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Old 09-13-2020, 12:36 PM   #1
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Kwikee Series 32 Steps working in reverse

I was having problems with the Steps not working, stuck in the retracted position. I always managed to get them working again after banging on the motor, checking the ground connections, checking the plug connections and generally inspecting all the wires. Each time it seemed like something different caused the steps to work again. In frustration I decided to remove the steps entirely from the coach. I disassemble the entire arrangement so that I could repaint the steps while trying to figure out the operation failure.
With the motor removed from the gearbox, I applied 12volts and the motor works fine. I also took the motor apart to check the brushes and clean the armature. I inspected the plastic gear for wear, thankfully the teeth look in good shape. I check the gearbox gear and the teeth on that were also in good shape. Everything turned freely. I did notice that where the wires enter the controller, the wires were showing signs of separation from the sealant. With the steps repainted, I reassembled everything. I should add that the steps moved freely before connecting the gearbox. Once reinstalled, the steps worked fine opening and closing. Now my problem is that when the door is open, the light below comes on, but the steps retract; with the door closed, the light goes off but the steps extend. Any suggestions on what to check. I replaced the controller, but no difference.
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Old 09-13-2020, 12:51 PM   #2
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Two thoughts for you to review what part you might have gotten into, depending on what was taken apart. Wires on DC motors may make a DC motor run in reverse if polarity is turned backward so were wires disconnected in a way that might have got them reversed?
A second idea if the gears were taken out, is that there might be a mistake in linkage on putting it back.
Do you have something like this, where the linkage should be put on in a different way, perhaps assembled with the link at the other end of the stroke, perhaps?
https://www.amazon.com/Kwikee-110142...85914311&psc=1
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Old 09-13-2020, 02:39 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by odaddyo View Post
I was having problems with the Steps not working, stuck in the retracted position. I always managed to get them working again after banging on the motor, checking the ground connections, checking the plug connections and generally inspecting all the wires. Each time it seemed like something different caused the steps to work again. In frustration I decided to remove the steps entirely from the coach. I disassemble the entire arrangement so that I could repaint the steps while trying to figure out the operation failure.
With the motor removed from the gearbox, I applied 12volts and the motor works fine. I also took the motor apart to check the brushes and clean the armature. I inspected the plastic gear for wear, thankfully the teeth look in good shape. I check the gearbox gear and the teeth on that were also in good shape. Everything turned freely. I did notice that where the wires enter the controller, the wires were showing signs of separation from the sealant. With the steps repainted, I reassembled everything. I should add that the steps moved freely before connecting the gearbox. Once reinstalled, the steps worked fine opening and closing. Now my problem is that when the door is open, the light below comes on, but the steps retract; with the door closed, the light goes off but the steps extend. Any suggestions on what to check. I replaced the controller, but no difference.
So the lights are working correctly? It's the steps that are backwards.
As Morich suggests, something has reversed the polarity in the motor, most likely a wire(s) that have been reversed.
Did you take a "before" picture of the motor/controller/wiring assembly for reference?
The other possibility is the motor/gear aspect is reversed, although usually they only fit one way. Any chance it got flipped around somehow?
You'll figure it out.
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Old 09-13-2020, 05:09 PM   #4
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Yes, the light is working correctly; on when the door is open, off when the door is closed. It is the steps that are working opposite. I agree that the polarity of the motor has gotten changed. I just don't know how to get it changed back. I did take the brush assembly apart, but it only fits with the connection facing the motor. I even rotated the assembly 180deg to see if that would make a difference, but it didn't. I didn't think it would because all it is doing is rotating the brushes 180deg on the armature, nothing to do with changing polarity. As for the gears, I never removed them so that shouldn't be the issue. What I did try is similar to changing the linkage, only I removed the motor, moved the linkage arm 180deg then reinstalled the motor. This should have been the same as removing the linkage arm and rotating it. I will try that tomorrow, just in case it does make a difference, or I didn't get it right with removing the motor. As for reversing the wires, the connectors only fit one way and no wires were moved.



I sent Kwikee an e-mail with the same question but they indicated a two business day response time. I was hoping to get this resolved before then. At least the steps work, for now I remove the magnet on the screen door and placed my magnetic pickup tool in the steps next to the switch. In this way, I can open an close the door but the steps stay extended so we can go in and out.


