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Old 11-20-2021, 05:08 PM   #1
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Does the cold affect hydraulics?

I left Asheville this morning after it got down to 25 at night. After I hit retract all on the levelers I didn't check (shame on me) to see if the jacks came up, but the coach went into drive no problem. I drove away and then later after stopping for propane discovered that the front jacks retracted only half the way up. The rear were all the way up. I issued another retract all and the fronts came all the way up.

So now I am wondering why this happened and whether the cold temperature had anything to do with it.
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Old 11-20-2021, 06:01 PM   #2
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Hydraulic oil CAN be affected by cold but not usually before sub zero temps.

Also, when hydraulic rams don't travel to full extension or retraction this could be caused by low fluid level.

Sometimes systems that operate somewhat automatically after the operator issues a command will interrupt the process before completed. Voltage fluctuations due to battery voltage sag, etc. Always a good idea to check to see if the operation has completed itself before moving on.

These are just "generic" observations.

Have you checked the troubleshooting section of your manual for the leveling system?
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Old 11-20-2021, 07:18 PM   #3
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My Kubota tractor (all hydraulic) does first perform a bit sluggish in the cold weather but then performs normally once the hydraulic fluid warms up a bit.
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Old 11-20-2021, 07:28 PM   #4
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Yep, the colder it gets, the slower the hydraulics performs depending on what fluid you are running. Our 6 point LevelUp is definitely slower in the cold and we always double check all the levelers for full retraction even when it's warm as occasionally it will have a brain fart and not function perfectly
And like TitanMike said, if battery voltage is low, it will act wonky also. So we always use fully charged battery and try to be either hooked up to shore power or generator when operating heavy draw items like slides and level systems.
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Old 11-21-2021, 09:38 AM   #5
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I did check the fluid level and it was fine. The batteries are fully charged and the engine was running. I always run the engine and wait for the air tanks to get over 75 and the warning sound to stop before I hit the retract all button. I will add to my list to check the jacks. I'll see what happens in a couple days as I am still in NC. Thanks for all the comments.
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Old 11-21-2021, 09:48 AM   #6
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don't those jacks have a safety switch that is depressed when they are fully returned to the up position? There should be a warning alarm telling you the jacks are not 100% returned.
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Old 11-21-2021, 07:04 PM   #7
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Does the cold affect hydraulics?

I always hit the retract button twice, I let it cycle the first time and when itís done, I hit retract the 2nd time and I always get out and verify the Jackís have retracted up all the way. I donít want to know what the cost is to replace one of these jacks due to it being my fault.

( I replaced the 2 hydraulic cylinders on my full wall slide last year myself, parts cost not to bad, access to the front one was a pain in the arse! The front cylinder would leak off internally allowing the front of the slide to float out going down the road! Not good, had to retract walk slide back in about every 20 miles )
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Old 11-21-2021, 07:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TowPro View Post
don't those jacks have a safety switch that is depressed when they are fully returned to the up position? There should be a warning alarm telling you the jacks are not 100% returned.
No warning lights or audio at all.
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Old 11-22-2021, 08:02 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by shepardmike View Post
I did check the fluid level and it was fine. The batteries are fully charged and the engine was running. I always run the engine and wait for the air tanks to get over 75 and the warning sound to stop before I hit the retract all button. I will add to my list to check the jacks. I'll see what happens in a couple days as I am still in NC. Thanks for all the comments.
How old are the batteries?

Just because the engine was running and/or the batteries seem to be fully charged does not mean they are not weak. That indication could be just a "surface" charge that is not indicative of a good battery.

As NMWildcat told you, a low battery can raise problems with heavy draw items like hydraulic pumps.

If you Really want to know if the batteries are good take them out and have them load tested at an auto parts house. (they will do it for free) I say take them out because there are heavy duty tests and quickie tests. The heavy duty test which takes a few minutes with the battery disconnected is the best one. It cannot be done with the battery still in the vehicle.
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Old 11-23-2021, 10:35 AM   #10
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I have new batteries on a Berk 2020 39A and jacks never seem to go up all the way everytime now I just switch on the generator pull the slides in and pull the jacks up. I always verify they are up and if didn't go up all the way retract again and if still not up all the way start all over deploy and then retract. Mine seem a little finicky.
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Old 11-25-2021, 08:09 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shepardmike View Post
I left Asheville this morning after it got down to 25 at night. After I hit retract all on the levelers...........
So now I am wondering why this happened and whether the cold temperature had anything to do with it.
Yes, cold does effect the hydraulics, based on my experience. The last night before we left Denver in October 2020 it was 9 degrees. The next morning, the jacks retracted until the coach weight was off and then stopped. After repeated up/down cycling they sloooowly came all the way up. I visually verified. I previously posted this and was debated because "ATF in the jacks couldn't be affected by cold or auto-transmissions wouldn't work in the cold". (sigh)

Whether it is the fluid, valves, actuators, seals, etc., cold can have an impact.
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Old 11-25-2021, 10:27 AM   #12
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I have hydraulic slides and stabilizing jacks on my Cedar Creek. On the Lippert pump for the hydraulic system, there is a decal that clearly states the ambient temps below 38F will affect the system responds.
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Old 11-25-2021, 10:36 AM   #13
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It was 29 out yesterday when I left the resort. It took 4 times of hitting the retract all button to get the jacks all the way up. Lessoned learned. Thanks for all the comments.
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Old 11-29-2021, 08:43 AM   #14
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Our last stop before home was in South Georgia. It was 49 out and the jacks came all the way up.
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Old 11-29-2021, 09:26 AM   #15
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I have found that if it is cold outside if you spray the ram with a little silicone sprat before retracting they will retract much better. With the fluid cold and thick and the seals cold and hard this helps them slide back in much better.
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Old 11-29-2021, 07:20 PM   #16
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Thanks for the tip.
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Old 12-02-2021, 08:12 PM   #17
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Cold temps and hydraulics

I have a 377 FLIK with hydraulics for 3 slides and the leveling jacks.
The pump works very hard once temps get down into the 30's because of fluid viscosity.
I changed the hydraulic fluid to low viscosity ATF, and that helped a lot.
But you might need to take your time pulling in hydraulics when it gets cold.
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Old 12-02-2021, 08:15 PM   #18
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Cold and Hydraulics

One factor that I did not see in any of the posts is the affect of moisture in the hydraulic system. Many systems have a filter for the fluid which keeps the fluid clean(er) but it also removes moisture, which is then trapped in the filter. When it gets cold, the moisture in the filter freezes and will not allow the fluid to flow thru and do its job. The same condition happens anywhere there is moisture trapped in the system, it will freeze solid while the oil will just get a lot thicker. The frozen moisture in a system will prevent the hydraulic fluid from flowing. Remember that oil is lighter than water, so a low point in the system will probably have a concentration of moisture and will be the point where the line becomes blocked when freeze occurs.
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Old 12-02-2021, 08:29 PM   #19
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In VT I had to let my Kubota BX run for up to half an hour before any of the hydraulics worked if temps got into single digits or below.
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Old 12-03-2021, 09:17 AM   #20
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Water in the system is the usual culprit for hydraulic systems not working well in the cold, not the hydraulic fluid..also water can freeze on switches and levers, around seals etc helping to bind things up..also when parts get cold they fit tighter which if everything is not perfect can cause binding...I recommend that once everything warms up, above freezing to give all the parts (hydaulic cylinders, electrical connectors etc)a good spray with a water displacement liquid such as wd40
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