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Old 10-27-2022, 08:38 PM   #1
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Troubleshooting Electric Step Problems

Here is a lot of info that may help diagnose electric step problems.

I just completed repair on my electric steps and it was much easier than I originally thought. My symptom was the steps would not extend no matter what I did. This happened once before but cleared up when I started the engine which raised the voltage a tad which resulted in the steps extending and working fine for awhile.

This time the voltage increase had no effect. So I armed myself with all the electrical info I needed to troubleshoot the problem. Being an electronic tech, this troubleshooting should be a snap. Simple circuit as long as the problem would stay put while I took measurements.

I crawled underneath to see what I could access and it appeared to be hard to access everything while laying on my back and reaching around the hardware. I decided that working on it this way was a job for my son who is much thinner, younger, more agile, and everything else that this 72 year old isn't. Besides, he is a Chevy electrical mechanic so I had full confidence in his ability. The problem was he couldn't assist for a couple of weeks because he just bought a new motor home (4 wheel drive no less, didn't know they existed) and was in the process of modifying everything.

Being an impatient person I wanted to see if I could do the work myself. I peeked in through the steps and could see the components and could get my hands in there but it would be tight. If only the steps were extended. Well, turns out you can remove the pin that connects the motor linkage to the steps and happy days, the steps extended free of the motor hardware.

Now I could easily get to things to measure voltages and also check to see if the steps were binding at all. I bought a wire piercing tool from Amazon which allows you to poke a wire and take a reading. I didn't know these things existed and they are indeed a life saver.

Anyway, I took measurements on the 12 volt supply voltage and verified the magnetic door switch worked. When I measured the voltage right across the motor I got nothing. Made me thing the controller was bad. Then I realized I had the switch set to keep the steps extended which takes the motor out of the equation (unless you start your engine).

With the switch in the position that make the steps go in and out with door usage I now was seeing voltage on the motor. It was only a brief pulse but at least it was there. I had read a bulletin on what is called a locked rotor state where the electronics don't work because the motor has been locked out due to a bind in the system. Unfortunately the fix mentioned did not help my problem.

Since I could access everything with the steps extended I decided to pull the motor. It came out pretty easily and when I cycled the door the motor worked just fine. Reconnecting the linkage allowed normal linkage operation (steps were still disconnected).

I believe the source of my problem was a jammed motor/gear due to me short cycling the steps. What I had done was partially open the door and then close it right away. The steps were only slightly extended when they were forced back into the retracted position. The motor would have hit it harder than normal before it timed out. I think it simply bound things up some where the control motor current sensing circuit thought the motor was in a locked state.

I decided to replace the motor as I found a lot of people had motor problems. Swapped in the new motor, reconnected the step hardware to the motor linkage, and cycled the door many times. Working like a champ.

Boy am I long winded! I am attaching some docs that will help anyone with a step problem (provided they have the Kwikee brand of steps) to help isolate the problem.

My recommendations are to first disconnect the steps from the linkage. You remove a carter pin and drive a linkage pin out with a hammer. This allows easy access plus makes it safer in the event the motor energizes while your arms are inside the housing. Take a voltage reading across the motor first to see if the controller is trying to energize it. If voltage is there, the problem most likely is in the motor/gearbox. Remember to try both positions of the step switch. If there is no voltage at all, the problem could be in the supply voltage, door switch, controller, or whatever. Just a suggestion.

Attached documents:

Kwikee Part IDs - shows all models to help identify your model and has part numbers of components.
Kwikee Locked Rotor State Test - describes how to fix a locked rotor condition.
Step Service Manual 1,2,3,4 - Kwikee service manual for their line of steps. Had to split it into pieces due to forum size limits.
Jayco 12 Volt Chassis - shows how the steps may be wired into your rig (this is for my 2017 Ford E450 chassis).
Capture - picture of the wire piercers that are great to take measurements).
Capture1 - picture of the cables I used to connect the wire piercers to my test meter.
Attached Thumbnails
Capture.JPG   Capture1.JPG  
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Kwikee Part IDs.pdf (406.3 KB, 45 views)
File Type: pdf Kwikee-Locked-Rotor-State-Test.pdf (63.5 KB, 33 views)
File Type: pdf Jayco 12V Chassis.pdf (448.1 KB, 47 views)
File Type: pdf Step Service Manual 1.pdf (4.79 MB, 62 views)
File Type: pdf Step Service Manual 2.pdf (3.97 MB, 37 views)
File Type: pdf Step Service Manual 3.pdf (4.59 MB, 30 views)
File Type: pdf Step Service Manual 4.pdf (538.2 KB, 32 views)
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Old 02-22-2023, 07:09 PM   #2
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Electric steps

Jim thanks. I have no idea what brand I have but Iím going to try your suggestions.
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Old 04-26-2023, 05:46 PM   #3
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Electric steps issue

