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View Full Version : Heartland underengineered the 3950s landing gear.



PUG
02-26-2011, 12:11 AM
Just need to vent a little as I am very disappointed in Heartlands design and engineering on the front landing gear of my 09 3950 Cyclone. Just a few months after purchasing the 3950 the motor for the landing gear was popping fuses left and right. I contacted Heartland and they sent a new larger so called heavy duty motor to a dealer and they replaced that. That was all fine and dandy and I was happy and this was suppossed to remedy the problem.

This is now about 2 years later and I am in Arizona from Idaho and poof out goes the lift motor again. After reading the forum last night I learned there is now a suppossedly cure all out now that adds another motor. Being I am out of warranty I just called the supplier and ordered a new motor to replace the burnt one along with their two motor conversion kit. $125 or the new motor and $300 for the conversion kit that includes a second motor and a new leg, wiring etc. plus $45 for shipping. $465 total.

I guess what I am saying is if you are going to purchase a big trl like this one make sure the new ones have either a two motor electric system or a hydraulic system as the one this one came with was not designed correctly. I wish Heartland would do something for me on this as they know they goofed from the start but I am not holding my breathe.

jbeletti
02-26-2011, 08:52 AM
Pug,

I am not qualified to debate you on this matter, nor do I have anything to do with the design of such things. We have thousands of these systems out there and electric motorized front landing gear can function properly. Why yours burns out motors - I just can't say.

We are continuously improving our products and while it's no consolation for you, I want you to know that beginning with the 2010 model year Cyclone, we began to use hydraulic front landing gear. I believe it was that same year, we did the same thing with our Bighorn product.

Sorry that you have had such a tough time with yours. I am hoping others can weigh in here with ideas on how they manage better with their electric landing gear. Maybe it will be of some help.

Jim

TXBobcat
02-26-2011, 06:12 PM
Hi Pug.
A lot of us have had the same problem with the older Heartland trailers. This may not be what to hear, but many of us bit the bullet and had a hydraulic system installed but made it the full leveling system.

Some used the Lippert Levelup system and others including me had the Bigfoot Auto leveling system installed. Yep it costs some bucks but I will never had a problem overloading the landing gear and it is easy to level. Just push one button once I get off the TV. Take a look at some of the threads discussing the leveling systems.

You can go up to the search on the top right hand corner, click on the Advanced search drop down for Google (in the forum) and enter a topic, like levelup or bigfoot and you should get some good hits.

Here's a search for Bigfoot threads .

It works but it also find bigfoot in the signatures...

FWIW
BC

jayc
02-26-2011, 10:25 PM
I have been using an electric landing gear on three different trailers since 1998 and so far, haven't had a problem. Maybe I have been lucky but I like to think I am very careful to release the switch when it reaches the limit. Like Bobcat, I will be switching over to the hydraulic leveling system soon. Sorry you're having a problem and hope you get it worked out.

caissiel
02-26-2011, 11:29 PM
I found that the landing gear needs attention when it is no longer able to be raised by the crank. A stronger and dual motor will not fix it.
I had to take my unit appart and realign the gear and pinion on both legs. The gear on the jack screw is alowed to be pushed sideways and the pinnion will climb on the gear causing the gears to jam instead of roling easily as normaly required.

Mine was moving enough to jam and I could not jack the trailer with the manual crank. This has been my 3 rd trailer with the same problem and I fixed them all the same way by anchoring the centering bar so as it is not alowed to move.

Now with good grease on the gears and alignment its much easier to lift the trailer with the manual crank, and therefore the motor does not work hard.

