RV electric steps troubleshooting will help fix them to avoid any inconvenience and ensure your safety. However, you can’t solve a problem when you don’t know the source of the issue. So many issues can affect the functions of the electric steps, from specs of dust to mechanical issues.
In this article, we’ll discuss the common problems that affect the steps and give the best ways to troubleshoot them.
JUMP TO TOPIC
- 1 Why Do You Need to Troubleshoot RV Electric Steps?
- 2 How To Troubleshoot RV Electric Steps (Kwikee Steps)
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
- 4 Conclusion
Why Do You Need to Troubleshoot RV Electric Steps?
You need to troubleshoot RV electric steps when the steps don’t retract after pressing the switch or closing the door. Also, the steps will require troubleshooting if it won’t extend, won’t move though it’s making movement noises, or has battery problems.
When RV Electric Steps Don’t Retract
RV steps come in two kinds: automatic and manual. The automatic steps extend or retract by themselves when the door closes, while the manual requires you to press a button. A magnetic switch at the bottom part of the door activates the automatic steps when the door frame aligns with the magnet. Thus, the steps won’t retract when the magnetic switch doesn’t perfectly align with the door frame.
Ensure you turn off the power to the RV and disconnect the wire connected to the battery terminal. Connect the multimeter’s red terminal to the wire you just disconnected and the black terminal to the RV’s grounding. If the value on the multimeter reads zero, your wires are not the problem, but if it reads any number apart from zero, the wires need replacement. You can also use the override switch, but you need to consult the car’s manual for guidance.
When RV Electric Steps Won’t Extend
Some electrical steps automatically extend when you open the door, while others will only extend when you press a button. However, the steps may refuse to extend if there’s a fault with its operating mechanism. Usually, this happens when a fuse is blown or the electric stairs motor is faulty; you can only determine which one is faulty with a test. To test the RV motor, switch off the power to the motor and remove the wires.
Next, connect each end of the wire to the voltmeter and check if the light illuminates. If the light comes on, the motor is working perfectly; therefore, move on to test the fuse. Most RVs have two types of fuse panels: 12V and 120V, which should be tested differently. To test the 12V, ensure you switch off the power to the components that use that fuse.
Next, remove the fuse from the panel and connect it to the voltmeter to see whether the light illuminates. If the light comes on, the fuse is still functioning; thus, move on to the 120V fuse. Turn off the power to the components that use the fuse and remove the fuse from the panel. Connect the fuse to the circuit test, and if the light doesn’t come on, then it is blown.
A Malfunctioning Control Board
The control board runs the steps, instructing it when to extend and retract. Thus, malfunctioning steps could be blamed on the control board. However, before you can draw a definite conclusion, you have to test the board, switches and grounds. To test the control board, disconnect the power cable from the battery and connect a multimeter to it.
Activate the multimeter and check the DC voltage until it reads 12V. Also, make sure the green ground wire is firmly connected to the RV’s chassis. If the multimeter reads positive or negative 12V, then the control board is faulty. Check all the cables to the controller to ensure they are properly secured.
Check the switches connected to the controller and clean any debris or rust that you spot. Also, examine the magnetic switch and the extend-retract rocker switch to ensure they have proper connections to the control board. Finally, check the voltage running through the switch by connecting a voltmeter to the switch’s contacts. If the switch is pressed, the value should be 0VDC, but if it’s not pressed, the value should read 12VDC.
How To Troubleshoot RV Electric Steps (Kwikee Steps)
To troubleshoot RV electric steps, start by fixing the bad wires, blown fuses, malfunctioning control board, and the electric steps motor. Kwikee step troubleshooting includes using a simple cleaning solution, while others will need a complete replacement. However, if all attempts at motorhome electric step repair fail, contact a professional.
Fixing a Bad Electric Step Wire
Knowing how to fix bad electric step wires can save you from spending money on tow trucks. Moreover, the process isn’t as difficult as it sounds. First, cut the old electric steps wire, which is located at the side of the bus, with wire cutters. Next, remove the old wire and replace it with the new one along the same path.
