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Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > Finally had enough with Atwood electric jacks

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mikestock

Vestavia Hills, AL, USA

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Joined: 12/01/2002

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Posted: 11/07/20 07:43pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have been battling 8 years with Atwood screw leveler jacks. I have owned a 2006 Phaeton for the last 8 years with these screw levelers. I should have seen signs when the previous owner didn't want to demonstrate them, claiming the lot owner didn't allow them, but the seller looked honest and was a friend of a friend.

From the beginning, they worked sometimes and not at others. Air dump and lift systems were not even active and I didn't know enough to question this. I had to replace 2 jacks, 2 controllers and rebuilt 2 jacks over the years besides all the times I had to crawl under the coach to use my drill to manually move the jacks in up so I could depart. I always dreaded arriving or leaving a campsite, not knowing if they were going to work or not. I spent enough to have replaced them with hydraulic jacks more than once.

I finally had enough, drove to Moscow, IA, 775 miles each way, this week spending 5 days and $6600 having the Atwood junk replaced with an HWH hydraulic system. While there, I saw scrap bins full of Atwood jacks. They say they do at least 2 coaches a week and have a backlog of people waiting. I was told that during the years from 2006 to 2010 that several rv builders went with Atwood to save $1400 per coach.

I know $6600 sounds like a lot and 1550 miles sounds like a lot of driving but the peace of mind is worth it all.

obgraham

TriCites WA

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Posted: 11/07/20 11:33pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Fear not, the HWH will also, at some point, malfunction!
Always good to learn the alternate retraction methods!

Scottiemom

Florida

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Posted: 11/08/20 04:39am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We replaced the ATwoods on our 2006 Phaeton last year. We went with the Big Foot system. They said part of the problem with the Atwoods on the Tiffins is that Tiffin went with too light of a jack. The BigFoots I think are at 17,500 each.

They worked beautifully and there is a toll free service number stamped right on the controller which is answered 24/7. . . or so I'm told. I did get a live person the one time I called.

Dale


Dale Pace
Widow of Terry (Teacher's Pet)

2014 Ford Flex
2004 R-Vision Trail-lite 213 (MinnieMee)
Fulltimed for 15 years, now living in Florida

http://www.skoolzoutforever.blogspot.com/
Where are we?


garyemunson

Reno, Nevada

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Posted: 11/08/20 05:24am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The problem with the Atwood jacks is that eventually the brushes in the little motors get gummed/dusted up and bind in their brush holders. Jack just quits running. The motors are pretty easy to unplug and remove from the jack with it still on the coach. Take the end off the motor, blow out with a compressor. Free up the brushes, cleaning them with denatured alcohol and Q-tips if necessary. Reassemble and good for another 10 years. Except for the brush issue (and rust in humid areas) the basic design of Atwoods is quite robust.

mikestock

Vestavia Hills, AL, USA

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Posted: 11/09/20 09:53am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

garyemunson wrote:

The problem with the Atwood jacks is that eventually the brushes in the little motors get gummed/dusted up and bind in their brush holders. Jack just quits running. The motors are pretty easy to unplug and remove from the jack with it still on the coach. Take the end off the motor, blow out with a compressor. Free up the brushes, cleaning them with denatured alcohol and Q-tips if necessary. Reassemble and good for another 10 years. Except for the brush issue (and rust in humid areas) the basic design of Atwoods is quite robust.


This is true, no doubt, but we had several, unrelated, problems. Replacing controller for the second time in less than a year was the last straw. Atwood is out of business so the controllers were getting rare.

The reason we went with HWH is because of a recommendation from Tiffin's tech. I am 78 years old and the HWH have a 2 year warranty. The way things are going with our arthritis I'm afraid 2 more years is all we'll be camping. We'll probably stick closer to home and a lake house. Pontoon boats seem to be cheaper to maintain than the motorhome, anyway. maybe trade for a small houseboat.

Spade Cooley

Mountain View, AR

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Posted: 11/10/20 05:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I recently purchased a new Rockwood travel trailer an d=one of the options was the electrotonic jacks. I declined to buy them fearing problems. Did I screw up? I don't mind leveling with the standard jacks.

mikestock

Vestavia Hills, AL, USA

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Posted: 11/18/20 07:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I think that the simpler you can make it the better off you are. If you don't mind the manual jacks I would stick with them. I, through the years have gone from tents to pop ups to bumper tows to three fivers to 2 motor homes.

After all this I can attest to the fact that I spent less time dealing with problems with all the other campers combined than with either of the motor homes.

If you really intend to camp for years into the future I would aspire to get a very nice fiver with all the bells and whistled you desire and never let yourself believe you want to buy a motor home.

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