RV level jacks play an important role in not only keeping your RV in a comfortable orientation, but they also keep you safely set in place.
Certain RV appliances like absorption refrigerators and generators also work better when they are kept in a properly level position.
Yet what happens when it comes time to pack up and move your RV and your level jacks won’t retract?
When this happens you can’t safely move the RV, and you’re essentially stuck at your campground or RV park.
If the leveling jacks won’t retract there are several things that can cause a problem with an RV’s leveling jacks. Common places to start include looking at the fuses, checking electrical breakers, and looking for hydraulic leaks. most RV’s have some type of emergency or manual override for the level jacks. This will allow you to at least get back on the road or to find a certified mechanic to help.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how you can get the RV’s leveling jacks retracted. We will also explore some of the potential problems that could cause it.
troubleshooting RV’s Hydraulic Leveling Jacks that Won’t Retracted
At the very least, a little added troubleshooting can reduce the amount of time it takes for a professional technician to effect a more permanent fix. So here what should you do when your RV’s leveling jacks not working.
1: Check The Owner’s Manual Or Ask For Help
Level jack issues aren’t all that uncommon. Chances are your RV’s owner’s manual has a section that describes the system and some basic troubleshooting tips.
If you happen to already be parked in an RV park, there might be someone in the main office or around the campground who has experience with this sort of thing.
If you no longer have the owner’s manual, and there’s no one nearby who can help, there are still several things you can try to potentially rectify the situation.
2: Check The Fuses And Electrical Breakers
This is one of those simple things that are easy to overlook. A fuse or breaker could have burned out or tripped which prevents power from going to the system that operates the leveling jacks.
If possible, try following the wires connecting the leveling jack system to the electrical panel.
Sometimes a wire can be knocked loose and simply needs to be reconnected or temporarily repaired with a wiring nut and electrician’s tape.
3: Look For An Emergency Over Ride
An emergency override feature is handy. Even if it’s not a dire emergency, you may simply want to get on the road to head back home, without wasting an hour or three troubleshooting the level jacks at the RV park.
Of course, the campground might also want you to be out of your site by a specific time because someone else has reserved that same spot for their vacation.
There are different types of level jack systems. However, most have some form of the emergency override.
They’re just not always obvious. If you are renting an RV or you aren’t yet familiar with yours, it might take a moment to determine the right method. Be patient and don’t rush yourself.
The majority of RV leveling jack systems are made by the HWH Corporation which uses a pressurized hydraulic system to handle the load.
With spring release and power retract systems there is usually a manual release valve for each jack.
First, you need to find the hydraulic control unit. Also double-check to make sure no people, pets or belongings are under the RV.
If you have a spring retracting jack, you might need to use a board or another first-class lever to pry up on the jack.
If you have a power retraction system, you need to make sure the valves are open before prying up.
With these motorized units, the two center valves are responsible for controlling the front jacks. You will need to open the center valves very slowly.
Once the front jacks are retracted, you can then slowly open the valves controlling the outer rear jacks.
Once all four jacks are fully retracted you should be able to safely transport the RV to a repair shop.
If for some reason they feel excessively loose, or you are in any way afraid that they might fall down while driving you might want to give the feet a few good wraps of duct tape, just for good measure.
If there is some strange fault in the system that allows them to drop down accidentally while you are driving it could become a major disaster on the road.
Even if the jacks retract and stay confidently in place, you should still consider taking it to a repair shop.
Sometimes the problem is a simple fix like a loose wire, other times it can be something far more serious which requires professional intervention.
Should I Contact A Roadside Service For Help?
If you aren’t particularly handy, can’t find someone who is experienced with RV leveling jacks, or you simply rented the RV and don’t want to risk damaging a system you don’t fully understand, then, by all means, you should contact AAA, Good Sam’s or some other roadside assistance agency.
Depending on where you are, they might even have someone on hand who is knowledgeable with RV repair, or able to refer you to the closest certified repair shop in the coverage network.
If anything, they should be able to get you out of the campsite you have reserved at the RV park, so the next person can take that reserved space.
