Thursday, September 28, 2023


Why does my RV drop like a rock when hydraulic jacks are retracted?

Dear Dave,
My Class C will level easily when using auto level, but when it is time to retract, the motorhome drops like a rock. Recently, the violent drop caused the black ABS drain line in the slideout to break. The RV service center along with Forest River say the unit is working correctly; however, it never worked that way before when I did an auto retract. What’s the solution? —Harry, 2019 Forest River Forester 3271SF

Dear Harry,
Most likely you have Lippert hydraulic jacks or Power Gear, which is also owned by Lippert. Since they retracted smoothly originally, I do not believe they are working correctly as your dealer service center is telling you.

My first question is, are they doing this on every retraction now? I have had similar situations when the unit is parked on a very uneven surface and one or more of the jacks is almost fully extended. In this case, I would use a jack pad underneath to reduce the extension distance. You can find several different brands such as the Camco models on Amazon.

Possible causes for hydraulic jacks issue

If it is doing this all the time, then you most likely have air in the line or low hydraulic fluid. You can find the fluid reservoir close to the motor. On your Class C that is usually in a driver side front compartment. If you have a hydraulic slide room, this typically runs that, as well. Find the motor by extending the jacks and you should be able to hear the motor. Open the compartment and find the reservoir and check the fluid level. If it is low, add the recommended fluid, which is typically an Automatic Transmission Fluid Dexron III.

If the level is good, it could be air in the lines, which needs to be bled. Close all the slide rooms and retract the jacks. Check the fluid level and then run all slide rooms and jacks through 2-3 cycles which should purge the air back through the reservoir tank.

More suggestions

Another trick is to extend the jacks slightly before retracting which will prime the system and may provide a smooth retraction.

I have also found several owners that state using the “auto-level” feature raises the rig a little too high and they do not have the problem when manually leveling. You might want to try this, as well.

If they are Lippert-owned jacks, I would suggest contacting them at and talk with a technician. There is a flapper valve they have had an issue with, according to my Winnebago contact.

 You might also enjoy this from Dave 

Why aren’t the leveling jacks working?

Dear Dave,
How do you check to see if the motor has gone bad on your lifting units that get the RV off of the ground? I hear power when we hit the button to lift all four but they aren’t moving. —Holly

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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14 days ago

Dave, you mentioned cycling the hydraulic system several times to get any air out of the system. So how does air get into a sealed system that that the oil level is at the normal level? If that were the case wouldn’t there be oil leaking someplace & there would be a wet spot!

14 days ago

I do not like extending my jacks all of the way. Before I leave the MH drivers seat, I use a 2 foot level to check the rigs level and will level it with blocks under the tires before putting the jacks down. 2” under a tire means that I will put 2” additional under that jack, I always use large pads that are 2” thick under each jack no matter what. Extending the jacks all of the way can result in not being totally level due to bottoming out, possibly bending a jack, distorting the frame, and etc.
We are currently at a Park where last night I saw a gas powered class A with both front tires off the ground by several inches, that’s a lot of weight on jacks that are about 2” in diameter, they are asking for problems if they continue to do that.

14 days ago

AGAIN a service center doesn’t have a clue of how to fix something or doesn’t want to because it won’t generate enough money for what they would fix….

John Hicks
14 days ago

Stuck velocity valve?

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