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Topic: How to correct leaking hydraulic fluid from leveling jacks

Posted By: GON2SKI on 10/17/09 03:08am

We are slowly loosing fluid from the leveling jacks and get a warning light and buzzer warning signal. As a dedicated DIYer, how difficult is the fix?


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Posted By: Golden_HVAC on 10/17/09 03:28am

Hi,

I have that problem too.

When my motorhome was under the 6 year extended warranty, I had 6 jacks replaced. But at $750 each, I did not want to replace them on my own. Since the warranty expired, I have been lucky, the last three jacks have not leaked in 8 years. I guess they where finally using a better seal?

I hear that you can take them apart, and take the seal and piston to a shop that will install a better seal. They need to machine out the center section, and then fit in a seal that might otherwise be found on a tractor lift piston, or a crane lift cylinder. Those are rated at 5,000 PSI, and see much more use than a hydraulic motorhome lift.

Check the yellow pages for a good hydraulics place, or check with your local farm equipment repair place, and ask if they know a good hydraulics shop. Crane equipment repair places tend to be a bit expensive.

As for making the beeper go off, and adding a little replacement fluid, find the tank, find the filler cap, it usually has a small dipstick. When the jacks are up, the fluid should cover about 1/2 of that dipstick. Using a transmission funnel, I would add a tiny amount of the recommended fluid, or some transmission fluid if nothing else is recommended.

Transmission funnels are about 2 feet long and 4" diameter at the big end, and 1/2" or so on the small end. You can get them at any good auto parts store. But I have no idea where your tank is, so you will need to use what works to fill it. You don't have to go to the dealer just to fill it.

Fred.

* This post was edited 10/17/09 12:52pm by an administrator/moderator *


Posted By: bldrbuck on 10/17/09 03:59am

You have a seal that has deteriated and needs to be replaced. You can either remove the jack and disassemble it and replace the "O" Ring or take it to a quilified RV mechanic.


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Posted By: Executive on 10/17/09 04:36am

About $1800 if you take it in and have it done. Assuming the jacks need to be rebuilt. Your coach is only 8 yrs old so it might be cheaper, but not much. They aren't too difficult to repair but make sure you have quality jack stands under the coach if you're going under there. There is usually an "O" ring that starts to leak. But.... if you're REALLY lucky, you may simply have a hose that's leaking. Try tightening all fittings first. Hoses are simple to replace and can be made at any hydraulic outfitter....Dennis


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Posted By: michelb on 10/17/09 06:03am

I'm not a mechanic so I have no idea if it can cause any damage but I've read that some people have had success simply using transmission fluid "Stop Leak".


Posted By: moparmaga2 on 10/17/09 06:13am

I just put some transmission stop leak in my jack reservoir last night. I took some of the regular transmission fluid out of the reservoir with a syringe (mine is hard to get to) and put back in an equal amount of stop leak.

One of my jacks would slightly leak when the temperature would swing 40+ degrees in a day.

There are reports on this site that this works, and I don't see why it would not.

The Transmission Stop Leak sells for $3.50 at Oreilly Auto Parts and is compatible with all type of transmission fluid.

If it is a slow leak, this will probably work, but if it is a gusher, probably not.


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Posted By: 427435 on 10/17/09 07:26am

If this is a HWH system, the "stop-leak" chemicals will likely never reach the seals on the cylinders. They are a long way away and the fluid there is dead-ended. That is, it never re-circulates back to the reservoir.


Mark

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Posted By: dougrainer on 10/17/09 08:22am

427435 wrote:

If this is a HWH system, the "stop-leak" chemicals will likely never reach the seals on the cylinders. They are a long way away and the fluid there is dead-ended. That is, it never re-circulates back to the reservoir.


