Kwikee repair, part 2

October 25, 2010 by
Filed under: Service Issues 

In my last post about Kwikee steps,I told about a repair kit for Kwikee step motors, that has since been discontinued. But… all is not lost- a quick trip to the local auto parts store let me fix a set of steps for a fraction of the cost of replacing the motor.

In fact, the parts cost a bit under $9, and saved having to buy an over $100 (if you buy a Kwikee brand motor), or around $60 (if you buy one from an auto parts store).

Help Brand plugs

Help brand plugs

If your Kwikee steps simply get jammed, and you are getting power to them (you can hear the box click when you open or close the door, and the under step light is going on and off), quite often it is just these small plastic parts that are bad- not the whole motor. The symptoms of failure for these parts are that the step will get stuck in the extended or retracted position, yet the step is still getting power.

Let’s take a look at how to replace them…

These parts are actually 1/2 of the kit that used to be available from Kincor, the gear isn’t included, but most times the gear itself is fine. Note that the new Kwikee steps use an “Integrated Motor and Linkage assembly, so if it doesn’t look like these pictures, this fix will not work, but it’s fine for most.

You start by removing the motor- MAKE CERTAIN THE STEP IS UNPLUGGED BEFORE WORKING ON IT!!!- IT IS POSSIBLE FOR THE STEP TO BE IN A BIND, AND ACTIVATE WHEN YOU REMOVE THE BIND- something that can be dangerous to fingers and hands. There is always a 4 way plug within a foot of the step- unplug this.

The motor is held on by 3 machine screws- 5/16″ hex head, and is connected to the control box by a weatherproof connector- note that newer styles use a snap together “Packard” style motor connector.

Remove these screws and disconnect the leads, and the motor should pull straight down. By aware that there is a small pin in the end of the gear which might stay in the gear housing, or might come out.Kwikee step gearbox

Once the motor is off of the step, take it to your workbench and remove the plate covering the internal gears- most I have run in to take a torx bit to remove this screw.

After removing the cover, you will see the output gear with a larger gear adapter and the plastic gear set with the plastic gear plugs. The adapter simply lifts off, then to remove the output gear you will snap off a small “C” clip from the shaft (being careful not to lose it). The output gear will lift off, exposing the plugs in their triangular cutout.

Kwikee gaer adapter removedGear adapter

(click on any image for a larger view)

Replacing the plugs is a simple matter, though the replacements will be tight. I put a bit of grease to hold them in place while I start the output gear, then press the whole thing back together.

Now it is simply a matter of reversing the order- replace the “C” clip, cover plate, output adapter, reattach the motor to the step gearbox, hook the motor wires back to the control box, and last- making certain your hands and fingers are clear, hook the 4 way connector back up.

These motors very rarely actually burn out- they really don’t make that many revolutions in their work, so normally this will fix them as good as new. Of course, while you are under the rig, it’s a great time to lubricate the step.

Hope this helps!

–Chris

Comments

38 Comments on Kwikee repair, part 2

  1. Jim on Mon, 3rd Jan 2011 8:35 pm
  2. Chris:

    I recently repaired my Kwikee steps according to your suggestion. I replaced the the plastic gear plugs. The plugs had totally disintegrated to chucks and powder. The step worked fine for a few weeks then all of sudden it started retracting and hammering away as if it did not make proper contact at full retraction. It does the same thing when the step comes out it keeps trying to connect at the end of the stroke with knock-knock repeatedly. If I shut the step off at the switch and then push in the button switch on the door jam it stops. It’s very annoying. Do you have any suggestions. Thanks, Jim

  3. Chris on Tue, 4th Jan 2011 7:02 pm
  4. Hi Jim,

    That sounds like the plastic gear itself might be worn. I cannot find a replacement part number for that gear, but I believe it is available- I have had customers tell me they bought the gear at NAPA, but I don’t have a motor here right now to take down to match the gear up.

  5. carol wolfram on Thu, 13th Jan 2011 9:04 pm
  6. Hello, I have read through your posts on these steps but still need help with my single step. The thing works as intended every day but recently has started to go in and out while I am driving. Sometimes it goes in and out 20 times then nothing until well into the next day when it might just go in and out once. I was just getting ready to find a repair place when I saw this site. Any ideas?
    Thanks!