Are Lippert Leveling Jacks Different?
While most RV leveling jack systems are made by HWH Corporation, there are some other options which might be on your RV.
Lippert Systems are a competitor brand in this niche and they tend to operate a little differently.
The following questions and examples can help you troubleshoot a problem with sometimes more complicated Lippert Systems leveling jacks.
The Display On The Lippert System Shows A Timed Out Error Message When Trying To Retract
Time out errors is not uncommon with malfunctions that apply excess force on the system.
If your Lippert System display shows a “Timed Out” error message, you can hold down the “Retract Button” for three full seconds. This will clear the message from the digital display, allowing you to try again. wmode=transparent
If you still get a “Timed Out” error message on your second attempt, then it likely isn’t a glitch and there is some type of malfunction in the system.
How Do I Unplug The Valve Body On A Lippert Leveling Jack System?
With some Lippert System leveling jacks, you can unplug the side of the valve body and the system will retract.
This is one form of emergency override for a moment such as this. You should be able to find the valve body on the side of the coach, motorhome or fifth-wheel camper.
Just keep in mind that this is a temporary measure meant to let you break camp and get back on the road.
You should still seek out a certified repair technician to thoroughly diagnose and repair the problem.
Watch Out For Water And Ice Around Your Leveling Jacks
Water that pools around the feet of your leveling jacks in cold conditions can freeze. When this happens, it can lock the feet to the ground or pavement in a static condition. If you try to retract the jacks in this state it could overly stress and even damage the system.
If you notice water starting to poll around your leveling jacks and the upcoming forecast calls for temperatures to dip below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, you might want to take steps to prevent the puddle from freezing.
Adding simple rock salt to the puddle will lower its freezing point. In a pinch, you can use basic table salt, which will help, just not as much as halite rock salt.
What If My Leveling Jacks Are Leaking Hydraulic Fluid?
Hydraulic fluid leaks are not an uncommon problem with level jack malfunctions.
In a few rare cases, the hydraulic fluid might below. If you are particularly handy, you might be able to simply top it up yourself. Otherwise, this is something that you really should leave to the professionals.
Of course, the overarching concern here is that hydraulic systems like RV leveling jacks are intended to be a sealed system. If the hydraulic fluid is suddenly low, it must be coming out of somewhere.
Not only does this mean there is a problem waiting to happen, but it also means that you are leaving ecologically harmful hydraulic fluid somewhere along the way.
The internet is awash with home remedies and quick fixes for trying to repair a hydraulic leak on your own. However, most of them are little more than a short-term fix at best.
In most of these cases, the jack itself will need to be replaced. Don’t be surprised if the repair technician advises replacing both jacks at the same time.
Chances are if one is leaking, and they are both the same age, that the other one is near failure as well. If anything, it saves you time and money on labor cost.
Should I Check The Hydraulic Fluid When Winterizing My RV?
Many RV owners will pay to have a mechanic or storage facility winterize their RV. In this case, you should make sure to request having the hydraulic fluid levels checked in your leveling jacks.
It’s a simple task and could catch a minor leak before it has a chance to turn into a major problem.
Can Low Voltage Be An Issue?
With some mechanical systems, low voltage can be a problem. In some cases, where onboard power is particularly low, a display panel or warning light might trip where there isn’t anything technically wrong with the system.
If you have been having an electrical issue, a bad battery, you might be suspicious of a power problem.
If your leveling jacks are powered by the motorhome engine’s electricity, and you are having an alternator issue, it might turn on a warning alert on the display or fail to provide sufficient power to the system.
In a scenario like this, you might be able to turn off all the onboard electrical draw, and then rev the engine up.
It might provide just enough juice to get the feet safely retracted, so you can make your way to the repair shop.
Professional Assistance May Be Needed
RV leveling jacks might do a simple job, and they might not necessarily have a lot of complicated parts.
Yet when something goes wrong, it’s usually not the sort of thing you want to tackle yourself. Don’t be too proud to ask for help.
If you are in over your head, or you simply aren’t familiar with the unit, you should strongly consider seeking professional assistance.