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Old 10-16-2015, 01:24 PM   #1
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Power Jack Failure

Yesterday I attempted to winterize my 2013 Windjammer 3001W at the campground up in the mountains. Couldn't, due to an apparent water pump failure (see other thread entitled "Winterization Nightmare" under Plumbing) and so Hubby and I decided to hook her up and take her home to lower ground due to a freeze warning for the mountains this weekend.

Our tongue jack had other ideas. In a word:

It's dead, Jim.

Hubby opens the housing on top of the jack to investigate and about a pint of water comes pouring out. Whaaa? This thing has been in place at the campground since May, and has suffered NO visible damage to the outside housing. If water can get IN under the housing, why on EARTH isn't there a drainage hole somewhere so that it will run through instead of accumulating ON TOP OF THE MOTOR? Is this some kind of planned obsolescence?



Nevertheless, we had to find a way to get the trailer home, because we can't winterize in place and EVERY RV maintenance / roadside assistance dude in the area is booked solid for the next two weeks.

So we break out the owner's manual and look up what to do in the event of electric jack failure. "Use the manual crank handle," it says. We search high and low and there is no such animal to be found on the rig. So Hubby gets creative and gets out a socket wrench, finds the right size nubbin, and tries to turn the crank. It is rusted solid. Of course. We end up removing the foot on the bottom of the jack since we can't retract it. The cotter pin holding the foot on gets bent in the process. Awesome.

These are not the kind of problems that I'd have hoped to see on a two-year-old rig. Jacking the trailer up and down and up and down again to get it hitched onto the truck and get the sway bars in place (all this using the truck's jack) and then replaying the same in reverse when we got home is EXACTLY the kind of BS we were trying to avoid by buying a brand-new, what we thought was a high-end rig. Neither of us is a spring chicken anymore -- that's why we bought an old-people rig with electric everything, dammit!

So. Very. Disappointed.

Anybody else had this happen?
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Old 10-16-2015, 01:50 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theresa Bakker View Post

Anybody else had this happen?
Yup. Exactly that. I assume your jack is an LCI, same as ours. Water seems to find its way in and not back out. Ours ended up seized solid after 2.5 seasons, which was .5 seasons out of warranty. I freed it up and got it working a couple times and then lubed it good and kept it covered, but it kept locking up. The last time it did that, no amount of WD-40, hammering, and bigger sockets would move it. Removing the entire head allowed me to bypass the seized gears and raise/lower tongue.

Bought a new jack. Very easy to install. We went with a Barker. Bought it from these guys:

Brake Controls Accessories, Misc Vents Covers items in Mantelli Trailer Sales RV Store store on eBay!

Their price beat everybody including amazon.

The Barker is definitely a higher quality product, and there are other brands out there that should also be a step up from the LCI.

At this point, probably no choice but to suck it up and buy a good one and buy a cover for it as well. The cover is much cheaper than a new jack.
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Old 10-16-2015, 02:06 PM   #3
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Thanks for responding. Sorry for your trouble. I'd be interested to hear from anyone on here from Forest River as to what they were thinking to choose this poorly-designed jack instead of something that's built to last.
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Old 10-16-2015, 02:07 PM   #4
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Well, in the four years I've been watching the forum, I've never heard of this. My LCI power tongue jack on my Windjammer has blown a fuse once (operator error), just this past spring, and the hand crank worked fine on that occasion. I don't recall seeing either any rust, or any water inside the head when I removed the rubber plug to access the hand crank bolt. I've had it covered for the last three summers. I wonder if I should be checking inside the housing for water build-up?

Any idea how the water got in there?
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Old 10-16-2015, 02:13 PM   #5
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No idea. There is no visible damage to the housing. It's worked fine for two years as is, without a cover. The "plug" on top of the housing is a plastic cap with a bubble level on top. No rubber, but again, this plug has been functioning just fine for two years. Nothing is cracked or out of place. I'm stumped.
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Old 10-16-2015, 02:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theresa Bakker View Post

It's dead, Jim.
:roflb lack:
LOL!


(as your reference, not that you're having problems)
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Old 10-16-2015, 03:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theresa Bakker View Post
No idea. There is no visible damage to the housing. It's worked fine for two years as is, without a cover. The "plug" on top of the housing is a plastic cap with a bubble level on top. No rubber, but again, this plug has been functioning just fine for two years. Nothing is cracked or out of place. I'm stumped.
On my 2013 3008W (built 5/2012), the "plug" was rubber and is so tightly flush to the top of the unit that I thought it was just a black sticker! Since water (and other stuff) flows downhill, I'm guessing the water intruded through the top of the unit, most likely around the plug...this potential could be greatly aggravated if the plug is not securely in place (or otherwise defective), or if the TT is stored with the nose down and/or the gutters do not have extensions directing the water away from the tongue, increasing the flow to the point in question. Otherwise, I agree, I'm stumped, too.
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:36 AM   #8
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When my manual jack failed while lifting the trailer, I went and purchased one at Cabela's. It was the LCI jack found on many new trailers as OEM equipment. It lasted about 1.25 seasons before it wouldn't lift anymore. JUNK. Purchased a Husky with ball bearings and limit switches. Keep this and the LCI covered with a 5 gallon pail and use the safety chains on the handle to keep it in place. The bucket doubles as our outside trash can when we are out camping.
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Old 12-02-2015, 06:50 PM   #9
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My 2014 3001W Windjammer came with an Atwood power jack for some reason
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Old 01-30-2016, 12:53 AM   #10
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A small plastic garbage can makes a great cover for these. Also, keeps the sun off of it.
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