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Old 05-20-2012, 08:25 PM   #1
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Default Power tongue jack not working on X215WSK (2011)

Just got my FF out of winter storage, had to raise the front tongue manually as the power tongue would not work. It still will not work with the battery back in and the unit plugged into electricity. What's the problem?? It will neither retract or extend.....the hydraulic power jacks are working as are the awning and slideout. Any suggestions??
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Old 05-21-2012, 06:22 AM   #2
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The first thing to look at is, is it getting 12v ? I had a friend that had the same complaint... Went over to his house and found that when he put his battery back in, he forgot the wire for the power jack Power jacks are usually a direct connection to the battery by a separate fused wire. Found the wire where he had tucked it out of the way, reconnected it and he was good to go... We then had a couple of beers, a good laugh and told the wives that it was one of those "really bizarre electrical problems"... Assuming that you hooked it back up when you put the battery back in...:

Time to get out the trusty VOM

Quite often, with those tongue jacks, the fuse assembly gets moisture inside and the first thing you know is corrosion settles in around the contacts. Dissimilar metals carrying voltage with a fair amount of amperage (as in a tongue jack) will generate a lot of corrosion rather quickly. Pull the fuse, check the contacts and then start tracing the flow of current. Most come with those silly old glass fuses and the crummy twist together holders. I usually, on a new install or repair, I cut that out and install a good bladed, auto resetting fuse, copper grease on the blades and then wrap the whole thing well in fusible electrical tape.

If you are getting 12v into the fuse, and after checking the "out" side of the fuse, you are getting 12v out, the next thing to look at would be the ground path. Power jacks don't have a ground wire (well, most don't, I'm sure there are exceptions) and they rely on the mounting point for a ground to the trailer's frame. Whenever I help someone install a power jack or walk them through it, I make sure that I sand paint off of the jack's mounting plate and the area that the plate covers on the tongue and then use a paste grease that has copper in it (it is actually an anti-sieze grease, but, the copper has excellent current passing properties and prevents corrosion of the mounting surfaces that were sanded to bare metal) to coat both surfaces. It is possible that your mounting points are still painted and the bolts, particularly if they aren't installed on toothed washers aren't making a good ground path. The ground path is the most often overlooked part of a power jack installation, both by the factory and DIYs...these jacks use a lot of current and they can't draw that current in if they can't pass it out.

The switch is another problem area...again moisture gets in them (they aren't the high tech, expensive marine rated versions) and they fail. That's why most of us keep the jack's head covered with a bucket, or in my case, a water proof bag. The water proof bag was my choice; it kept the head dry, I didn't have to take it off to work the jack's switch and once tied on (it had a draw string closure) it wouldn't come off going down the road. It is possible the switch has failed. If you've established 12v into the motor and the ground path is clean and solid, the switch may be your problem.

It is possible the motor's fried, but, my money is on the current's path. In my years of using them, I've never had a motor go bad...wiring (current path) a definite yes, gearboxes yes (I've seen one), but, never a motor, so, IMHO, that's a long shot. Usually a mechanical reason (motor or gearbox) will give you "advance" warning; a grinding or ratcheting sound or a gradual reduction in ability to lift.

Power jacks are a simple device and 99% of the problems with them are usually with the electrical path. Dust off the VOM and good luck!



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Old 06-03-2012, 05:30 PM   #3
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Default Update!

Thanks Webslave - some helpful trouble shooting hints as I continue to learn more about tinking with this unit. To make a long story short - no pun intended - the motor had shorted out and needed to be replaced. I guess that is what one Canadian winter can do! Needless to say, I will be making a small investment in a cover for the next tongue jack...never even occurred to me to have one before. Good thing for extended warranty!
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Old 06-04-2012, 07:27 AM   #4
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Webslave;

Haven't had any difficulty but thanks for the heads up.

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Old 06-04-2012, 11:33 AM   #5
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Wow! You must have, at one time, gotten a fair amount of water in the motor housing to cause it to short out, or, just a poorly manufactured motor, which I guess is possible. At least you got it tracked down and fixed and under warranty to boot and, yes sir, one of the simplest things you can do to add to the jack's longevity is a cover for the head where the electronics are located. There isn't much to them and the housing, to allow access and ease of maintenance, is the weakest link in preventing water incursion.

This is the bag that I used:

Soft cover for jack head

It isn't anything special; water proof bag with a draw string closure. Simple, not bad looking and quite effective. As I mentioned, I could even operate the up/down switch through the bag and the only time I took it off was for maintenance on the jack (every couple of years the head needs to come off and the gearbox needs "topping up" with grease) or if I needed the built in lights (very infrequently; maybe once, I like getting in early). I found that the bag will last 3 or 4 years of constant exposure before it needs to be replaced; not bad for ~$11.00 USD. I'm sure you can find something similar north of the border since shipping to our northern friends is frightening.



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2 Cats; J-Lo and Ragamuffin :R

2014 Thor Tuscany 40RX DP
2011 Ram 2500 Longhorn CTD HO
2011 Keystone Cougar 318SAB (now gone)
2008 FunFinder X 210WBS (Sadly gone)
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