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Old 04-22-2018, 09:37 AM   #1
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Kwikee Steps

Step problems! I searched the forum and saw a lot of step problems, but this one seems a little different. We have a 2016 Tiffin 32SA. Kwikee (Lippert) series 34 2 step system stopped working a couple of weeks ago. Motor would run, I could hear the gears grinding, and the steps were steps stuck in the down position. I called Kwikee, and they sent a new gear box linkage assembly with the small gear that engages the motor. I put it on - not too much trouble, although the bolts pushed up into the holes on the RV frame at one point and my hands are big, so that was exciting - and plugged it up. Bingo!!! Not really. Now the steps start to retract, get about halfway up, then it sounds like the gears slip. The motor is running and making a grinding sound, but the steps aren't moving. I can push them in easily while this is going on, and I don't see where they are binding. Same thing when I extend them. I cleaned the linkages and pivot points up, used some WD-40, wiped them dry and followed up with some T9. I am going to call Kwikee tomorrow, but thought I'd post here first. Thanks in advance for any help, this is a great forum.
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Old 04-22-2018, 10:09 AM   #2
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"Motor would run, I could hear the gears grinding, and the steps were steps stuck in the down position."
Response: Definitely sounds like you need a new gear box, and make sure the steps extend & retract freely.

"I put it on - not too much trouble, although the bolts pushed up into the holes on the RV frame at one point and my hands are big, so that was exciting - and plugged it up. Bingo!!!
Response: Not quite sure what is happening here.


"Motor is running and making a grinding sound, but the steps aren't moving."
Response: Sounds like the gear box you got was bad, time for another new one.

I've read you might get the gear box at an auto parts store, Ford window gear box, local and less expensive.
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Old 04-22-2018, 10:16 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Stormmuzac View Post
Step problems! I searched the forum and saw a lot of step problems, but this one seems a little different. We have a 2016 Tiffin 32SA. Kwikee (Lippert) series 34 2 step system stopped working a couple of weeks ago. Motor would run, I could hear the gears grinding, and the steps were steps stuck in the down position. I called Kwikee, and they sent a new gear box linkage assembly with the small gear that engages the motor. I put it on - not too much trouble, although the bolts pushed up into the holes on the RV frame at one point and my hands are big, so that was exciting - and plugged it up. Bingo!!! Not really. Now the steps start to retract, get about halfway up, then it sounds like the gears slip. The motor is running and making a grinding sound, but the steps aren't moving. I can push them in easily while this is going on, and I don't see where they are binding. Same thing when I extend them. I cleaned the linkages and pivot points up, used some WD-40, wiped them dry and followed up with some T9. I am going to call Kwikee tomorrow, but thought I'd post here first. Thanks in advance for any help, this is a great forum.
#1 would be the marbles in the motor are ground up. You can buy just the marbles at the auto parts store.
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Old 04-22-2018, 10:28 AM   #4
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To troubleshoot this problem, I would take loose the 3 5/16 screws in the motor cover. Drop the motor. take the inner cover off the motor. Check the three plastic marbles and gears. If they are O.K. I would get a flashlight and check and see if the main gear in the gearbox is broken or has missing teeth. If your problem was a bad motor, it would stop running. You say it runs and moves part way. That is indicative of a bad gear or marbles. They sent you the small gear for the gearbox, but it is the large gear that usually breaks. These gears are made of potmetal and are easily broken.
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Old 04-22-2018, 07:21 PM   #5
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We have a 2013 Tiffin 35 QBA with the series 34 steps and there are no marbles in the motor gear box. Just a plastic gear that I have not found a replacement for.
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Old 04-26-2018, 12:47 PM   #6
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Steps

I talked with the Kwikee tech and he told me the problem is probably that the motor is failing and doesn't produce enough torque to get the steps all the way up and all the way out. He asked me to test it by disconnecting the plug at the motor and applying 12V to the motor using a battery. I don't have a spare 12V battery, and all of my tools are 120V (I have had bad luck with battery operated drills, etc.). I am going to just order the motor and replace it and be done with it. Then on to the next issue, whenever another problems comes up. I still love the beast...
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Old 04-26-2018, 12:52 PM   #7
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@ alank: Kwikee sent me a new gear box; I installed it and the problem changed to the steps not going all the way up and not going all the way down.
@ gatraveler, they sent me the entire gearbox, including the small and the large gears. Thanks for the help, guys.
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Old 04-26-2018, 02:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormmuzac View Post
I talked with the Kwikee tech and he told me the problem is probably that the motor is failing and doesn't produce enough torque to get the steps all the way up and all the way out. He asked me to test it by disconnecting the plug at the motor and applying 12V to the motor using a battery. I don't have a spare 12V battery, and all of my tools are 120V (I have had bad luck with battery operated drills, etc.). I am going to just order the motor and replace it and be done with it. Then on to the next issue, whenever another problems comes up. I still love the beast...
Pull your car up next to the door and use a simple set of jumper cables. Just don't let the two ends touch after it is hooked up to your car battery. Much spitzenandsparken will happen.
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Old 04-26-2018, 04:38 PM   #9
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Battery

I hadn't thought of that, Bob. Thanks!!!
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Old 04-26-2018, 04:47 PM   #10
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I agree with replacing the motor assembly. Had to do so twice in the last 12 years.
Advance Auto stocks the Ford electric widow motor assembly that replaces the motor in the OE step assembly.
Not real expensive, not real hard to do.
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Old 04-26-2018, 07:24 PM   #11
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I just replaced the motor today. Fault indications same as the OP. "Steps start to retract, get about halfway up, then it sounds like the gears slip. The motor is running and making a grinding sound, but the steps aren't moving." Lubricated all the pivot points and cleaned the grounds still wouldn't retract. Pulled the motor assembly and opened up the gearbox. There is a large white plastic gear that is driven by a metal worm gear on the motor drive shaft. The problem is the large plastic gear is the weak link in the drive system. Once it starts to wear it's a short ride to full failure. Found a replacement on Amazon. Ordered Monday, arrived today and installed.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

And confirmed, no plastic marbles are used in the motor.
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Old 04-27-2018, 08:31 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Sweetbriar View Post
I just replaced the motor today. Fault indications same as the OP. "Steps start to retract, get about halfway up, then it sounds like the gears slip. The motor is running and making a grinding sound, but the steps aren't moving." Lubricated all the pivot points and cleaned the grounds still wouldn't retract. Pulled the motor assembly and opened up the gearbox. There is a large white plastic gear that is driven by a metal worm gear on the motor drive shaft. The problem is the large plastic gear is the weak link in the drive system. Once it starts to wear it's a short ride to full failure. Found a replacement on Amazon. Ordered Monday, arrived today and installed.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

And confirmed, no plastic marbles are used in the motor.
Thank you for this information. Things do change. (Sometimes I forget that.) I retired in 2009, Although I still work on motorhomes at 78 years old. I repaired a wind damaged awning yesterday.
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Old 05-03-2018, 11:27 AM   #13
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So, to close this thread out, I got a new motor from Kwikee on Monday. Last night I put it in - took a whole 1/2 hour because unplugging the wire from the old motor took 15 minutes - my hands are big, the plug is small. Wiped everything down again, sprayed some T9, and the steps worked like a charm. Lesson: wait until the steps have traveled to the fully extended position before stepping on them!!! Thanks again for all of the comments and suggestions.
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