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General Boards => Technical Support => Topic started by: Carl Boger on December 24, 2019, 02:00:30 AM

Title: Slide over the steps.
Post by: Carl Boger on December 24, 2019, 02:00:30 AM
 The slide over my steps is operated by a air piston, but recently it has stopped working.  If I crank the MH and hit the slide out switch the slide stays in, (both switches).  If I grab the slide with a pair of pliers it feels like the cylinder is pulling the slide in.  Sometimes if I forget to turn to switch to the in position when the air is leaking down the slide will extend out when I am gone.
I'm guessing that there must be an electrical component that tells the cylinder which direction to go, open or closed.  Any diagrams of this system or insights would be greatly appreciated.  I am not really sure what I am looking for, guessing the thing with two wires and air lines in the nose of the MH.

I won't be getting to this for at least a few days, but appreciate any help.  Merry Christmas everyone and Happy New Year. 

Thanks Carl
Title: Re: Slide over the steps.
Post by: Paul Meehan on December 24, 2019, 09:15:11 AM
I had a similar problem.  I found the Norgren valve and or relay on the valve located in the electrical bay under the driver's seat was not operating properly.  I had the valve and relay replaced and all is fine.  There are adjusting stems at the bottom of the valve.  Also, be careful as the valve and air lines are under pressure.
Title: Re: Slide over the steps.
Post by: Fred Brooks on December 24, 2019, 12:59:09 PM
    Carl, The Norgren air valve is a shuttle valve that that directs air in 2 different directions and not uncommon to fail as it comes off the accessory air tank (green needle on air gauge) When you replace it, check for water in the supply air hose as this causes the failure. If there is water, you should drain your air tanks. The thumb screws on the bottom of the valve are the exhaust adjustments in either direction to control the speed so it doesn't slam closed or open
  Merry Christmas & Blessings for the New Year!  Fred
Title: Re: Slide over the steps.
Post by: Carl Boger on December 24, 2019, 02:57:59 PM
Thanks everyone, I believe I have that same valve on mine.  Hopefully will get to it after the first of the year.
Title: Re: Slide over the steps.
Post by: Carl Boger on December 30, 2019, 05:44:10 PM
I replaced the Norgren air valve and it didn't fix the problem.  The slide still will not close.  When I changed the air valve I just switched over the old fittings and reattached the air lines.  Are there any other adjustments that need to be done to the air valve, or do I need to start looking toward the electrical side or the actual air ram.  I am hoping it is not the ram since it looks like it will be a pain to change out.  The small box on the top right corner looking at the air valve came new with the new valve and it looks to have a few adjustments, but I don't want to mess them up if they were set up correct from the factory.

I also saw no signs of water in the air lines or tank, and the air dryer cycles regularly so I think I as good there. 
The green air gauge will also start to leak air within 24 hours and will settle and only hold air at around 5 to 10 psi, while the orange needle will hold over 60 psi for a month or more. I haven't been able to find where it is leaking.

Does any one know a good way to test out the electrical side of the step cover.  Looks like a red wire to the front top terminal, and 2 black wires to the top back terminal, then a black wire underneath  on a lower terminal.  I am guessing red is positive, two blacks are triggers, and lower black is the ground?

Thanks Carl
Title: Re: Slide over the steps.
Post by: Carl Boger on December 31, 2019, 02:24:38 AM
Just as a update,

Today after I aired up the MH I sprayed the air hose fitting closest to the steps with soapy water and didn't see any signs of a leak.  I grabbed the metal bar under the slide and pulled it out some, and air pressure was pulling it back.  I also noticed with it not  being pulled all the way in I could see a air leak coming from the end of the ram where it enters the housing.  Thinking this might be my problem I decided to go ahead and remove the ram.

Once it was out blowing air from and air hose into the fittings the ram worked in both directions.  A small shot of air aimed at the hole would shoot out or retract the ram with no problem.  It does look to me like it is missing a seal from the end where the ram extends since it is a threaded end, but maybe it is supposed to be that way.  Can anyone tell from the picture. 

I believe there was only a noticeable air leak because I pulled out the ram.  While the ram is out I am open to options as to if I should rebuild it or does it need a seal at the end, if kits are even available. 

So now I have a new air control valve, a air ram that looks like it is working correctly, I am guessing I am again chasing electrical gremlins! 

Again I have 3 connectors going to the control valve.  A red one on the outer top that I figure is the positive.  2 black wires into a single connector behind it (Trigger wires?).  and a black wire under them (ground).  I haven't tested any of them out to verify this yet.

