Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Bottle Jack Finally Retired (with no pension)

Friday August 26, 2011
Jim & Mary’s RV Park
Missoula, Montana

Today was the day, we managed to get
out early enough to go running
despite another night of poor sleep.
Folks left comments on yesterday’s
blog about white noise machines and fans.
I guess I’m going to have to resort to that.
I really like to have my windows open
and go to sleep to the “night sounds”.
I’m not much for motors of any type including
fans but I think that’s my only choice.
So out comes the fan and ear plugs for tonight.

Running  was a struggle after a 2 week lapse.
David even forgot to bring his camera.  :{)
But we got er done, 4.86 miles, 
as well as the stretches
and weight lifting that go with it.
Boy this better give us some point in
the longevity sweepstakes.
We felt quite righteous at breakfast this morning.

And then it was time for the main event.
As some of you know, back in early June our driver’s side
rear jack decided one day not to come down.  We limped along
for a bit trying to see if it would change its mind or David
could make it change its mind but finally we
bought a bottle jack and  David started
conferred with HWH to find out
what the problem might be.  

We also discussed the problem with our friends Gin & Syl
of Wandering Sylville fame,
who have the same year Brave as we do
and have had a similar problem. 
They had to have their jack completely replaced.
We were really hoping to avoid this and the pricey cost.

I guess I should let David tell this story since
he and the jack are the main characters.
David here.  I called HWH and they said I likely needed a new solenoid
and first should check my fuses. 
Fuses looked okay based on my experience with fuses.
I got the part number for the solenoid so I could order when
we would be somewhere long enough for the part to arrive. 
First opportunity came and went because when
I called to order, they were out of stock on that part number. 

Next possibility was while we were at Grand Tetons,
and I did get the part, but did not have the time,
the phone and Internet signal to get into it then. 
I always want to be able to call tech support
if something doesn’t go like the say it should.

Same problem in Yellowstone,
so FINALLY today was the day. 
I got out my tools and my neighbor
Eldy came over (Where's Eldo).
He wanted to watch the operation. 

So this is it huh?

 Solenoid 002

Basic procedure was to bring in the slides,
store the jacks,
unplug & unscrew the old solenoid,
screw in the new one
and plug in the electrical connection,

Solenoid 009
(Sherry says, notice BRAVE man being eaten by RV)
Pretty simple,

When I took out the old one,
the end that came out did not look like
the corresponding end on the new one. 
 Solenoid 012 
Cell phone, call Angie at HWH Corporation. 
Solenoid 013
(Sherry says, notice bloody battle scar,
this is dangerous business)

Angie answers the phone at HWH
and can go through some of the basics with you
if the repair does not require too much technical 'stuff'. 
She could handle this one
and told me to screw it back in part way
and then pry it out and it would pull out the other piece
that did not come out the first time. 

And so it was. 
Tightened the new solenoid in & plugged it in.
Test time.
Drum Rollllllllllllllll.

NO JACK MOVEMENT.  I felt deflated, disappointed
and worried that perhaps it wasn't the solenoid after all
and I had wasted the money and time. 
There was a rumble inside the coach. 
Let's not PANIC!
Cell phone, call Angie at HWH Corporation. 
Solenoid 010
(Sherry says, things are getting worrisome,
even Eldy is scratching his head)
Angie says I need to check the fuses again. 
I inquired about the procedure to remove
the see-through circuit board cover
and replace it before proceeding. 
Although all the fuses looked fine
through the looking glass,
I was desperate enough to open the cover
and take all the fuses, roughly 10 or 12 of them,
out one at a time for closer inspection. 
Sure enough one of them WAS blown! 

I was expecting to be able to see a blown fuse
from the top, but these mini fuses don't work like that,
you have to take them out and look at the side of each one
to see if the cross bar has melted inside. 

It is now an extra good day because I just learned something! 
Luckily Eldy had a spare fuse of the same type and amperage,
so I was able to replace the fuse
and proceed with testing without the interruption of 
running out to a store for fuses.

That was it,
with the new fuse in, the jack came down! 
Have you ever seen anything more lovely??? 


There was a bigger rumble inside the coach. 
Maybe I didn't need the solenoid at all,
maybe it was just the fuse all the time. 
UGH, how can I know if I just wasted my money and time
on a solenoid I didn't need? 
I have to find out. 
Fortunately another neighbor had come over
to watch the fun and he suggested
I put the multi-meter on the old solenoid
to see if there was any electrical resistance in it
or if it tested as a short-circuit. 
He was kind enough to show me how to do it
with my own multi-tester. 
It appears that what likely happened
was the old solenoid shorted out and that blew the fuse,
so replacing the fuse alone would have just blown another fuse. 
I needed both the solenoid and the fuse. 
Sounded good to me,
but Sherry is skeptical
(all those who are surprised at this raise your hands)and thinks we guys just made this up to save face. 
Cell phone, call Angie at HWH Corporation
(now you can see why M-F and a cell
connection are necessary for repairs to take place)
Angie confirms this is a typical failure
and that a solenoid that shorts out will blow the fuse -
that is why she had me recheck the fuses.

Oh Happy Day! 
After more than two months of crawling
under the rig to stabilize the left-rear with a 4 ton bottle jack,

we now have a working system again
for a  total cost of just under $200,
and I did not even have to take it to a shop
much less to the factory in Forest City, Iowa. 

AND I’m sending the old one back for
a $50 rebate (minus postage, of course)
See Happy Camper Above!


  1. Good to hear all is well with your jacks again. They are the bane of all RVers.

  2. What a great story! Yay David for being so handy ;-)

  3. fantastic... lucky he did not get eaten by the brave...

  4. David gets the Doer Yourself of the Years (DYOY) for this one!

    It's great to be able to fix things yourself, it would have cost a bundle at a dealer, for sure.

  5. Great story and glad it all worked out.

    I think you two should co-write more entries. It was a nice mix and a good, humorous read :)

  6. Great Post!! You two are just so much fun;o))

    Sherry, give credit where it is due this time... Great job David!!

    We were worried when we saw you crawling into the motorhome;o(( But you saved the day.

    We think you should get to spend the $50 credit on Moose Drool:o))

  7. @ Gail. David doesn't have time usually to write anything, he's always fixing stuff. But this time I asked him to do the frame work for exactly what happened so I could put all the asides nad pictures in. LOL Still "fixing" is pretty much his favorite thing to do.

    @ Nancy - for sure he gets tons of credit on this and all other fix it jobs. And he's the one who had to crawl under and set up the bottle jack for 6 weeks rather than
    take the cover off the fuse box and check them first. :-)

  8. Good job David! I thought the Brave was going to eat you and Eldy! I like the idea of using some of that rebate on Moose Drool. And yes, that was much cheaper than having it fixed at a dealer. Stay safe.

  9. See?? I knew there wasn't anything David couldn't do. Can we just tag along with you guys so that he's nearby whenever we need a repair made? :-)

  10. Love mom's commentary! Great post :) Glad it worked out. Super job once again Pops!


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