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Post Info TOPIC: 5th Wheel Landing Gear Issues


RV-Dreams Community Member

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5th Wheel Landing Gear Issues


HI,
I am new to this group and hope to get answers to my stupid questions and meet new people along they way.

My wife and I just purchased a 5th wheel 2008 Everest 344J made by Keystone.  This is not our first trailer but it is our first 5th wheel. 

My question is about the front landing gear.  It's electric operation.  We have had the driver side leg break twice now.  Meaning that it will not go up and down when you push the button to move the legs and the leg will slide freely up and down and will not support any weight.  It is with the dealer now being fixed for the second time within 2 months.  They state that it is a part failure. 

Could I be doing soemthing wrong to cause this to happen?  Any suggestions you have for me would be great!

Thank You
confused

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2008 Everest 344J
2005 Chevy 2500HD Diesel
Weekend Warrior (Full timer some day)


RV-Dreams Family Member

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Probably not..... they are pretty rugged.

However, there have been a lot of cases where one or both landing gear get bent due to contact with the ground while in motion. For example, you raise the gear up just a little to re-position the trailer and hit bump in the roadway with enough force the landing gear gets tweaked and binds when raising or lowering. This bind causes gear failure or motor failure.

I had a friend that had his 5th wheel come unhitched while doing about 20 MPH. He though there was no damage, but one of the landing gear motors failed a month later and the cause was due to a bent tube.

Some factories leave the landing gear extended and use a fork lift to move the 5th wheel from work area to work area on the assembly line. I've watched the fork lift operators kind of slide the 5th wheels to a stop on the landing gear and wondered if they dropped it a little too hard or were going just a little too fast what kind of damage they might be doing.

On my original landing gear, a single motor controlled both sides, there was a clutch (may not be an accurate name) that holds the gears in place when raising or lowering. This clutch went bad and I had a popping motion, the trailer would only raise so far and then stop. The factory had changed the landing gear design so they had to change both sides. Now there is a motor for each side and they operate independantly. I like this better, gives me more control on uneven ground.

One of the motors overheats if I need to extend the landing gear to near maximum height the internal breaker in the motor will trip and I have to wait a few minutes before using it again. I've learned to just use it in spurts instead of continnous like I can with the other side.

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Larry
"Small House, Big Yard "
7 years to go to FT
Alfa See-Ya 5'er and 2007 Kodiak C4500 Monroe Pickup


RV-Dreams Community Member

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Thank you for the comments.  This has one motor that drives both legs.  I make sure that I dont move the trailer while the legs are down.

One other question.  How level is level when making sure to not stress the legs?  Front to back and side to side?  Many camp sites are not that level and require blocks under the legs or under the tires to level.  Could this contribute to the problem?  Sometimes I need to but a 1 inch block under one of the legs when leveling to get both legs to touch at the same time. 

My drive way I park my trailer in is on a slight front to back slant.  Meaning if I want to level the trailer while parked in the drive I have to extend the landing gear about 12 inches to get it level.  Would this cause the landing gear to fail?

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2008 Everest 344J
2005 Chevy 2500HD Diesel
Weekend Warrior (Full timer some day)


RV-Dreams Family Member

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Date:

I don't think being a little off level would contribute to your problem.  There are lots of possibilities one that I do not see mentioned often is when retracting the landing gear to the up position do not take it quite all of the way, when you do this you put a lot of stess on the landing gear.  It is possible to snap a shear bolt in the landing gear assembly or do worse damage if the bolt does not shear.  The dealer should be able to determine if it is just a defective assembly or some other problem.

Good luck and Happy Camping!

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RV-Dreams Family Member

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The landing gear can handle quite a bit of static stress, so off level side to side or front to back won't do damage. Just make sure you chock the tires front and back or use a locking type chock between the tires, to minimize the front to back movement of the 5th wheel.

Chances are there's some sort of damage or mis-alignment that is causing the part to fail.

I try to level the trailer side to side using blocks under the tires. Then I unhitch using at least a 6X4 under each pad of the landing gear.  And add additional wood so the pads touch at the sametime. If I'm in a spot where I really need to raise the front of the 5th wheel to get level, I will stack (log cabin style) as much wood as I can under the pads. I try to only run the landing gear up about a foot. No real reason just preference.

I've been in spots where I've ran the landing gear to it's full extent to get level and didn't have any wood to stack with no ill affect to the landing gear.

Unless the front of your 5th wheel is way overloaded and straining the landing gear system, it really sounds like you have some sort of alignment or binding issue that is causing a part to fail. The dealer should be able to figure it out.

-- Edited by thebearII at 14:36, 2008-11-18

-- Edited by thebearII at 14:37, 2008-11-18

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Larry
"Small House, Big Yard "
7 years to go to FT
Alfa See-Ya 5'er and 2007 Kodiak C4500 Monroe Pickup


RV-Dreams Family Member

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Be careful with constant movement in your 5ver. Chock your tires and keep it as steady as you can. Some models of 5th wheels have had problems with the landing gear breaking welds from constant back and forth movement while extended for long periods of time. Keep an eye on these welds if you stay for long periods of time in one place and you have a washer and dryer on board. The shaking back and forth can cause some serious damage. You might want to invest in a tripod for the front to cut down on the sway on the landing gear. Some 5th wheels do not have this type of wear it depends on how they are used but it is something to keep and eye on. One other thing not related to the landing gear but the 5th wheel pin box should be examined often for welds that are cracked and showing signs of wear.

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Joe and Sherri Living in a Tiffin 35QBA Motorhome towing a Jeep Sahara. http://speedysgreatadventure.blogspot.com/

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