Kwikee Step Repair
Unfortunately, it looks like the Kincor kit I mention below is no longer available- Kwikee changed the motor enough that it is not possible to take it apart- the unit is not sealed.
An alternate repair method using an Auto Parts store motor is discussed in this RV.NET forum posting.
Original post below——————————–
Electric steps are one of those luxuries that are a near necessity- in a Motor Home, you often need a step to enter, and yet once you are in, you cannot push a manual step in, and when you are in the rig, pulling the step out is impossible.
The vast majority of electric steps are manufactured by the Kwikee Company. These steps are pretty darn reliable, if the maintenance is performed as required, which is easy- simply lubricate the hinge points with a good quality lubricant. Kwikee sells a very good “Kwik-Lube”, which is a kind of “penetrating grease” that starts out thin, but thickens after a few minutes. Others have recommended motorcycle chain lube- I’ve never tried it, but it sounds like it would be good- a good quality lube which does not attract dirt.
But… even with the best maintenance there are a couple of problems that can crop up. I dealt with the most common today. The step was stuck in the retracted position, so… first I check the voltage to the unit. Next, check the grounds and connections (older models have a 4 way connector which has a tendency to corrode- Kwikee changed that a few years ago- the new ones are much more reliable.
So, I remove the motor assembly from the step frame- 4 bolts and the pin which attaches the arm to the step- the 4 way connector, and the connector between the electronics and the motor. Once the motor is off, it still will not run- even hooked directly to a battery. So, I next remove the actual motor from the gear case (3 screws)- as soon as I pull the screws, the motor case rotates at least 20 degrees, indicating it was in a major bind.
This bind comes from the way the motor is designed. The motors are actually power window motors, and they have a small worm gear on the motor output shaft which engages in a large gear (#2), which in turn is coupled to an output gear(#3). This coupling is made by a triangular cutout in gear #2 which contains three small round plastic inserts that a triangular part on gear #3 fit in to.
The round plastic parts are there to absorb the shock when the step hits the end, so that the other gears don’t simply shatter. This works well- until the step gets some age on it, and these small plastic parts get oval, rather than round. This allows the motor to bind up, and because the step electronics sense current draw, and the step motor is drawing a lot of current trying to get out of the bind, the steps get stuck.
Luckily, a company named Kincor has made a gear replacement kit, which includes gear #2, the round plastic parts and a supply of high quality grease. The kit part number is BD52, and it retails for around $30 (a fraction of what a new motor assembly costs).
A quick Google for more information yielded an FMCA Magazine writeup on this kit- along with a picture and company contact information.