Now, test the new wiring by switching on the RV to ensure that it is working well. If the control board resumes its normal functions, then all is good. However, if it doesn’t, you need to test the wire to check if you purchased the right one for the job. Some inferior wires may not work in the RV: therefore, be careful with the one you purchase on the market.
Replacing the RV Fuse in Electric-powered Steps
First, open the fuse back and physically identify the blown one. If you notice any blackened, burned or broken fuse, that’s your culprit. With the help of pliers, remove the broken fuse from the box and replace it with a new one.
Ensure that the new fuse faces the same direction as the new one, or else it won’t work. Next, power on the RV and test the new fuse to check whether it’s working. If it isn’t, you can remove that fuse and put another one in its place, following the same directions.
Fixing a Damaged RV Electric Steps Motor
A damaged electric step motor can be inconvenient, as you’ll struggle to climb in and out of the RV. Thus, knowing how to replace it can come in handy when you’re out camping. To replace it, take out the old motor, which is located near the first rung of the stairs. Unscrew the bolts with a wrench and pull out the old motor with your hands.
Next, install the new motor by inserting it into the mounting bracket and screwing it in place. Remember to tighten the screws with the wrench to avoid falling off. Next, test the motor to ensure it is working fine. If the motor is functioning properly, then you’re all set, but if it’s not, then you should seek professional help in solving the problem.
Manually Retracting Stuck RV Steps
Knowing how to manually retract RV steps will help you out of an uncomfortable situation. Locate the step controller near the first rung and pull out the cotter pin with the help of needle-nose pliers. Now, look for the linkage pin that attaches the frame to the control mechanism and push it through the step frame. Next, remove the linkage from the frame.
Roll up the steps by lifting each track until it reaches the end. If the steps get stuck, get under them and push them back by hand. After folding the steps, tie them up with zip ties to keep them from falling back out. Now, you can change the motor according to the steps highlighted above.
The new motor should be able to solve the Kwikee step retraction problem. Once the new motor is in place, fix back the steps according to how you removed them. This method is also effective in fixing RV steps not retracting all the way.
How To Maintain Electric RV Steps
Though they don’t require constant maintenance, taking good care of them will ensure the steps work efficiently. Always clean the steps to eliminate dust and debris that has collected on the steps and in its joints. You can use a soft brush to clean the hinges and a rag to wipe away the dirt on the stairs. Occasionally, you can lubricate the joints to get them moving smoothly without any hindrance.
Also, inspect the wires regularly, tightening loose screws and connections. Ensure that the electrical connections are secure and tight and the panel is working well. Don’t work underneath an electric power step, as it could injure you when it extends or retracts automatically. Always disconnect the power supply to the steps and the RV before working on the steps.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the Automatic RV Steps Fuse Located?
The automatic RV steps fuse is located on the 12V power cable connected to your battery bank. Just look for a fuse holder with a cover that you can remove to access the fuse. You can also consult your car manual if you’re struggling to find the fuse.
As we’ve discovered, troubleshooting faulty RV electric steps isn’t as difficult as you might have thought.
Here is a summary of the major points discussed in this article and our final thoughts:
- The Kwikee electric steps will require troubleshooting if they don’t extend or retract after you press the button or when the door frame aligns with the magnetic switch.
- Also, the RV steps won’t work due to damaged wires, a blown fuse, a malfunctioning control board or a damaged motor.
- To determine which part of the step system is causing the problem, you’ll need to test each of them.
- Once you’ve determined which one of them is the culprit, you can go ahead to fix them according to the steps mentioned in the article.
- Also, ensure you properly maintain the steps by cleaning them frequently and eliminating debris that might have gathered in its joints.
Remember to regularly lubricate the hinges, inspect the wires, tighten loose screws and ensure that the control board is efficiently working. Always switch off the power to the steps before working on it to ensure you don’t injure yourself when it accidentally extends or retracts.
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