If anyone has any other ideas, I'd love to hear them and possibly try them.
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Old 09-13-2020, 07:03 PM   #5
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good on the wring plug as that does away with that question but it does go back to something with the linkage----it seems anyway.
But that is hard to spot if you have put it back as it seemed right but it doesn't work, so I did a search for step manuales and found this:
https://www.rvtechlibrary.com/exteri...svc_manual.pdf
Seems to be some good info (pictures!) and possible help on testing and how to find exactly which unit/version you have.
I'm thinking it will have better info than me as I'm pretty short on how the thing works.
I am kind of familiar with stepper motors and they are designed to move a specific amount and then stop, so it might be that you have put the linkage back correctly but on the wrong "phase" or spot in the shaft turning?
Possible the motor turns "X" degrees one way and then reverses the next time, rather than the wire polarity changing? An internal polarity change, rather than an external change?
Searching and coming up short on good answers.
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Old 09-14-2020, 08:12 AM   #6
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Morich,
Thanks for the Link, I already had it, plus I got more troubleshooting tips when I received the new controller. Unfortunately neither address my issue. Your research and provided Links are greatly appreciated by all, please keep up the good work. The motor rotates a worm screw which turns a larger plastic gear within the motor assembly. I'm sure that the motor run clockwise/counter clockwise depending on requirement. Polarity must be changed, I'm just not sure if it happens within the controller or at the motor. When I had the motor brush assembly apart to check the brushes, I noticed some other electronic components with the brushes. Not sure what they are or what they do. When I bench tested the motor (Original problem was that the steps wouldn't extend) it see if it was the problem, I had changed the + and - leads several times to make sure the motor functioned properly. It could be that I accidentally changed the polarity of the motor not knowing it. I suppose I can remove the motor, apply 12volts one way only, then reattach to see if that corrects the problem. Maybe I'll have to do it twice, the second time with reversing the + and - leads.


Any other suggestions or conformation that this approach is viable. Please let me know.
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Old 09-14-2020, 08:40 AM   #7
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At this point, you've got nothing to lose by trying anything.
Go for it.
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Old 09-14-2020, 06:26 PM   #8
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Update. I removed the motor again and applied 12 volts, + to the Red wire post and - to the Yellow wire post. Reinstalled the motor, but no change. Repeated the procedure withe - to the Red and + to the Yellow. Didn't make any difference, steps still working in reverse.

I'm now positive that it is a polarity problem. My old controller was still working, but also in reverse. I decided to experiment with the old controller. I cut the Red and Yellow wires to the motor. I used a disconnect butt splice to cross the Red Lead to the Yellow Lead on the Motor connector and also crossed the Yellow to Red. I reinstalled the Old Controller with the Crossed motor leads. It works. Open door, light below comes on and the steps extend. Close the door and the light goes out and the steps retract. I'm still curious on how the polarity got changed. Still waiting to hear from Kwikee/Lippert on what they have to say.
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Old 09-14-2020, 07:16 PM   #9
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Boy, that sure does look wrong but then I would never want to argue with success for very long!
I've never got too involved with the steps, other than jamming, etc. but can you tell what stops the motor ? Is it a deal where it runs until a switch is operated to stop it or is it a stepper motor where it only runs for a certain rotation each time and stops after that far?
I'm not sure how one would ever have gotten polarity turned over but yet it works!!!
That yellow/ red cross just really looks WRONG! But it's RIGHT!
Maybe we have to just put it down to one of those things to study----a lot later.
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Old 09-15-2020, 10:36 AM   #10
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Morich,
It's hard to see in the photo, but just above the curved link arm is the central connection to the gearbox gear. The link arm rotates from this point. Above that is a raise post with a screw hole in top. This is the stop point for when the steps are retracted, the extended stop post is hidden under the Link Arm. I assume that the controller senses the increased tension when the link arm contacts the post, lightly increased amp draw. (Similar to how the Steps are supposed to stop if they bang up again a curb.) Once sensed, the motor stops and triggers the reverse polarity so that the motor rotates in reverse on the next signal. This is however; all speculation on my part because I don't know exactly how the controller and motor function together.
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Old 09-15-2020, 01:05 PM   #11
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Okay, I can go with that being correct on what and how it stops!
I'm still fighting that wire reverse thing, though, so hang on a bit?
When cleaning and sorting, were there parts of the linkage taken off and then the motor maybe moved, so that when you put things back together, some part of the linkage could have been put back on a shaft like 180 degrees off?
My theory might be that makes it hitting a stop where it thinks it is closed, so it opens the steps instead of closing?
Reading that sounds really fishing, doesn't it?
Still a head scratcher, here!
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Old 09-15-2020, 03:10 PM   #12
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This is probably a dumb question, but in your bottom photo there is a connector that looks like it has an "XY" on it that has your yellow and red wires going to it. Is that connector seated all the way into the mating connector? It doesn't look fully mated but hard to tell from the photo. I know those connectors are usually "keyed" to fully mate only one way. Is it possible that connector is reversed?

