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Old 03-18-2020, 05:08 PM   #1
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Level Best Hydraulic Leveling Issues

I have a 2008 Winnebago Sightseer Class A, with a Kwikee Level Best leveling system. Background: Last spring keypad inside went bad, I replaced it. Last summer one of the solenoids went bad on the pump, I replaced it. Last fall the right rear jack started leaking around the cylinder, I just replaced that jack. My issue is now that the rear jacks will come down, contact the ground, and then stop. They won't raise the coach. The front jacks come down and will raise the coach. All jacks will retract normally. All this tells me that the solenoids are all working normally. Possible issues in my mind are: an issue with valve body for rear jacks??, an issue with the switches on top of each cylinder (maybe telling controller that jack is "down" and not to extend any further)?? I haven't been able to find this particular issue doing a Google search. I'm mechanically inclined and do 99% of my own repairs, but this one has me stumped. Anyone ran into an issue like this or am I the proud owner of a cursed leveling system? I've invested too much money into this system in the past 10 months to walk away now. Help
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Old 03-18-2020, 06:21 PM   #2
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Does your system have a "learning mode" that needs to be run after some repairs, to tell the brain and the jacks their maximum extension distances and so on?
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Old 03-18-2020, 07:04 PM   #3
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I'm not sure. I did see on an older Level Best system that you had to unplug the control for a bit to do that. Mines a newer system than the one I'm referring to, but I did try that. It didn't seem to help. I forgot to add to the original post, that I have added and made sure that fluid level is full. I suspected air in the system, but from what I've gathered, it should self bleed when jacks are extended/retracted. I have ran them up and down as far as they will go numerous times to try to bleed them. It helped a bit, but not enough to satisfy me. The only book that I have is the Operators Manual, and that's all I can find online. I was hoping to find a Service Manual, but I suppose Lippert has that all locked up somewhere. I am going to call their Tech Support tomorrow and see what they have to say. I have noticed that the front jacks appear to light an indicator light on the control panel when they are down, the back ones are not doing this. I tried unplugging the switch on both rear jacks located on top of the jack and running it that way. It didn't make any difference. The one thing I haven't tried is putting a jumper across the 2 rear jack switches (I think that should light the light on the control panel, saying that they are down). Thank you for your help.
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Old 03-18-2020, 09:21 PM   #4
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Any way to disconnect power to the entire coach for a while to "reset" the electronics? When in doubt, reboot everything.
I had a Sunstar with auto leveling jacks, and I seem to recall a reset procedure that involved the system's control module that was located inside one of the driver's side storage compartments. Again, it's been a while since we sold it, and I never needed to respond to any fails, so I'm guessing.
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Old 03-19-2020, 04:49 PM   #5
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Kwikee Service Guide

Perhaps the attached pdf will be of use to you.
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File Type: pdf Kwikee service guide 2000.pdf (2.42 MB, 27 views)
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Old 03-19-2020, 05:36 PM   #6
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Thank you for your responses. I had found that Service Manual PDF online too, my system is the one after this system. They are similar but not exactly the same. I did call Lippert Tech Support today, the gentleman on the phone was fairly certain that my rear cylinders were leaking thru internally. To test them he wanted me to retract the jacks fully and then disconnect the top (extend) hose from both rear jacks. Then to hit the "All Up" button again. This would build up internal pressure in the jack and if it were leaking internally it would push oil out of the top connection. I did that this evening, the new jack had no leakage, the jack on the other side did have just a very small amount of leakage. While I know it should have none, it wasn't enough to prevent the jacks from extending. My gut is telling me that I may have internal leakage in the pump control head. I will call Lippert again tomorrow and see what they have to tell me.
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Old 03-19-2020, 06:42 PM   #7
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Mark,
Does your leveling jack controller allow you to engage the jacks in pairs? On mine (which I know is an older unit), I have buttons that send the front two jacks down, the right two jacks, the rear two jacks, or the left two jacks. The other control is "all up". If you could engage one side or the other it might tell you if it is related to one specific rear jack.
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Old 03-19-2020, 07:27 PM   #8
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Yes, can only engage the jacks in pairs. Front, Left, Rear, or Right and then has an "All Up" button to retract all of them simultaneously.
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Old 03-19-2020, 07:33 PM   #9
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Yes, I've run every combination of sides/ends there is. Doesn't seem to make any difference. I'm still wondering in the back of my mind if it has something to do with the keypad control since it doesn't light the indicator light for either back jack. When I run the fronts down, as soon as they contact the ground it lights an indicator light and then they raise the front. The backs on the other hand go down until they contact the ground and stop extending any further and the indicator lights never light up. I've tried adding blocking under the rear jacks and get the same result. I haven't tried jumping the switch wires on the rear jacks (I think that should turn on the indicator light).
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Old 03-19-2020, 07:45 PM   #10
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EDIT: Sorry - our posts crossed paths. Sounds like you are on to something with the lights.

