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Lippert Leveling on Teton


Mastercraft
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I finally had to investigate the Lippert system on the Teton after last weeks voyage. Here is what lead up to the current situation.

 

I figured I was going to have an issue before we left as the curb side front leg didn't want to retract after hooking up to the truck. A little extend retract action and it retracts....ok that's a sign of things to come but we went anyway as I would have been in trouble if I called off the launch at this point. Sure enough, setting up "camp" on a hill at the Good Sam rally @ PIR in Phoenix metro, the curb side leg seems to be spongy and leaks down a bit after extending. Great .... but I had an idea. I would just swing by the Lippert booth at the show and they would save me. It didn't really go anything like that but the Lippert booth girl took my info and sent it to one of the guys at the shop, who did call me. He gave me the first step in a trouble shooting procedure to isolate the cause..... verify the pump puts out about 2700 psi.

 

Fast forward to the rally departure.....in order to get hitched up, had to keep the pump running in extend mode to keep from leaking down.....got it hitched. Now, a new problem. The leg leaks down from the retracted position ......could be a problem on the road :o . Ok, not that big of a deal. I drill an 1/8 hole near the end of the exposed square tubing holding the landing gear and put a self tapping screw in it to act as a set screw against the center square tube. Done..... but there is some pressure behind this motion. I am screwed as the set screw didn't hold things. After some up down exercises, it finally held, but we watched it in the mirror and stopped a few times on the way home to check it.

 

Fast forward to unhitching at home. All went well with a little sagging but got unhooked. Did a couple of up down exercises then it did a hard failure. Both front jacks leaked down to the ground :(:angry: .

Ok, get some cribbing and the fork lift, grab the thing by the hitch plate with the forks chained together with the pin in between them, lift it up, slide the cribbing in, make an extended highly colorful dissertation about the state of affairs :angry:.

 

Fast forward to yesterday. With a cooler head, I mapped out the whole hydraulic and electrical control of this system. It really is very basic. During the mapping process, I did have a defining discovery that explains my previous dissatisfaction with the leveling system when it was "working". I tested all the manual over-ride valving ....worked great. There is no manual override for the front landing gear, just everything else.

 

In order to take a measurement with a handheld, I opened the wire tethered control box for the leveling system....just wires and switches right ...but wait, what's this little 3/4" square circuit card in the bottom? :huh: It's a delay circuit that runs the hydraulic pump for about 1 1/2 seconds before it activates the particular leg solenoid valve selected. Ahhhh .... so that's why when I hit the extend or retract and nothing happens for a second or so, then pop, and things jump. This is a 555 timer IC driving a relay. I plan a little tuning of this in the near future and expect all my jerking to be gone. I will share the tuning solution when it's developed. Most likely I will add a trim pot and a small hole in the control box to allow tweaker access.

 

Interim conclusion - Prior to doing the pressure test, it appears the landing gear cylinders need new seals as the pump runs, the solenoids work, I hear fluid rushing at the cylinders, but no motion and no fluid leaking out on the ground. (The rear jacks work normally)

 

Anyone pulled these cylinders out before? It looks like I need to dig a pit to do this as they are about 36" long.

I have two 3000 psi gauges on the way to permanently install so I can see what's going on.

I may not rebuild these cylinders as I have heard they are aluminum, or if I do, hard chrome plate them first. I may look for a steel version and slip those in.

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The only issue I have had with our 4 place Level Up system was the rear stabilized worm drive motor getting a signal that it was time to retract (down always went fine). This left us unable to move until they were up. Unlike you the hydraulics always worked well. Fixed the problem by removing these stabilizer's from the Level Up's control and then just installed a Up/Down switch (in the box with the electric service cord winch).

I look forward to the next chapter in this story.

Later,

J

 

PS Carful with that 555 timer IC....wouldn't want to wakeup the Y2K ghost.

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We have an 06 Teton with the Lippert system also. We had the same problem awhile back. We talked to one of the Lippert engineers and he said we had air in our hydraulic system. He advised us to be sure the fluid was at the proper level with jacks up and slides in. Open front bays and look up to top of jack and locate a small red box where lines hook up. There is a little black knob that will unscrew. There is a button on the inside. While hooked to your truck, push that button and the jack up(bringing legs down) button on your control box at the same time. This bypasses your pressure switch.This will get you out of an emergency situation. When you get a chance, change your fluid with slides in and jacks up and bring slides in and out and jacks up and down multiple times to work the air out of your system. Remember the fluid should be changed every three years per Lippert.

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John - This is the street side plumbing, and there is a red block with the solenoid valve in it. I didn't notice any other features. The knurled knob is the manual over-ride for the bedroom slide on the other solenoid. I will go out and feel around on the red block.

 

I could have gotten some air in it as it was about a qt low when it started acting up.

 

On the 555 timer.....amazing how low tech or no tech this system is.

 

I was surfing this place called Surplus Center and they have cylinders for $50 that look like they would be perfect to add mid ship leveling to the coach. Just plumb them in parallel with the existing rear jacks. If it's the same diameter cylinder, it would share the load with the rear one....may make it easier on the frame with two more jacks.

