Wednesday, November 29, 2023


RV’s step doesn’t retract when I close the door or start the engine. What to do?

Dear Dave,
My RV’s step no longer retracts when I close the door or start the engine. How can I fix it? —Ray, 2001 Triple E Signature

Dear Ray,
I assume you have a Kwikee electric step, which is now owned by Lippert. You should have an owner’s manual in the packet that has troubleshooting detailed. However, since it’s a 2001, it may not be there anymore. (Here’s a link to the RV’s owner’s manual.)

First thing to check

The first thing I would check is the ground wire as it comes off the control unit and is mounted to either the frame of the step or the chassis. They are notorious for rusting and not getting a good contact. You may need to remove it and reattach to a good metal ground source.

Next, check to see if the light comes on and the step tries to energize when you open the door. Make sure the battery disconnect is closed to allow power from the house battery and also make sure the door switch is on. If the light comes on, there is power to the control module. If the motor tries to engage, there is power to the motor. That would mean the motor is seized or the hinges are binding.

If there is no power, disconnect the 4-way wire connector. Using a multimeter set on 12-volt DC, insert the red probe into the red wire connector and touch the black probe to ground. It should read 12 volts.

If the voltage is low, check the voltage at the battery to verify 12.6 volts, cables, and wiring to the step. If there is no voltage, check the fuse in the distribution center.

Test the motor

To test the motor, disconnect the 2-wire connection going to the motor. You will need a 12-volt power source such as an extra battery. Place the red wire on the positive side of the battery and the yellow wire to the negative. The step will extend if the motor is good. If not, you need a new motor.

Test the on/off switch

To test the switch, typically located in the entrance area, connect a multimeter between the white wire on the 4-way connector on the vehicle side and the green ground wire. It should read 12 volts with the switch on and zero with it off.

Test the door switch

Your rig most likely has a magnetic door switch with one part on the screen door and the other on the door jamb.

To test this, connect a multimeter to the red and brown wires on the 4-way connector on the vehicle side. There should be 12 volts when the door is closed and zero when open.

 You might also enjoy this from Dave 

My RV’s entrance steps only work intermittently. What’s the problem?

Hi Dave,
My problem is that my RV’s electric entrance steps do not work all of the time. I have had the step motor out and it runs fine on the bench but it will not work when hooked up. The fuse is good and the grounds have been freshened up. Help! —Paul

Read Dave’s answer.

Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and the author of the “RV Handbook.”

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Dave Solberg
Dave Solberg
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. He has been in the RV Industry since 1983 and conducts over 15 seminars at RV shows throughout the country.



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Neal Davis (@guest_243928)
4 months ago

Thank you, Dave!

Alpenliter (@guest_241922)
5 months ago

One word of caution: keep fingers away from mechanism when testing. They will take a finger off!

G Smith (@guest_241921)
5 months ago

My first check would be to see if the steps had been lubricated monthly, with the recommended product, on a monthly schedule per the manual and the big yellow decal on the step itself.

Bill (@guest_241872)
5 months ago

One last thing to try before you condemn the motor. Activate the steps (so they are “trying” to deploy or stow) and tap the motor with a hammer. A few light taps might just get the motor back working.

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