Lippert Jack Problems
For those of you interested in Lippert hydraulic leveling jacks, here is a brief summary of the problems we recently experienced and my conclusion/recommendations. Apologies for the length.
1. While traveling, were alerted by passing motorist that our left center jack was descending.
2. Stopped and retracted manually using control pad.
3. It happened again so we put a ratchet strap on it.
4. Next we’re alerted left rear jack was creeping down.
5. Manual retract using the control pad extended the rear jack instead of retracting it. Really confused at this point on a rainy Sunday afternoon on the side of the interstate (no LCI tech support).
6. Finally disconnected hydraulic control lines to the jack, applied ratchet strap and traveled to nearest campground (Osage Prairie in Nevada, MO; really helpful folks). Upon extending slides, noticed fluid coming from disconnected lines.
7. Added ATF fluid, retracted slides, and ratchet strapped jack into place. Traveled to next stop. Noticed bottom of both slides had moved out a couple of inches during travel. (No pressure holding them in)
8. Repeated 7. for a second day. Arrived at next stop in northern Indiana. Travel is extremely stressful constantly checking jacks and slide outs.
9. Went on (minus RV) to Lippert headquarters for tech support (1902 W Sample St, South Bend, IN 46619) and told a very sad story. Very understanding folks and eager to help.
10. Received hydraulic jack bypass test instructions and a new jack assembly (gratis).
11. Returned to RV and installed new rear jack. Tested center jack. No issues. All works properly. At night, noticed popping noises from front jacks. Not sure why (trapped air?).
12. Completed trip and disassembled defective jack. Found piston head separated (unscrewed) from piston stem. Found scoring on piston stem and wear on lower piston seals.
Conclusion: When the piston head vibrates loose (separates) from the stem, retract pressure acts between the piston head and the stem to pump it out. A confirmation is that the jack will not completely retract with a ratchet strap due to the disengaged threads. The unstabilized jack stem can move through its seal bore at an angle causing scoring.
Recommendations: Carry 1/4” JIC hydraulic fittings to plug or bypass the jack or slide-out control lines. Carry extra ATF in case you have a leak. Carry 2x4 or 2x6 studs (cut to length) to prop slide outs closed and 4 ratchet straps to retract jacks in case of total hydraulic failure. Monitor jacks for full retract; any exposed stem indicates a potential problem.
I’m still unclear why the jack pressures also appear to be connected to the hydraulic slide out controls. If anyone has a schematic, I would appreciate it.
Happy RVing y’all!
2017 Montana 3921FB
2018 GMC Denali 3500 SWT 6.6 L Diesel
Part timers from Cypress TX