Or can the control valve be adjusted to make the slide work.  I do see adjustments on the control valve.
Thanks for any help 
Title: Re: Slide over the steps.
Post by: Carl Boger on December 31, 2019, 08:09:23 PM
To update again,  I do have 12 volts to the redwire on the air control valve, at least when the dash switch is in one of its two positions.  Can not verify that I am getting 12 volts there from the passengers seat yet however.  The Ram does have a air leak out of the end the ram slides out from so this is probably why my green needle leaks down so fast.  You can blow into it with no load and it works in both directions.  I did find out  that you can not rebuild it, but it is still available to buy.  Should have ask the price!  Took the attachment point off that pushes the slide cover out and it still does not extend under no load, but it is pulling the slide in with a decent amount of force. 

Thinking it is not reversing the air, but why.  Does anyone have a wiring diagram of how this works?  Can not think of anything else it could be.   
Title: Re: Slide over the steps.
Post by: Mike Shumack on January 01, 2020, 12:52:49 PM
My coach is a little newer than yours, but these Step Covers work the same. I noticed in the photo of your that Teflon tape was used on the air line fittings. That's not recommended as some of the Teflon can get into the valve and stop it from working (you can see the excess Teflon on the outside of the fitting and the same thing happens on the inside - which then breaks off and can block the internal valve). I don't know if that happened to your valve or not. So just saying ...

Basically you have an air inlet and two air outlets. It should be easy enough to check that you have air at the inlet (I believe you said you do). Then remove/loosen one or both outlet lines and see if you have air coming out when power is applied to the solenoid.

Here's what my Step Cover solenoid look like (2005 year). Here's the wiring diagram for my coach - I think it will be the same for your Coach.

EDIT: I found this explanation the "MAC Valve" (a different brand Stepwell Cover mechanism but operates the same) that may help you in diagnosing the problem. Note that the solenoid will allow air to exhaust and "open" the Cover when 12V is removed from the solenoid.

Title: Re: Slide over the steps.
Post by: Mike Shumack on January 01, 2020, 01:21:31 PM
After re-reading your first post, it sounds like you have a solenoid with "three wires/terminals". If that is correct then the stuff I posted above will not help you. All the Stepwell Cover mechanisms I've read about (the Humphrey and MAC valves) are two wire setups (power applied, or power removed). In you photo it looks like a two terminal solenoid with two wires on one terminal, but I can't tell. Sorry

If you have a three wire solenoid, then it would make sense that one wire is for ground, and the other two would be for extending and retracting of the cylinder.
Title: Re: Slide over the steps.
Post by: Carl Boger on January 01, 2020, 03:01:45 PM
Here are a few pictures of my wiring set up from the old air control valve.  The top front one is where the red wire is attached, it has 12 volts from the close out switch on the dash in one of the positions with the ignition key turned on.  The top rear one has the two black wires in the single terminal with no voltage, and the bottom one is a single black wire with no voltage.

I don't know what the red cap on the top is for, and I have not turned the red adjustment under the terminals that says " turn to operate.  I will probably try this next since I can always get it back near the same adjustment.

I keep thinking I am chasing a ground issue, but all the grounds I have found so far have been cleaned.

I spoke to the Technical Support staff at Bimba and was told that if any air is getting out then the seal at the end of the cylinder where the ram extends was worn.  I ordered a new cylinder from my local distributor (SR-0427-DPW) and it should be here in about 5 weeks as they will have to make it and then ship it out. 

As for the Teflon tape I noticed that too, a prior owner did that so this close out must have been giving them trouble also.

Thanks for any trouble shooting ideas I am trying to go through this in a logical manner.  I am not in a big hurry since I have a new cylinder coming and that should help with the air leak on the air tank with the green needle.  I may have a friend who is a decent amount smaller than I am try to find where some of this wiring goes since I can barely get to the dash switch and it is a tight fit to get to the air control valve in the nose of the MH. 

Title: Re: Slide over the steps.
Post by: Carl Boger on January 01, 2020, 03:03:44 PM
Pictures that didn't attach
Title: Re: Slide over the steps.
Post by: Steve Huber Co-Admin on January 01, 2020, 03:56:47 PM
The wires are shown in a Thunder wiring list and I suspect they are very similar to your hookup.