Edit: By the way - that is the cleanest step mechanism that I have ever seen - great job!
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Old 09-15-2020, 03:50 PM   #13
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At this point, I would do one of tow things ifit seems to work now.
One, after a certain amount of time and struggle, I might just lose interest, write it off as something interesting but not required for me to know!
Two, I might go back to the book and try to follow their plan for troubleshooting as they will know more than me about what I should find. there's always some chance of some weird failure, so their plan is better than mine when they have what looks like a pretty full blown list of testing each item.
Maybe a look at this manual and down to pages 8-12 would give you a better feel on how they expect it to work?
https://www.rvtechlibrary.com/exteri...svc_manual.pdf

But I also want to say again that I do find a place to call it off and move on, your choice!! After all, you are the one laid out on your back and looking overhead, so we know who's having the most fun!
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Old 09-15-2020, 05:24 PM   #14
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Bones2003,I have had that connector on & off so many times that it hurts to think about it. The connector is not the problem as the motor works in both directions, steps open & close. The issue was that they opened when the door was closed and closed when the door was opened. I spliced the Red and Yellow wires and crossed them to change the polarity of the motor. With this modification, the steps now work fine. It would just be nice to know how the polarity got changed.


Morich,
I have tried all the trouble shooting tips for the steps, but none of them address the motor working in reversed polarity. I've checked the fuses, checked the voltage at the main power connector - Red, Yellow, White & Brown. All have the readings as expected. I'm still waiting for Kwikee/Lippert to get back to me. They indicated that it would be 1 to 2 days before I would get a response. It probably has them baffled as well.
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Old 09-15-2020, 05:47 PM   #15
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YUP! There are times when things just don't seem to make sense or it could be they are just not operating fully with folks at all kinds of remote sites and communications being pretty flaky, things are in a mess. But you could be right and they have no ideas!
My Ford Focus has been at three different Ford shops in the last 6-8 months for an intermit. fail to crank problem. First dealer had it three times for about a total of 6-8 days before telling me the battery was no good but had not looked to see it was new and had not load tested, the second thought they had found a loose ground after the third trip and more than a week of it staying there, but that only lasted like 8 days before failing. Then the third time it totally failed and the transmission was out so we had it towed to the closest dealer and they found a different ground loose but it would not do right so I took it back and told them to just keep it and test it for a few days until it really would start. After 8-9 days we got a voicemail message that they have found the problem, but they couldn't reach me because my cell was going straight to voicemail! The one time when I bought an extended warranty!
Boy, do I hope we never have to go to war with the garbage we now have on hand! It seems to break easy and repair is almost impossible.
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Old 09-16-2020, 09:38 AM   #16
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At the risk of interfering in a topic that I know nothing about... something I read above in post number 8 made me think of something:

Quote:
Update. I removed the motor again and applied 12 volts, + to the Red wire post and - to the Yellow wire post.
Doesn’t Winnebago use Yellow wire color for all 12v positive Leads? Not red as one would expect?

Please ignore this comment if it’s not relevant.
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Old 09-16-2020, 05:36 PM   #17
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Creativepart, I don't like to ignore people, that's not the way I was raised. The wires in question are part of the Kwikee Step Controller and not truly Winnebago. The other point is that the wires carry varying polarity, meaning that the controller modulates the + and - through the same wire depending on the direction the motor is to rotate. One way to extend the steps and the other to retract them.
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Old 09-16-2020, 06:08 PM   #18
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Thanks for the follow up Mike.

Best of luck.
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Old 09-20-2020, 08:13 PM   #19
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Are your batteries fully charged?
My steps wouldn’t extend one day but sounded like they wanted to work.
Found my chassis battery was dead.
Charged it up and steps worked fine!
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Old 09-21-2020, 11:37 AM   #20
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Not sure if this will help but when I’m parked in my driveway and not plugged into to shore power:
Engine motor off
Battery off
Steps in “ON” position
My steps come out only when I open the door and retract when I close the door.
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