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Old 11-28-2017, 01:42 AM   #1
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1987 29' Airstream 290
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Question Automatic steps suddenly not dropping

Today the retractable steps just quit without warning. What is my first step (ha) to figuring out the cause of this rather large inconvenience? I'm on the road and it's a long way from the interior step to the ground.

My first thought was that they got "stubbed" on a street side curb a couple times this week...could that have burned out the motor or something? Or hopefully not, and I should start with checking a fuse somewhere?
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Old 11-28-2017, 08:49 AM   #2
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Always check the power source first. If your step has a light that come on when the door id opened see if the light still comes on. If so you have power. If no light check the fuse or test the lead going to the step for power with a meter.

Call Lippert customer service. They can walk you through some testing or tell you how to get a wiring diagram on line.
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Old 11-28-2017, 10:02 AM   #3
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Thank you for the tip Howie. The light is still working and I can hear a clicking noise like something is trying to work, but that’s it.
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Old 11-28-2017, 10:09 AM   #4
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Have a look on the kwikee site for the service manual. There is a clear diagnostic procedure. Usual fault is plastic gear mechanism shreds. Cheap replacement motors available, just google the site. If itís the control box, it will cost you a fair bit.
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Old 11-28-2017, 10:12 AM   #5
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If you have bent the steps, it might cause a voltage fluctuation which causes the control board to cut power to the motor. Try lubricating the joints and look for warping
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Old 11-28-2017, 10:48 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boom Sounds View Post
Have a look on the kwikee site for the service manual. There is a clear diagnostic procedure. Usual fault is plastic gear mechanism shreds. Cheap replacement motors available, just google the site. If itís the control box, it will cost you a fair bit.
Hi Boom Sounds, a worn plastic motor part sounds like a likely culprit. Fortunately no steps are bent and there’s still power going to the step.

So kwikee would have a replacement part potentially? And if that’s the cause, is this a novice repair, or do I need a professional? I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty but my mechanical skills are very basic.
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Old 11-28-2017, 11:47 AM   #7
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Itís an easy diy fix. Just look at the manual. Unplug the 4 way Power. Do not work on them with power on. Take some photos of the set up before you replace the motor. Youíll be able to see if the motor gears are shredded when you remove it. Have a look on the site for the Dorman window motor. I think 40 bucks. I assume you are talking about some vintage kwikee steps. Check make and model
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Old 11-28-2017, 11:47 AM   #8
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Buy is from autozone or amazon. 40 bucks. Kwikee will charge you 150
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Old 11-28-2017, 11:48 AM   #9
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If the motor is running and you hear a clicking noise without the step moving it may be the gear box. There is a clutch system in the gear box that has 3 rubber pieces that if they have gone soft allow the clutch to slip and the step will just pulse and remain in a given position.

If you are going to order the part there are 2 types of motor/gearbox and 2 different prices. Look at the step frame and see if the shaft from the gear box is supported by a hole in the step frame or not. That will determine which type you need.

And yes disconnect the 4 wire plug at the step before putting your hands in there.
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Old 11-28-2017, 12:05 PM   #10
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Have a look at this http://www.irv2.com/forums/f258/kwik...-199407-2.html

I bought the Dorman motor for my 1990 250 and it just bolted straight in. 1 hour job for 40 bucks. It may not last forever because the plastic gears are weak. I am unsure whether kwikee have switched to metal gears. I think AM make the kwikee motor but the Dorman is identical to mine in terms of fit. If you look on the plastic cover to the control board, it may have a number eg 9513. It will also be coloured eg orange. Cross ref to kwikee manual to identify your step. I suspect it is the same as mine if your coach is 87.
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Old 11-28-2017, 01:41 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone for the replies. Keep posting if you have more info. I’ll be checking back in a few days when I’m parked long enough to have a mailing address and some time to get under there and poke around. Will disconnect the power.
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Old 11-28-2017, 03:39 PM   #12
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If they are the original steps then they aren't kwikee brand. There are no gears or motor. They are vacuum operated steps with a vacuum line coming off the motor. My Diesel has a vacuum pump on the back of the alternator not sure where the line goes on a gasser, the vacuum operates an actuator that controls the step movement. Check your door switch in the hinge side of the door jamb. It looks like a little black button. Make sure it is moving freely by pushing on it. Get underneath and make sure the vacuum line hasn't come off the actuator and inspect what you can of the vacuum line for holes or splits that would cause vacuum leak. You're probably going to have to get under there with a flash light and inspect what's going on. They should extend when you turn off the engine. Then the jamb switch will operate them when the motor is running.
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Old 11-28-2017, 04:38 PM   #13
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Apologies if I was incorrect. My coach came with stock electric Kwikee steps. I thought they were stock across the range from the mid/late 80s.
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Old 11-28-2017, 04:47 PM   #14
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In 1987 they were probably Kwikee steps. The 86 345 I dismantled had the electric steps. I believe I sent the control module to someone on Airforums.


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