In the 1st and 2nd pick it shows the movement of the centering bar, the last pic shows the clamp I made to center the bar.

santafedave
02-28-2011, 03:40 PM
I have my 2008 Cyclone at Camping World and I am getting the HWH Hydrolic automatic leveling system installed. If you are a President's member with camping world the total price for the equipment is $3799.00 plus around $1,000 for install. I can't wait to not have to worry about getting stuck in the middle of the desert because of the Lippert POS landing gear that is installed stock on these rigs. Any prospective new owners should get the lippert hydrolic system installed new and they won't have any worries in the future.

caissiel
02-28-2011, 10:25 PM
I was talking to a retired farmer that had hydraulic landing gear on his previous trailer and he told me he was never assured of the dependibility of the landings and the next trailer he bought he made sure it had the gear type landing gear. With his experience on the farm, a hydraulic hose can fail at anytime so the trailer could fall down and damage anything under it.
We have to understand that the Motor homes have the wheels under the unit when the jacks level them and they have been known to fail often in the past. I heard many failure stories about them.
I would rather invest in proper maintenance on my units then spending very valuable investment money for these hydraulic units.

santafedave
04-14-2011, 01:35 PM
I just had the Rieco Titan ground control system installed on my Cyclone 3795. 4 Electric motors on each lift leg. Each motor is interchangable with the other and they are easy to remove. At camping world they wanted almost $7,000 to order and install a Hydraulic system and I paid 4,000 for the whole kit and install. They did have to move the spare tire system farther aft of the fuel tank in the rear and remove the genset to complete the install. I am happy now that I know that I will not be stuck in the middle of the desert with a failed lippert landing gear system. See my video at youtube called "dgsantafedave" Yea. D.

branson4020
04-14-2011, 02:00 PM
I found that the landing gear needs attention when it is no longer able to be raised by the crank. A stronger and dual motor will not fix it.
I had to take my unit appart and realign the gear and pinion on both legs. The gear on the jack screw is alowed to be pushed sideways and the pinnion will climb on the gear causing the gears to jam instead of roling easily as normaly required.

Mine was moving enough to jam and I could not jack the trailer with the manual crank. This has been my 3 rd trailer with the same problem and I fixed them all the same way by anchoring the centering bar so as it is not alowed to move.

Now with good grease on the gears and alignment its much easier to lift the trailer with the manual crank, and therefore the motor does not work hard.

In the 1st and 2nd pick it shows the movement of the centering bar, the last pic shows the clamp I made to center the bar.

Laurent,
Thanks so much for the pictures. I just wasn't getting this from the words alone. Is the top of that tube supposed to be square? Is it really pushed out that much?

porthole
04-14-2011, 08:19 PM
Watch for the tire hitting on steep areas. Where the tire is mounted from the factory on our trailer it hits my driveway backing i. Any further rearward and it would be an issue. As it is now it just starts to scrape.

nugget
04-15-2011, 11:24 AM
Timely. My landing gear motor has had a hard time raising the front of the trailer since new. It frequently blew the 20 amp fuse so I went to a 30 amp. The motor still works hard when raising with shore power or truck power connected.
I am considering going to a dual landing gear system hoping 2 motors will raise the trailer a little easier.

Any thoughts? Suggestions?

porthole
04-15-2011, 12:01 PM
I don't know if it would work, but I kept the landing gear from our Cyclone when the hydraulics were installed.

PUG
04-15-2011, 08:35 PM
Come on Jim. You read, sort, and reply on practically every post made on this forum. You are also suppossed to be the "owners" voice to the factory relaying on problems we are encountering and suggestions we have made. You replyed on my post where I was voicing dissatisfaction with the front landing gear that you didn't know why (I) was having so much trouble, more or less saying it was either a one of a kind problem or maybe me.

All you or anyone else has to do is search for front landing gear problems on this forum and you will see many many posts similar to mine. Come on Jim, I know you try but you are starting to sound like one of our polititians back East. If Heartland wants to have a good reputation and produce a quality product they need to listen to their customers and respond.

jbeletti
04-15-2011, 09:05 PM
Hi Pug,

You posted here in late February. While I can no longer keep up with all posts, I saw yours the next day and replied to the best of my ability. Six weeks later, you've come back here and I'm sort of lost on why you are calling me out.

