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Old 06-25-2021, 07:08 AM   #1
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Rusted leveling jack

RV Mech says 'too corroded to work'


I wanted to ask here, if there's any hope I can get this thing to work without replacing the jack.

Also - What can I do to the others to keep this from happening, to those?
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Old 06-25-2021, 07:17 AM   #2
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What is not working?

Are they hydraulic or electric jacks? how many jacks does your coach have? Do any of them work at all?

I'm thinking they are hydraulic, if so I personally don't think the rust/dirt is anything to worry about.

I would use a strong stream of water and wash the dirt away just to see them better.
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Old 06-25-2021, 07:42 AM   #3
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There are 3 jacks, total. 1 behind each rear tire and one centered in the front of the coach. They are all hydraulic.


The symptom is that this one will not fully retract and the alarm sounds when you start the engine. (According to the Mechanic. I'll be picking the coach up, today - and I'll see.)

I don't want to get them extended and then not be able to get them retracted, again. (Long story short, I have a 'must-do' trip next week. The mechanic wanted another couple of weeks and I simply ran out of time and maybe money - to get him to fix this.


It's currently my plan to just not level the coach during this trip. And - I'll have some down time - so, thought I'd maybe work on this a little.
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Old 06-25-2021, 09:04 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by opa6x57 View Post
There are 3 jacks, total. 1 behind each rear tire and one centered in the front of the coach. They are all hydraulic.


The symptom is that this one will not fully retract and the alarm sounds when you start the engine. (According to the Mechanic. I'll be picking the coach up, today - and I'll see.)

I don't want to get them extended and then not be able to get them retracted, again. (Long story short, I have a 'must-do' trip next week. The mechanic wanted another couple of weeks and I simply ran out of time and maybe money - to get him to fix this.


It's currently my plan to just not level the coach during this trip. And - I'll have some down time - so, thought I'd maybe work on this a little.
On the hydraulic systems I am familiar with, when the jack legs are down, the fluid level in the tank drops and that sets the alarm to sound when the engine is running and you put the coach into gear.

Now, If it were me, I would first check to make sure the springs on that leg are intact and not broken. The springs are responsible to pull the jack foot up.

Secondly, I would lower the jack leg far enough to look at the chrome piston. I suspect it is dirty low down at the bottom where the foot is. If so clean the piston with something like very fine steel wool or maybe a dish scrubby. Silicon spray is a good cleaner and will leave the chrome piston smooth and lubed. (Note, some manufactures suggest WD-40 type of spray)

On my coach I had the same problem as you are seeing. It turned out I found a very small welding splatter spot on the shinny chrome piston. That small spot would stop the piston from retracting some of the times all the way. Once I carefully removed the welding splatter spot the leg has been fine since then.

That chrome piston is hard and usually resist rust very well. My gut says yours has dirt buildup at the bottom and when cleaned it will be fine.
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Old 06-25-2021, 10:24 AM   #5
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What he said ^^ - it was hard to convince my brain that I was seeing a chrome piston at all. Spray the piston with WD40 and wipe off and spray again with WD40 and wipe off. Exercise a few time and repeat. When you have it extended spray the WD up into the area where the piston slides into the housing and if you have an old tooth brush, scrub the seals with the brush. Flush again with Wd and wipe it down. Exercise it again.
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Old 06-25-2021, 11:11 AM   #6
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The "jacks" or stabilizer legs in my coach are Power Gear brand, and they have a grease fitting to be able to pump grease into the lower seal. Might want to check to see if your jacks have Zerk or grease fittings.
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Old 06-25-2021, 11:32 AM   #7
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Thank you folks. There's HOPE ...
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Old 06-25-2021, 12:01 PM   #8
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If he thinks that is bad he should see a cylinder on a 20yr old snow plow.
I would rebuild the cylinder (about $10 for most seal kits) and if the piston is rough sand with emery cloth. Then put new springs on.
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Old 06-25-2021, 12:03 PM   #9
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If you can take them off yourself you could take them to any implement shop or tractor dealer and have them rebuilt. They should have the kits on the shelf for most any cylinder.
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Old 06-25-2021, 12:57 PM   #10
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Thank you folks. There's HOPE ...
Sure there is hope!

Unless there is a fluid leak, or when you extend the jack and the chrome piston is scored, badly scratched or for some reason rusted (ei: water in the fluid) then the fix should be doable. Sure beats $800 + labor for a new jack/stabilizer leg.
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Old 06-25-2021, 01:01 PM   #11
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If he thinks that is bad he should see a cylinder on a 20yr old snow plow.
I would rebuild the cylinder (about $10 for most seal kits) and if the piston is rough sand with emery cloth. Then put new springs on.
Now that example sure brought back memories!
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Old 06-25-2021, 04:47 PM   #12
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On the hydraulic systems I am familiar with, when the jack legs are down, the fluid level in the tank drops and that sets the alarm to sound when the engine is running and you put the coach into gear.

This might be my whole problem - significant leakage around what looks like the hydraulic reservoir.

Add - the warning changes as I move - as if the sensor is 'floating' and the fluid is shifting as I drive the coach.


1. make sure that's the right tank.
2. add fluid
3. see if that fixes it.


4. fix the 'leak'.
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Old 06-25-2021, 05:15 PM   #13
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As noted above cleaning the jacks with emory paper or 400 grit wet dry sandpaper helps greatly.

When my RVA jacks won't fully retract, and after cycling the lagging one several times, I use a 2X4 to gently assist the jack in going up while a helper pushes the retract switch for that jack.

The fluid level in the reservoir should be checked with the jacks retracted. Topping up with the jacks extended results in overflow when they are subsequently retracted.

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Old 06-25-2021, 05:22 PM   #14
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... a helper ...

Dave

I don't have one of those... LOL
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