Why is the Auto-Leveling Popping?

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After some extensive digging around on the internet, we found the solution on the LCI website that would allow us to use an additive rather than replacing all of the fluid in the system.
LCI auto-leveling reservoir cover

The first few days we did not notice the popping noise created by the Lippert Components Inc. (LCI) hydraulic Auto-Leveling system. The longer we had the system deployed, the more noticeable the sound became, especially after the temperatures started to increase.  We quickly began to research hoping that we weren’t going to have a catastrophic failure of the auto leveling system. Ok, I will admit that I knew the system wasn’t about to fail. The sound made by the Auto-Leveling system was just annoying.

There is a Solution to the Popping.

After some extensive digging around on the internet, we found the solution on the LCI website that would allow us to use an additive rather than replacing all of the fluid in the system. LCI has approved the use of three different brands of anti-stiction fluids; Torco RFF Grade 15, Maxima Fork Oil Grade 15, and  Caterpillar Hydraulic Oil Additive 1U-9891. The only one I was able to find locally was the Caterpillar Hydraulic Oil Additive 1U-9891 at the Cat dealer in town. I went down and purchased a quart so we could reduce the noise of the Auto-Leveling system.

Skill Level: Beginner

The procedure for putting the anti-stiction fluid into the hydraulic system is relatively straight forward. Take out a quart of the current hydraulic fluid so you can put in a quart of the anti-stiction fluid. It will not take long to complete the process, and the only skills you need to know are; how to use a screwdriver if you have a reservoir cover, how to use a fluid extraction device, and how to manually operate the auto-leveling system.

The Steps Taken to Eliminate the Popping.

Before you get started there are a few things that you will need to do first.

  1. Find a firm level spot to work since you will need to retract and fully extend the leveling jacks.
  2. Ensure your wheel chocks are in place.
  3. If you have slideouts, you will need to ensure that they are fully retracted.
  4. Locate the hydraulic reservoir.
  5. Find a container that can hold 1 quart of fluid (32 fluid ounces)  preferably something you can seal. I used a 1-quart canning jar but you can use anything that will retain at least 1 quart of liquid.
  6. You will need to locate something to remove the liquid with like an oil transfer pump. If you do not have one then go to the kitchen and grab the turkey baster that will work too make sure to throw it away afterward and have it replaced before Thanksgiving.
  7. Double check to see that nothing is underneath your RV then fully retract the leveling jacks.
  8. Now that the system is fully retracted grab your fluid extraction device, your container or containers, and remove 1 quart of fluid.
  9. Add ½ of the fluid you purchased then fully extend all cylinders and jacks.
  10. Add the remaining fluid you purchased.
  11. Cycle the system two or three times to help the fluids mix together.
  12. Set up your RV as you usually would.

Instruction from LCI

Outcome

After we completed the procedure, we noticed a reduction in the amount of popping that was coming from the auto-leveling system. We also found that we do not need to adjust the Auto-Leveling after we have it deployed for an extended amount of time. The process is quick, inexpensive, and is a beginner do it yourself project.


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Don McElfresh

Don McElfresh

Marine Veteran with a background in engineering. With over 20 years experience in leadership roles in retail and news media. Started full-time RV living in March of 2018 to get back to enjoying life through hiking and photography.

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We are sharing our adventures to not only document our full-time living in a 5th wheel but to provide others with information.  Our extensive research involved searching for answers to these questions: how to begin this lifestyle, what RV is best to live in full-time and what jobs could we do to support our dream.  However, we did not find a lot of answers out there that pertained to our quest.  Quickly we realized people choose this lifestyle and their RV for many different reasons.  There is no right or wrong answer.  We are here to provide you with another perspective.

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