All I can do for you is reiterate what I stated 6 weeks back, Heartland has responded by upgrading to hydraulic landing gear for a HUGE portion of their products. This in response to what we felt customers saw as a product improvement.

I understand that this changes nothing for you or anyone who has electric landing gear today.

If what you're asking for is to see a better "electric landing gear" system on those rigs we still produce with such systems - I hear you loud and clear. I'll certainly pass this on.

Thanks,

Jim

nugget
04-16-2011, 11:47 AM
I'm interested.
My gear has a lippert high speed motor, 7149 rpm 35,3:1 gear ratio tied to a venture leg and gear assembly.
If yours is the same could your lead leg be used to replace my follow leg?
Would it work?

caissiel
04-16-2011, 12:19 PM
There was noting wrong with the top part of the square tube, there is an expanded side of the tube that fits the shaft. The thing that was not right for me is the movement of the screw gear. It moved enough sideways to come out of alignment with the pinnion and the small gear climbed on the screw gear. I just centered the screw bearing and gear with a clamping device that centers the centering bar that was floating. I was afraid the gear would break as I was turning the pinion with the hand crank. The hand crank on mine was almost bending.

The gear was already showing wear due to clibing of the pinion.

SmokeyBare
04-16-2011, 01:38 PM
Reading this post as well as others who have had problems with their landing gear & landing legs... I can't help but wonder why this is the case with some and there are others who have not had issues. Perhaps it's just not their turn yet, I don't really know.

I have read with a good deal of interest other guys posts, where they did some preventative maintenance on their Landing Gears and the legs by removing them from the RV, dissembling them so they could lubricate them, hoping to prevent a problem. It sure sounded like a good idea and one I probably will do one of these days. No doubt if the screw shaft starts to rust this will put a heavy strain on the Electric motor and on the drive gears. All the moving parts need lubrication on them. If they bind from a dry threaded shaft and start to rust, it will stress the motor and probably blow the fuse/circuit breaker from the additional stress of lifting the RV.

One other thought. Some use a test when they hitch up. That is, when they hitch up, they test to be sure the hitch is locked. I sure hope they are lifting the landing gear legs an inch or so off the ground/pavement before they do the tug test. What would concern me is the weight on the legs and then moving the RV ahead, even if it is only a bit of movement. Not sure how much stress they could stand before something gave. Even a slight bend of the lower leg could begin to cause the motor to work harder as it retracted back inside the upper part of the leg.

The hitch I have uses a solid plate of steel behind the King Pin to lock the RV to the Hitch. The tug test is not really needed in my case, since I can see the back side of the Hitch and see the steel shaft as it locks behind the King Pin. Sort of an Old Fashion design, but it works for me.

jdfishing
04-27-2011, 01:23 AM
Hi Pug:
I hear you loud and clear. I've been fighting my front landing gear for four years. I complained about it early on and was told they all sound like that. That got me into year two, out of factory warranty, when it locked up while unloading from my TV. Since then, I've had it torn apart and replaced several times. I don't know why some fail and some don't, but some clearly do.

Well, it is again broke, six months after the latest motor/gear box replacement. I've got a major trip planned in three weeks, most of the repair facilities are booked solid, and I'm stuck with a Bighorn that's broke. This, after I've already poured a lot of money into a problem that continues to break. I asked Heartland if they have a recommended upgrade to the landing gear system and they don't. So, I guess we are on our own. I am interested in the dual motor system you installed. Thanks for the detailed istallation instructions, but that's more than I want to take on. I do have some concerns, since the motor/gearbox assemblys are the same as I now have. Please forward any updates you may have on how your's is performing. I don't believe I'm interested in throwing a couple thousand bucks at this problem, which I believe should have been corrected by Heartland.

But, I certainly understand the factory warranty process. After that first year, it's drop dead time. I just wish I would have known about this problem, and several others, before I bought, or at least in the first year. This landing gear issue goes back to my dealer and me mostly, but he's no longer in business. However, I honestly believe Heartland knew they had a problem and that's at least part of the reason they changed to the hydraulic system. But it is what it is, so now I just want to fix it permanently and move on to the next issue.

