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Old 10-19-2009, 12:53 AM   #1
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slooowww power jack

Pulled the Sunline out of storage today to get it winterized. Took forever for power jack to move (did retract a bit faster than it extended).

Had problems with dead battery earlier in the year. Figured out it was because light in refrigerator was on when we propped doors open. Thought that plastic "I" shaped holder at Camping World was a better idea than the sponges that we had been using but didn't realize it held the doors open too far. So now we diconnect battery when in storage.

Well, back to the jack... We reconnected battery, even plugged 7-prong into truck and revved engine for a minute just in case battery was a little low. It still moved slow. Is it possible that the grease in the gears was too thick from the 27 and 29 degree temps the last couple nights or will we need to replace jack or battery? We took battery out after we found it dead earlier in season and were told it was okay after having it charged.

Any feedback will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 10-19-2009, 07:55 AM   #2
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Could be multiple things going on here, but one raised a red flag.

You said the light was on in the refer when you had the doors open. This would mean you still had the unit on, and would probably try to cool. When the power is off, the light inside will not work.

As for the jack, yes, I think the cold weather could have a little to do with it. There's a little more resistance now than in the summer. I notice that with mine. It does get better after you've used it a lot (that trip that is)...it usually is stiff for the first time or two of being used.

Also, I'm your battery could have been a bit low, and the truck didn't charge it much in the short time you revved it. I doubt the battery is bad, but it needs a good charge. You should remove it and store it at home for the winter though.
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Old 10-19-2009, 07:56 AM   #3
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The only time my power tongue jack is ever slow is when the battery is low.

You did not mention whether you tested the battery recently... like right now since you noticed the jack being slow. I'm not sure about your battery but mine will drop down a good deal just sitting unless I have my maintenance charger on it. And you say it got C-O-L-D, too. Cold can weaken a battery's charge status.

I'd have that battery checked again. Don't charge it before testing.
I'd want to know if it's low NOW and then figure out why.
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Old 10-19-2009, 08:07 AM   #4
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Without first checking the charge of the battery at the time you tried to use it, it's difficult to diagnose long distance. But, some thoughts....

First, check the water level in each cell. Marine/RV deep-cycle batteries are not sealed, and the water levels need to be checked regularly. The water should be up to the bottom of the little fill tube in each cell. If low, fill with distilled water and fully charge the battery.

Second, a few minutes on the 7-way plug is not enough to alter the charge to any significant degree. Although, if everything is working properly and there are no blown fuses in the truck or trailer, the jack "should" work properly with the 7-way plugged in.

Third, the wiring between the jack and the battery could have issues. A corroded connection or other problem in the loop.
(ground --> battery --> fuse --> control switch --> jack --> ground)
Since I pull the battery for the winter, the terminals and wiring connectors get cleaned and inspected twice a year in addition to inspections when I check the water levels.

There's also the possibility that the jack is improperly wired. IMHO, power jacks should be wired direct to the battery with an in-line fuse on the positive terminal and both hot and ground wires from the jack should be connected to the battery's terminals. Proper size wire is important, too.

I doubt that the grease would stiffen up that much in high 20's weather. Single digit or colder, maybe.

Since you already found the battery discharged once this season, I think it is worth a closer look. I am presuming that you still have the original converter in the TT. If that is the case, you have to think of it as just a little more than a trickle charger. That means that it takes a long time to bring the battery back to full charge when the shore line is connected. So it is possible that the converter's charging circuitry may be an issue.

I have a friend who dry camps a lot every year. He lives in Canada but stores his TT in the US. There's no power at the storage facility so he brings his two batteries home between uses and re-charges them on a three stage charger that also has full monitoring and a de-sulfate mode.

Age of the battery is important, too. Amazingly, I got 8 seasons out of the original battery from Sunline. How that happened is more happen-stance than anything else. I did nothing special other than check the water level often, and store it indoors over the winters, occasionally placing it on a trickle charger for a day or two. You'll have to look into your battery's age and condition. It is possible that the battery is beginning to show its age, but to be sure, it needs to be properly tested. Some auto parts stores will do a specific gravity check and check the voltage, etc. for you. RV repair shops and boat repair shops can do that too.

From your description, I take it that you store the TT between uses with the the battery disconnected. That means that there is no charging of the battery between uses other than the time on the 7-way on the trips home? Depending on length of trip, etc., there may not be enough charging happening. You didn't specify if you dry camp or not so its tough to know how much charging the battery actually has received across the season.

Lastly, the jack itself should be opened up enough to inspect all of the the wiring and mechanicals in it. There may be a loose or corroded connection. The switch may be failing. There may something obstruction free motion in the gearing, etc.

Presuming that the wiring is OK in the jack and the TT, trying a different, fully charged battery should be helpful in verifying the jack's status.
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Old 10-28-2009, 05:09 PM   #5
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Sorry it took so long to reply. I think we both got hit with the flu and then I forgot that I had posted. A belated thanks for your replies.

Not sure about the light. When we pack up to go home I make a trip through to make sure everything is closed and off (vents, hw, pump, lights, antenna down & booster off, air/furnace, reefer empty & off). If the reefer was left on I would think the propane would be empty.

When the battery was dead, a fellow camper at the storage lot let us use his so we could hook up, we plugged in at the cg to unhook, then took battery to Battery Warehouse to purchase a new one the next morning. They charged and checked it and said it was okay and didn't need replaced.

It is only about a 10 minute drive from the storage to the cg (maybe 30 minutes by the time we get up to the dump station and get dumped) and battery gets disconnected as soon as we unhook.

We will go out tomorrow and bring the battery home, make sure it has a full charge and check periodically. We will keep it in the basement (I know--not on concrete) but I think we will still purchase a new one in the spring. I don't know how old it is. It came with the trailer when we purchased it in Nov., 2007 and the trailer is now 12 years old.

Hopefully, all will go well in the spring. If not we'll have to dig into the jack and/or converter.

Once again, thanks for the replies.
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