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Old 09-17-2016, 05:01 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 40
HWH jacks retracting when attempting to extend

Hi All,

I have a 2003 36MDDS. Recently, after returning from a weekend trip I attempted to extend the jacks. In the middle of the process the jacks automatically retracted and then would not extend at all. I checked the HWH fluid and found that it barely registered on the dipstick.

Also, during our camping weekend I had issues extending the living room/kitchen slide, but I found that I had no power to the rig and ended up partially retracting it, because the batteries were low. However, once the power was restored and the batteries charged up I had no problem with the room slide.

I'm wondering if the issue I had with the batteries affected the jacks when I got home. Either way, I can't extend my jacks now. Does anybody have a clue what's going on? Thanks.
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Old 09-17-2016, 08:23 PM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Surprise, AZ
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I've not encountered your exact situation but here's what I would do ...

1. Make sure that your house batteries are fully charged at 13+V.

2. Turn off the system at the console and the main switches (both house & chassis), wait about 30 - seconds, turn the switches back on.

3. If you're currently plugged into shore power, temporarily disconnect, wait 30 - seconds, reconnect.

4. Monitor the charger to determine that it has entered "Bulk" charge mode which means it's putting out 14+V. You can also use the generator. This step provides a little extra voltage for the HWH system, solenoids & pump motor.

Good luck.
Bob Bowers (Surprise, AZ)
2003 Alpine Coach 40' FDTS
2014 Jeep Cherokee Lattitude
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Old 09-17-2016, 10:50 PM   #3
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You checked the HWH reservoir with the slides in and the jacks up, right? If this is the case and fluid barely showed on the dip stick, it may well be that you re too low on fluid for the jacks to extend.
'99 Alpine Coach
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Old 09-17-2016, 11:41 PM   #4
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HWH jacks retracting when attempting to extend

I need someone with a 2003 to confirm the slide portion, but your jacks must be retracted, the slides could be retracted or extended (since they are a balanced system it really does not matter), to check the HWH fluid level. If you refill it with the jacks extended you will over fill it and blow all that fluid out the vent creating a really mess in the compartment.

As to the slides, the HWH system will work on battery power, however the HWH pump is a real power hog and will draw a good fully charged battery bank down fast. Although I have done it, I do not extend jacks or slides until I am plugged into shore power or have the generator running. You could also do it with the engine running, but you have to have the alternator charging the batteries, in other words, an elevated idle, maybe around 1,000 rpm.

If your fluid level is low all of a sudden you need to start looking for a leak. If you have not been checking the fluid level regularly refill the reservoir and watch it closely for the next few weeks.
Dave, Bobbi and Fenway
2005 38' FDTS Alpine Limited, 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited
Lake Wales, FL
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Old 09-18-2016, 05:57 PM   #5
Join Date: Sep 2015
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So, I added a pint of fluid, and the system is working now. Initially, after adding the fluid the system retracted on its own again, but I figure that it needed to cycle the new fluid, and then it worked on the second try. However, it took a whole pint of fluid and is still not registering on the dipstick. I ordered two more pints, but I don't know how it's losing fluid. There are no leaks on the ground.

Thanks, everyone, for the replies. I'll file the for future reference, if needed.
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Old 09-18-2016, 06:02 PM   #6
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Actually, the leak HAS to be on the ground, in the basement or of a failed rear wardrobe slide hydraulics, it will show on the front of the CAC.

Hydraulic fluid/Dexron can not just "disappear".
Brett Wolfe
Ex: 2003 Alpine 38FDDS. Ex: 1997 Safari Sahara. Ex: 1993 Foretravel U240
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Old 09-18-2016, 06:06 PM   #7
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You'll always see leaks on the ground if you have a substantial leak at the main HWH compartment, battery box or by jacks & radiator. You won't see the leak till its really a mess if its at the inside scissors for vanity slide if so equipped, or in the basement where it can soak up in the carpet or drip into a plastic storage container. Look on those lines in the basement to see if there is oil on them, oil on the cylinders, etc. Could be your original reading was a drip and not actually the oil level, and you were way low.

Jacks are one-way out & one way back so they have to cycle a few times to work the air out if the system has pumped air to them or to their lines.
Baja-tested '08 2-slide 36'
Alpine: The Ultimate DIY'er Project
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hwh, jacks

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