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Level Jacks "Drift" Down While in Storage

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Time to come to the very experienced group of FMCA members for your thoughts about my leveling jacks.  This past weekend I went to take my 2016 Ventana LE for a 30-45 minute ride as it had sat in storage for 30 days.   As I went to unplug my power cord from the 110 V outlet, I noticed that my left rear leveling jack was extended 2-3 inches.  After looking at the other jacks, they also were extended 2-3 inches.  My first thought was a hydraulic oil leak somewhere but found no leaks.   So, I simply retracted the jacks and took the MH for its monthly ride.   The jacks did not extend during the short 45 minute trip.

I initially searched for info about this "phenomena" on FMCA but didn't find any info so I parused the Newmar Owner's section of iRV2.com and found that five other 2016/2017 Ventana LE owners have the same phenomena where there jacks extend while the MH sits in storage.  Those five owners had no solution other than to retract the jacks before driving away from their storage facilities.  None of the owners know, including me, how fast the leveling jacks "drift" down -- a day or several days or couple of weeks.

My question is "what could cause the jacks to drift down if there is not a hydraulic oil leak?".   As always, I appreciate your thoughts and advice!

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Brett --

Oops.  I didn't think about providing that info.  I have the Equalizer Systems Auto-Leveling jacks and controller.  SL-16 (12,000# capacity) front jacks and SL-18 (17,500#) rear jacks.   Here is a link to the Equalizer Systems Auto-Leveling web page --> https://equalizersystems.com/equalizer-systems-auto-level-system-4/

I may have time tomorrow to call their customer support for help.

With my "new to me" Ventana LE I feel like I'm digressing in Motorhome 101 class......

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Mike, I have the same levelers on my 2017 Ventana and on a few occasions I've experienced the same oddity. I simply make it a habit of touching all retract on the touch panel. From my experience and observations, I think it takes several days for this to happen and it doesn't always happen.

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My EWAG(assuming this product utilizes double-acting jacks) is; the hyd solenoids are not sealing completely for some reason. This allows hyd oil pressure to leak-back from the retract side and permit the jacks to drop/leak-down. Do your solenoids have a manual T handle to permit opening the solenoids for emergency retract operation?

EDIT: from that same hot link I found this: https://equalizersystems.com/troubleshooting-documents/

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Ray, Think your thought regarding the valves is valid. A valve internal  seal would not offer a visual leak of fluid, but could allow fluid to drain back from the reservoir. Most leveling systems have 3 valves. 2 for the front or rear and a single valve for one pair of jacks.

In Mikes case it appears that all the jacks had dropped about the same distance. That fact makes me wounder if his case  might involve a combination of gravity and temperature changes over the storage time frame.

Rich. 

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You could just store it, with the Jacks down!  It will not hurt the system & it keeps the weight off your air bags!  Linda got your system (after market) and it's always on the Jacks in the garage.  I also use the Jacks, when home!

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I think the jack systems can benefit from being used/exercised like outher systems. I have found that keeping the shafts lubricated and running them, say 6-10 times will improve how well they work. With mine they retract much better after working them.

With the OPs he may have some crud or just sticking valves from lack of use.

Bill

 

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Bill,

The OP and I have the same levelers, Equalizer, and the only recommended maintenance is to wipe the chrome shafts with WD-40 occasionally, check the fluid level and check for any leaks.  After having the Power Gear electric levelers on my 2008 Bounder, these are a Godsend.

 

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I don't have the same type jacks but by comparison mine will drop a little after storage for 30 days or so. I hit the all-up and once on the road don't have to worry about it anymore. They are HWH.

Regarding WD-40, isn't that an oil based product and isn't oil bad for rubber? My manual says to use silicone, or, same fluid as put in the hydraulic tank - transmission fluid.  Just curious, as I was under the impression that the oil based products would attack the seals after time. Help? Educate me.

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11 hours ago, wayne77590 said:

Regarding WD-40, isn't that an oil based product and isn't oil bad for rubber? My manual says to use silicone, or, same fluid as put in the hydraulic tank - transmission fluid.  Just curious, as I was under the impression that the oil based products would attack the seals after time. Help? Educate me.

