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Old 01-06-2016, 01:05 PM   #1
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Where did leveling jack oil go?

On a cold (~30 degrees F) morning, started the MH and got the following message on the LCI Level Up LCD Display:

****ERROR****
Retract Timeout
Return Levelers for Service

I was starting up the MH to bring it to the dealer for other service so I ignored the alarm and hoped it would go away while at the dealer. When I picked up the MH 10 weeks later (on another cold morning) the alarm repeated. Yesterday I checked the hydraulic oil level for the first time ever (in 18 months of ownership). I had to add a full quart of ATF to bring the fluid level back up to the top line on the dip stick. The system works fine again.

I've never seen a drop of hydraulic oil on the ground or anywhere else. The system has worked perfectly until now. This is the first time I ever started the MH in temperatures this cold (gotta get outta here!)

If there is a leak I will find out soon enough but could it be that the oil level has always been very low but just enough to work without trouble in warm weather? I noticed the manual states to check the oil level monthly. Why? Is the level expected to drop?
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Old 01-06-2016, 01:14 PM   #2
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My bet is no leak, it was always low.
On my HWH system, it relies on springs to retract the jacks, so if the fluid is cold it will take a lot longer.

Regarrs,
Dan
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Old 01-06-2016, 06:16 PM   #3
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How long since High School Physics class?

I recall an expierment were we took a steel ball and tried to pass it through a brass ring.. NO JOY, would not fit.. Then we heated the ring over a Bunsen burner and the ball slipped through nicely.. how nice.

I might add if you heated both the ball and the ring.. Hot enough same result but you could take a 2nd ring, which the ball would fit through cold, but not hot.. The moral.. Most substances on earth (one execption at one point on the thermomemter) EXPAND when heated, but not allways at the same rate.

One substance is the tank that holds the hydraulic fluid, Depending on what it is made of it may have a high or low coefficient of temperature (expansion) relative to the fluid. If the tank expands SLOWER than the fluid, then on cold mornings you get a LOW reading for the fluid has "Shrunk" and if the tank expands SLOWER, then on hot days as the fluid expands it runs over so on a cold day you get a LOW reading.

Either way, you get a LOW reading.

POWER gear uses the level of fluid in the tank to tell when the jacks are FULL UP.. low fluid means jacks down.
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Old 01-06-2016, 06:30 PM   #4
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Not familiar with your rig or type of hydraulic system but here a few ideas: 1-most likely reservoir was low to begin with; 2-even though its a new coach, you may have a hidden leak [like under the bed slide?]; or 3] system was a bit low but you over filled, make sure all cylinders are in the retracted position before checking/filling reservoir.
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Old 01-07-2016, 05:17 PM   #5
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I have the same system on my Vista 27N. I get the same message from time to time. It seems to occur most often when its cold. I get the impression that this particular "error" is somewhat common. If its occurring all the time there probably is a problem, otherwise its most likely just a nuisance.

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Old 01-07-2016, 11:33 PM   #6
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I wish I would of known this yesterday......"make sure all cylinders are in the retracted position before checking/filling reservoir." I'm a newbie with no manuals on my 97 Ford F53.Without any thought about the jacks being down I add 3 quarts and today I put the jacks up and found 2 1/2 qts on the ground. What a mess!!!!
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Old 01-08-2016, 07:00 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwaugh10 View Post
I have the same system on my Vista 27N. I get the same message from time to time. It seems to occur most often when its cold. I get the impression that this particular "error" is somewhat common. If its occurring all the time there probably is a problem, otherwise its most likely just a nuisance.

David
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We own a 2014 Itasca 27N. Your manual will describe how to clear the error. Winnebago is aware. Press and hold in ENTER and RETRACT at same time. This will clear fault.
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Old 01-08-2016, 08:55 PM   #8
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HWH says the only way to purge air from their systems is to retract all slides and jacks, fill to full mark, extend slides and jacks, retract all slides and jacks, re-fill to full mark. Make sure breather cap is clean, Repeat until you no longer need to add oil.
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Old 01-09-2016, 09:06 AM   #9
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We own a 2014 Itasca 27N. Your manual will describe how to clear the error. Winnebago is aware. Press and hold in ENTER and RETRACT at same time. This will clear fault.
So you get this error even with the oil tank full?
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Old 01-09-2016, 09:07 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by dwaugh10 View Post
I have the same system on my Vista 27N. I get the same message from time to time. It seems to occur most often when its cold. I get the impression that this particular "error" is somewhat common. If its occurring all the time there probably is a problem, otherwise its most likely just a nuisance.

David
2013 Vista 27N

Have you checked the oil level?
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Old 01-09-2016, 09:36 AM   #11
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Yes, the jack oil is full.

David
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Old 01-09-2016, 11:29 AM   #12
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If you don't have evidence of a leak I suspect that your reservoir fluid level has been barely within limits since the time you bought it.

My guess it that now that it is cold you may have a jack that is not fully retracted, a sticky fluid level switch, or it is the result of fluid volume contracting in cold temps just enough to cause the warning to display.
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Old 01-09-2016, 12:23 PM   #13
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Most hydraulic jacks on motorhomes use automatic transmission fluid. ATF is very sensitive to temperature. Just look at the markings on your transmission dip stick and see the difference between hot and cold marks.
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Old 01-11-2016, 09:01 AM   #14
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Your error message is not all that uncommon in cold weather. We encountered it a couple times in extremely cold weather (-8*F). Apparently LCI originally programmed in a very short time period between the time the button is pushed and the jacks are supposed to start responding. If the jacks don't respond within the time period the message gets set. In cold weather the fluid is thicker and response times are lengthened. Some times the response time exceeds the time allowed in the software and the code is set.

There were some threads on this problem late in 2013 when it first started to appear. LCI was looking into changing the software to extend the time period to avoid setting the code and having to clear it. I didn't follow the threads to see the final outcome. Since we haven't had the problem in a couple years, and we know how to overcome it seemed to be only a minor inconvenience.

On the brighter side at least the 2014 manuals and newer actually include the problem and how to resolve it. There was nothing in our 2013 manual. Fortunately there were members with newer coaches that offered assistance.
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