JSalapka
04-30-2011, 10:26 PM
I found on my Sundance 2900MK that if you lift the landing gear all the way up it will blow a fuse everytime. I marked the legs and leave it down about an inch
and haven't had any problems so far. ( Knock on wood )

jdfishing
05-04-2011, 12:25 PM
I also had marked my legs so I would not extend or retract them to the max. It's in the shop now, getting the two motor system installed. I asked if they had run across this problem before with any other units. They said they ocassionally replace a motor which has gone bad, but have generally not encountered the same problem Heartland seems to have with a system not capable of handling the weight. Hopefuly, this will solve my problem. I talked to a few other campers with SOB units of approximately the same size and weight as my 3055RL Bighorn. None have had or new of any problems with the front landing gear on their brand units. Doesn't speak well for a Heartland brand product.

dodgeguy44
05-04-2011, 05:17 PM
I too have had problems with my landing gear. 2010 Cyclone 3950. It blew fuses the second time I used the gear. It took me a while to find the fuse, on top of the generator(not sure why we have fuse boxes), and then replace it with a circuit breaker. It still kicks out the breaker but then comes back on after a minute. The legs and gear are simply too light for these trailers. Heartland admits there are some problems but refuses to help us out when there should be a recall on all of these. Jim has read and replied to the original post but still nothing is done.

This will be the last Heartland for us!

navyAZ1
05-19-2011, 12:33 PM
For the folks who are getting the hydraulic landing gear and those who have it now I saw a 5er at another campground that had the hydraulic landing gear and he had a adjustable leg mounted on the frame next to the landing gear leg that was hinged so once he had the coach set up he would swing this leg down in place and adjust the leg to within about an inch short of the ground. This would then prevent the coach from dropping all the way to the ground should the hydraulic system lose pressure. He told me where he bought them at but for the life of me I can't remember, but I going to look into this once our new landing gear is installed.

Rodbuster
05-19-2011, 01:26 PM
You guys are scaring the daylights out of me.
I'm picking up a brand new 40 foot Key Largo this Saturday. Should I be concerned with this landing gear problem?

Rodbuster

cookie
05-19-2011, 04:53 PM
You guys are scaring the daylights out of me.
I'm picking up a brand new 40 foot Key Largo this Saturday. Should I be concerned with this landing gear problem?

Rodbuster

No.

Peace
Dave

Ray LeTourneau
05-19-2011, 10:11 PM
You guys are scaring the daylights out of me.
I'm picking up a brand new 40 foot Key Largo this Saturday. Should I be concerned with this landing gear problem?

Rodbuster
First, the Landmark has a 14,000# capacity hydraulic system that should be more than enough to handle the landing legs on the Key Largo. This threads original poster was referring to an electric motor/geared unit he was having trouble with. Rest your fears my friend.

ParkIt
05-24-2011, 04:25 AM
For the folks who are getting the hydraulic landing gear and those who have it now I saw a 5er at another campground that had the hydraulic landing gear and he had a adjustable leg mounted on the frame next to the landing gear leg that was hinged so once he had the coach set up he would swing this leg down in place and adjust the leg to within about an inch short of the ground. This would then prevent the coach from dropping all the way to the ground should the hydraulic system lose pressure. He told me where he bought them at but for the life of me I can't remember, but I going to look into this once our new landing gear is installed.
My guess is HWH - when I owned a 40' diesel pusher and worked at a high end RV sales lot, we did more HWH installs on every coach & trailer that left the lot by customer request. HWH also has electric 'kick jack levelers' - we used to call them "idiot proof levelers" since the first tug and they will unlock and snap up into place under the frame without damaging anything. They hold up and considering my brand new 3500BC arrived with a bad rear hydraulic pump for the rear levelers (factory had jammed the wiring in so hard to the inside switch it stripped the sheath from 2 wires drying out the pump) I'll probably spend the money for HWH hydraulics both front and back. Sturdy, no worries about pumps electric/hydraulic, and will never drop or jam.
2