  Signal         Circuit#         Connectors/pin
 Common       142                C24/16 - C31/9               This is ground
 Step close     131A              C24/17 - C31/10              From Dash switch
 Step open     131B              C24/18 - C31/11              From Dash switch
I suspect the dash switch applies 12v to the appropriate open/close wire when pushed.
The wire list is in Coach Assist Wiring Diagrams, 2002-03 Patriot, Firewall Harness, Sheet 4 of 7
Title: Re: Slide over the steps.
Post by: Carl Boger on January 01, 2020, 05:09:58 PM
Thanks Steve,

I probably won't get back out there for a day or two, but that will help
Title: Re: Slide over the steps.
Post by: Carl Boger on January 04, 2020, 08:11:47 PM
Did a little more checking today between rain storms.  I blew air from my air hose into the out line on the air cylinder and it did make the slide extend so it looks like an electrical problem.

I checked power at the drivers close out switch and the middle red wire does not have any power so I am pretty sure this is my problem.  Can't really chase the wire down right now because of the rain

The passengers switch does have power to the center red wire. Being 3 way type switches they have had me scratching my head.

I've included a diagram if anyone has any insights.  Thanks, Carl   
Title: Re: Slide over the steps.
Post by: Mike Shumack on January 05, 2020, 11:29:06 AM
Carl, just to confirm the air cylinder and solenoid is working, with coach aired up, if you disconnect the wires to the solenoid ( ground wire still connected to chassis) and put 12V power to the control wires (one wire at a time) does the side cover open and close?
Title: Re: Slide over the steps.
Post by: Carl Boger on January 05, 2020, 02:15:21 PM
Thanks Mike, will try to get to that soon.  Going be be busy for a week or so and may not have any daylight hours, but thanks for a good direction to go in.  Carl
Title: Re: Slide over the steps.
Post by: Carl Boger on January 05, 2020, 05:38:29 PM
Playing around with the old air valve I found that there is continuity between the top two terminals and not to the bottom one.
Hooking the to two together with a jump box I get 13.6 volts between those two terminals, but only 8.5 volts coming out of the bottom terminal.  I can hear the solenoid click when I connect or disconnect the jump box.  Does any one know of a reason for the reduced voltage?  Little reluctant to apply 12 volts to test it if is only supposed to get 8 for some reason.  Thanks Carl

I still can not get out and try to see where the wires are going. I do know that the red wire to the top front terminal gets 12 volts from both drivers switch and passengers.  It also has no voltage going to it if the switches are flipped in a different position.  I have no idea why there are two wires going to the top rear terminal.  Since there is continuity between the two it seems like it would be a ground, but why two wires?  Just looking for ideas to help fix this.
Title: Re: Slide over the steps.
Post by: Steve Huber Co-Admin on January 06, 2020, 04:04:39 PM
The red wire on the center terminal of the dash switch is the output to the solenoid. If either the dash or passenger switch is depressed it should have 12v on it. From your diagram the switch wiring seems correct. So, I'd suspect a bad switch.  With an ohmmeter check to see if you get continuity between the center post and the upper and lower posts depending on how the switch is depressed. You should always have continuity between the center and either the upper or lower post (orange or blue wires). If the switch is bad, try applying 12v to the red wire going to the solenoid from the center post. The slide should function.
Title: Re: Slide over the steps.
Post by: Carl Boger on January 07, 2020, 12:10:07 AM
Thanks Steve,
Checked out both switches and I do have continuity on both switches to either the orange or blue wires in whatever position the switch happens to be flipped.  Since it wasn't aired up I haven't tried just using the 12 volt directly to either wire.  I will be away from it for  about a week so won't get any more done until then.  That and like I said earlier I should have a new air cylinder in less than 5 weeks.  Hopefully this will keep my green needle form leaking down so fast and allow me to test things out a little less hurried.
Title: Re: Slide over the steps.
Post by: Carl Boger on January 13, 2020, 07:47:33 PM
Just to follow up one more time.  I finally got back into town, but its raining today so I decided to try to figure out my old air control valve.  After taking it apart and inspecting it everything looked good inside.  I reassembled it and added a male air fitting to the top air in port and hooked it to a air compressor and a jump box to power the 12 volt connectors

With the air compressor turned on air would come out of the bottom port that opens the stair close out.  If you apply 12 volt power it still blows air out of the port that opens the close out UNTIL you block off that port.  It then diverts that air through the valve making the valve switch and then air comes out the other port that closes the close out.

There is a spring in the air control valve that makes it default to open without both 12 volts and air pressure.

In my case I believe that my air cylinder is leaking so much air that the air valve can not build enough pressure to make the valve switch between the open and close ports.  I should know for sure in about 4 weeks  when my new cylinder gets here.

