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Old 01-24-2022, 01:42 PM   #1
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Linear Actuator

I am now a member of the Linear Actuator Failure club.
I read a lot of the posts about the actuator so when I was using mine it seems not to be able to open my camper all the way without help. So I contacted my seller and was sent a new one under warranty. I put it in my storage box.
Sure enough two camping trips later the actuator failed. Glad I had a spare.
After returning home I decided to take the thing apart. Found water inside and the gear grease was also retaining water.
I cleaned up the water and grease. I installed new grease and sprayed the inside with WD40. Put it back together and tried it out.
I operated the actuator 10 times and it worked great. Even seemed to work better than ever.
I have had three more camping trips since then and no problem.
Camper is now winterized and waiting for next spring.
I forgot to tell you what camper I have.
It is an Rockwood A213HW. 2019 model.
Happy camping to all.
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Old 01-28-2022, 08:18 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EandR View Post
I am now a member of the Linear Actuator Failure club.
I read a lot of the posts about the actuator so when I was using mine it seems not to be able to open my camper all the way without help. So I contacted my seller and was sent a new one under warranty. I put it in my storage box.
Sure enough two camping trips later the actuator failed. Glad I had a spare.
After returning home I decided to take the thing apart. Found water inside and the gear grease was also retaining water.
I cleaned up the water and grease. I installed new grease and sprayed the inside with WD40. Put it back together and tried it out.
I operated the actuator 10 times and it worked great. Even seemed to work better than ever.
I have had three more camping trips since then and no problem.
Camper is now winterized and waiting for next spring.
I forgot to tell you what camper I have.
It is an Rockwood A213HW. 2019 model.
Happy camping to all.

I have done the same as you with good results. I attached some before pictures of what I found in my actuator when it died. I was on my third actuator when my warranty ran out. One thing I added once I cleaned everything up is 2 drain holes at the lowest point of the motor and housing. The thought was if water is going to get in let it get out before it pools up and causes damage. So far, the actuator is continuing to work fine. I haven't gone through a complete camping season yet but so far, so good.
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Old 01-28-2022, 09:27 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Zoinks View Post
I have done the same as you with good results. I attached some before pictures of what I found in my actuator when it died. I was on my third actuator when my warranty ran out. One thing I added once I cleaned everything up is 2 drain holes at the lowest point of the motor and housing. The thought was if water is going to get in let it get out before it pools up and causes damage. So far, the actuator is continuing to work fine. I haven't gone through a complete camping season yet but so far, so good.
Curious. Does your TT have a covered undercarriage?

I am having issues with my slide and earlier this afternoon I had an hour long phone call with a Lippert Customer Service Tech regarding my actuator assembly. It's actually three components, the actuator (screw assembly), gearbox and motor (which is one piece).

I asked about water intrusion and he stated that since most TT's today have a covered underbelly (his words) water intrusion was not an issue. He suggested I disassemble the actuator screw assembly, clean, and re-lube using a grease compatible with low temps (screw assembly only, silicone lube on external parts.)

I would be a little concerned about a drain hole in gearbox. If water can get in without one, a lot more might get in with one. It might drain out after the splash, but will still contaminate grease. Again, a cover on belly of trailer?

Also, Lippert has used two different manufacturers of these assemblies. Vanguard and Tucson. There is a TSB posted on their site regarding the replacement of certain Vanguard Actuators (not motors and gearboxes) with a lengthy list of serial numbers involved. Serial number is on side of actuator tube. Might be worthwhile to check with Lippert to see if yours is one of those affected. Date of TSB was early 2021.

They don't indicate what the issue was that required replacement but I have read some online accounts where the screw shaft of related part inside actuator has failed and motor just runs with no action to extend or retract.


FWIW, the tech I spoke with was very helpful and most willing discuss the assemblies and tests. Didn't once tell me to take it to a Dealer (like Suburban does when you have issues with their Stove).
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Old 01-29-2022, 08:32 AM   #4
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Mike

The linear actuators are mounted on the sides of A-frames to raise the roof. The larger A-frames - 14ft box - have fairly heavy roofs that are difficult to raise manually unassisted. The Forest River system has left a lot to be desired, even after FR-designed modifications. Because of wiring, the linear actuator has to be mounted "upside down" so that the moving shaft is at the top. Without a perfect (or even good) seal around the shaft, water leaks into the housing, down the housing into the gearbox, and across into the motor. Motor and gearbox are at the bottom instead of at the top, where sealed bases could keep water out.

The photos are evidence that is the water leaking in from the top that causes rust and corrosion, and eventually "failure" of the actuator. Not really failure, just seized up.

After replacing an actuator or two, some-to-many A-frame owners have gone to gas struts to provide enough lift assist to manually lift the roof. Without 12V wiring to contend with, the gas struts can be mounted correctly with the moving shaft on the bottom instead of the top.

I should note that the truck campers seem to have it even worse - their units have 4 similar linear actuators instead of 1, with equally dismal failure rates.

Fred W
2019 Flagstaff T21TBHW A-frame
2022 Hyundai Pallisade
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Old 01-29-2022, 01:46 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by pgandw View Post
Mike

The linear actuators are mounted on the sides of A-frames to raise the roof. The larger A-frames - 14ft box - have fairly heavy roofs that are difficult to raise manually unassisted. The Forest River system has left a lot to be desired, even after FR-designed modifications. Because of wiring, the linear actuator has to be mounted "upside down" so that the moving shaft is at the top. Without a perfect (or even good) seal around the shaft, water leaks into the housing, down the housing into the gearbox, and across into the motor. Motor and gearbox are at the bottom instead of at the top, where sealed bases could keep water out.

The photos are evidence that is the water leaking in from the top that causes rust and corrosion, and eventually "failure" of the actuator. Not really failure, just seized up.

After replacing an actuator or two, some-to-many A-frame owners have gone to gas struts to provide enough lift assist to manually lift the roof. Without 12V wiring to contend with, the gas struts can be mounted correctly with the moving shaft on the bottom instead of the top.

I should note that the truck campers seem to have it even worse - their units have 4 similar linear actuators instead of 1, with equally dismal failure rates.

Fred W
2019 Flagstaff T21TBHW A-frame
2022 Hyundai Pallisade
My apologies for not noting the section this was posted in. The term "Linear Actuator" caught my eye because of my upcoming project with one.

What you say makes sense. I've seen many installations on machinery similar to what you described that use "hats" on the actuators (screw or piston type) that redirect water.

When I was still boating I used some specialty marine greases that were designed for WET applications. Was a long time ago and I forgot what the name was but it was supplied by Unocal/Union 76.

I noticed that WD-40 has one that they claim works well in the type of application you have. Water may get into grease but it doesn't degrade it as much and prevents rust/corrosion.

Here's a link.

https://www.wd40.com/products/water-resistant-grease/

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Old 04-24-2022, 08:54 AM   #6
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Grease in LA

Add me to the long list of failures!
I think water gets in the motor side so using waterproof grease will not matter.

I can't believe FR would not address this issue better. This will be my last FR product.

Bill Snyder
A122BHESP
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Old 04-26-2022, 05:00 AM   #7
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Replacement cost

Just got a quote for new actuator, $277. Ouch!
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Old 04-26-2022, 03:56 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by wmsnyder View Post
Just got a quote for new actuator, $277. Ouch!
Search this forum for "gas springs", save yourself $200 and be done with it.
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