  7. Chris on Thu, 13th Jan 2011 9:53 pm
  8. Hi Carol,
    That sounds like the door switch. There are many different types, but the most common is a magnetic 2 part switch where each part is like a small chiclet (if that makes sense). Often these are installed using 2 sided tape, and will get out of alignment.
    The other possibility is the wiring between the door switch and the control box. I would look closely at that.

  9. Tom on Tue, 18th Jan 2011 5:02 am
  10. I have a Kwikee step with control unit 9095-10000 step model 050616518 mfg date June 2005. It is a single step unit.
    1. What series step is this? Kwikee website does not seem to mention this step?
    The Kwikee manual #888 is similar but my step has no cam stops.
    2. Does this step use the same or similar plugs as mentioned in your article?
    3. Is the motor from an automobile window or custom for Kwikee. I see it is made in Korea.
    4. My problem is: Sometimes when step retracks I hear a clicking sound for 1 to 5 minutes before it stops and the step light goes out. This only occurrs about once a month. I have lubricated the step.
    Thanks, Tom

  11. Jack on Sat, 5th Mar 2011 10:40 pm
  12. I have a series 28 single step that was laboring as it went in and out, sometimes stoping part way. took it apart and found the motor magnets had came unglued in the motor so epoxied them back in place. Now the step moves fine but only in one direction if I switch the wire around it will go the other way, so if it extends and the light comes on when i close the door the light goes out and the step stays out, no matter what position the step switch is in. is there something wrong in the control box that I should be looking at? or what else might be wrong?

  13. David Bishop on Mon, 16th May 2011 4:44 am
  14. I will be tearing the motor off tomorrow and will deffinetly look at the gear plugs before buying a new motor.

  15. GARY LOCKART on Tue, 17th May 2011 1:05 am
  16. I have a 2005 Forest River Sunseeker motorhome with electric step part 725-0021, that did not retract. I by-passed the control unit, and the step is working. So, does that mean the control unit is bad? What are my options?

  17. joe money on Sat, 21st May 2011 11:06 pm
  18. i have read your post about how to install the regulator plugs very good post my kwikee step has created a pretty good problem i hooked my house batteries up wrong i hooked the two pos and neg together when i started the coach it was like everything had twice the juice and i think this is what created the problem when the step came out i think it stripped the gear because now when it comes out it come to the locking point and the motor just keeps running trying to kick the step out when i shut the door it goes back in as normal than the same thing happens motor keeps running trying to close it when its already closed.the only way i can get it to stop is to kick it in a couple of times.i dont know yet untill i take it apart but i think the big plastic gear that the plugs that your post describes seats into is broke.how does this gear come off are their any special tool that i need to do this project.are their gonna be any gear pullers needed including for the project that you described with the plugs.i aware of the hex shaped screws thats easy enough i would like to be prepared with the right tools before i start the project.i found a couple of site for leads on getting the plastic gear i just hope that just by counting the teeth will guarantee me the right part.

  19. dick sharman on Mon, 5th Sep 2011 4:57 pm
  20. I have a 2001 series 35 that I took the motor housing off and although hade problems gettin brushes back in place the motor is now ok, but I may have put the motor housing on 180 degrees from where is should have been. now the whole system works except everything works backwards. Is it possible that by puttin the motor housing on 180 degrees from where it should be that it is runing backward. If so can I just reverse the motor leads to correct this or must I move the housing back? Thanks

  21. Chris on Mon, 5th Sep 2011 7:58 pm
  22. Though you *should* move the housing, I would just switch the leads.

  23. Matt on Sun, 20th May 2012 12:46 pm
  24. Chris, for my Kwikee #42 series (reads #860) I bought a new power window motor made for 97 Crown Vic and except for shortening the steel shaft where the output gear goes, and robbing the old gear from the original gear box-it worked fine but now the pins/plugs are oval on it too and the step just got into a bind.
    If these aren’t going to last, what am I to do about it?