mikehammer001
10-27-2011, 08:22 PM
I found that the landing gear needs attention when it is no longer able to be raised by the crank. A stronger and dual motor will not fix it.
I had to take my unit appart and realign the gear and pinion on both legs. The gear on the jack screw is alowed to be pushed sideways and the pinnion will climb on the gear causing the gears to jam instead of roling easily as normaly required.

Mine was moving enough to jam and I could not jack the trailer with the manual crank. This has been my 3 rd trailer with the same problem and I fixed them all the same way by anchoring the centering bar so as it is not alowed to move.

Now with good grease on the gears and alignment its much easier to lift the trailer with the manual crank, and therefore the motor does not work hard.

In the 1st and 2nd pick it shows the movement of the centering bar, the last pic shows the clamp I made to center the bar.

I have a 2008 3950 cyclone. I bought it used from a dealer. I've had some issues that I've fixed that shouldn't have on a unit of this price range. I am now working on landing gear. On one of them the jack screw is froze. I changed the gear box because it was broke but after that is when I found the frozen screw. I am not happy with the Quality of this system but cant afford to do anything but fix it myself. Thanks for the pictures they'll come in handy.

goldwinghaulers
11-09-2011, 03:15 PM
Heartland/Lippert sent a person to my house and replaced the motor on mine. he spent three days replacing the motor and on the third extension the motor quit again. He callled Heartland and they sent a second motor system to be installed. It has worked until now. This is the fourth time I have used the RV since both motors were installed and the right motor has stopped working. I was told on the replacement paperwork, that if it failed they would replace the system with a hydraulic one. Could someone from Heartland/Lippert give me the person I need to contact to have this done. Thank you. It is a 2009 Cyclone.

Barry Martin
334-774-1301

jbeletti
11-10-2011, 07:24 AM
Barry,

You should contact Lippert Customer Service:

Lippert Components Inc.
866-524-7821
Lippert's Website (http://www.lci1.com/)
eMail Lippert (warranty@lci1.com)

Be ready to fax them that paperwork that shows the hydraulic upgrade upon failure as they'll likely want to see that.

Jim

caissiel
11-10-2011, 07:03 PM
Like I said before if the need is for more power to raise the legs, there is something wrong with the screw and its turning to hard. The result in the future will be a failed gear and pinion as I found with mine that I repaired before failure.
Try to lift your trailer using the hand crank, mine was so hard to turn that the crank was bending.

These landing gears are tested for 5000 Lbs service and to me its maintanance that will make them perform as designed. But the center plate is designed with to much clearance. I have seen SOBs setup with the center plate held on the coach anchor. On our heavy units the drop design it don't align but fully feasable on the heavy cyclone.

happykraut
11-12-2011, 07:26 AM
Timely. My landing gear motor has had a hard time raising the front of the trailer since new. It frequently blew the 20 amp fuse so I went to a 30 amp. The motor still works hard when raising with shore power or truck power connected.
I am considering going to a dual landing gear system hoping 2 motors will raise the trailer a little easier.

Any thoughts? Suggestions?

It is NEVER a good idea when you have a problem like this to put in a higher amperage fuse. If the original wiring was close in the current capabilities of the fuse (amperage wise) and now you are forcing that wiring to handle more current, the wiring could burn up before the fuse blows and possibly cause a fire. My 2 cents worth.
P.S.. I done rewrote this about a half dozen times and it's not coming out just right, but I think you should be able to get the picture.