I have the Powergear hydraulic jacks and have heard where they recommend WD-40. I also have a zerk fitting on the bottom of the ram housing. Keeping this lubed also helps them retract. When I was working we had to wipe the hydraulic struts on the landing gear with hydraulic fluid if they had been extended as when jacked so they didn't damage the seals when they retracted.

I don't have the ones that work both ways. Mine are hydraulic down and spring powered up. 

Bill

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WD-40 is recommended by Equalizer and no substance with silicone is to be used. As a note, they recommend using WD-40 to clean the chrome area of the shaft.

On edit. The problem using a true lubricant is a lubricant will attract/hold dirt. That will certainly have an adverse affect in the rubber. In my opinion, follow what the manufacturer recommends. 

 

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Mine are PG & Linda has HWH...both recommend WD40 and wipe off...we use a long handle "Jar Grabber", with a micro fiber to wipe the WD40.  Don't like to be under coach!

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11 hours ago, wayne77590 said:

Even the spring powered up if lubed with a fluid will cause that fluid to contact the rubber seal.

That is true. But the amount of say WD-40 left on the shaft after wiping it down would be far less of a problem than running them dry with dirt on the shafts. 

Bill

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All of the RV hydraulic jack on motor homes (3) that I have owned have had single acting cylinders (single hydraulic lines on each cylinder) and depend on either internal or external springs to retract. Leaving the cylinders in the extended position for extended periods will weakened the springs over a period of time. 

Jim

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HWH jack cleaning: http://www.hwh.com/ml47149.pdf

quote: "49.    Is there something I can lubricate my jacks with to make them retract faster? How long should it take to completely retract my jacks?

 

Lubricating a jack rod can help with retraction time but if lubrication is necessary, there is most likely a problem with the springs or the jack itself.  The only thing HWH recommends to use is WD-40.  Refer to the following link for jack maintenance information:  ml47149.pdf.  The following link gives detailed information about allowable jack retraction times:  mi9553.pdf"

Jack storage:"54.    Can I store my coach with my jacks extended?

 

Yes, this will not hurt the system.

55.    How long can I leave my coach parked with the jacks extended?

 

As long as you want.  We recommend operating the system occasionally if possible."

HWH jacks have stainless steel shafts. The cleaning is to remove dirt and grime to protect the seal from being damaged.

WD40 is not great for many things, it is a good solvent/cleaner for several things when wiped away afterwards.

 

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Ray, thank for the information. My last MH said use transmission fluid or silicone.  Apparently HWH uses WD-40 and that is what I'll start using. I have not cleaned mine on this MH but it is time to do so.

Again, thanks.

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My bad! I stated I had HWH and I have LCI

Here is a quote from the manual on maintenance. Just for information purposes since the OP is on HWH,

"If jacks are extended for long periods of time, it is recommended to spray exposed jack rods with a dry silicone lubricant every three months for protection. If the coach is located in a salty environment, it is recommended to spray the rods every four to six weeks."

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Wayne,

Mike, the OP, has Equalizer Levelers not HWH. 

Somehow this post took a left turn and got away from his problem of the levelers drifting down and turned into maintenance of HWH.

 

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Jim S, what else is new?  Rich solved the problem...Then it went to maintenance & that's relevant info. :rolleyes:

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Mike never indicated his problem has been resolved, Carl. My jacks, like Mikes, still drift down sometimes. I think its just the nature of their design.

Thanks.

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I agree Jim I would just consider it one of the quirks of a RV. We all have them and just learn to live with them.

I know that ever now and then a grimlin will come along and plug my power cable back on after I know I have stowed it, I think.😉

Herman 

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Herman, exactly and my point was that even though we have different manufactures we have similarities and same problems between manufacturers.

Also, it would behoove us all to read our own manufacturers manual for the proper operation and maintenance. I posted that my Mfg recommends silicone spray and not WD-40. Big difference in the properties. I wouldn't want anyone to use the wrong product and have a repair claim denied.

Mike, or Jim, if y'all ever discover a fix for that problem please post the solution, Others with the same equipment will definitely benefit.

 

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