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Old 04-30-2021, 02:43 PM   #1
TJ
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Kwikee steps gone bad...again

For the third time, our Kwikee steps have gone bad again. I sure wish there was a way to change to some other brand, but that is apparently not possible.

Any time we drive in the rain, the steps start cycling in and out endlessly. It is usually a jerky motion rather than a smooth in and out.

When they finally stop (sometimes after quite a long time), they frequently are in the extended position, regardless of whether the engine is running or the position of the step control switch.

The step controller has been changed out twice and things work for a few weeks or months, and then it goes right back to misbehaving. Is there some kind of mechanical limit switch on the steps that might have failed, or is that built into the step controller module (possibly a current-sensing device)?

This is getting really tiresome, especially on a luxury line coach. After one year, Newmar refused to cover it under warranty even though they were the ones who did the step module replacements in the first year...and, without solving the problem.

Thoughts?

TJ
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Old 04-30-2021, 03:08 PM   #2
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My first thought is it's not a good look for Newmar that on a coach as new as yours and an obvious problem that they won't cover it.

My second thought is that I would try and install a switch that lets you turn off the steps while you're trying to figure this out. At least then the steps won't go in/out on their own.

Have you reached out to kwikee to try and see if they can/will help?
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Old 04-30-2021, 03:16 PM   #3
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Bad door proximity switch or loose connection to same? Bad ground?

Paul
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Old 04-30-2021, 04:54 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StaRVGazer View Post
Bad door proximity switch or loose connection to same? Bad ground?

Paul
Good thought on the door proximity switch. I’ll check the contacts and functionality.

As for the grounds, Newmar replaced them all last year. I know, for a fact, that they were properly done because I watched the tech do it.

The problem seems to be moisture related because it happens whenever we drive in the rain. Today, the rain was light but enough on the roadway to create some spray.

Thanks.

TJ
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Old 04-30-2021, 05:10 PM   #5
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Last month after getting everything ready for travel including hooking up the toad I spent 30min of quality time on my back under the stairs disconnecting and reconnecting the various plugs to get the stairs to retract. PSA: Careful under there (chock wheels, block frame, watch out for moving stairs that will pinch/squish you if they can).

I've also had several repairs at the dealer and Newmar mothership that have re-done and added grounds, etc. The issue is always after driving in a rain. On our trip last month we'd drive up to the campsite in the rain and the stairs hesitated but worked as we setup. But 3 days later time to return home and they were going out just fine - but refusing to come back in and stay in.

I plan to figure out a way to override the controller so that I can always get the stairs back in. I've started looking at the 3 pin connector and found a pigtale for oneside but not the other yet. And I also need to find the female (motor) side of that connector too so I have options.

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Old 04-30-2021, 05:33 PM   #6
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Our steps started acting up and my first thought was the door switch or something in the Kwikee motor. Ours also only gave us problems when it was raining. Found that on our coach there is a large bulkhead electrical connector near the steps in the lower right front corner that supports the steps. Our main fuse panel is under steps so this was the main connector for several items going to the front of the coach. Disconnect the bulkhead and found water and corrosion in the connector. Cleaned and replaced a couple pins and all is well.

Maybe your coach has a feed through on your firewall that is the problem. You may have to remove the back shell cover also to check it out good. Our corrosion was where the wires entered the connector.
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Old 04-30-2021, 05:46 PM   #7
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I think I would go through every wire that is exposed to weather, clean, seal and protect from the rain. Dielectric grease in the connectors and covers/sealant for any control boxes.

On my last three coaches, I added a mud flap just in front of the step, to keep road dirt and rain off of the step.

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Old 04-30-2021, 05:57 PM   #8
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I'd suggest getting some dielectric grease and put it on the connector ends, then reassemble. The grease will keep the water out.
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Old 04-30-2021, 06:04 PM   #9
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Most of the problems I had with the steps was a ground problem.
The step has three grounds one is the heavy green wire attached to the chassis frame someplace near sidewall frame and usually well sealed a second one is a small green wire that comes out of the control unit itself and spade clip under one of the mounting screws for the control, I put a star washer so that screw would not loosen up from the many vibrations you get over our roads, the third is the ground lead from the screen door
switch and its under coach and atached to the frame near center of coach in back or near stairs, what happens vibrations again loosen the screw with spade clip on wire and moisture and road grime get under the spade clip and cause your problem.
Over time rust will form and it requires some sand paper to really clean the location of screw hole, the spade clip and maybe a new screw which maybe all rusty and a other star washer to hole screw tight to grounding frame location.
Its worked for me for many years and maybe should be added to CHECK LIST of other items to check periodically.
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Old 04-30-2021, 06:10 PM   #10
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Thanks folks. The problem is that I can hardly see the controller location, much less reach it. In fact, I’m not even certain that what I’m seeing is the controller; there are a couple of wires and a small corner of a back/gray plastic thing.

This ancient body doesn’t take kindly to being contorted into pretzel shapes. We have a service appointment at Guaranty RV in Oregon in a couple of weeks and I’ve added this issue to the work list.

I am amazed that Newmar would use a crappy step setup in their “luxury line” coaches.

TJ
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Old 04-30-2021, 06:14 PM   #11
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Check the wires.
My step had a very long ground wire and my step cut the wire in half when they retracted at Ocean Lakes, Myrtle Beach Christmas week. Winnie covered it. But I was at 9 months on my warranty. They complete replaced everything because my step got bent too.
The ground wire is green, mine was way too long and hanging right behind the step.
Cut it like a knife.

FYI: before it was replaced it would work intermittently and spontaneously go in too. Once it just cycled and cycled.
That’s when it hit a step I had outside so I can get into the RV and bent the steps.
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Old 04-30-2021, 06:18 PM   #12
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The controller is mounted under the base of top step and do not put your body under step or risk getting crushed.
I will provide a diagram for steps in a minuet. Click on this link for step infor.

This link can be found in the TECH INFORMATION link in my signature.

Your steps would be under the POWER GEAR link.

Newmar has used these steps since I owned my first Newmar in 1998, nothing wrong with steps just require maintenance and well lubed piviot points on your steps as you collect all the road grime.
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Old 04-30-2021, 06:27 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutch Star Don View Post
I think I would go through every wire that is exposed to weather, clean, seal and protect from the rain. Dielectric grease in the connectors and covers/sealant for any control boxes.

On my last three coaches, I added a mud flap just in front of the step, to keep road dirt and rain off of the step.

Attachment 326840
I like that, Don. I am going to try to duplicate it. Did you just use an automotive mud flap and cut it to size?

TJ
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Old 05-03-2021, 05:24 PM   #14
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Gonna throw money at the problem

Got tired of the Kwikee step problem and had our service shop order a complete new step unit for installation at our appointment next week. The existing step has been a continuing problem for two years with intermittent fixes that lasted weeks or a few months be failing again. I’m convinced that it is more than just a control unit problem and hope replacing the whole thing will be a more permanent fix.

I think our current step unit was built on a Monday morning after a party weekend! I do hope the new unit wasn’t.

TJ
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