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Old 05-02-2017, 05:02 PM   #1
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Electric Winch will go down but not take the roof up

I've just bought a 2007 Flagstaff with the electric lift. The previous owners had gotten it to go up but I took it out this last weekend and when switching to up, no sound is made even. It will however, continue to go down to a certain point. I'm new to the electric lift so am very green. It may be something really simple. I'm used to the 1987 hand crank heart attack.

Any help would be appreciated. Thank you
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Old 05-02-2017, 05:14 PM   #2
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Hoping it is as easy as a bad switch.
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Old 05-02-2017, 05:16 PM   #3
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Couple of things to check. The switch may be bad It just reverses the power supplied to the winch. Also the battery could be dying. Moving down requires very little power as the weight of the top helps. Up on the other hand puts a load on the winch and the battery may not be able to supply it. If the battery is original, definitely check it. You can take it to an auto supply store for a load test.

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Old 05-02-2017, 05:46 PM   #4
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It won't even make a sound like it's putting an effort into going up. So I'm thinking the switch may be a possibility. I think they replaced the battery last year. Thank you for the info.
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Old 05-03-2017, 10:19 AM   #5
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There are two limit switches in those units. One to stop it going up and one to stop it going down. It sounds like the 'up' limit switch is stuck open.

Here's a page with pictures of how they look.
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Old 05-03-2017, 11:03 AM   #6
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First, despite the book length reply, this is actually a simple problem. Don't be intimidated. If you're not the "handyman" type, a friend or neighbor will be able to help. This stuff isn't rocket science. Have your "helper" read this. It should make perfect sense to a person who understands simple electricity. This is not "electronics." It's household level electricity.

Things to rule out based on your comments:
  • Battery. If it moves one way or the other, the battery should at least attempt to raise the roof. Dead silence is the key here.
  • Breaker. Same as above.
  • Wiring...a remote possibility. A visual inspection will answer. Is there visible corrosion on the connectors? If so, remove, clean (baking soda and water with a tooth brush) and replace. That's very unlikely but possible.
    Broken or dangling wire? Highly unlikely, but take a look. It would be obvious from visual inspection.
    If you want to rule out connections, get some needle nose pliers and remove and replace each connector to ensure that it's making good contact. Very unlikely to help.

Based on your comments, my first instinct is that a relay is bad. The relays have a brand (probably Durakool) and a number. You can order them on Amazon, or they may be available from a local car parts store...as well as the RV dealers nearby. I'd give this option about a 90% chance of being it.

Another possibility is that your "limit switch" is broken at one end of the limit of travel. A broken limit switch is fairly likely, but having it be broken at the extreme limit really reduces the chances of it being the problem.

You can use an allen wrench to adjust the limits (and there may be a plastic allen tool in your bag of owner's manuals.
"Rock" the allen screw back and forth about 1/2 turn in each direction, then return it to its original setting. The angled end of the allen wrench will serve as a pointer so you can do this with quite a bit of precision. If the allen screw moves easily in both directions, that limit setting is probably fine. Do the same thing on the other. If you can move one way but not the other, you are at the extreme limit, and it's likely that by adjusting the screw a couple of turns in the direction it moves easily, it will restore power.

Symptoms of a limit switch maladjustment or failure are usually more like the roof goes up but stops 6" short of fully raised. No movement at all points to a relay failure.

While you're in there, if you have the type of limit switch I do, examine the plastic "ring" gear. It may be broken from the sale demo. They are fragile...a poor design. If so, you can simply adjust the limit switch as above, remove the cheap plastic (broken) ring gear to disable the drive mechanism that makes the switches function, and do without the limit switch. Just pay attention (as you should) when raising and lowering the roof. I'll hasten to add, however, that if you have ANY doubts about your ability to manage the roof winch without the safety of a limit switch, replace it. I find it superfluous, but, let's say your teenage kid might raise and lower the roof....get a replacement limit switch!

The way the limit switches work is: The switches are "normally closed". That means that unless the switch is activated, the "lights are on" all the time. When you reach the "limit", a mechanism "opens" the switch, breaks the circuit, and the "lights go off." Thus no power to the winch. The procedure I described above restores power through the switch.

If you don't have one, spend $10 on a modest VOM (volt-ohm meter--a.k.a. multimeter). You can check "continuity" (a complete circuit) through the toggle switch that raises and lowers the roof and through the limit switches. Bear in mind that there are two general types of limit switch. One is the uber-complex model in my winch, and the other is a far simpler arrangement (not covered in my diatribe....and far less likely to fail).

It's easy to test the "raise/lower" toggle switch and to test whether you have a continuous circuit through the limit switches. Here's a long list of instruction on using a VOM (or multimeter). https://www.google.com/search?q=how+...utf-8&oe=utf-8

The VOM can also test your battery voltage...a 12 Volt battery, when fully charged, should be about 13.5 volts - roughly.

This question comes up often, so I wrote this boilerplate response.

The winch lift for the camper seems to be trouble-prone. There are two key weaknesses:
1) The relays that supply power to the motor do not seem to be outdoor relays, but they are exposed to lots of dirt and moisture. Replacement relays are readily available. I used silicone to seal the relay cases of my replacements. I don't know if that will improve their life or not, but the cases were not sealed, and both relays failed at the end of last season.
2. All use limit switches to stop the motor at max height and minimum height. (You can, of course, just pay attention, but the limit switch accommodates the inattentive.) Some limit switches are simple. But mine was a bizarrely complex mechanism that only a mad scientist could invent. I spent 22 years in commercial broadcast TV, and all satellite dishes, microwave dishes, and so on have limit switches, but NOTHING like this. My limit switch is depicted in part #2 in this diagram. https://www.tesstools.net/P92001_Pop...rts_s/2463.htm Mine is an orange cylinder, about the diameter of a banana and 6" long. It had an outer plastic gear that engaged with the main, steel lift gear. The plastic gear failed, AND the "key" and "keyway" that allowed the gear to engage the drive drum sheared off, too.
Since I do pay attention when I raise and lower the camper, and since the electric switches in the limit switch are "normally closed" (always on unless a small plunger is depressed), I disabled the limit switch. A straight piece of wire would be the same. I think it is a poor design, and, at $38 a pop to prevent stupidity, I'd no more replace it than shoot myself in the foot. In the harsh environment on the A-frame of a trailer, it's exposed to dust, dirt, pebbles, water and anything else that sprays up off your tow vehicle tires. I disassembled the device, made sure the numerous gears, shafts and so on were "neutralized" so they would not interfere with the winch operation, used a VOM meter to verify "continuity" through the switch - a continuous circuit - and put it back. I'll buy a new one for installation when I sell the camper one day.
3) The manual override works great so long as you have a good cordless drill (and perhaps a spare battery) to drive it. Hand cranking would take forever. It's easy, but way too slow. Lifting the camper roof with the hand crank might take an hour!! A cordless drill will raise or lower the roof about half as fast as the winch motor. All you need is one of these: https://smile.amazon.com/Camco-57363...er+jack+socket And you can use your drill and this socket to raise and retract the stabilizer jacks, too.

I apologize for the short novel, but as easy as this stuff is to do, it's far harder to describe. If all else fails, use your drill and go manual. I did for quite a while, because it's not much different than running the winch.

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Old 05-03-2017, 11:24 AM   #7
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As you are going through the test procedure with the battery disconnected, check the resistance between the jack post and the TT A frame. Common spot for corrosion since that is the ground path. Most have internal star washers at the mating surfaces for just that reason. While you are at it follow the - cable to the frame and clean the contact surfaces and don't be afraid to use dielectric grease on re assembly
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