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Old 11-21-2012, 06:15 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smartstream View Post
Airstream used both normally open and normally closed door switch. Mine failed and the first one I received was normally closed. Without checking it I installed it and my steps extended when I closed the door and retracted when I opened the door. A few phone calls and a bit of time and I received the correct switch. Both switches looked identical. You might need to verify which switch is needed for the electric step application. By the way my steps are the original vacuum operated.

Cheers, Dan
Dan,

I removed vacuum steps to install the electric steps and the steps do extend when I open the door and retract when I close the door. When checking the in door frame switch with an ohm meter the switch is an open circuit when the door is open and a short circuit when I close the door.

The manual has an extensive troubleshooting section and I'm going to be working through that this weekend to see where the problem is. I'm hoping it is just the ignition signal which should be easy to resolve.

Brad
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Old 11-21-2012, 06:17 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gunner View Post
bkahler you stated (When I turn "on" the override switch the steps will stay extended. In this application turning the switch "on" applies +12vdc to the controller. ) What is the amperage draw on the batteries when you have the overide switch "on"? Is it enough that it would be a concern when you don't have 110 volt AC available and using battery power only?
Gunter, I noticed that possibility when I was wiring the steps. The manual implies that the steps are not a constant drain on the battery and there are tests to check for that. Needless to say I will be checking for that condition.

By the way I haven't forgotten about the pictures for the air compressor mount. I did take some but they weren't very good so I'm going to try again with my new bore scope to see if I can get a better view.

Thanks!

Brad
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:16 AM   #31
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I am interested in what you find out with the installation of the step since I have been thinking about adding one to mine replacing the single step. No hurry on the pictures since most car swap meets are closed until next spring.
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:22 AM   #32
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
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I have backed into some knowledge of the Kwikee electric steps...the first was a tree stump, and...no...reversing the direction will NOT straighten out the mess. Second, there are two switches besides the button switch that figure into the step controls...one is above the entry , on the wall, on the rear side of the doorway, a bit high up...the other is on the wall , low down, on the front side of the entry.
Our steps were held by rotational heavy rivets which required a grinder to remove.
I also discovered that when the starter battery is low, the steps motor makes a noise(like it's trying to engage, but doesn't) until it drains the battery the rest of the way.
I have removed, beat on with sledge and anvil, and put back on the swivel braces...twice...I replaced the 'rivets' with bolts, washers, and nylon lined nuts...have to check the tightness periodically...too tight means binding, too loose means that first step out can be a rude introduction to gravity...
The spring-loaded button switch in the forward door frame was removed by a PO, and Oasis in Tucson replaced it...I think I know, now, why the PO removed it...
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Old 11-21-2012, 07:05 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gunner View Post
I am interested in what you find out with the installation of the step since I have been thinking about adding one to mine replacing the single step. No hurry on the pictures since most car swap meets are closed until next spring.
Gunter,

For me the difficult part was removing the old steps. All four bolts were rusted solid and since they are flathead tapered screws they just spin when trying to remove them. I ended up using a cutting torch to cut the four bolts off from underneath. Wasn't really difficult just a hassle dragging my torch set all the way from the shop to where the motorhome is parked.

It took me two tries to figure out where to mount the new steps. The original steps had a top frame that is about 24" wide by about 14" deep. The new steps are about 24" wide but only about 11" deep. Figuring out where to place the steps actually took me the longest. Sometime this weekend I hope to finish the installation which includes a filler plate to make up the missing 3" on the top frame.

I'll post pictures and a better description at that time.

Brad
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Old 11-21-2012, 07:07 PM   #34
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Well today I tested the step operation according to the manual that came with the steps. All functions work as they should when using the test pigtail connector. That indicates that the coach wiring is at fault somewhere.

This weekend I'll have to spend some time and sort through the existing wiring to see if I can figure out what I did wrong.

