Leveling Jack Won’t Retract (Solved)

Leveling jacks are very important for your safety when camping with an RV.  They keep your RV stable and you comfortable.  They also ensure that everything in your RV is working as it should be.

You should begin by following these steps. It can be very stressful when your leveling jacks get stuck, but this is a common problem and there is no need to worry.

  1. Consult the owner’s manual. If you don’t have your copy of the owner’s manual accessible, you should be able to find a copy online. Issues with leveling jacks are common and there might be a temporary quick fix available for you.
  2. Check your fuses and/or electrical breakers. This is a common problem with an easy solution. Keep reading to figure out how to change fuses.
  3. Look for an emergency override. Some systems may have an emergency override function for the leveling jacks. They can come in handy even if your situation doesn’t exactly classify as an emergency.
  4. Try to find a handyman. RVs break down at campgrounds more often than you would think, so there is likely to be someone who can help around.
  5. Contact help. If there is no one to help you in your general vicinity, a roadside service agency or garage will be able to help you.

Below, you will find more in-depth instructions for each of these steps.  There is also more information about leveling jacks and how they get stuck.

What to do when your leveling jacks get stuck

When you’re all ready to leave your campsite only to find that your leveling jacks will not retract, the first step is to inform the campground owners.  That way they can help accommodate you.

Identify the problem. Next, in order to fix your leveling jacks, you need to identify the problem.  Here are some fixes to some of the problems mentioned above.

What Should You Do When You Have a Broken Fuse? Firstly, you have to locate your fuses.  You can do so by looking for references online of the model number for the system that you have. Once you’ve found them, replace your fuses. When the new fuse is secured, you can give your leveling jacks another test. If this does not work, you likely have a different problem.

It is also possible that a wire in your electrical control panel has become loose. Turn off the control panel before checking.  If this is the case, double-check to make sure there is no electricity flowing through it before you try to fix it.

Manual Overrides and How They Work

Most leveling jacks will have a manual override system.  No matter the type of leveling system you have, this should be an option.  Each jack should have an override.  To find it, locate the hydraulic control unit. If you have spring retract leveling jacks with a spring missing, you can use objects such as a board or lever to pry it open.

For power jacks: Make sure no one is in the way of the RV to avoid bodily harm.  Then, open the valves and try to pry up.

For non-motorized vehicles with singular jack withdrawal issues: Familiarize yourself with the valves in order to make sure you’re properly opening and closing them.  You can do so with a simple google search for emergency jack retraction.

Put on blocks and tow. You then want to put on blocks or hitch your vehicle to a separate tow vehicle.  You can then carefully open the two outer solenoid valves for the jacks on the back of your vehicle.  After you retract the rear jacks, slowly retract the ones in the front.  Keep the valves open and bring your vehicle to a repair shop.

For motorized vehicles with spring jacks: You will want to do it the opposite way, beginning by retracting the front jacks and then the rear jacks before moving.  Make sure you are confident that the leveling jacks are secure and move your vehicle.

You have temporarily solved the problem: In order to make sure everything is safe and working right for the long haul, you will have to take your RV to be repaired by a professional. If for some reason you cannot find an emergency override, move on to another suggestion.

Where to Look For Outside Help

Find a Handyman: The main office at your campsite will likely have a handyman contact for you. Due to the high volume of RVs that frequent campsites, something like this has likely happened before and the campsite will usually be prepared.  However, in the case that there is no handyman around, you’ll have to move to the next step.

Use a Garage or Roadside Service: A nearby garage will be able to help you with your leveling jacks.  If you have a roadside service plan, they will also be able to help. Let whichever service you’ve contacted know that you’re meant to be leaving your campsite so they can be sure to arrive in a timely fashion.  Finally, let the main office of the campsite know that you have contacted help and it is on the way.

Other Resources: Most leveling jacks are manufactured by the HWH corporation, so all fixes are uniform and easily accessible for the most part. In the unlikely event that professional help is not available, a fellow camper might be knowledgeable and able to provide assistance.

What to Know About Lippert Jacks

If your leveling jacks were not manufactured by HWH, they were likely manufactured by Lippert.  Below are some frequently asked questions about Lippert systems.

What is the timed out error message when trying to retract Lippert systems? When the systems malfunction, a time-out error might display.  To dismiss the message, you can hold down the retract and enter buttons for three seconds.  This could potentially fix your system, or it could confirm that it needs to be looked at after all. If this does not clear the error message, you can be sure that something isn’t working right.

How to unplug the valve body of a Lippert system? The valve body is located on the side of the vehicle.  If you unplug the side of the valve body, the system may retract. This will fix your problem temporarily, but you should also get your system looked at by a professional to avoid further damage or danger.

General Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the weather important for leveling jacks? The temperature of the surrounding area and residual precipitation can sometimes cause problems for leveling jacks.  If you are traveling in cold and wet areas, make sure to park your RV in a dry spot.  This will help maintain the longevity of your leveling jacks.

If you park your RV in a wet spot during cold weather, your leveling jacks could potentially freeze to the ground. In some cases, the leveling jacks can break off due to the extreme temperature making them brittle and fragile.

If there is nowhere dry to park your RV, you can prevent freezing by using rock salt around the leveling jacks.  If you don’t have any rock salt available, table salt will do.

In the event that your leveling jacks freeze to the ground, be patient. In order to make sure they don’t break, pour hot water over the frozen areas and allow the ice to melt before retracting your jacks.

What to do about leaking hydraulic fluid? Another common issue with leveling jacks is leaking hydraulic fluid. There are temporary fixes if your jacks are leaking, however, leaks indicate that it is time for the jacks to be replaced.  Leveling jacks corrode at the same rate, so if one begins leaking, they will all likely need to be replaced.

More experienced RV owners can check their own fluid levels and add more if they are comfortable.  However, if you are unfamiliar with this process, you should have a professional do it for you.

Make sure to take care of hydraulic fluid leaks as quickly as possible, as they can cause harm to the environments you’re exploring.

How to winterize with hydraulic fluid? When preparing your RV for winter, let the mechanic know that they should check the hydraulic fluid levels of your leveling jacks. It is easy for them to do and will save you trouble in the future.  If you have leaks before the winter, it is best to catch them before it becomes a problem.

You should also be sure to use hydraulic fluids that are made for the operating temperature of your RV. If you use the wrong fluid, it can damage your leveling jacks and significantly shorten their lifespan.

When should you lower the level of electricity usage? When you have lots of electrical items hooked up, RV owners have reported that they see low voltages. This causes problems with the leveling jacks, so it could be helpful to unplug all unnecessary items.  This way there is less energy being consumed that could be going to the leveling jacks. Using less power is a temporary solution that will help you get your vehicle to a garage or auto body shop for full repairs.  Check your Owner’s Manual for more information.

When should you get professional help? You might be familiar with your RV and RV travel in general, but it is likely not your specialty. It is usually best to seek professional help if your leveling jacks will not retract.  You can easily prevent injury or further damage to your vehicle if you find help.

Conclusion

It can be very stressful when things go wrong on your trip, but it is important to keep a calm and cool head and remember that there are plenty of options for you. Of course, the most convenient way of handling a difficult situation, like leveling jacks not retracting, would be to prepare and prevent.

Owner’s Manuals can appear large and daunting, but familiarizing yourself with yours can do you lots of good.  You can learn how to approach a problem before it occurs, saving you time and stress. That way, when faced with the problem, you already know what to do.

Give your fellow readers some insight in the comments!  If you’ve dealt with leveling jacks that won’t retract, what was your approach?

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