 

http://www.surpluscenter.com/Hydraulics/Hydraulic-Cylinders/Double-Acting-Hydraulic-Cylinders/2-5X16X1-5-DA-HYD-CYL-W-BRACKETS-9-8100.axd

 

 

 

post-22369-0-05809200-1425866898_thumb.jpg

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I think the lines to the extra jacks are a one time issue for hydraulic fluid since they aren't swept volume. Once the lines are filled, I don't need to account for that volume in the tank. I plan on just running the new jacks in parallel with the existing rear jacks so the lines will not be that long.

Edited by Mastercraft
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  • 2 weeks later...

Update - I have pressure gauges and fittings to see where I stand. I have a new Ebay pump on the way, a spare pump and motor if nothing else. Determined these pumps are built by Parker Oildyne .... a 108 series they call them. There's info out there provided by Parker on how to clean relief valves (up and down), how to adjust the relief valves, and how to prime the pump for a new install.

 

Also, I pulled the two solenoids that control the front cylinders, with the cylinders fully compressed. The coach would slam to the ground if this was attempted under load. Operated the solenoids on the bench, worked fine, ran air and solvent through them, all is good. Put them back on, cracked the extend port on the cylinder, hit the extend command with a rag over the fitting until the air was out of the line.

 

After the pressure test, next thing is to pull the pump and clean out the relief valves. The thing runs on bypass with what seems like not a lot of strain on the motor.

 

I will make all the info I dig up and any pictures available ......maybe it can find its way into the tech section.

 

There is really nothing wrong with this Lippert design that has me freaking out and dropping $4K + install on a Bigfoot system. If I was starting from scratch, ya maybe.

 

When I am done with this learning experience, I am hoping to have a 6 point system with a spare pump and motor for under $500

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  • 3 weeks later...

This is the latest in my leveling jack saga. I welded up an attachment for the fork lift to safely grab the hitch pin and pull the trailer around. I noticed the name plate on the fork lift says 6800lb capacity at 2' out on the forks....should be ok.

 

After a pressure test with my eBay pressure gauges, the pump is fine. It provides 2700 psi on the extend and retract lines.

 

The last test needed to indict the cylinder is done with no weight on the cylinders.....(important detail). Remove the extend hydraulic line at the cylinder, with a wadded up rag on the open cylinder port, bump the pump in the retract direction. If fluid spews forth, the cylinder inner seals are bad. And spew forth it did.

 

Ok, so no problem, just pull the hydraulic lines off and take the 4" bolt out of the top of the cylinder.....ah oh :o . The genius who put the legs on oriented the leg assembly, prior to welding, such that the 4" long bolt has a max travel of 2" until it hits a 2x6 steel frame member :angry:. Soooo .....plasma cutter....na, gas axe...na ....too much fire to control. Placed various materials and welding blankets such that nothing starts on fire, get out the 7" cut off wheel in the big grinder, and cut off the head of the bolt so it can be removed.

 

Now I need about 40" of clearance below the bottom of the coach. I never liked the 1 1/2' down slope outside the area where the trailer sits.....until now. I figure I can raise the front with the fork lift about a foot or so nose up from level without any issues and dig a small pit to drop the cylinder into.

 

Then off to the hydraulic cylinder shop, with both cylinders, for an estimate and fix. Based on my interpretation of the drawing I got from Lippert, the cylinder is repairable based on the spanner wrench holes.

 

Still haven't seen anything about the Lippert system that is technically "bad" engineering design. Actually, it's higher reliability than going with a Big Foot system and a separate system for the slides. Lippert has one pump, one tank, one solenoid, one power cable for +12V. If I went the other route, I would have 5 pumps, 5 tanks, 5 solenoids....etc. Probability of encountering a failure would seem to be higher with more stuff in the mix.

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  • 1 month later...

I have had this same issue on my 2015 MS 41RSSB4. We were loading up to go weigh the 5'ver and noticed one of the front hydraulic jacks was slowly descending. I re-activated the level-up and brought the jacks back up....same issue down again they slowly descending. After repeated attempts, I went to Home Depot and bought some chain and bolts, wrapping and bolting the chain around the leg and the pad at the bottom and then again bolting and wrapping the chain around the upper flange that extends down from the underbelly trim.

 

the first attempt proved the chain was not heavy enough as the chains broke from the pressure. The jacks were descending so fast I had to block under them and then apply the chains. After repeated attempts, I went back to Home Depot and bought heavier chains. I finally got the chains to hold for the 45 mile trip to my selling dealer. Probably the most nerve racking trip I have ever taken hoping the chains would not slip or vibrate off. We made it to the dealer and they have diagnosed that the front jacks are going to have to be replaced.

 

My question is this...why has not Lippert designed in some kind of manual work-aroung this...as the failure while traveling down the road at 60 to 65 MPH could be devastating.