First of all, thanks for the detailed post. I am having an issue with my steps and was hoping you might help. Recently, I noticed my steps did not extend when I opened the coach door. After I hoisted myself into the MH, I noticed a strange clicking noise under the dash. After trying to find the source of the noise, I tried to start the engine and the battery was almost completely dead. I used the override to start it with the coach battery. After all this I noticed my steps will only operate when the coach door is opened. The ignition override does not retract the steps when the vehicle is started and the power switch inside the door has no effect on the step operation in either the on or off position.
I believe the clicking noise I was hearing was the Auto circuit breaker actuating due to the extremely low battery voltage and high current draw from the step motor.
I believe the issue(s) to be either a blown fuse(s) or the controller for the step is bad. Before I go out and buy a controller or do a bunch more troubleshooting, I wanted to check the fuses but I cannot find them.
There is a 5 amp fuse in the circuit for the on/off switch and another one from the fuse panel that gets power when the ignition is on. Would you have an idea where these fuses would be located? Any help would be greatly appreciated. I have a 2012 Jayco Greyhawk 31DS on a Ford E450 Chassis.
TIA
Jeff Domino
Attached is the diagram with the fuses highlighted.
Power step wiring diagram fuses.pdf
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Old 04-26-2023, 06:41 PM   #4
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When the ignition switch is "on" the steps will follow the door meaning when the door is open the steps will be out and when the door is closed the steps will retract. That is built into the controller. The override switch should be disabled.

To truly test the door you need to have the battery up to charge and the ignition off.
Attached Thumbnails
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Old 04-26-2023, 07:22 PM   #5
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Ignition off

Jim
Thanks for the prompt reply.
All of the troubleshooting I have done thus far is with the ignition switch off. With the ignition switch off, the on/off switch does not perform its function. The steps extend and retract with door operation regardless of switch position with the ignition switch off. The switch is good. I tested it with an ohm meter. Also, the steps do not retract when extended when the ignition switch is placed in the on position.
In the past, the switch inside the door would disable step operation when placed in off. Turning the ignition switch on would cause the steps to retract. It doesn't do that anymore. The steps will only operate with the door. That is why I think I may have blown a fuse in the other two (ignition and master switch) circuits. I replaced the battery so it is good.
Jeff
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Old 04-27-2023, 04:06 PM   #6
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If it were me I would check the inputs at the control board. I previously mentioned an easy method to measure each wire going to the board by puncturing it with a probe. If the inputs are all correct and change states like they are suppose to but yet the board output isn't doing what it is suppose to, the board would be suspect as being the problem.
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Old 04-27-2023, 05:29 PM   #7
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That tool may come in handy for a number of uses. I guess Kwikee has a plug in connector that can also be used. But what I am really looking for is the location of the two fuses I mentioned in my original post. I would like to rule that out before I go further. Any idea where I would find them?
Thanks
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Old 04-27-2023, 06:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
That tool may come in handy for a number of uses. I guess Kwikee has a plug in connector that can also be used. But what I am really looking for is the location of the two fuses I mentioned in my original post. I would like to rule that out before I go further. Any idea where I would find them?
Thanks
Jeff
No idea since I didn't have to search for them. Typically a fuse will be located close to the power source so as to protect the wire run to the controlled item. If you can't easily find it you can still verify its operation by checking the line at the control board.

Don't you just love electrical problems? Be thankful it is not intermittent as that is the worse case to troubleshoot.
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Old 04-27-2023, 07:59 PM   #9
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Thumbs up Thanks

Jim,
I agree. Electrical problems can be a nightmare. Especially in these motorhomes where the wiring looks like a tangled mess of colored spaghetti. That's why guys like you are such a blessing for the rest of us on this forum. Thanks for your contributions!
The more I noodle on this, the more I think the controller is shot. Got a couple more things I want to test tomorrow and probably give Kwikee a call. In the meantime, I plan to order one of those fancy wire piercer thingys. I can see that coming in handy for a lot of things.
I'll come back and let you know what I found, if you're interested. Anyways, thanks for all the help and thanks for supporting the forum.
Happy camping!!!!
Jeff Domino
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Old 04-27-2023, 08:14 PM   #10
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By all means please post your resolution. It mat help someone else down the road. By the time you are done with this, you will be a step specialist for the next RVer with a step problem.
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Old 05-16-2023, 07:14 PM   #11
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Found it!

