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Old 12-03-2015, 07:23 PM   #1
Damon Owners Club
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 31
Lippert/ Power Gear Levelers

This is going to be part request for ideas, and part rant. If this story weren't so exasperating it would make a great comedy.

I bought a 2005 Damon Daybreak in Tucson and before I took the rig off the lot the levelers stopped working. (they DID work a couple of times while we were looking it over) The RV dealer told me that the touch pad was bad and that they would replace it. They knew we had to leave Tucson for home and tried to wait us out - we stayed and waited an extra three weeks before they finally came up with the pad. I swapped it out and nothing worked. Yes, I know, I should have camped out in the lot until they fixed it, but we had to get on the road, and they knew it.

When we got home I began testing and based upon the way the touch pad was lighting the Power Gear diagnostics (and their tech) confirmed that the control box was bad. ($600) Lippert lived up to its "end user UNfriendly" reputation. I couldn't order a control box from them - only from a dealer, AND if I ordered it from the dealer Lippert wouldn't drop-ship it to me, but would only ship it to the dealer (in Tucson) and then they could ship it to me in TN)
It took weeks to get the box, I installed it, guessed it, it didn't work. I was fortunate enough to connect with a Lippert tech who emailed with me countless times as we tested circuits and the tech told me that he believed that the new board was defective, and I got a return authorization to send it back to Lippert for diagnosis. Then it got worse. The tech handed me off to the parts department. Another week before I got an email from parts with the RA and the address to send the box. I mailed the box, (insured) and two weeks later the post office returned it as "undeliverable". The woman in the parts department said she couldn't understand how that could happen.(?) So...(you'll love this) she said "It will be your decision on how you would like to send the part to us for testing." ???? Really?? I finally called Lippert's corporate headquarters and was told that the parts lady had given me an invalid address.

So I sent the box, yet again (insured again $$$). I got another email from the parts lady. They lost the package...REALLY!
I'm not making this up!

The next day I got another email from parts lady: they found the package in…of all places, their service department. Whooda thought? Two weeks later the parts lady emailed to inform me that the part was tested and “no defect was found”. So now I’m back about ten steps behind square one with TWO touchpads and TWO control boxes, and ONE dysfunctional leveling system. Well, there’s the sad commentary, now the questions:

I know that the first thing everyone wants to know is what model numbers I am working with. The original touchpad is #500675 - now obsolete and superceded by # 500675S kit, that includes an adapter wiring harness, since the connections are different on the newer unit. The number on the touchpad itself is 1401231. The original control box, also obsolete, is 500674 and the new 500674S - also a "kit" which includes an adapter harness, for the same reason, it marked #140-1230 Rev 2.

I'm testing (per the Lippert tech) using the voltages specified in the Power Gear Parts and Service manual, page 17 here.Attachment 113315 provided by Lippert.

If anyone has spent quality time sorting out this system, I'd be delighted to commiserate with you. All the voltages noted on page 17 were within limits with the exception of the ground at pin # 4, item 2 - the touchpad harness connector. The Lippert tech didn't seem concerned about that. I got this reply: "
You might gave a bad ground, but what I am concerned with it the red wire on pin 3 showing 12vdc, this should be the same as the yellow wire which is the 5-7vdc. [the voltage specified in the specs] If you are getting this at the control box with the harness unplugged, then the problem is in the control box. With the being outside the 5-7 vdc, it will cause problems with the touchpad turning on or operating correctly. "

So I'm about to start over again.
2005 Damon Daybreak F53 Chassis w/V10

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Old 12-06-2015, 08:43 AM   #2
Senior Member
Thor Owners Club
KZ RV Club
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Washington, Columbia River
Posts: 838
Starting over yes, but at least someone gave you a direction finally. I have subscribed to your thread, so please keep us informed as to how you are doing. The best thing about your post, will be the "reason" when you are done but only if you post it. I for one, will be looking forward to that post.
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Old 12-12-2015, 07:02 PM   #3
Damon Owners Club
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 31
Problem solved

Well, after 8 months I finally have functioning levelers!

Seems like this must be a unique problem, since no one joined the discussion but you, Bob. So as you asked, I'm posting.

Using the voltages in the diagram on page 17 of the Power Gear manual that I attached on the first post, I began checking all the voltages. Everything checked out.

