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Old 10-12-2020, 02:59 PM   #1
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Steps don't lock in fully up position

This is the second in the saga of "what broke due to driving 50 miles on bad dirt roads" - a learning experience.

We drove on bad roads for a couple hours, lots of washboard and some bad bumps. Lots of nasty stuff happened inside the 2018 20' Bambi FC. This post is about the steps. During the drive, as usual, they were latched in the fully stowed position. Though there was no evidence of a bump against a rock, or anything like that, they were very stuck, very hard to get to come down. I noticed the latch tooth on the right could come away from the lip it catches, but not on the left. Finally with a lot of upward force (just hands though, no hammer or anything), I got them released and deployed. The mechanism seems undamaged - they go up and down easily and as normal.

Everything seemed normal. I stowed the steps and drove a short distance (to the dump). There I noticed that the steps were half dropped. I pushed them back up and drove back to campsite. No rough road or significant bumps, but they dropped half down again. I pushed them back up and then noticed that the latches were catching only the upper step, not the lower one like normal. Trying to push them up farther, I see again that it's the left side problem, the right side is OK. That is, I can't push it up high enough to catch the lower step on the left side.

I thought maybe a pebble stuck in the mechanism, or something like that, but I don't see anything. Nothing looks bent, though I realize a small bent-ness might not be easy to see but might be enough to cause a problem.

Pictures below show the situation: stowed as well as I can, then the half dropped position, and a detail zoom of the second picture clarifying where the latch tooth catches and where I think it should be catching.

Any suggestions?

Thanks - Bill
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Old 10-12-2020, 03:20 PM   #2
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Given the bumpy ride, I'd say it's most likely one of the machine screws came loose so it won't correctly articulate. Deploy it and then look at and under it to see if any of the screws are loose or missing. Unfortunately two of them are not easy to access to replace or tighten....
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Old 10-12-2020, 03:36 PM   #3
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Duh. I had not inspected closely enough. One of the step screws had backed out from the vibration (photo below) and was preventing completely stowing on the left side. Tightened up, all good now.

Sorry to bother.
Bill
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Old 10-12-2020, 03:39 PM   #4
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Thanks Brian. I found the screw before reading your help, but you were spot on!
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Old 10-12-2020, 03:40 PM   #5
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The screws in my steps have come loose a few times so I finally put LockTite on the threads. Hopefully that will prevent future problems with the steps.
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Old 10-12-2020, 04:15 PM   #6
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"Duh. I had not inspected closely enough. One of the step screws had backed out from the vibration (photo below) and was preventing completely stowing on the left side. Tightened up, all good now."

Thanks for posting, something to keep an eye on for others, now we know.
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Old 10-12-2020, 04:56 PM   #7
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sweet! I agree with Hans, Loctite is our friend.
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Old 10-12-2020, 05:47 PM   #8
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I'm glad the step issue was fixed. I'm gonna check mine tomorrow.

HOWEVER,

I'd like to know where the 50 miles of bad dirt roads were, and do ya have any pics???


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Old 10-12-2020, 07:36 PM   #9
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I had problems with my step as it would not close properly. I talked to Airstream service and they said it could be a nut has come of in the inside if the step assembly.

I took my trailer to Airstream (just three hours away from me!) for a lot of other problems so I ask them to fix the step. What was the problem? Lubrication! The steps had gotten dirt and sand in all the movement points and caused them to seize up. What I thought was an internal nut coming off, they found it was just lack of lubrication. They showed me how to lubricated it well and I was relieved it did not require dropping the pan to get at the attachment points.

I lubricated it myself and it did not solve the problem. They showed me how to flood the joints with silicon to get it to free up.
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Old 10-13-2020, 05:03 AM   #10
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Agree with the Loctite. No more step issues.
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Old 10-13-2020, 10:12 AM   #11
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Totally agree with turk123's post regarding lubrication. I clean / lubricate steps once a week while on the road, sometimes more often if the steps start getting 'cranky.' It's a dirty world down there where they're stored. Use the silicon sprays or dry lube stuff. WD40 is okay is it's the silicon kind.
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Old 10-13-2020, 02:50 PM   #12
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This hasn't happened to me yet but made me realize I need to add Allen wrenches to my tool bag. Are they metric or inch?
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Old 10-14-2020, 12:38 PM   #13
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I thought my steps were worn out because they were so hard to work. It turns out that Airstrem techs use Slick-50 to lubricate them. They are working perfectly now.
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Old 10-18-2020, 10:59 AM   #14
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Hello, Crossing the country a couple of years ago, we stopped at Golden Acorn Casino for a boondocking overnight before we continued on into San Diego. Parked and deployed steps, went in for a walk, came back and went to sleep. In the morning over coffee stepped outside and noticed a screw assembly on the ground. Luckily it fell out when we were stopped. Took out all the allen wrenches and put it back together. It was the big screw with the double set on the inside with the shake washer.

Realizing that if it happened while driving or stopped and the screws couldn't be found, I looked up all the screws for the step and ordered a double set for emergencies. Definitely not screws you would find at camping world or Ace hardware. Fortunately they are not expensive. If you need part numbers I'll look for my notes and post if requested.

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Old 10-18-2020, 11:14 AM   #15
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Once again, a special thanks to folks who post their experiences. I had the same issue with my 2019 23FB. I found the exact same screw loose as shown in the pictures above. Glad I had Allen wrenches on my trip. Issue solved for now.
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Old 10-18-2020, 12:25 PM   #16
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Allen wrench size - sorry I donít remember.

I think it was Navajo 41 running southwest from near Kayenta, AZ to Ute Valley. I donít have pix. It was a route we picked from Goosenecks State Park in Utah to Homolovi SP near Winslow AZ. We chose it not knowing so much of it was bad road, in order to have a scenic route through Monument Valley.

We should have done better route research. I found out later we probably werenít even allowed to use that road without a guide or permit.

Several lessons learned.

- Bill
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Old 10-18-2020, 12:27 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrwayne View Post
Hello, Crossing the country a couple of years ago, we stopped at Golden Acorn Casino for a boondocking overnight before we continued on into San Diego. Parked and deployed steps, went in for a walk, came back and went to sleep. In the morning over coffee stepped outside and noticed a screw assembly on the ground. Luckily it fell out when we were stopped. Took out all the allen wrenches and put it back together. It was the big screw with the double set on the inside with the shake washer.

Realizing that if it happened while driving or stopped and the screws couldn't be found, I looked up all the screws for the step and ordered a double set for emergencies. Definitely not screws you would find at camping world or Ace hardware. Fortunately they are not expensive. If you need part numbers I'll look for my notes and post if requested.

jrw


Yes I would like to know how to order spares. Thanks.
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Old 10-18-2020, 12:47 PM   #18
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use loctite

ensure that you use the colour that can be removed and not the permanent type
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Old 10-18-2020, 03:03 PM   #19
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7/32Ē and 1/8Ē hex key wrench for my aluminum classic steps.

Out of doors mart has a chart to identify step hardware.
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Old 10-19-2020, 06:38 AM   #20
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Wizard of AZ

Go to the airstream site and download the 2018 flying cloud parts book pdf. Scroll all the way down to section I 78 - I 79. You'll see the parts breakdown illustration and all the part numbers on the next page. Call the airstream parts in Jackson Center and or you can try Woodland Airstream. (who btw are great) woodlandairstream.com

Good thing we have a 2018 also. The pdf is too large to upload. Exceeds file limit on the board site. Let me know if you can't find the pdf.
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