Friday, April 26, 2013

Standing on one leg

Over the past few months (6 or so), we have had some on again/off again issues with our front landing jacks. Some sticking, some not wanting to move, and most recently, total failure. Thankfully, not catastrophic, but that is mostly because the fifth wheel was still hooked up to the truck. With each incident, we have tried different remedies, trying to systematically work through the whole system to isolate the issue. There may have been several, but I am now confident that they will work normally from now on, since I have taken off and tested the motor, inspected and greased the reduction gear box, installed a new wireless controller and overloads, and now a brand new leg.

As I mentioned, the most recent failure was several threads inside the opposite door jack just shearing off, causing the leg to not support any weight. It happened when I was getting ready to unhook from the truck and had just started to take the weight off of the truck, so it just returned the load to the truck.

For anyone wondering what it takes to replace one of these legs, it is really, really easy. It took me 20 minutes to pull off the bum leg and about 45 to put the new one on, but I did take some extra time to clean some items up while I had the system disassembled and to document the process. The photos are of a Keystone Mountaineer 345DBQ, and the parts are from Lippert. Parts and shipping for the leg were about $320.
The old leg in back and new in the front. I had to take the foot and locking pin off of the old leg and put it on the new one. A little WD-40 to clean them up and they almost look new.

The two brackets that the leg mounts into.

The leg bolted into the brackets.

The bracket where it is welded to the frame. Take note of the protrusions on the leg and how they sit on the bracket. This is how the load is primarily transferred from the frame to the leg. The bolts are there to hold these in place. Be sure that both protrusions are properly seated before placing weight onto the leg.

The view looking up.

Inside the front compartment, this rod is how the motor attaches to the leg and actuates it. For our rig, one motor controls both legs.

Attach the motor. I left the other leg off of the motor and adjusted the new one to match the existing leg first...

...then I hooked up the tie rod so that they would operate in sync. I set the RV onto some temporary stands so that I could then let the legs take the weight.

And viola! We have a new leg installed. I marked the factory 'all the way in' point with a sharpie so that I knew how far I could run it in with out damage.

Because of the legs mounting to the outside of the frame, it was easy to slide it in and out, and I didn't have to worry about being over a pit to have to slide it straight down. I know that other rigs don't have this much access and clearance and may require extra steps/effort to accomplish this process. I hope that this is informative and a useful aide for anyone wanting to work on their legs.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Fun in the Sun at Siesta Key Beach

It is amazing at how different the beaches can be within a few miles of each other on Florida's Gulf Coast. We have visited several beaches during our stay, having played at rocky sand beaches, shell and coral sand beaches, more coarse play sand-like beaches, and today we visited a white sand beach. If you know Stephanie, it is not hard to figure out that she prefers the white sand beaches, so it was a little easier to convince her to go to the beach today, and to stay and play for awhile. I have been itching to get to Siesta Key Beach since we arrived on the Gulf Coast. My parents brought me to this beach as a child, and I have such great memories of it. Needless to say, my memory was correct, and now I can only hope that my children remember this amazingly beautiful and fun beach as well.

We arrived in the late morning so that we would be able to get a parking spot and avoid being out in the heat of the day. The sand was soft and smooth and the tide was just starting to come in. The kids and I had fun playing in the surf, building a small lake to splash in, with a tide wall to protect it. With the tide coming in, it was a losing battle, but it kept us entertained for awhile. The shore gradually slopes into the water, so the three older kids and I had some fun jumping into some knee high waves (knee high for them).

Soon enough lunch time approached and we headed out, covered in sand and fun.