So with the right side retracted; when you extend the left side, the left rear jack will not lift the coach. And conversely, with the left side retracted; when you extend the right side jacks, the right rear jack will not lift the coach. That means the problem is with both rear jacks. Is that correct?

I recall seeing a write-up on a forum several years back when I was having trouble with my kwikee level best system that there are some check valves and pressure relief valves that can get dirty or gummed up and cause problems like this.
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Old 03-19-2020, 08:17 PM   #11
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When I run the sides down, the rears,,maybe extend a little further than they do if I just run the rears, but still not enough to lift the rear of the coach like they should. The passenger side rear may extend a little further than the drivers side, but it's hard to tell. There isn't enough difference between the 2 rear jacks to definitely say one is better than the other. That's what is leading me to believe it's a pump/valve problem or the controller itself. Thanks for any ideas you have, I'm not afraid to try anything at this point.
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Old 03-20-2020, 06:11 AM   #12
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2003 Service Manual

I found a later one in my computer....
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File Type: pdf Kwikee Service Guide 2003.pdf (1.10 MB, 12 views)
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Old 03-20-2020, 06:53 AM   #13
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6 years ago I had a bad controller. One leg would not extend. Maybe your case is similar.

I convinced myself that my controller was bad by measuring the solenoid valve control voltage at the output of the controller. I compared the operation and voltage of the bad leg with the other three.

When I pulled the controller out of the door, I could see that the back of the controller was being forced into a large metal cable. My guess was that this caused the circuit board to crack.

Below are the notes that I made to myself at the time….

------------------------------------------
Female Connector, Under left side of dashboard near or at left kick panel:

4 Way Blank orange <<<this was a table
2T 2B 1T 1B 4T 4B 3T 3B <<<but this site editor removed it

Tab on connector is drawn in the table drawing above. All wires to this connector are white except for the one orange wire. I did not record the wires to the other pins.

The 1T/2B, etc wires go to the solenoid valves located above the leveler hydraulic fluid reservoir under the coach on the left side in front of the slide out.

When a solenoid valve is activated by the control panel the corresponding voltage measured at the pin above with respect to ground should go from battery voltage (12.7V) to ~0.7V.
------------------

One other point that I should make and maybe you have already tried it.

My good controller board has twice got itself into an electronic la la land. The fix was to disconnect the controller from the motorhome, wait a minute and then reconnect it in.
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Old 03-20-2020, 08:29 AM   #14
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I just got off the phone with Lippert Tech Support again. The gentleman seemed to have a good idea regarding my issues. After I told him about yesterday trying to determine if the cylinders were leaking internally and not finding a smoking gun there, his immediate reaction was, it's in the pump. He has suggested that either I have a "lazy" solenoid that isn't powering up enough to open the valve completely, or I have a sticking valve that isn't closing completely to let the system fully pressurize. Both seem to be very reasonable explanations to my problem. When I get home this evening, I am going to start with the solenoids (swapping the fronts to the back, since I know the fronts work correctly). If that doesn't help, then I will unscrew that actual valves from the valve body and clean with brake cleaner per his recommendation. If I figure out the cure, I will gladly share so it may help someone else in the future.
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Old 03-21-2020, 06:52 AM   #15
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Thanks for posting on this topic. I'm following to see how this develops and hope you can sort this out. It will benefit us all.

I know it may be a pain, but any pictures you could include would be a great add on. I'm not using my level best system right now due to problems. I just don't have time right now to go through the system. I hope to learn more from your process.

