Technical Tips #16
By Bob Lowe BOA #696
BOA International Rally at Amishville, (Berne) Indiana
The Fall BOA Rally is a technical Rally with many seminars presented by suppliers of the various components and systems of our Bounders, together with excellent on-site service by the Fleetwood Service Personnel. This year over 170 coaches were serviced. Although many seminars are repeated every year, many new members enjoy the opportunity to learn more about their Bounder. If you received service please send a note of thanks to Fleetwood Parts & Service, 1010 Commerce Drive, Decatur IN 46733. Those that participated in the tour of the service and parts facility met the fine people who answer the 800 telephone and provide the service behind the scenes. They love to receive notes of thanks. In this and the next Technical Tips I will review some of the events at Berne and pass on some hints I learned while attending the Rally.
Kwikee Step Seminar: One of the most popular seminars is the one presented each year by Jim Kasky on the electric step. Since I have reviewed this seminar in the past, (See Technical Tips #1 & 14) I will mention a few new items I learned this year. There are two basic step models: one built prior to February 1990 using a Chevrolet power window motor, which is difficult to find; and the current model, that utilizes a Ford power window motor. If you burn out the motor (a rare occurrence) a car wrecking yard could be a source of an inexpensive replacement.
The most common problem Jim finds with motorhome steps is poor ground connections and corroded power connections. If your step is acting up, confirm that the green wire with the loop on the end is connected to a shiny, clean metal frame mounting point. If the ground is poor the motor or control board will not operate correctly, and the step will seek a ground through the control board often causing it to fail. Jim described the control board as a heavy duty switch, which sends the power to the motor as signaled by the step power switch, door switch or ignition switch. The power connections are quite simple: the White and Orange wires control the up and down motion of the motor, the Yellow wire sends signals from the motorhome ignition switch, and the Green is the ground. Any other wires control the light and send signals from the door switch. The power source wires are connected through a sturdy, snap together, multi-conductor connector. The connections made by Fleetwood joining the wires from this connector to the Bounder wiring have frequently been a problem. If you have step problems, and you have confirmed that the ground is OK, then check the power wires by unwrapping the tape covering these connections and inspecting each wire joint. I have found wires totally broken, right next to others that are fault free. Once you have cleaned and checked these connections, coat the connection with dielectric grease and re-wrap with electric tape to prevent entry of moisture.
If you want a warning light on the dash to warn that the step is out, Jim provided a diagram with part numbers to connect a lamp (part # 909003) to a normally open magnetic switch (part # 905312) mounted on the step motor mounting bracket. Basically power from an ignition switched source is sent to the light, through a wire to the step location and to ground through the other side of the switch. When the step is out, and the ignition is on the light will glow as a warning if the step is out. (See Diagram below) The parts should be available through your dealer or direct from Kwikee Products Company, 230 Davidson Avenue, Cottage Grove, Oregon 97424. Their telephone number is (503) 942-3888.
Coleman Air Conditioners: If you have a hard to start air conditioner, Coleman has a Hard Start Kit, which is a motor starting capacitor and relay. Apparently in an effort to save money for the motorhome manufacturers, Coleman deleted the starting capacitor, since most of the time the air conditioner will start without it. If the power is poor, the unit old, or if it has been sitting idle it may not start without stalling the generator or blowing a campground circuit breaker. The Hard Start Kit provides the extra boost to start a lazy motor. Contact RV-Parts Plus for this kit.