Hydraulic Leveling Jacks and Kwiki Steps
Maintenance on hydraulic leveling jacks and Kwiki Steps:
About 6 years ago I attended a "workshop" covering operation and maintenance of RV-appliances & equipment. A local RV dealer does this every year and they do a good job of it. One of their mechanics discussed the operation of Kwiki steps, all the switches and such, how they operate, how to maintain them etc., They stressed that a good ground connection was necessary for the proper functioning of the steps and that cleaning up that connection fixed many problems. Next they covered "maintenance" of the steps. They recommended monthly lubrication of the joints between the motor and the steps (the mechanical joints) with silicon. They were recommending silicon not so much for its lubricating ability but because it DID NOT ATTRACT DIRT AND GRIME.
Mechanics warned us NOT to use lubricant that would attract road dirt and grime. They specifically recommended silicon spray stating that was all they used.
Industry representatives stress that the places to lubricate were not the sliding hinges on both sides of the steps. It is the joints in the arm connecting the motor to the steps. The only way you can do this is to lay on your back under the steps while the steps are cycled up and down/in and out. Again, you are NOT trying to lubricate the scissions mechanism on both sides of the step you are lubricating the JOINTS in the linkage off the motor. That is why you have to get under the steps to see what needs lubricating. There is no other way to get the silicon on the correct joints.
Don't be one of those people that lubricate the sliding steel hinges on both sides of the steps while ignoring the joints that really need the lubrication. And don't use WD-40 or other petroleum based lubricants that will attract road dirt & grime. Use silicon spray or Kwiki lube.
Now, with that background, it would seem to me that you could use a petroleum based lubricant as long as you cleaned it up periodically and applied another coat. I know from experience that silicon does not seem to leave any lasting lubricating film on any part.
The shiny cylinders on our hydraulic leveling jacks need to be cleaned and sprayed with silicon also. Here again industry representatives stress silicon because it does not attract dirt & grime. From experience the best way to do this is to fully extend each of the jacks then spray the silicon on them. In most instances that should be all that is needed. On occasion I have applied the silicon then lightly rubbed them with fine steel wool to remove any rust or dirt that may be present. After applying steel wool it is always necessary to apply more silicon and thoroughly clean the shaft with a clean rag or paper towel to assure no dirt, rust or steel wool residue remain. After wiping all residue away with the rag or paper towel make sure to apply silicon again as the final step.
Most people will want to know how often to perform these maintenance procedures. I would say as often as necessary and that would tend to change with circumstances. When on the road I tend to do it monthly. I want to do it often enough that rust does not appear on the struts of my leveling jacks. Whenever I have the silicon spray out to apply a coat to the leveling jacks it is easy to apply a few squirts to the joints of the Kwiki Steps at the same time.