Woodalls Open Roads Forum: Tech Issues: Kwikee step control unit replacement?
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 > Kwikee step control unit replacement?

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RustyFairmount

Michigan

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Posted: 05/12/10 08:58pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I am very annoyed with my coach's step malfunction. It doesn't work as advertised. I am an electrical engineer but for whatever reason I'm not permitted to talk with the knuckleheads who designed/sold the defective product. Spend a fortune on a camper, and it's the little things that still drive me nuts.

ksg5000

Oregon

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Posted: 05/12/10 12:35pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have gone through a couple of controllers - last one I got was on Ebay and I think I got it for about $65 - hit or miss thing.


Kevin

j-d

Sunny Florida USA

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Posted: 01/28/10 01:19pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I think you're past this point but let me say it as an "in case." Be sure every pivot is moving freely. The system somehow determines that it needs to shut the motor off by how much current it's drawing. In other words (and if you already know this, I apologize..) there's not a contact that says "fully extended so stop" or "fully closed so stop." Rather it says "hey, this thing should run on 10Amps but I see it drawing 20A. Must be at end of travel so I'll stop the motor..." I thought I had real problems, wouldn't retract. I lubed all the pins in the linkage and no joy. Then I noticed the bellcrank between the motor's gearbox and the top of the steps. Heard it creaking, actually. Lubed that and all's well. Folds shut better than it ever did.
FYI - Some of the Ford style motors can be refurbed pretty easily. The early ones with a round motor come apart easily and aren't too bad to reassemble if you find a way to restrain the brushes. Some brush holders have little holes where you can pin the brushes back. For others, I made little special tools out of paper clips. Just clean and lube the motor. BUT MARK the end to the motor shell and the shell to the gearbox. Put the shell in 180* out and motor'll run backwards. Pretty sure the brush end is keyed to the shell but a mark helps there too. Also, if the gearbox internals are damaged, some auto supply stores have gear kits for them.
I've fixed dozens of Ford window motors and every one was salvageable. Generally the brushes/armature get cruddy, sometimes the gear fails. Newer motors have the brushes between motor and gearbox. The motor shell is rectangular instead of round. I haven't tried one of those yet.


God Bless, jd
2003 Jayco Escapade 31A on 2002 Ford E450 V10 4R100

TahoeGuy

Lake Tahoe

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Posted: 01/31/10 01:03pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

enblethen: Yes. I tested all the wires that go to the control unit and they are all functioning properly. Power/ground when there should be and not when there shouldn't be. I'm including a picture of the switch. To take that out of the equation, I even jumped the wires to simulate the door being open. I couldn't find the fuses for the control unit, but with power when it needs to be there made me believe that the fuses were good.

Actually, with the door switch there are 3 grounds and they are all good. Continuity.




garry1p: I cleaned the contacts as best I could on both sides of the 4 wire connector, sprayed some electrical cleaner before and after then liberally applied dielectric grease.

PapillonRV: Thanks for bringing that up. Actually the batteries were down a bit. I attribute this to the fact of the step light staying on with the power switch being in the retract position. I charged the batteries and still no go. Thanks for offering your 2 cents worth. It means more than you think, especially in this economy

Flyfisherman128: Based on your nick, RVing seems like a perfect match. I agree. As I said, I had "no joy" getting these guys on the phone which is very odd because my "pleasant" experience has been that every company I've called about RV related issues has been VERY friendly. These guys are dropping the ball. But to answer your question, yes, I disconnected the plug feeding the controller and it is getting the proper inputs for the various configurations (door open/closed, extend/retract "power" switch, and ignition switch). All are good.

Isturm: Where did you find a good price on your new steps?

j-d: Thanks so much for your input. I did degrease then greased the 16 pivot points as well as the bellcrank. But to take that out of the equation, I disconnected the motor from the unit to see if it was actuating with NO resistance at all. It sure is good to know that the motor is serviceable. And your advice about marking the unit is VERY helpful.

Since this seems to be a bit of a issue for these steps and that when the "resister" goes bad and there is no way to solder in a new one this is unacceptable. So...I was thinking of having an electrical engineer draw up a schematic and I'll just make a new one for a fraction of the price with some possible improvements along the way. Such as putting the light on a timer so it doesn't wear down the batteries etc. I have a few other ideas for improvements, but as I'm a new RVer maybe there are other things that I need to consider.

Any ideas?

Thanks for all your input.

enblethen

Moses Lake, WA

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Posted: 01/31/10 01:16pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I did not mean the magnetic door switch. I was referring to the on/off lighted switch.


Bud
USAF Retired
Suzuki XL7 pushing Pace Arrow



RustyFairmount

Michigan

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Posted: 05/11/10 08:01pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have a problem where the Kwikee step killed my chassis battery in just 2 years. Luckily Ford replaced the battery under the chassis warranty, but that's because Ford rocks. The Ford dealership showed me how to put a trouble light on the battery to determine the source of the draw. What a great company Ford is.

Anyways, I tried to get technical support from Kwikee. Turns out they don't have a consumer support line. But, I googled and researched and called around. I managed to find the Kwikee technical support line for dealers. (btw: even General RV doesn't have that number.) With some help from my dealer and (maybe) Kwikee I'll figure out what's wrong.

garry1p

Oklahoma

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Posted: 01/26/10 11:44am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Over time the connectors become corroded and will check OK with 12V but will not pass enough current to operate the steps.

Before replacing the control board you need to clean "both sides" of the 4 wire connector. It is a little tricky cleaning the female side but can be done.


Garry1p


1990 Holiday Rambler Aluma Lite XL
454 on P-30 Chassis
1999 Jeep Cherokee sport


PapillonRV

Santa Rosa CA

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Posted: 01/26/10 02:34pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You may have already checked this, but I had step problems, and spent an awful lot of time trouble-shooting the issue, only to learn that my intermittent steps were wholly caused by the fact that my front/chassis battery was extremely discharge/almost dead. I was kinda surprized to learn that the steps are powered off the chassis battery. Once I happened to stumble upon my almost-dead chassis battery and charged it... my step problems disappeared! This may not be your issue at all, but when I learned the why my steps acted when the chassis battery was low, I was convinced that there was a step / motor or controller problem.
Just wanted to toss in my 2 cents worth, hoping it may help.
Dale

Flyfisherman128

Broadalbin, NY

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Posted: 01/27/10 08:09am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The test pigtail Kwikee is talking about is the plug that the controller is plugged into. Simply unplug the controller and do the diagnostics tha are on the Kwikee website. My rig did not come with electric steps and found that the controller was bad from the get go and had to deal with the Kwikee people. They are not user friendly.

lsturm

chiefland, fl

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Posted: 01/27/10 01:33pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I just had the same problem with my steps. Since the steps were also a little worn and rusted I went on the internet and bought a new step. Looks nice and has a warranty. If I had paid $250 just for the parts I still would have the same old steps and no warranty.

* This post was edited 01/27/10 01:39pm by lsturm *

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