frozen to the ground.

I really appreciate the info and we can hardly wait to go to Red Bay. My appointment is to fix some minor stuff, but I'm really looking forward to checking out the new Allegro RED's under construction. Should have gone to the Tampa Supershow like we usually do and avoided all this cold weather. It's cold in Florida but not like here; 8 deg last night and lower tonight.

Bob
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Old 01-08-2010, 02:54 PM   #5
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Hi Bob,
Yes you can manually retract any of the four jacks. I have the same model HWH as you. My manual does not have page numbers. Look in the Operating Procedures section. There is a page on Manual Jack Retraction.

You'll need to find the HWH fluid reservoir. In this area should be the pump and four solenoid valves. There is one for each jack. On one end of the solenoid valve is a "T" handle and/or a release nut. If you need a nut driver, one either came with your coach or it is part of the reservoir breather cap. Turn the "T" handle or valve release nut counter clockwise in 1/2 turn increments. Turn no more than 4 turns. On my coach, the two center solenoids are the front jacks and the two outer solenoids are the rear jacks. Once the jack is retracted, turn the nut or "T" handle clockwise the same number of turns to ensure it is closed.

This will work only if the fluid can flow freely in the line (not frozen or obstructed).
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Old 01-08-2010, 04:31 PM   #6
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Thanks Gary. We're supposed to have a little warm-up starting Monday....just above freezing. I'll check the fluid and give it a try then.

Bob
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Old 01-08-2010, 04:38 PM   #7
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Gary's explanation of the manual retraction process is a good one.
You can also check the solenoid valves to see if they are operating by applying 12V to the two prong connector on the wire pigtail of the each individual solenoid valve. Polarity is not important for this test, pos/neg or neg/pos will have the same effect. You will hear the solenoid pop the valve open if it is working. If the valves are all working, then there is an obstruction in the line or at the jack. If you do this and the jack retracts, but won't retract from the controls, then there is an electrical problem w/the controls. I'd recommend a 15A inline fuse on one leg of your test leads. You can buy the connector at most NAPA or equal auto parts stores (e.g. I saw them at Grand Auto also) for about $8 and have an emergency test lead setup on board for just this purpose.

If you find you have water in the line, you will need to flush it. They can to that at Red Bay easily.

MAKE SURE YOU ARE NOT IN THE WAY OF THE FALLING COACH when you apply heat that may loosen a clog. Might be tough to scramble out if things suddenly start moving. Best to disable the Retract function, then apply heat, then try to Retract again. I wouldn't hesitate to use a propane torch on the jack itself, waving it back & forth. You will see condensate on the metal as you do this. Once you are past the point of leaving condensate, move to a new spot as that part is now warm. Don't hold the flame steady at one place or you could overheat o-rings inside the ram. I'd do this on the upper, larger diameter cylinder housing, not on the lower ram portion. A blow drier you could hold steady, but even that would cook an o-ring given enough time.

Finally, the pump produces about 3000psi. That would move most clogs, and the pressure would assist slushing any frozen water. You could try to raise the coach more, but IIWMI'd only bump it up, then retract and see what gives. The coach's dead weight probably produces >2000psi, so the effectiveness of this is very dependent on the type of obstruction & where it is.
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Old 01-08-2010, 05:28 PM   #8
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I didn't see a response about the possiblilty of the jack pad being frozen to the ground.

I think it's too dangerous to go under the rig if it's being supported by the jack. It could drop like a rock before you could possibly get out of the way.

A jack stand is essential.
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Old 01-08-2010, 06:32 PM   #9
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I do not think that the jack pad is frozen to the ground because it is completely dry under the rig. I will use a jack stand when we try to fix this problem. Good advice!

Live and learn. Last week when this really cold weather moved in, I thought that I should retract the jacks. But, I didn't. What a dummy!

Bob
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Old 01-08-2010, 06:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
What a dummy!
Bob, there's 2 kinds of RVers.

Those that have done dumb things, and those that won't admit it.
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Old 01-08-2010, 06:46 PM   #11
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Dirk, there's a third kind- those who are going to do a dumb thing.
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Old 01-08-2010, 08:36 PM   #12
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I think I would get a pry bar under the jack stand and see if I could give the spring a little assistance. Because it is dry under the jack plate doesn't mean it isn't frozen to the surface. It doesn't take much in cold weather.
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Old 01-09-2010, 10:42 AM   #13
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Follow-up on the stuck jack! It went down to 8 degrees last night and we got a little more snow. This morning, I placed one of the ceramic heaters that we carry in the rig next to the stuck jack and let it run for about 30 minutes or so while I removed snow from the porch and sidewalks. Started the engine up, pressed the off than the store button on the pad and, wouldn't you know, the jack went up without problem.

So, the jacks are stored and we can go to Red Bay. Thanks for the help guys!

Bob
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Old 01-09-2010, 11:48 AM   #14
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Congrats on getting the jack up. Weather a coach is not used to seems to create new adventures.
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