Manually retracting the RV hydraulic jack is a straightforward process. Firstly, you must locate the manual override switch in your system. You will usually find this on the underside of your RV. Turn off all power to the main circuit board when working on it. 

In this article, I focus on how to manually retract a hydraulic jack from your RV. I will take you through each step, from locating the hydraulic pump to safely retracting jacks, with all the tips and safety rules you must emphasize. Read till the end because I will also answer some of the most frequently asked questions about retracting a hydraulic jack.  

Why You Need To Retract Your RV’s Hydraulic Jacks Manually?

There are many situations where manually retracting an RV’s hydraulic jack becomes necessary. Modern RV hydraulic systems are usually reliable, but unexpected issues can arise. The following scenarios are critical when it comes to retracting the hydraulic jacks manually:

  • Hydraulic system failure: This is the most common reason if a component in a hydraulic system, such as a pump or solenoid, malfunctions or loses power; the jacks are stuck in the extended position. Manual retraction allows you to bring them back even if the system fails.
  • Electrical or power failure: It prevents you from using the control panel to retract the jacks. If you know how to do it manually, it can be a lifesaver in these situations.
  • Emergencies: Sometimes, there is a sudden need to evacuate the campsite. Here, manual retraction may come in handy. 
  • Battery depletion: If your RV’s battery is not providing enough power to operate the hydraulic system, manual retraction allows you to retract the jacks without relying on the electrical component.

Before You Start

For manually retracting hydraulic jacks from an RV, you will need an electric drill, socket adapter bit, and a ¼” hex bit (usually, the RV manual specifies the size). 

  • Park the RV on a level surface.
  • Disconnect all power sources, including the RV’s engine and power.
  • Wear all the appropriate safety gear, including glasses and gloves.

Understanding The Hydraulic Jack In RV

The hydraulic jack in an RV is a device that consists of hydraulic fluid that helps lift and lower the RV. It works by using a pump to make pressure in a hydraulic cylinder. The pressure in the cylinder causes the piston to extend, which lifts the jack. A release valve is opened to lower the jack, which helps the pressure in the cylinder to escape and the piston to retract.

Here are some tips that you should consider when you are using hydraulic jacks effectively:

●  Before using the hydraulic jacks, always read the owner’s manual.

●  Park the RV on a level surface before operating the jacks. 

Where Is Manual Override Coupler Located In Hydraulic Jack?

The manual override coupler on a hydraulic jack system is usually a small metal fitting near the pump motor. You can use the following information for locating the manual override coupler:

  • Look for a small metal fitting with a hexagonal or square hole in the center.
  • Trace the hydraulic hoses from the leveling jack to the pump and reservoir. Usually, you will find it near the pump motor.
  • See your RV’s owner’s manual for a diagram of the hydraulic structure.

Manually Retracting Hydraulic Jacks

  1. Locate the manual override coupler. 
  2.  Using a half-inch socket, unhook the power unit motor from the source.using a half inch socket
  3.  After unhooking, use a 5/32′ hex wrench, open the valve by turning the manual override set screw clockwise.Opening the valve
  4.  Open the valve using a 5/32′ hex wrench by turning the manual override set screw clockwise.Opening the override set
  5. Remove the protective label from the power unit to reveal the manual override-coupler.Remove the protective label from the power unit to reveal the manual overridecoupler.
  6.  Insert the hex bit into the manual override coupler using an electric drill with a 1/4″ hex bit.Inserting the hex bit into the manual override coupler using electric drill
  7.  Drill clockwise to retract and counterclockwise to extend the jack.Drill clockwise
  8. Turn the manual override set screw on the valve back to the counterclockwise position after extending or retracting the landing gear or leveling jacks.Turn the manual override set screw on the valve back to the counter clockwise
  9. Replace the power source with the power unit motor.Replace the power source with  the power unit motor

Image credits: Youtube channel  “Lippert

Safety Tip: Do not overtighten the manual override coupler, which can damage the whole system.

RV Hydraulic Jack Manual Retraction Dangers

Manually retracting hydraulic jacks on an RV can be dangerous if not done correctly. Following are some dangers that are related to manually retracting hydraulic jacks on RV:

  • Crushing hazards: Hydraulic jacks are strong devices; they can exert a powerful force if not retracted correctly. Trying to retract them while a person or an object is underneath can result in serious injuries or fatalities.
  • Uneven retraction: Failing to retract the jacks evenly can cause the RV to become unstable. It will lead to potential tipping and damage to the vehicle.
  • Hydraulic fluid leaks: If the hydraulic system is not maintained correctly or malfunctioning, manually retracting the jacks can cause leaks. Leaks are flammable and may pose a fire hazard.
  • Overexertion: Manual retraction can be physically demanding as you need to use the hand crank or other manual means. It can lead to muscle strains or any other physical injury if you use too much force.
  • Damaging jacks: If you apply too much force to the jacks or do not follow the manufacturer’s instructions, you can damage the hydraulic system. Replacing or repairing hydraulic jacks is another expense.

Safety Guidelines For Manual Retraction Of Hydraulic Jack In RV

Follow these guidelines for safely retracting hydraulic jacks:

  • Check that there are no objects or people underneath or near the jacks before trying to retract.
  • Always read your RV’s owner‘s manual thoroughly for proper retraction procedures. Different RVs have slightly different requirements and systems.
  • Use the correct tools.
  • Before starting the retraction, check for any signs of hydraulic fluid leakage.
  • Retract the jacks evenly and at the same rate to maintain levelness and stability.
  • Regularly inspect and maintain your hydraulic system with a professional technician to prevent hazards and malfunctions.


1. Is manually retracting the hydraulic jacks difficult?

Manually retracting a hydraulic jack is not difficult but requires physical effort and attention. With the proper knowledge, practice, and patience, most RV owners can confidently perform the process.

2. Can I damage my RV by manually retracting the jacks incorrectly?

While manually retracting jacks, it’s crucial to be careful and avoid sudden or jerky movements. If done correctly, then the RV  will not be damaged. However, mishandling could cause issues, so following the correct procedure is essential.

3. Can I manually retract hydraulic jacks in cold weather?

Yes, you can manually retract hydraulic jacks in cold weather. Just be careful of icy or slippery conditions and take appropriate safety precautions. Cold temperatures affect the hydraulic fluid’s viscosity, hence requiring more effort.

4. Can I manually retract jacks on any RV?

Most RVs with hydraulic jacks are capable of manual retraction. However, the specific process and components might vary depending on your RV’s make and model. Refer to your owner’s manual for detailed instructions.