 

Yesterday we made the return trip home to our base camp as the dealer will have to order the cylinders and have no idea when they will arrive...just hope they have the expertise to properly install the new cylinders.

 

I am one nervous cat.

Edited by Schu Man
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Hi All, whenever I set up I use my LIPPERT SUPPORT SYSTEM, two 12000 lb jack stands under the frame as close to the legs as I can get them. I have had my system fail many times (both landing and slides) and worked on to many times by qualified techs and I do not believe there is anyone out there that can fix this crappy system!
Good Luck,
BobQ :angry:

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The slow drooping of the leg is indicating the cylinder piston seal has failed. The Lippert system has one solenoid per dual acting cylinder. All the solenoids (on ours) have a manual bypass screws, except the two front legs, most likely for safety reasons. Manual allows you to direct flow to a particular cylinder without and electrical input from the solenoid coil. For slides, no problem since there is no static load.....things ain't going to move if you open the valve. Not the case for the front legs.....but no manual over-ride...so all is safe.

 

 

The pump in the system runs in two directions making it able to pressurize the "retract" sides of all the dual action cylinders in the system at once. None of them move except the selected cylinder due to the solenoids on the extend side of the unselected cylinders are all closed.....no flow, no motion.

 

 

In a retract condition, the entire retract side of the system (all cylinders) is pressurized and will remain that way after you release the retract switch if the leg hit the stop. The pump is set to go on bypass at about 2700 psi. That change in pitch the pump makes when the leg is all the way up is it going on bypass.....so the entire system is sitting at 2700 psi on the retract side.

 

 

If the cylinder inner seal leaks, a bit of fluid is going to leak to the extend side of the piston....and there will be a resultant movement, and I found as well, there is a lot of force behind this motion.

 

 

The way I got home with this droopy condition......retract the leg, quickly deselect any legs and bump the pump in the extend direction. It equalizes the pressure in the system......with no delta pressure between the extend and retract side of the system, even with a leak, there is no flow, therefore no motion.

 

 

When I got back to the "barn", the cylinder leak was so bad, I had to keep the pump running in extend mode to unhook.

 

 

Fast forward .... and I will skip all the details like getting 42" of clearance under the coach to pull the cylinders out..... a couple of $35 seal kits and everything is like new again.

 

 

I also put an eBay pressure gauge on the extend and retract circuit (in a safe location) so I can "relax" the system after all the leg and slide movements are finished.

 

After I was forced to understand the Lippert system, as far as engineering goes, its fine. Will I go drop $4500 in parts to change to the other leveling system as a result of my adventure, not a chance. If I was starting with a clean sheet, I still may not, but would use some larger diameter higher quality cylinders in a 6 position leveling solution.

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  • 3 years later...

It is actually the valve. The magnet fits over the valve. If I remember right, the valves are about $80 each. I had my front jacks leaking down, replacing the valve fixed it. Don’t have pressure on the lines at the time. Disconnect the hose from the valve. Unscrew the valve and remove the magnet. Install is the reverse. Cycle a few times to purge the air. 

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On 3/8/2015 at 7:18 PM, Mastercraft said:

I was surfing this place called Surplus Center and they have cylinders for $50 that look like they would be perfect to add mid ship leveling to the coach. Just plumb them in parallel with the existing rear jacks. If it's the same diameter cylinder, it would share the load with the rear one....may make it easier on the frame with two more jacks.

But you would be driving them with a 12YO pump that was engineered to do the original job as intended, not the upgraded design you are after.  I just took the same Lippert system off an '05 3 axle Teton.  Installed the Big Foot.

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  • 3 months later...
On 4/25/2019 at 10:40 AM, Ronbo said:

It is actually the valve. The magnet fits over the valve. If I remember right, the valves are about $80 each. I had my front jacks leaking down, replacing the valve fixed it. Don’t have pressure on the lines at the time. Disconnect the hose from the valve. Unscrew the valve and remove the magnet. Install is the reverse. Cycle a few times to purge the air. 

Can you provide direction as to where to find the info on the LCI pump and system?  My jacks are weeping and its increasing.  I was hoping that some trade names and part numbers would be the system, but nothing like that, just LCI on everything.  I think the solenoids might be getting worn or maybe the valves.  I will also replae the fluid as it looks pretty dark.  Not sure what is recommended to it.  I have a 2008 Teton 33' Experience.

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15 hours ago, Ronbo said:

The valve is the long silver thing. The coil can be rotated. It just slips over the valve. There is on on one of the front jacks. There are several located on the valve body. Call Lippert. They are very helpful sometimes. 

They were not helpful to me.  Kept telling me that the pump was the likely cause of my jacks weeping down.  Needed to check the pressure at the pump.  Interesting enough, I dont have a single problem lifting the trailer to hitch/unhitch or level.  But after I have done that, the jacks weep down, so when coming back after a couple of days the trailer is no longer level.  And when hitched, a couple days later the landing gear is nearly to the ground.  I'm no expert in hydraulics, but doesnt make sense to me that it would be the pump.

Still looking for documentation for LCI leveling system.

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