Brad
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Old 03-03-2013, 12:21 PM   #35
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300 Step Replacement

Brad,
We are in the process of replacing the step in our 300. I wanted to see if you completed your project. I'm sure we are going to run into the same problems. It would be great if you could post some pictures and a brief summary of what you ended up doing to fill the gap.
Thanks,
Bethany
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Old 03-03-2013, 04:52 PM   #36
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Brad,
We are in the process of replacing the step in our 300. I wanted to see if you completed your project. I'm sure we are going to run into the same problems. It would be great if you could post some pictures and a brief summary of what you ended up doing to fill the gap.
Thanks,
Bethany
Bethany,

Other than a minor electrical issue and drilling and tapping the holes in the door frame the step installation is complete. I've attached some pictures to show the rest of the installation. You definitely need the filler piece. The front opening in the side of the coach where the steps fit is 25-1/2" so for the 310 I made a rectangular box that was 25-1/4" long x 2-7/8" wide by 1-1/4" tall with a 1/8" plate welded on top. It was somewhat labor intensive to make. I didn't take a picture of the box before I installed it but you can see how it's shaped in this picture.

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My Argosy needed the same filler panel so I changed the design a little bit and had a fabrication shop bend channel shaped filler from 3/16" thick metal plate to the following dimensions. It is 25-1/4" long x 2-7/8" wide with the back leg that contacts the steps being 1-1/4" and the front leg was 3/4". This worked out much better and I feel is the way to go. I had them make it longer than necessary and I cut it to length during installation.

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The filler plate gets bolted to the front of the steps so you want to do that before you hang the step assembly from the bottom of the coach. If I remember correctly I used the two back holes when bolting the step assembly to the coach framework and drilled two new holes close to the edge of the coach framework. Once you start working on your the previous paragraph should make sense!

I drilled four 1/4" holes in the front edge of the step being careful where the holes were located. Again once you look at the bottom side of the step you'll see what I mean. I then centered the filler plate along the front edge of the step where it was flush with the top and then marked the holes to be drilled in the filler plate. When bolting the filler plate to the steps leave them loose. You'll find the front edge of the step is not perfectly square so leaving the bolts loose until the step assembly is bolted is will make it easier when bolting the steps in place.

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When bolting the steps to the coach frame I discarded the big flathead philips screws and used 3/8" bolts instead. I drilled new holes for the two bolts closest to the door as close to the edge of the coach mounting frame as I could. So for four 3/8" bolts that hold the steps to the coach I used the existing holes that are at the back of the entry way and drilled two new holes towards the front of the entry way. I used 1/4" bolts mounting the filler plate to the steps.

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You can see the front edge of the filler plate under the edge of the door frame. On the Argosy that edge is not near as noticeable because I made the front of the filler channel 1/2" shorter in front.

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The installation is nice and solid. The last thing I have to do that I forgot to mention is seal the step area with vulkem. When you removed yours you probably found a bunch of vulkem sealant in various places. You don't want to forget to complete that step.

Let me know if you have any questions or need different pictures.

Brad
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Old 05-19-2013, 09:33 AM   #37
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Just a follow up on the "minor" electrical issue that I was experiencing with step installation. The problem had been that when the engine was off the steps seemed to work properly with the door opening and closing the steps would extend and retract properly. If the steps were extended and I activated the door closed override switch the steps would stay extended. The problem was as soon as I started the engine the steps would extend (or stay extended), no matter what I did with the override switch. With the engine running if I opened the door the steps would retract, if I closed the door the steps would extend

I contacted Kwikee and talked with their technical support and they determined that the control module was bad. In order to warranty replace it we to take the motorhome to an RV dealer and have them test it. If it was found to be bad they would replace it free.

