Sticky Steps

March 20, 2013
Filed under RV Tech Q&A

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I purchased a new 2000 Itasca Suncruiser 35U and have never been more pleased. I have kept the unit in exceptional shape and everything still operates as new, except the retracting step. No matter how much WD-40 I use, it still stops retracting. Is there a better lubricant, or should I bite the bullet and replace the step entirely? It goes out and back about half way.

Wayne Fletcher | Via email

WD-40 has its uses, but it is not a very good lubricant, as the oil in it is diluted. The step may be slightly bent, or a pivot is corroded. Most electric-step manufacturers recommend not using WD-40 or a silicone-based lube. A quality moisture and heat-resistant penetrating grease should be used every 30 days after a through cleaning. Step manufacturer Kwikee sells KwikLube, which is designed for steps.

Spray the moving parts with fresh water, remove salt, mud and grime from all moving parts and let them dry. Lubricate the shaft bearings, bushings and any bearings. Electrical connections should be protected with a dab of dielectric grease. Cam stops may need adjusting if your steps feel loose. See the owner’s manual for the proper adjustment.

If they still stick I suggest you disconnect the power drive and work it by hand to see exactly why it’s binding. It would also help to check the voltage being supplied to the step’s motor. If the wiring connections are loose or corroded, the motor may not have enough power to move past an otherwise harmless bind in the system.

– Ken Freund


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