Thanks
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Old 03-21-2020, 10:36 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark View Post
I just got off the phone with Lippert Tech Support again. The gentleman seemed to have a good idea regarding my issues. After I told him about yesterday trying to determine if the cylinders were leaking internally and not finding a smoking gun there, his immediate reaction was, it's in the pump. He has suggested that either I have a "lazy" solenoid that isn't powering up enough to open the valve completely, or I have a sticking valve that isn't closing completely to let the system fully pressurize. Both seem to be very reasonable explanations to my problem. When I get home this evening, I am going to start with the solenoids (swapping the fronts to the back, since I know the fronts work correctly). If that doesn't help, then I will unscrew that actual valves from the valve body and clean with brake cleaner per his recommendation. If I figure out the cure, I will gladly share so it may help someone else in the future.
Very good plan from my view. Always good to see somebody do some thinking first, ask some questions from folks who really know the system and then still do some testing.
Shotgunning may be great for killing rabbits but it can make a real mess when we try it on RVs!
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Old 03-21-2020, 01:29 PM   #17
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What better way to spend a "shelter in place" from the COVID19 in Illinois than working on leveling jacks. Here goes for a long post and hopefully pics. First off, this is my keypad https://www.winnieowners.com/forums/...1&d=1584816591
This is my pump unit
https://www.winnieowners.com/forums/...1&d=1584816716
Here's a pic of the solenoids on the extend side (the side that you can see and easily get to from the side of the coach
https://www.winnieowners.com/forums/...1&d=1584817046
The left rear was one giving me fits, so I thought I'd just take it out to see what I could see, this is the left rear extend solenoid valve
https://www.winnieowners.com/forums/...1&d=1584816882
So then I decided to see what makes these things tick, here's what it looks like disassembled
https://www.winnieowners.com/forums/...1&d=1584816922
Here's the extremely small port that all fluid must travel thru to do the job
https://www.winnieowners.com/forums/...1&d=1584816882
I cleaned everything really good with brake cleaner (thats what Lippert suggested to me) and reassembled. You have to be very careful if you take one of these apart to not only get all the small pieces back together correctly, but you have to set the seat distance. These are normally closed valves and I used the highly technical method of blowing thru it as I was screwing it down until no air would pass thru it. I'm sure it's not precise, but it worked for me.
Here's a pic of the port still dirty after I pulled the solenoid out.
https://www.winnieowners.com/forums/...1&d=1584817046
I cleaned the ports out with QTips and a long pair of needlenose pliers, again not highly technical, but it worked. I did find a piece of something in the valve body that was suspect (maybe it was my issue, lets hope).
Mine does have another solenoid on the extend side, down at the bottom. I took it out too to see if it had anything going on with it, this is what it looked like
https://www.winnieowners.com/forums/...1&d=1584816972
I pulled all of the solenoids out of the extend side and gave them all a good cleaning, just didn't disassemble all of them. Cleaned them and put them back in.
Put it all back together and thought I'd give it a try. Darned if it didn't work (almost), that's when I figured out about setting the seat distance on a solenoid if you disassemble. The left rear would hardly go down at all, and then wouldn't retract at all. Thought about all that I had done and knew that was the only valve that I disassembled completely so I pulled it back out and had a 2nd look and saw what I had done. Screwed it together too far, repaired that and so far so good. Now all 4 jacks are going up and raising coach as they should. I set level on my controller as described in the operators manual and then tried to "auto level" the unit. That's when another potential problem reared its head. The engine died, my battery had gone dead even with engine running. Now I suspect that my engine battery may be no good (its old). I haven't had any issues starting it, I have an Amp-L-Start charger on engine battery from coach batteries so it may be keeping enough to start the engine, but when I put it thru what I've put it thru dinking with these jacks, I think I killed it. Although I didn't find any "smoking guns", I think I have it fixed. Words of warning to anyone that wants to dive into these things, make sure the jacks are retracted before you pull any of the solenoid valves out of the body, you don't want high pressure ATF blowing at you or worse. Also, on mine at least, the valve body is aluminum, the solenoids aren't tightened down with a cheater bar, be gentle with it. I'm sure if you stripped one of those ports it would get pretty deep in your pocketbook. Other takeaways from my trials, I did buy my new keypad from Lippert (it was around $1600), Lippert want$1200 for a jack, I bought a Lippert one off of someone else on the internet for $900. Lippert charged me about $120 for the solenoid coil, after I got it I did some Amazon searching and found the exact same thing for $30. Lippert Tech Support has been good to me, I would highly recommend talking to them and bouncing your thinking off of them. I talked to 2 different guys there and both were very willing to help. Thanks to everyone that responded to my call for help, I really appreciate it. If I can help someone else with my limited expertise, I would be happy to do so. Everyone, STAY HEALTHY!!
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Old 03-21-2020, 01:43 PM   #18
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I'm sorry, I'm not the most computer literate person in the world. I was hoping that it would put my pics in where I put them, but it moved the actual pic to the end and put a link in where I wanted the pic to be. If you look at the pic of the solenoid valve disassembled, the piece on the far right has a nut that threads up and down. That's what I was referring to when I talked about setting the seat of the valve. Looking back, had I known that I would have used a caliper and measured the length before I took it apart. I would suggest that if you want to try this, do that. It might save you some problems later on.
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Old 03-21-2020, 01:45 PM   #19
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Mark, your follow up is outstanding. Thank you.
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Old 03-21-2020, 06:08 PM   #20
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Thanks for the great info. I applaud you for being such a bold puppy to take the solenoids apart. I quess the old idea of "it's broke, so nothing lost" must have kicked in! Super info that I hope never to need but still of interest.
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