    Can I make a plug out of a plastic that will last & what would that be? Or, is there something making these plugs wear pre-maturely?

    Thanks,

    Matt

  25. Jim on Thu, 24th May 2012 1:12 am
  26. Chris, my Kwikee steps have been locking up for some time. After checking out all the electrical stuff and taking the big gear box apart, it still didn’t work. I was ready to buy a new motor or whole gearbox and motor assembly. I Googled my problem and found your post. I bought the Dorman regulator gear plugs and tried to put them in, but found they were just a little too big. After sanding them down just a little to wedge them in, the steps work perfectly. Thanks, Chris. You saved me a lot of money.

  27. Chris on Fri, 1st Jun 2012 2:30 pm
  28. Hi Matt,
    I believe a standard 3/8″ hex nut will fit and work, though you get rid of the shock absorbing qualities of the plastic. I would look closely at the connections and supply voltage- if the voltage is low, it will take longer for the circuit board to cut the power, which will tend to jam the mechanism more.

    — Chris

  29. michael randhan on Tue, 25th Sep 2012 5:49 am
  30. Thank you! thank you! Thank you!
    If I dinnt read your site I would have spent about $240.00 to deal withsame thing that you told me for the remendy. It wooked, I knew in the back of my mind there was a way this could be handdled with out paying the high prices of the camping worlds of our life time. Thank You. Michael

  31. michael randhan on Wed, 24th Oct 2012 1:28 pm
  32. My step works fine,but it gets stuck in the down position. Is there some kind of stop that is bad somewhere? I put some tape between the arm and it seems to work. I might have to put a piece of rubber in there somewhere.

  33. Chris on Fri, 26th Oct 2012 8:51 pm
  34. Michael- there should be an adjustable stop (usually a bolt with a cam on it), but that does sound like the regulator plugs are worn, if yours use the same motor.

  35. michael randhan on Sat, 27th Oct 2012 3:05 am
  36. I replaced the regulator plugs. When the arm comes around to push the step down the arm goes up against the housing and gets stuck. I folded up a wad of electrical tape and put it inbetween the arm and the housing and it worked for a while. I found out that there a rubber stops when the step goes up,to stop it or it gets stuck in the up position. There is no adjustment bolt that I see. In order to get the step up I have to un screw the housing to un stick the step.
    Thanks for your help
    Michael

  37. Chris on Sat, 27th Oct 2012 11:47 am
  38. Hi Michael- in that case I would look at the electrical connections closely- the controller just senses current draw to shut off, so normally it is a mechanical problem, but low voltage can cause problems like this as well- especially in the 4 way plug that the older style used.

  39. Dennis Kotan on Wed, 26th Dec 2012 8:26 pm
  40. I purchased a rebuilt Ford window motor and gearbox at NAPA for $55.89. Part number 49-8061 remanufactured window motor. I took the old one in and campared it with pictures on their computer.

  41. Chris on Thu, 27th Dec 2012 8:58 pm
  42. Thanks for the info!

    –Chris

  43. Bill Owings on Sun, 17th Mar 2013 4:15 pm
  44. I replaced my kwikee steps and it works but it is working in reverse open door steps go in shut door steps go out. How do i corrects this?

  45. Chris on Tue, 19th Mar 2013 3:10 pm
  46. Hi Bill,
    Kwikee switched from a normally closed door switch to a normally open door switch, so you have to change the door switch.
    — Chris

  47. John D. on Thu, 4th Apr 2013 4:29 pm
  48. I have a series 28 1 step model that is giving me a problem. The step intermittently (maybe 1 in 40 times) stays out despite all the overrides taking place–including starting up the coach. I’ve checked out all the wiring and voltages as identified by Kwickee and they are all correct. Unfortunately I’m taking those readings when the step is working correctly. Kwickee suggested I replace the control unit and I did that but still get the intermittent failure. I also replaced the button switch at the door with no change in the intermittent problem. Kwickee is now suggesting replacing the motor because “it might have an internal electrical issue”. I don’t get any strange noises or grinding or binding when the step wants to stay extended. Do you have any other ideas? By the way, the step is fairly new–maybe 2 years of use.

