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Old 07-18-2015, 08:35 PM   #1
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Hydraulics leaking on Alaska Highway?

We are now on the Alaska Highway at Toad River moving towards Anchorage. Tonight- and it may be only tonight I have an internet connection. This evening while doing my regular walk around inspection I noticed some dampness with hydraulic fluid around the hydraulic lines connected to the two front jack in the vicinity of the couplings on our 2014 Itasca Sunstar 31 KE. I notice nothing major but clearly there is some small leakage. I put a wrench to the couplings and found they were both snug.

While on rough roads 2 times up here my LCI control center lit up and beeped with a "Jacks up" warning. Thats sure better than jacks down , but both times I immediately stopped and visually checked for a jack deployment. None seen, and I continued on after deactivating the control center.


I did check fluid level and it seemed full but I added about 1/4 cup 2 nights ago.

Not sure what to make of all this. If it is leaking it at the moment is very limited- less than a few drops it seems- but slightly damp with fluid for an inch or so near the coupling.

It will be at least 6 weeks before I can get it back to the dealer in Georgia for attention. Any thoughts , ideas or recommendation.
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Old 07-18-2015, 08:51 PM   #2
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FWIW I would not panic if I was doing miles of rough road thus jouncing my jacks down for the springs to pull up again. It could migrate a bit of fluid through the seals. Then it is a question of where it ends up. The hose can also leak a bit at any rotating coupling. It only takes a drop to make a mess. I'd just keep an eye on things and assume I could get anything made up or delivered to Anchorage when you get there.
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Old 07-18-2015, 09:13 PM   #3
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You can check out rvservicereviews.com. There are several shops listed for Anchorage, if you want to have your coach checked out. Good Luck!
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Old 07-20-2015, 08:04 AM   #4
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I would clean the area around where you think the leak may have originated with a solvent like brake cleaner or something similar. Then wipe down the area with a paper towel or rag to remove any traces of the solvent or oil. Next spray the area with some type of white powder like foot powder or baby powder.

Raise and lower the jacks a few times to see if the leak reappears. If it does reappear try to determine if the leak is where the connector threads into the cylinder or where the end of the hose is crimped to the connector.

If the leak is where the connector is screwed into the cylinder any decent garage should be able to unscrew the connector and reseal it with Teflon tape or pipe sealant.

If you're not mechanically inclined I would have it repaired at a professional shop. The jacks are dual acting in that they require hydraulic pressure to both raise and lower them. It will likely be a messy job. Some oil is going to leak out regardless of how careful you are. If the leak happens to be on the side that's currently pressurized it'll be real mess, and require adding more fluid when you're finished.

If the leak is were the connector is crimped to the line the only resolution is to replace the line. If it's only a drop or two the replacement can most likely wait until you return home. If it's a large leak the line should be either replaced or repaired before you move on. There is a Winnebago dealer in Anchorage. However they will probably have to order the part.
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Old 07-23-2015, 07:44 AM   #5
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Thanks all. Looks like the situation is worsening. The leaks are larger and look to be around the compressed/crimped joint between the hose and the fitting. Roads are very rough which seems to exacerbate the condition.

We're in Alaska now quite far from any significant help so are headed to Anchorage. As we are under warranty still I'll get on the phone (now that it works) and talk to Winnebago but I suspect they'll punt to Lippert. Will shoot for the Winney dealer in Anchorage.

If I were home I could replace these myself I think. But will have to see how this works out. Hope they hold to Anchorage about 5 hours away
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Old 07-23-2015, 09:13 AM   #6
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Unless something has changed the JACKS use an independent fluid supply so just stay away from using or refill before lower.
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Old 07-24-2015, 05:57 AM   #7
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Probably too late for this set but I'd be tempted to duct tape a strain relief around the fittings that are leaking after changing them. That is guessing that they problem is excessive wiggle from the bumpy roads.

A scrap of bigger hose split and taped around the new hose might be a good place to go.
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Old 07-24-2015, 11:17 PM   #8
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The latest

Thanks nothermark. I may still do that. Winnebago sure bundled a lot of lines adjacent to and up against those fittings making them tough to get to.

I took several actions today. I cleaned all around the fittings. The jacks are currently deployed at the campsite. I observed no visual drippy discharge around any of the fittings throughout the day.

This afternoon I put a wrench to the two front fittings and found one of them needed to be snugged up- which I did. It took about 3/4 of a turn with minimal effort.

This morning I had called Lippert to review the situation. I went through my two basic concerns-some sort of apparent leakage and an activation of the panel (jacks up) while on very rough roadways. The tech advised that as long as I did not observe any running or dripping oil I'm probably OK, and that on occasions he was aware of a visual sighting of fluid dampness around joints does sometime occur without any problems.

He believed the panel activation was not a result of fluid issues but rather because of a loose electrical contact that was adversely impacted by the very rough roads. Both time the panel activated in severe vibration and rough road conditions. There was no deployment.

So I think I'm going to keep an eye on it for a few days and if no more dampness is observed we may take a shot at heading back to to the deep south from the far north -- as is.

I do appreciate all the help and ideas.
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