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Ask Dave: What’s all the noise when using Power Gear jacks?

Dear Dave,
I am getting creaking and popping sounds from my Power Gear jacks. I have tried draining a quart of fluid from the reservoir and adding a quart of Fork Oil then running jacks up and down. Didn’t help! I did it again per instructions, but it’s still creaking and popping. So, I drained the whole reservoir and added all-new ATF. Good for three days and now back to creaking and popping! Any suggestions as to what is wrong or what to do next? —Laurie

Dear Laurie,
Typically, creaking and popping in a hydraulic system indicates air in the system or a breakdown of the hydraulic fluid. It also is typically combined with the jacks creeping slightly.

Check Power Gear jack lines for air

I would start by taking off the cap of the hydraulic fluid reservoir and looking for any foam or bubbles. You might want to extend and retract the jacks first and then look for the bubbles. If there is air in the line, you would need to run the jacks in and out several times to force the air through the line to the reservoir.

What is the temperature this is happening at? If you are using just a traditional ATF fluid, it could be affected by below-freezing temperatures and could cause this issue. If it is cold, I would change the ATF fluid with Fork Oil and Power Gear and suggest using Cat Hydraulic Oil Additive instead.

According to my Power Gear technician, you should change the fluid every 36 months, spray the cylinder with silicone lubrication every 6-7 days if extended for long periods of time, and also grease the fitting on the bottom of the shafts with lithium grease every 20-30 uses to lubricate the seals.

Power Gear recommends…

I would believe that if you drained the entire system and it worked for three days, there was probably some air that got in the lines. Here is what Power Gear recommends for the oil change procedure.

Click to enlarge

Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club.

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Bob p
6 months ago

It could also be RV itself creaking and popping if one or more jacks is out of sync. I don’t know what the manufacturer uses to keep everything synchronized, but my industrial back ground in hydraulics I know when using multiple cylinders if one cylinder has a bind the other cylinders will keep going creating an unbalanced load and a binding situation.

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