When an HWH jack is retracted, there is no fluid in the jack. When it is extended, then the fluid runs from the reservoir tank thru the hose to the jack and the jack extends. The diameter of the hose is very small, so the fluid in the hose is not enough to keep the extended cylinder fluid from staying in the hose and NOT returning to the reservoir. Your analysis is wrong. Doug

To the original poster, Powergear jacks can be rebuilt by DIY'ers. They have a seal kit you can buy. You will need a torch and a Heavy duty bench vise. Lippert/Equalizer/HWH do not sell rebuild kits. I would NOT use Stop Leak on a jack system or even a Cooling system. Most knowledgable Technicians/Mechanics know that Stop leak products are good in an emergency, but will cause problems down the line if allowed to stay in the system. Doug


Posted By: wilanddij on 10/17/09 08:34am

If you have PowerGear levelers, their website has a load of technical documents on the product. This link list all their docs for Holiday Rambler hydraulic levelers PowerGear.


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Posted By: SageCrispin on 10/17/09 08:43am

$1800??? Yikes.

Have never done one, but I think, above the pad on the ground, they are just a normal hydraulic cylinder. You need to track down the seal before you do anything. Then the cause of the failure. If the rod is dinged or corroded, it will just take out the new seal again. If it went from age or debris, you may be able to replace it yourself. It depends on what holds it in. If it is just a snap ring, they are sometimes removed by poking something in the small hole in the side of the cylinder. Others are held in by a threaded collar that may or may not require a special tool to remove. The cheaper the cylinder, the more difficult it will be to repair.

As others have said, probably the best solution is to call a farm equipment dealer and find out who they send their cylinders to. Then take it off and have it looked at. (Maybe pull a wire off the pump to make sure you don't accidentally start it without the cylinder in place.) I have had them fix them for less than half of a new cylinder, and have sometimes been told to not bother-some are actually so cheaply made they are "throw-aways". I would not totally disregard the RV dealer either. They may ding you real bad, or they may have a standard replacement that they can offer as a good deal. You just never know.

Sage


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Posted By: Kajtek1 on 10/17/09 09:19am

The hydraulic seals being stored with no pressure will go out of shape quite often.
I have bunch of them on my tractor with backhoe and loader attachment.
What helps a lot is leaving the leaky cylinder under the pressure. This way the pressure will push the seal lips against the rod again.
Might not work on really bad seals, but converted couple of heavy leaks into sweating on my 25 years old tractor.


Posted By: Shepherd_lover on 10/17/09 09:20am

If they are powergear any hydraulic shop should be able to reseal them, cost me $100 or so each to get my 3 resealed. Instructions are on the website so you can see if you feel up to doing it yourself, but powergear charges a lot for the seal kit so check out local prices to see if it is worthwhile.

A recent thread on here indicated that (at least some) HWH jacks are welded and have to be cut open so that's a whole other level of complexity.


Posted By: mscamping on 10/17/09 10:46am

If it is RVA, take it off and send it to them and they will repair or replace as needed.. Look in your manual for an 800 number and call them first and see what they say.. That's what we did a few years back when one of ours went bad..
Mike..


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Posted By: JFC on 10/17/09 11:55am

You didn't say if you know where the fluid is leaking from. There have been other forum discussions about the hydralic fluid tank being unsupported and then cracking from the pump on Powergear. That happened on my 2007 Scepter and the factory replaced the entire unit under warranty. A little later, I had the same situation with fluid loss and low fluid alarm. Turns out the tank was still unsupported, not level and would flex when the coach was driven. The fluid would splash out the weep hole. Had a support bracket fabricated to support the tank level. No problem since, and that's been a year.


Posted By: deaop01 on 10/17/09 01:25pm

Hi,

If they are Powergear and you can get them off you or anyone can fix them. They are just hydraulic jacks. Anyplace that rebuilds hydraulic equipment could fix them. Getting them off will be the problem and you may have to cut the bolts off.

I had one leaking down the stem on the front. I cleaned the stem well and rubbed transmission stop leak on it and run it up and down a few times. It stopped for a while then did it again. So I added the stop leak into the tank. It has not leaked in over two years.

Try to find where the leak is. It may just be a loose conection.

Good luck.

Ron


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