Hopefully this will be able to help if anyone else runs across a similar issue.
Title: Re: Slide over the steps.
Post by: Carl Boger on January 30, 2020, 11:59:27 PM
And my saga continues:

I got my new air cylinder in today and got it bolted in place and plumbed up to the air hoses.  Hit the close out switch after airing up and Nothing!

I get out the soapy water and the new air cylinder is not leaking so started spraying the other fittings.  The next weakest link in the line turns out to be one of the silver fittings on the bottom of the air control valve.  When I tried to tighten it up it the leak went from a minor leak to a major leak.

Without a air tight seal the air control valve won't work and the slide won't close as the default is always open.

Does anyone know what these silver fittings are called and where to get them?  They swivel at the connection to make lining up the air lines in different configurations possible.  I can see from one picture I have that they are stamped as "bimba"  same manufacturer as the air cylinder.  If no one knows what these are hopefully they will be able to ID them from a picture tomorrow. 

I have included a picture and there is a better picture in the 2nd post of this thread.

Thanks Carl 

With this leaking
Title: Re: Slide over the steps.
Post by: Carl Boger on January 31, 2020, 03:25:36 PM
It looks like these are still available, not sure what they are called though.  Bimba FCP2k.  It is a banjo type fitting and it looks like that is where mine is leaking.  It didn't seem to leak until I replaced the air cylinder which was leaking badly out of the end.
I will try to find someone who has some in stock today, otherwise I may be waiting another month for new ones to be made.  Thanks For everyone's help 
Title: Re: Slide over the steps.
Post by: Carl Boger on February 01, 2020, 07:00:46 PM
A quick recap to catch up since this is so old.

The Close out over my stairs would not close and I started trying to find out why about 6 weeks ago.  It was initially suggested to be the air control valve, so when I saw a NOS one listed reasonably I bought it.  Put it on and it still didn't fix things. 

Next I found a serious leak in the end seal of the Bimba Air cylinder.  Ordered an new one and waited about a month while it was made.  Put it in and had no leaks in the air cylinder, but it still did not fix it.  Then I found a very minor leak on the bottom of one of the Bimba air fittings (FCP2K).

I bought two of them locally and replaced both.  Aired the coach up and no leaks, but still not fixed!

Then I took a small screwdriver and put it into the red slot on the side (see picture) and turned it counter clockwise until it stopped.  I could hear the air escaping and then the air valve switching.  The close out then extended to the closed position.  Turn it clockwise and the close out retracted to the open position.  This tells me that pneumatically the system is working.

So now I am thinking that this is electrical, or more specifically a grounding issue.  l am getting 14.4 volts to the  top front spade terminal on the solenoid looking box with the close out switches in one of their positions and no volts with the switches in the other. This is from the front spade terminal to the heavy negative ground stud at the front of the coach. I believe that the air control valve defaults to the close out open position by a spring inside the valve that has to be overcome by air pressure which only happens when 12 volts is applied and air diverted internally.

Now I want to try to test this out by jumpering a ground to the solenoid on top of the air control valve.  The problem is I am not sure which of the other two terminal connectors are grounds.  The top back terminal has 2 black wires going to it, but they disappear into a closed harness.  The bottom horizontal one has a single black wire going to it and also disappears into a closed harness.

Does anyone know which is the ground, or where the grounds terminate?  Does anyone have another direction to go in.  I think I have pretty much replaced most of the system, but that is ok with me since parts of it were pretty much worn out.

Thanks for any help, I am not giving up, but this one is making me work for it!

Title: Re: Slide over the steps.
Post by: Carl Boger on February 01, 2020, 08:24:59 PM
First off I would like to thank everyone who helped, this one had me chasing my own tail.

Finally SUCCESS!

The problem was the NEW solenoid that I got with the new Norgren Air control valve!  I took the old solenoid and jumped 12 volts to the top two terminals and I could hear it click.  I applied 12 volts to the new solenoid from the same 12 volts and no click, nothing!

I pulled off both solenoids and switched them and everything is working on the closeout.  Tested the new solenoid again and still nothing.   For what ever reason I have had more than my share of problems with brand new parts lately.  Not even upset about that just happy everything is working.
Title: Re: Slide over the steps.
Post by: LaMonte Monnell on February 01, 2020, 11:17:20 PM
Great news Carl. I've been following your issues since you began.

I don't have an air slide on my Contessa but found your troubleshooting interesting. Thanks for sharing this!