Sunday, August 14, 2016

It's Not All Rainbows and Butterflies in the Little RV

Because we didn't have any reservations for our unexpected trip the the Milwaukee area and because it's the weekend we are site hopping. We find a site available for one night here and another site for one night there. Yesterday we were able to secure a site for another night here in the same State park so we only had to move a few spaces down the road. Piece of cake, right? Not for the little RV. 
The Little RV all tucked in.

Once we got the go-ahead to move from the park office we got packed up and started our move. There are only electric hook-ups here so we went to the dump station to empty the gray water tanks and add more fresh water. 

Once that was done we went to the office to pay for another night and then back around the loop to our new site. Once backed in we hooked up the electric and started the process of leveling and putting out the slides. That's where things went so very wrong. 

We have a hydraulic automatic leveling system and our slides are hydraulic as well. Of course there is an electric component to them as well. Part way through the leveling process everything just stopped working. The rear jacks were fully extended but the front jacks were up and the slides would not move. 
Saturday morning about and hour north of Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the middle of nowhere. Clearly no help would be available so we rolled up our sleeves and tackle the problem.

The first thing that came to mind was to check the hydraulic fluid level. We have had our maintenance done professionally and frankly I didn't even know where to look for the hydraulic fluid reservoir. Shame on me.

In case you're wondering we do have some "manuals" for the motorhome but they are basically useless. They explain routine use, tell you to check the fuses, or suggest a manual override but they don't elaborate or even mention where these things are located. I did pull them out but they were not helpful at all.

Internet to the rescue! After frantic searching online and in the forums for our particular motorhome I was able to find enough information to know I had to remove the cover for the entry stairs to find the hydraulic motor and fluid reservoir. 
Under the entry stairs - The hydraulic fluid
reservoir is the white thing in the lower left corner

To my untrained eye, there appeared to be enough fluid. I did not see a full line but there was a dipstick and it was in the fluid so all was well there.

Now what? A fuse, maybe a breaker? The fuses and breakers are located in the bedroom at the foot of the bed. However, the bedroom slide was stuck in and right up against the wall where the fuses and breakers are located. Armed with a flashlight I crawled over the bed and shimmied as far as possible into the space under the foot of the bed to check the breakers. They were all fine so I moved to the other side and shimmied back under the foot of the bed to check the fuses. Because of the confined space and the angle I couldn't see the fuses so I removed them one by one to check for a blown one. They were all just fine. 

Back to the internet. We were able to find something about a breaker for the leveling system under the stairs. So back to the stairs we went. 
The breakers are in the top center of the photo. 

The breakers don't look like regular breakers. They are black boxes with a red leaver that pops out when they are blown. One of the red levers was popped out!! I reset the breaker, climbed over the missing stairs and tried the jacks. Success!! The jacks were working. The slides, not so much. Back to the drawing board. 

Since this all happened at the same time it had to be connected. There must be a fuse or breaker in part of the slide system that was causing the problem, right?

More digging, more tools, more reading, more greasy hands and arms and then the discovery there are fuses behind the cover of a box down there under the stairs. 

The cover of this box said "do not remove cover without disconnecting battery cables".  I disconnected the battery cables and then removed the cover.  Ta-da fuses! Just what I was looking for. The first one I pulled out from the lower right corner was the culprit. I replaced it and Rob went to see if the slides would work. They worked!! 

It took us 5+ hours to figure out how to get things working again but they are working properly and we couldn't be happier. Today we are supposed to move to the Wisconsin State Fair RV Park in Milwaukee. Wish us luck.


  1. A blown fuse or circuit breaker always worries me. Something had to be the cause. And most always, that something is all but impossible to find. Good luck, hope everything will be OK from now on.

    1. Dizzy, the more I think about this incident the more I am certain we were putting the jacks down and the slides out at the same time. Clearly a mistake but I think that's what happened.

  2. If you try to do both things at the same time that probably What tripped your breaker
    Also they make manually reset breakers for those fuses as well ,,, usually marine hardware

    1. Mister Ed, You are correct. I am almost certain we made the mistake of trying to do both at the same time. Thanks for the tip!

  3. I'm glad everything worked out. Have fun in Milwaukee.

  4. Way to be self sufficient and figure things out! Now you know next time and maybe not have to wait for "professional" help!

    1. Texaslady, I hate paying someone else for things I can do myself! Welcome