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Old 07-23-2017, 09:47 AM   #1
4 Rivet Member
1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Londonderry , New Hampshire
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 252
Fixing the levelers on my 345.

I bought my '86 345 recently and have been going through all the systems. Now it is the levelers.

After filling the tank I found that 1 leveler worked but leaked, 2 did nothing, and one could be made to work with some encouragement. I decided to tackle one that did not work first.

This one is leaking;

This one does not work and is the first one that I will attack;

Notice the corrosion on the threaded section on the actuator. You will see how bad that is later.

The bolts were rusty but came out with some effort. The hydraulic line fitting was rusty and would not unscrew. I had to remove hydraulic fitting from the actuator to disconnect the hydraulic hose. This requires removing the actuator from the leveler cylinder. The mounting threads were so corroded that they crumbled when I turned the nut.

Anyway, with come effort I got it all out. The actuator is junk. I wanted to see how they worked so I disassembled it.

It came apart quite easily. I was not expecting that! This shows the cylinder section at the bottom of the picture and the valve section at the top. Notice the threads on the cylinder are almost completely corroded away.

The long pointed rod in the middle is the valve. You might notice that it is bent. That is the result of me pounding on the actuator to get it out of the mounting. The corrosion was so bad I had to pound on it with a hammer. Next time I will find a better way. The rod it too bent to use again but the whole actuator is shot anyway.

Do not pound on the end of the actuator cylinder! Even pressing too hard could cause a problem.

The 4 hydraulic lifting cylinders all seem to be OK. None seem frozen or leaking. All of my problems seem to be with the actuators.

I will continue with this project until they are all working. I can write up my progress if anyone is interested. Also, if anyone knows of a source for used actuators I would be interested.

I just finished removing the air injection system from the engine. If anyone is interested in that project I can write that up as well.

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Old 07-23-2017, 10:37 AM   #2
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2005 34' Classic S/O
2006 39' Land Yacht 396 XL
north blenheim , New York
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 2,539
You seem to work the way I do....sometimes my favorite tool is the hammer, LOL ! I am having trouble downloading your your controller and actuator mounted to the floor like my 325LE or is an electric system with a control pad ? Regards, Bob
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Old 07-23-2017, 10:49 AM   #3
4 Rivet Member
1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Londonderry , New Hampshire
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 252
My control is 4 levers on the floor, there is no automatic feature.

I had some trouble inserting the pictures perhaps I did something wrong.
I will try again.


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Old 07-23-2017, 04:57 PM   #4
4 Rivet Member
1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Alliance , Ohio
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 251
Pete I too have an 1986 345 and went thru the same thing when I got mine. A lot of wire brushing, painting, and WD 40 got most working. I was able to get a replacement actuator thru my local RV dealer. HWH has a lot of good information, parts break downs and manuals you can download. They will be really helpful. I may be mistaken but I think you can get the whole jack assembly with actuator from HWH with exchange. At least that was so about nine years ago. You might have to purchase parts thru a dealer.
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Old 07-23-2017, 05:06 PM   #5
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1998 36' Land Yacht Widebody
Reidsville , Georgia
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 620
Images: 14
My levelor jacks look bigger than those in the picture. Last year both front units were leaking and the warning light kept coming on inside. Both needed new seals which were repaired by a farm equipment dealer. $100 each

They were easy to remove while the rig was on a rack for regular service at a diesel truck shop in Montana.

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Old 10-05-2017, 05:22 AM   #6
4 Rivet Member
1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Londonderry , New Hampshire
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 252
Continuing my project, I removed the other front leveler. This
one had a leak from the actuator. This made everything oily so I figured that the large mounting nuts on the actuator
would come loose easily.

Well not so! I put a socket wrench on the top nut and put so
much force that the actuator broke in half. This unit was not
badly corroded like was the first one described above.

So I ordered a new actuator from HWH and installed it so now
both my front levelers are working OK.

One of my rear levelers works OK but the other one has a
jammed actuator. I will try to fix this one using the
knowledge gained from the first two repairs.

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Old 10-05-2017, 09:49 AM   #7
4 Rivet Member
1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Londonderry , New Hampshire
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 252
I figured while I was all dirty anyway, that I would
attack the last unit, the right rear. This unit
looked OK, not too dirty and not much rust or
corrosion. But it did nothing when I moved it's
control lever. I have a manual only system.

The unit came out without too much trouble.
I removed the two bolts that are the swing point
rather that the four bolts of the mounting bracket.
This was easier than my previous repair jobs.

The large nut that holds the actuator broke
loose without too much effort unlike last time.

I opened up the actuator and removed the
piston rod. You must remove the spring and
valve rod assembly first. You need not
disassemble the valve rod assembly as I did
the first time.

The piston rod was binding in the aluminum
housing. Upon close inspection I could see
some corrosion near the top. I cleaned it up
by scraping it with a dull screwdriver so as to
not scratch the aluminum bearing surface.
The piston then moved smoothly. Be careful
with the rod as it is brass and not steel as I

I reassembled everything and mounted the
unit back in the motorhome. Installing
the two big springs was less of a problem than
I expected. They are not that strong. If you
can get in a good position you can put them
in by hand without tools. Simply pull them
and hook them to the foot.

All done, so it tried it and ... nothing. The pump
ran but no movement on the leveler. I cracked
the hydraulic line and fluid came out but at low

I tied the lever with rope to hold it on so I could
see the leveler while the pump ran bit saw nothing
out of the ordinary. Then after about 10 minutes
of continuous running the leveler suddenly
kicked down and lifted the vehicle. That sure
surprised me!

I believe that there must have been a lot of air
in the system. Once the air got compressed
the leveler operated. After that it operated
normally, the air must have been expelled.

Now all four levelers work OK so I can move to
the next job: making all the lights work.

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