What complicated things was that the pins on the new controls, both control box and touchpad, were not configured to accept the plug on the original wiring bundle that connected the two original controls. Each control was shipped as a "kit" that included a short adaptive connector. (A couple of the wires in the connector didn't match the colors on the original, but as it turned out that was OK. Not sure why they did that.)

This is where I got lucky. As I was plugging the harness from the touchpad into the control box...the green ground wire fell out! It didn't break, i.e. there were no wire strands left inside the connector, the whole wire just fell out! I was able to make a reasonably good connection (this is VERY small gauge wire) and will try to get another adapter from Lippert. (wish me luck)

The anticlimactic story is...I turned the system on at the touchpad...and it worked!

We've all had those jobs where we fix something, and then scratch our head and wonder what the problem really was. The bad ground connection was on the adapter that shipped with the new control box. So that was A problem, but not the original one.

Changing out the touchpad didn't help. (the tech at the dealer told me is was definitely the touchpad.)The Power Gear tech confirmed that if all the lights on the touchpad are "on solid" that is, not blinking, then it definitely indicates a defective control box. Mine had been on solid. (Note: if they are all blinking it usually means that the control box needs to be calibrated, and that's not a big job)

Maybe the ground connection on the adapter harness was hanging by a thread when I connected the box the first time. Lippert said the box was OK. So I can only assume that the original control box was was indeed the culprit, and the defective harness just complicated my misery. At any rate, things are working!

A couple of comments for the next guy:

1. In my testing, some of the grounds were not perfect. Some were showing a few ohms. That turned out not to be a problem - with one glaring exception - so check all the plugs/harnesses.

2. Oddly enough, the primary source of ground for the control box is pin #1
on the pump harness connector. (item 4 on the .pdf noted above) Be sure to check it.

3. Touch pad harness connector is item #2

4. The control box is installed by the RV manufacturer and in the case of my Damon, was mounted on the belly board between the frame rails, about midway down, covered by a plastic enclosure. I understand that some manufacturers mount them on the inside top of one of the storage bins.

Their orientation is important, and they have to be mounted upside down and an arrow facing to the front of the rig. (for the self-leveling feature)

5. PDF that I included in the first post has a wealth of information about the leveling systems, and includes a range of years (and controls) AND some great troubleshooting helps.

Hope someone can benefit from my travails - and education
2005 Damon Daybreak F53 Chassis w/V10

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Old 12-12-2015, 10:13 PM   #4
Senior Member
Thor Owners Club
KZ RV Club
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Washington, Columbia River
Posts: 838
thank you for responding, it seems to be grounds are the culprit of most electrical problems and especially in todays market of circuit boards, they have been around for a long time, but not as complicated and at the same time fascinating. I just replaced the wiring loom from the motor in my slide to the controller, a ground pin dropped out, literally. At least in this system, also a Lippert component, every connector is different so as not to plug the wiring loom into the wrong connector. Sort of like "plug and play" I don't remember years ago having so many wiring issues, this is more a modern problem and very hard to put a finger on the specifics of why. Most of our components now come from China, cheaper labor, is this good, I don't know. I don' like pointing fingers, after all they (China) didn't put it together here, we did, right in Indiana. I'll go even a little further, I think it is our labor force that doesn't pay attention, doesn't take pride in what they do, for most of these mistakes, heck I don't even blame the designers. I better stop I'm getting way off track now.

I forgot to thank you for the PDF, I need to go back and file it with my other trouble shooting info.

Went back to look for the PDF, unless it is within the body of your first post, its not there as an attachment or a link.
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Old 12-13-2015, 07:48 AM   #5
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National RV Owners Club
Ford Super Duty Owner
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 510
Mennoted, thanks for the update and info. I too have had issues with my power gear levelers and have spent 2K in getting them to work correctly. I have cut all the service centers and dealers out to figure out how the system works with wiring diagrams. I have the all electric system and after replacing bad motor brakes with a new motor/brake combo (the plate between the motor and brakes shattered) I still had to chase an electrical issue with a bad wire pin and blown breaker because of it so I understand you frustration.

Congrats on you fix, now you can enjoy the ride.
2008 National SurfSide 34E (Bunk Model) Ford V10
Sold- 1990 Hawkins Chevy P30 454
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levelers, power, power gear

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