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Old 09-01-2013, 04:39 PM   #1
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The argument in favor of step jacks, or, Why I need to go on a diet

I tend to step heavily on the way down/out of my TT. I weigh 220 lbs and the way I step I bet I am putting 300+ lbs on the step unit. Just last month I was considering a step jack but decided to forego any. This weekend, first step out while setting up and I pulled one the bolts holding up the step unit right out! Jacked it up with firewood for the stay. Looked at it when I got home, looks like the floor had rotted before and maybe this had already happened to previous owner as there was a cutout and a thin metal plate holding the bolt. I will be getting thicker and much longer metal plate tomorrow for the fix... Then I will buy jacks, then I will go on a diet, then I will learn to tread lightly....
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Old 09-01-2013, 07:08 PM   #2
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Smithers,
Well Sir, I've used them for years on all our RVs. You see, you've experienced the result of poor craftsmanship. Some of the step systems are mounted securely and some, are junk. In either case, a "Step saver" will help immensely. It's going to take almost ALL the weight, each and every time it's stepped on, going up or down.

When loading, you don't really realize just how much more weight you're adding while climbing them, bringing items in for your travels etc. It takes literally seconds to put ours in place. I actually have two. One is taller and one shorter. Both are "spin" adjustable. I also carry a couple of those little 8"x8" yellow "leggo" blocks from Camping World with them.

Once level and all is set, I get out the little yellow blocks and which ever one of the step savers I might need and, within less than 30 seconds, that step is very well supported. I then have plastic coated sheet with hooks on it that hangs on the steering wheel that warns that the step saver is in place.
Scott
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Old 09-02-2013, 12:50 PM   #3
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Yep, great idea thanks. I'll get a step jack too.
I always use take-off and landing checklists. Mine are with my keys.
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Old 09-02-2013, 01:15 PM   #4
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Yep, great idea thanks. I'll get a step jack too.
I always use take-off and landing checklists. Mine are with my keys.
My uncle uses those step jacks. It makes a big difference. We use a small 4x4 piece of wood at our deer lease trailer.
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Old 09-02-2013, 06:14 PM   #5
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So, in other words, something, anything, is better than nothing. I guess I will invest in a screw type, will wait for some magical winter coupon...
Thanks all!
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Old 09-02-2013, 09:46 PM   #6
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So, in other words, something, anything, is better than nothing. I guess I will invest in a screw type, will wait for some magical winter coupon...
Thanks all!

Well Sir,
I guess you could say that. I'm one of those types that looks at a situation like that and says, "I'm the one that's going to have to fix that thing if it breaks 'cause I was lazy and never helped support it". Now, some folks have gotten away without the addition of a step saver for years and had no problems. I however, have seen and read of many damaged step systems due to poor craftsmanship, improper support, NO SUPPORT and many other reasons for failure.

Those step savers at Camping World are fairly cheap. I think they're around $17.00 or so. And, those yellow "Leggo" style leveling blocks are about $28.00, plus or minus.

RV Leveling Blocks, 10 pack - Rook Industries D10-246 - Chocks & Levelers - Camping World

So, you'd have the leveling blocks for multiple uses and, even a couple for the step saver and door entrance. That way, the limited range of adjustment is enhanced by how many Leggos you need. Good luck.
Scott
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Old 09-03-2013, 09:26 AM   #7
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Don't do it. When you put a support under the step it puts it in a bind. If the ground is soft and one jack lowers, it pushes the step up and before you know it, the arm on the motor breaks. Or if the steps retract with the support underneath the step it can also break the arm on the motor.

This happened to me. It replacement arms and gears cost around $70 and about an hour to replace.
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Old 09-03-2013, 10:24 AM   #8
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Don't do it. When you put a support under the step it puts it in a bind. If the ground is soft and one jack lowers, it pushes the step up and before you know it, the arm on the motor breaks. Or if the steps retract with the support underneath the step it can also break the arm on the motor.

This happened to me. It replacement arms and gears cost around $70 and about an hour to replace.
Well Sir,
Just because it happened to your coach doesn't mean it's going to happen to a zillion other coaches out there. Yep, you have to assess the situation and type and condition of the ground you're parking on ahead of time. If it's muddy, wet, soft, etc. and potential for "settling", then all that must be taken into account. It's a preference thing. I always drop the bags prior to leveling because, 1, it's required by the manufacturer, 2, on auto-level, it does it on its own, 3, it places ALL the weight on the jacks and none on the suspension. So, settling is at a very, very minimum.

If one doesn't feel at ease with a step saver in place, then it's up to them. Like stated, some step systems are very poorly mounted and supported. And some, are like the rock of Gibraltar.
Scott
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Old 09-03-2013, 04:46 PM   #9
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Don't do it. When you put a support under the step it puts it in a bind. If the ground is soft and one jack lowers, it pushes the step up and before you know it, the arm on the motor breaks. Or if the steps retract with the support underneath the step it can also break the arm on the motor.

This happened to me. It replacement arms and gears cost around $70 and about an hour to replace.
I have to agree. I thought I was making an improvement by adding the step jack on our 01 Adventurer. I forgot to store it a few times and paid the price. When the steps retract they actually swing in an arc. Moving down a couple inches before raising as the linkage closes. The added pressure from the step jack broke off a couple of the mounting bolts. It also broke the aluminum pivot block. I had to remove the steps, cut out the old welded in bolt stubs, and add a new baseplate with new bolts. Then replace the pivot block, and reinstall the steps.
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Old 09-03-2013, 10:46 PM   #10
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We rebuilt our steps, replaced side arms with doublers, looks stock but thicker x 2.

Also made axles inside so both sides move same amount.

Mounted firm to coach, but you tend to alwatys lead with same foot, this causes stress on one side, and stock unit can twist a little, just right and side arm bends a little, over timd gets sloppy and ugly.

Ours and a friends both came pre bent, a weekend tinkering in the shop fixed them.

If mounted to plywood floor then replace floor piece with a stiffer product, plytainium subfloor real stiff, add aluminum or steel plate or large fender washers to insure ridgid mount.
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Old 09-04-2013, 04:34 PM   #11
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Camco's "Save-a-step brace is $12.51 at Amazon it has a solid metal screw and adjuss from 7- 14". It supports 1000lbs.
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Old 09-05-2013, 10:19 AM   #12
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Fix the problem, not the symptom.

The problem is your step mounting base needs to be repaired and reenforced.

The symptom is weak and sagging steps when weight is applied.

A step support is only going to fix the symptom, and could damage the motor and arm if retracted while installed.
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Old 09-05-2013, 10:25 AM   #13
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^^^ Excellent advice. Pay now or later. Those who have used a support without issue for 20 years have been lucky and put up with something that shouldn't have existed in the first place. I've read where some come new from the factory with wimpy steps. While I would never buy new - if I did and had wimpy steps I would raise heck with mfg to make it right - and that would not be a complementary support. YMMV
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Old 09-05-2013, 11:46 AM   #14
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This is a simple protective measure. It supports the weight of anyone, heavy or light and if they're carrying something while entry or exit is done. A person weighs what they weigh but, when exiting and a "spring" force is applied as you decend the steps, you apply more than you actually weigh. And, if you're carrying something, anything, you're adding even more weight.

So, by putting the step saver under the step, the earth is taking the load, not the structure of the mounting system, regardless of how well it's made. Now, if you're not paying attention to the fact that you have left it under there and trigger the step retraction, well, that's your fault. I have gotten away with having it there for years and will continue to have it there. We have a reminder on the steering wheel that tells us it's there.

It's a preference thing. If you want one, put it in there. If not, no ones forcing you to.
Scott
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