  49. Jim on Tue, 7th May 2013 6:26 pm
  50. I have the same trouble as Bill. Steps go down with door closed and up with door open. where do I get a new switch and part number.

  51. Richard on Mon, 20th May 2013 12:56 pm
  52. My steps are jammed in the retracted position. How do I get them extended so I can check out the plastic gear plugs. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  53. Clarence Birdashaw on Thu, 30th May 2013 5:20 pm
  54. We have the same problem with the step working opposite. Which switch should we replace . We have one on the door and one on the step.

  55. Darren on Mon, 24th Jun 2013 9:39 pm
  56. My ’97 model 32 was intermittently not retracting fully, about halfway and mostly in colder weather. Worked well over 75 degrees. But last day of trip, they quit retracting. Pulled the pin and bungied closed.

    Have now eliminated binding/lack of lube. Am now at the large mag. reed switch. Have touched wires and get only a weak solenoid-like click. Am i looking at the motor next or control box? I do not own a meter, only a test light.

  57. Darren on Tue, 25th Jun 2013 4:19 pm
  58. The click is coming from the motor. Guess I better invest in a voltmeter?

  59. Chris on Wed, 26th Jun 2013 12:10 pm
  60. A lot of times this is due to bad connections- particularly the ground and the small 4 way connector located about 18″ down the wire from the box. With low voltage getting to the control box, the current draw is higher, shutting the thing down.

  61. Chris on Wed, 26th Jun 2013 12:20 pm
  62. Sorry for the late reply- there are several styles of door switch. The pdf from Kwikee showing the styles is at this link.
    You can also find switches meant for burglar alarms which will work.

  63. Darren on Wed, 26th Jun 2013 1:30 pm
  64. After jumper testing motor, both before and after removing it(no life in it at all)ordered a Taurus window motor from Advanced Auto. Will be putting it on today. I still suspect the control box could be bad too. My RV tech said operating under low voltage could damage both. Had just resolved issue of coach/chassis batteries being crossed. Had installed two new coach batteries and still couldn’t hold a charge. Once we found and corrected this, I suspect the damage was done. Will report back yet today, once I install new motor.

    Sir, you are a godsend to this MH DIYer. Thank you so much!

  65. Larry on Thu, 18th Jul 2013 2:26 pm
  66. Last year (June 2012) I replaced the plastic gear plugs as you described to correct a non working step. Everything worked OK. Now the step extends and retracts correctly however the motor continues to pulsate for about a half dozen cycles before shutting off. I see this was described in a 2011 post and you suggested that it may be the gear that is worn. I’m curious, did this solve the problem or is there something else I should investigate?

  67. Chris on Fri, 19th Jul 2013 11:48 am
  68. Hi Larry,
    The other thing I would check out is the 4 way electrical connector- the older square ones were sometimes problematic, and sometimes a bad connection can cause some chattering.

    –Chris

  69. Dennis Shepherd on Sat, 20th Jul 2013 11:04 pm
  70. HI I HAVE A KWIKEE #860 STEP IF SETTING 3 TO 4 DAYS IT WILL RUN THE BATTERY DOWN. I CAN UNPLUG THE 4 WAY PLUG AT THE STEP AND IT DON’T RUN THE BATTERY DOWN. CAN YOU HELP ME OUT ON THIS ONE ? IF SO THANK YOU.

  71. Chris on Mon, 22nd Jul 2013 9:25 pm
  72. Hi Dennis,
    That should not be happening- the unit should shut completely off with near zero power drain. Does yours have an understep light? Does it stay on? I would double check power and grounds- low power can keep it from shutting down correctly.

  73. Bob Ault on Fri, 15th Nov 2013 9:03 pm
  74. My 1995 kwikee linkage #151364 broke. Bought a new linkage #151364. Old sq. shaft is 1/4 in. New shaft is 1/2 in. Is there any way to get a new gear box or adapt the one I have?

  75. john blackmore on Fri, 1st Aug 2014 5:28 pm
  76. would a bad control unit make the step work backwords all of a sudden? what is the replacement part for the control # 909513?

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