Yesterday the motorhome was taken to the dealer and after testing they determined that the door switch was supplying 12 vdc to the control module instead of ground. That is totally backward compared to what I thought the door switch was doing. I was so confident that the door switch was a grounding type of switch that I never checked how it functioned. Needless to say it cost $50 to have someone tell me I screwed up

So this morning I pulled the existing door switch wires out and replaced with new wires that run directly to the step controller. Everything works just fine now

So if you're contemplating changing your original vacuum steps to Kwikee electric steps you will need to use the switch that comes with the kit or rewire the existing door switch to provide the proper signal to the step controller.

Brad
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Old 08-25-2013, 02:23 PM   #38
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Today I finally finished the inside portion of the Kwikee step replacement. I may not be fast but I eventually get there

The Kwikee step has four holes in the top that I assume are for mounting in a "normal" application. Since there is nothing normal about an Airstream motorhome I opted to cover the holes with aluminum tape to keep moisture from coming through.

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Since all of the original wood was rotted and crumbling I had to cut new pieces. I ended up making the back and side pieces thicker than Airstream did in order to allow the plastic to contact the wood without having to distort the plastic due to gaps between the wood and plastic. The original fit was not to precise

I also coated each piece front and back with several coats of spar varnish. Hopefully that will keep the moisture out for a while

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In the next two pictures you can see where I sealed the sides with vulkem. Without the vulkem you can see daylight through the gaps. One thing I did different that the factory was to use a piece of 1/2" x 1-1/2" aluminum bar under the door frame. Originally it was wood that had rotted away. The aluminum bar won't collapse and won't rot and will provide solid support for the bottom of the door frame.

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The plastic insert fits nice and snug and is held in place by 5 wood screws with finishing washers.

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The only thing I didn't do was run a bead of black sealant along the front edge of the plastic insert where it contacts the shell. It was originally like this from the factory but I opted to not put any in, at least not until the carpet is replace. The sealant would make the plastic insert difficult to remove in the future.
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Old 08-25-2013, 08:21 PM   #39
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Nice!
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Old 12-01-2017, 04:59 AM   #40
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I am still pondering putting in a dual step in my 84. At $600 the price is steep but so is the pain of dealing with a vacuum step.
Looking through this thread, I do not see a model number for your choice in steps.
Since Qwikee sold out to Lippert, that adds more confusion on what model step will fit the 84 270 Airstream.
I am looking at a series 40 step which seems to have proper spacing on step height at 8" between steps but at 25.75", the width is wider than the original vacuum step.

To make things even more confusing the part numbers from one vendor does not match the part number Lippert has on their site. Vendors model 40 is 904009025 and Lippert has 904000906 on their model 40.

My questions for anyone who has put electric steps on your Airstream;
What model did you use and how well did it fit?
How did your step spacing work out for the model you chose?
Have you had any ground clearance problems with the step extended on uneven ground?
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Old 12-01-2017, 07:54 AM   #41
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Wayne, I bought PPL part number 44-1662 for my 310 and for my Argosy. Mine have two steps but the picture shown in the latest PPL listing appears to show them as a single step. Back in 2012 I paid $356 each delivered. It appears prices have gone up somewhat.

This double step 48-4612 actually looks like the ones I bought.

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When I was installing the steps on the 310 I found the top section that bolts to the coach is narrower in width than the original vacuum steps. This necessitated fabrication of a spacer to fill the gap. It was about 2-7/8" wide if I remember correctly. I discussed it in post 36 of this thread.

Brad
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Old 12-02-2017, 10:53 AM   #42
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Hi Wayne, we also used Kwikee 44-1662 (903209025). I welded a plate of heavy sheet metal to fill in the the area where the old step mounted. Used a floor jack to position the new step (that sucker is heavy!) to mark the new mounting holes. The face of the steps sit about an inch inboard of the bottom of the door. Wiring was easy and straightforward. I used the original door jam switch, can't remember if it's N.O. or N.C.. I mounted the override switch on the dash, but you really could put that anywhere. The only drawback was that I couldn't use the original valance trim that covers the step when up. Zero clearance issues. Well worth the money and effort!
Ray J.
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