cmk1960
11-28-2011, 11:24 PM
When I purchased my 2009 3950 I bought it used and the landing gear was damaged. I inspected all the components and my conclusion was that my landing gear was abused by the former owner. I replaced the motor and gearbox, but not the switch. Recently we were getting ready for a trip and the motor stopped working again. This time the switch went out. Inspection of the switch revealed that it had overheated evidently many times. Now I am in the process of replacing the switch. Since the landing gear system appeared to be abused prior to me buying the unit, I feel the factory switch will be sufficient for the job. I tested the system and checked for voltage to determine where the failure was and after locating the problem I used a pair of jumper wires with alligator clips to wire the motor to a 12v supply so that I could raise the unit to the proper hitching level. The motor and landing gear operated properly with no problems at all. I know it sounds redneck but in time of need improvising is necessary.

jimtoo
11-29-2011, 12:29 AM
Hi cmk1960,

Welcome to the Heartland Owners Forum and Family. We have a great bunch of people here with lots of information and all willing to share their knowledge when needed.

Well,, if that's being a "Redneck",,,, then I (and a whole lot of other owners) belong to the Redneck Club also. You do what ever it takes to safely repair or make something work until it can be repaired correctly. HMnnn,,,, maybe we could start a "Redneck Temporary Repair Area" .... don't know how many folks would understand and could follow the redneck instructions,,, but maybe some folks could.

In your above post you said ""I tested the system and checked for voltage"" ,, so that means you touched the wires togather and had some sparks :),,, so you knew you had juice.... is that right? :)

Hey,,,enjoy the forum and your new to you Big Horn.

Jim M

cmk1960
11-30-2011, 06:19 PM
Actually I tested the proper way with a volt meter, but touching wires can be fun...lol. I really enjoy my 3950 anytime we go camping. We recently went to Destin Fla. for a week and loved the area and the camper, ( the longest trip yet). It is amazing how many people with the class A campers come by and admire the 12 ft garage area especially when I have my supports attached to turn my ramp into a patio complete with table, chairs, and a propane fire pit, even a grill at times all on a camper as long as theirs without a cab. Don't get me wrong, I like the class A's, but they just don't fit my needs. I like my 3950 and my F-350 better, that way I can take my Harley Touring Bike and all the goodies. Looking forward to chating with other Heartland owners!

argyll1st
12-21-2011, 01:46 AM
Hi guys, so what is the actual factory position on this "problem" we have a 2009 Sundance ( bought in 2010) that's been popping fuses, is it under warranty ? Are they sending out second motors ? We live in the UK and only come state side to holiday so I don't want to be stuck on a dealers forecourt for 3 days as they have a go at fixing this ! Are the landing jacks covered under the 3 year warranty ?

happykraut
12-21-2011, 06:13 AM
When I purchased my 2009 3950 I bought it used and the landing gear was damaged. I inspected all the components and my conclusion was that my landing gear was abused by the former owner. I replaced the motor and gearbox, but not the switch. Recently we were getting ready for a trip and the motor stopped working again. This time the switch went out. Inspection of the switch revealed that it had overheated evidently many times. Now I am in the process of replacing the switch. Since the landing gear system appeared to be abused prior to me buying the unit, I feel the factory switch will be sufficient for the job. I tested the system and checked for voltage to determine where the failure was and after locating the problem I used a pair of jumper wires with alligator clips to wire the motor to a 12v supply so that I could raise the unit to the proper hitching level. The motor and landing gear operated properly with no problems at all. I know it sounds redneck but in time of need improvising is necessary.

Call me a redneck too. I did the exact same thing this summer up in Alaska. I wire nutted two short pieces of 12 gauge solid wire to the motor leads. They acted like probes and got me all the way through Alaska and back home.

Gary521
12-21-2011, 11:01 AM
There has been a gazillion posts on the electric landing gear. Adding the second landing gear motor helps a bunch but does not solve the underlying problem and that is the lack of lube on the jack screw. The jack screw runs hard and maybe seizes and "poof" there goes the fuse, motor or whatever. I have a technique to drill holes in the leg so that the jack screw can be greased. It can be found on the forum or anyone can e-mail me and I will give the technique.