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Old 08-10-2015, 09:43 PM   #1
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Power Gear Leveling Jack Repair Just in Time!

If you have Power Gear leveling jacks and any one or more of them will not fully retract, read on. You may be able to avoid a very expensive repair bill from catastrophic damage to the jack caused by it coming apart internally.

When we bought our coach in Nov 2013, I noticed that the left rear leveling jack lacked about 1/2" fully retracting. I thought this was probably because the rod needed to be wiped down with transmission fluid or silicone. So, I cleaned and lubed the rod several times over the next 1.5 years, but to no avail.

During this time, I started to notice that the problem seemed to be getting worse and as of today, it lacked 3/4-1" fully retracting.

So, I tried manual retraction as well as loosening the hose fitting on the jack to see if I had some sort of hydraulic lock. No luck with this either. If I used a floor jack to push up on the jack pad when I released pressure, the rod hit a "hard stop" before fully retracting. I started thinking something was wrong internally with the jack itself.

I downloaded the Service Instructions for Seal Replacement from the Power Gear web site (publication 82-L0352) to see if I could figure out what was wrong. After looking carefully at the drawing on page 5, I started to wonder whether the piston was becoming unscrewed from the rod.

I then did a search on IRV2 and found a post from 2010 where this exact thing happened to someone else, and when they fully extended their jack, the exposed screw threads on the rod end tore up the seal and rod guide, which then galled the rod, completely ruining the jack.

So, I called Power Gear tech support (BTW, now Lippert) to ask if they thought from my symptoms that this could be happening to my jack. They said they had never heard of it happening but that there was definitely something wrong internally with the jack.

I decided to buy a a seal kit (p/n 800131S, $138 from Power Gear, $109 from PDX), pull the jack and tear it down. What I found was that the piston had indeed unscrewed about 1" from the end of the rod. Another 1/2" and it would have come off, probably causing catastrophic damage to the cylinder and rod. A new jack is $1,100 from Lippert (p/n 501137)!!!!

According to the seal replacement instructions, the piston is supposed to be fixed on the rod with locktite. But I could see no evidence that locktite had ever been used on the threads. I did have to heat the lower end of the jack cylinder with a propane torch to release the locktite holding the rod guide on though. I used a temp gun to tell me when I had heated the thread area to about 250F. After that, the guide could be unscrewed with a large chain wrench I got at HF. Rebuilding these jacks is really pretty easy, well within the skill set of the average shade tree mechanic. It took me less than 2 hrs. for the whole job including servicing the jack system and fully testing it at the end.

So, it only cost me $109 to prevent costing me $1,100.

BTW, the seal kit comes with a new rod guide. I see no reason why this has to be replaced if the old one is not galled. But that is the only way the seals are sold by Power Gear/Lippert. Checking around, I found that the seal, wiper, o-ring, back up washer and rod wear ring are common sizes, readily available from local hydraulic supply houses, at a much lower cost than buying the kit. I plan to go get a set tomorrow to have on hand if my other rear jack does the same thing. The front jack is a different size so it will need different size seals and wear rings. I'll have to figure that out later.

So, I have added another item to my inspection list when I look over the coach. Here are some pictures.
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Old 08-11-2015, 08:44 AM   #2
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I am one that owns a tee shirt that says been there did that and it did cost me a new jack. Nice catch and a great reminder. I think I bought a used one so it only cost me about $700. Only, sheesh.
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Old 08-11-2015, 09:01 AM   #3
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Great post, pictures are worth 1000 words.

Thanks
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Old 08-11-2015, 10:55 AM   #4
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Yeah, when researching this, I found a used one for around $700. Still a lot for what it is. Got me thinking about modifying a $199 hydraulic cylinder as a replacement.

I will be out looking for seals today to have on hand in case the other one does this. If I get part numbers for cheaper alternatives to the seal kit, I will post them.
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Old 08-11-2015, 02:47 PM   #5
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I had to replace my right rear hydraulic jack. I bought a new one the cost was $566 plus $50 for freight.
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Old 08-16-2015, 07:49 PM   #6
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I wrote earlier that I was going to see if I could get some replacement seals from a local hydraulic supply for rebuilding a Power Gear leveling jack like mine. I was successful in cross referencing the exact same seal p/n's and have listed them below with prices. The total cost of a seal kit is $22.50 vs $138 for a kit from Power Gear, or $109 from PDX (although a new rod guide is included in the Power Gear kit).

Many Monaco coaches use this same jack. It is p/n 501137, has a 16,000# capacity, an internal retract spring and a 4" outside diameter. In fact, all Power Gear leveling jacks with internal springs and 4" outside diameter use these same seals.

As I wrote earlier, these jacks are not hard at all to rebuild. The only unusual tool you would need is a large chain wrench to unscrew the rod guide from the end of the jack cylinder. A propane torch is also used to soften the Locktite on the rod guide threads.

The instructions in Power Gear Publication 82-L0352 are very complete and come with good pictures. I tried to attach a copy but the file size is larger than permitted by IRV2, so you can either to to the Power Gear web site and download the instructions or just Google the above number and they will come up in PDF.

These are theSeals:
Asymetrical U-cup Rod Seal p/n RTU18-3.00-37 $14.64
Wear Band (This may not be needed. Mine was nearly perfect) p/n 612-325-050 $4.54
Rod Wiper p/n AN29 $2.54
Large O-ring p/n 568-237 $0.57
Large O-ring backing washer p/n 573-237 $1.26
Small O-ring (For top bolt that holds the spring) p/n 568-113 $0.07

So, if you don't replace the wear ring, the seals will only cost you $19.10!

I hope this helps save someone from having to spend $1,100 for a new jack -r even $4-500 for a used one!

Roy
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Old 08-16-2015, 08:28 PM   #7
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Wish I could have rebuilt mine but with HWH jacks I don't see how. I just replaced my drivers front jack for 348. Remanufactured cylinder and new switch. I could get my old one rebuilt for less than 200 but the wait time is 4 weeks. But it works good now. Sure wish these were not welded units.

Good post, never know what MH I will be driving next year.
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Old 08-16-2015, 09:38 PM   #8
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Oh crap, bad math, or fat fingers. The cost of the seals is $19.08 not $19.10!
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Old 08-17-2015, 01:30 AM   #9
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Thanks for the write up, Roy. I will try locally for the parts to put in my on board spare parts bin.
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Old 08-17-2015, 06:10 AM   #10
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Harry,

I forgot to mention that West Coast Fluid Power in Sacramento sourced the seals through Hurcules. Interestingly though, the rod U-cup seal was a Hallite 3 x 3 3/8 x 3/8, exactly like what I took out. I was also able to cross this over to a CRC 605-18703000-375 which lists for $7.98.

Roy

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Old 08-18-2015, 01:17 AM   #11
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Thanks again. I know if it is in my spare parts bin, I won't need it. Cheap insurance.
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