Another installment of lessons learned for the Newmar Kountry Star community on our Kountry Star blog.
On our 2008 Newmar Kountry Star diesel pusher we have a “step cover” at the feet of the passenger that raises and lowers to fill in space. Technically the steps transform from step to a flat service, as opposed to some rigs that have a platform that extends out over the steps. This magic is completed by an actuator that extends out to create the platform and retracts to create the steps.
In our situation, the actuator was extending but it was no longer retracting consistently. We would begin our travel day without any issues and then when we pulled into a truck stop for fuel the platform would not go back to being steps. Likely there is some switch inside that is failing. It seemed at first if we would not fully extend it, then it would work but that was not fail-proof either.
We did some research, as well as we reached out to Newmar service and got a quick response back from them. After shipping the officially recommended replacement (same brand as original, but a different model number) would be well over $400. After doing more research we found a comparable product available on Amazon Prime for $40, plus Prime shipping!
Duff-Norton LM100-1-S2 actuator
The original part was a Duff-Norton actuator. At least this company is actually still in existence more than 10 years later. The LM series of actuators are no longer manufactured. I could find little from this part number online. It is 100 pounds rated (keep in mind this is how much force it can push and not the rating of the steps) and a 125mm (approximately 5 inches) stroke.
Direct Replacement Part
Newmar service states their replacement number is 120599. They quoted me $397 from them directly or you can found it half that price in Newmar’s Amazon store!
Alternate Replacement Part
This alternative replacement part worked for us, it may not work for you. But if you are only out $40 to try it? Available on Amazon directly from the manufacturer’s store. From what we can tell the Eco-Worthy actuator is used in a number of audio/visual event applications and anywhere you need a motor to move something. These have varying degrees of reviews from 1 to 5 stars depending on the application. This application is the light-duty and is only used every so often. Frankly at only $40 if these failed every six months we probably won’t have the coach long enough to make up the difference.
ECO-WORTHY 6 inch Linear Actuator Motor Heavy Duty 330 lbs, 6” Stroke 12mm/s Speed Low Noise Less Than 42 dB with Mounting Brackets (DC12V, 1500N)
The #1 difference between the two parts is that the motor end of the housing has a larger assembly where you will connect it to the back of the stair assembly. I had to “convince” the motor to go into into the slightly smaller opening, it was littler hundredths of an inch I had to open the frame of the mechanism at the back of the system. You may not even have to do this on yours. the Duff-Norton had a much smaller assembly on the back of the motor casing.
The pins and hardware are slightly different but you should be able to resolve that at an Ace Hardware store easily. As you can see in the picture I just used a cotter pin at the front to ensure the operation worked before going to get the right bolt. The provided hardware worked fine in the back but on the front, the pieces were just slightly short. The diameter of the original bolts was slightly too large for the holes in the piston and you will need a smaller bolt to fit into the piston.
The new actuator will come with a “quick connect” plugin on it. I just that off, stripped back the heavy jacket to expose the red and black wires inside. I then removed the old actuator and connected the new one keeping red to red and black to black. Make sure to mark which is which before you remove the old one. In reality, keeping track doesn’t really matter, the switch will just be “backward” and you can swap the two if you need.
This took about 30 minutes to replace.