I crawled under the steps today to look for the information for the steps. While I was under there, I started looking at the wiring harness and tracing wires. I found the red wire that goes to the switch inside and traced it to a blue wire that went to a black rectangular box and back to the red wire. As I looked it over, I realized that this must be the fuse for the power that goes to the switch. I flipped the top open and lo-and-behold, there's a fuse in there. I pulled the fuse and found that it had blown. It was a standard 2 spade 5 amp automotive fuse. I replaced it with a new one of the same amperage and put the cover boot back on. Now for the test...Opened the door, steps came out. Flipped the switch inside, closed the door and steps stayed out. Started the coach and the steps retracted. Woo Hoo! Success! Everything works perfect! I did not find a fuse for the ignition circuit, but I believe the Ford Chassis drawing is more accurate. The Ford Chassis drawing has the fuse on the supply side of the ignition circuit and everything else on that circuit works fine (power mirrors, levelers, camera, etc.) and now that the circuit works for the steps, either my theory is correct, or the fuse that is shown on the Kwikee drawing for that circuit didn't blow. One other thing I found. The wires going to the step power fuse housing are pretty brittle and cracked right next to the fuse housing. So I will have to add some liquid electrical tape to my RV tool kit and use a little dab to protect those wires. Thanks for your help. Those drawings really helped me solve my problem.
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Old 05-16-2023, 08:08 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
I crawled under the steps today to look for the information for the steps. While I was under there, I started looking at the wiring harness and tracing wires. I found the red wire that goes to the switch inside and traced it to a blue wire that went to a black rectangular box and back to the red wire. As I looked it over, I realized that this must be the fuse for the power that goes to the switch. I flipped the top open and lo-and-behold, there's a fuse in there. I pulled the fuse and found that it had blown. It was a standard 2 spade 5 amp automotive fuse. I replaced it with a new one of the same amperage and put the cover boot back on. Now for the test...Opened the door, steps came out. Flipped the switch inside, closed the door and steps stayed out. Started the coach and the steps retracted. Woo Hoo! Success! Everything works perfect! I did not find a fuse for the ignition circuit, but I believe the Ford Chassis drawing is more accurate. The Ford Chassis drawing has the fuse on the supply side of the ignition circuit and everything else on that circuit works fine (power mirrors, levelers, camera, etc.) and now that the circuit works for the steps, either my theory is correct, or the fuse that is shown on the Kwikee drawing for that circuit didn't blow. One other thing I found. The wires going to the step power fuse housing are pretty brittle and cracked right next to the fuse housing. So I will have to add some liquid electrical tape to my RV tool kit and use a little dab to protect those wires. Thanks for your help. Those drawings really helped me solve my problem.
And now you know more about your steps than you ever wanted to. Good to hear the problem is resolved.
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Old 06-19-2023, 02:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
I crawled under the steps today to look for the information for the steps. While I was under there, I started looking at the wiring harness and tracing wires. I found the red wire that goes to the switch inside and traced it to a blue wire that went to a black rectangular box and back to the red wire. As I looked it over, I realized that this must be the fuse for the power that goes to the switch. I flipped the top open and lo-and-behold, there's a fuse in there. I pulled the fuse and found that it had blown. It was a standard 2 spade 5 amp automotive fuse. I replaced it with a new one of the same amperage and put the cover boot back on. Now for the test...Opened the door, steps came out. Flipped the switch inside, closed the door and steps stayed out. Started the coach and the steps retracted. Woo Hoo! Success! Everything works perfect! I did not find a fuse for the ignition circuit, but I believe the Ford Chassis drawing is more accurate. The Ford Chassis drawing has the fuse on the supply side of the ignition circuit and everything else on that circuit works fine (power mirrors, levelers, camera, etc.) and now that the circuit works for the steps, either my theory is correct, or the fuse that is shown on the Kwikee drawing for that circuit didn't blow. One other thing I found. The wires going to the step power fuse housing are pretty brittle and cracked right next to the fuse housing. So I will have to add some liquid electrical tape to my RV tool kit and use a little dab to protect those wires. Thanks for your help. Those drawings really helped me solve my problem.
I pulled into a rest area and got under the truck to see what the problem with the steps was. I seen all those wires hanging loose and began to trial and error them. Since the steps were out I could not drive that way. All of a sudden i got some thing right and the steps retracted. But, with a lot of popping and snapping.
Problem was, I had left my sunglasses on one of the steps as i crawled under there. Good thing I had a spare pair.
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Old 06-19-2023, 07:31 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by 1SGPETE View Post
I pulled into a rest area and got under the truck to see what the problem with the steps was. I seen all those wires hanging loose and began to trial and error them. Since the steps were out I could not drive that way. All of a sudden i got some thing right and the steps retracted. But, with a lot of popping and snapping.
Problem was, I had left my sunglasses on one of the steps as i crawled under there. Good thing I had a spare pair.
Hmmmm....a new use for power steps. Might be fun to see what can be crushed. Eggs, cans, nuts (not the attached ones) .
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Old 06-20-2023, 05:13 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1SGPETE View Post
I pulled into a rest area and got under the truck to see what the problem with the steps was. I seen all those wires hanging loose and began to trial and error them. Since the steps were out I could not drive that way. All of a sudden i got some thing right and the steps retracted. But, with a lot of popping and snapping.
Problem was, I had left my sunglasses on one of the steps as i crawled under there. Good thing I had a spare pair.
I always said, be careful working on these steps with the power on. Fingers and hands could get seriously hurt!
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Old 06-25-2023, 12:32 PM   #16
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Hello, new to the group!!

I am having this issue with our new to us 2011 Greyhawk. The override switch does not function at all. The steps actuate every time the door is opened/closed. I have checked the 5a fuse under the chassis and it is not blown. According to the 12V Chassis drawing that JimD has attached, there is another 5a fuse on this circuit. I cannot locate this fuse. Can anyone tell me where it is on the chassis? I am not getting 12v at the override switch in either position.
Attached is the wiring schematic. The red circle is the good fuse under the chassis by the steps, the yellow square is the fuse I cannot find.

Any help is appreciated!!!
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