The fold out RV entrance stairs on our Cougar fifth wheel have never been the most rock solid things. They’ve always had a little bit of give and spring to them. It’s just the nature of fold out hinged RV steps.
But, lately I’ve been noticing a little bit of extra sag to them. It’s especially pronounced in one side or the steps. Fearing that we were headed for a complete failure and the subsequent possibility of injury I thought I better get a closer look. It was time to get a little dirty and crawl under the rig. However even lying underneath with a flashlight I couldn’t see the cause, guess I’d have to completely remove the stair assembly.
Removing the RV Entrance Stairs for Inspection
Removing the stairs turned out to be a lot easier than I had imagined. There are actually only 4 bolts holding them in place on my trailer. To access them I did have to unfasten and peel back a bit of the sheet metal trim from the sidewall undercarriage but even that required only the removal of a few screws. I carefully inspected the stair assembly but could find anything to explain the sag, so it was back under the trailer to have a look at the stair’s mounting brackets.
Found the Cause of the Sagging RV Steps
Eureka! I found the point of failure. The foldable stairs are held in place by two metal brackets, one of each side. They are each welded to the trailer frames thick steel I-beam at one end and at the other held in place by a nut and bolt coming out of a horizontal aluminum side wall beam. A few inches away from this nut and bolt the metal bracket had broken leading to our sagging problem. The front support on one side of the stairs was now completely missing.
Fixing the Broken RV Stairs Mounting Bracket
Because of the location of the break and the way the bracket is mounted repair isn’t very straight forward. I tried to first remove the nut from the bracket bolt but found it just kept spinning without loosening. The bolt is coming out of an aluminum beam, but there is no access to the top side of it. It appears to be buried in the trailer side wall, hmmmm.
Wanting to try and get the stairs at least functional and safe I decide to improvise a temporary fix. I had 90-degree piece of angle iron kicking around in my junk box which I utilized as a brace. I bolted one side to the step bracket and on the other side screwed 4 self-tapping metal screws through it and into the aluminum beam.
Video of Sagging RV Stairs Repair
It seems to be working the stairs are much more solid feeling again, but I don’t hold out a lot of hope of this fix lasting too long. I’m sure the screws in the thin aluminum will eventually work loose. In the meantime, I’m pondering a more permanent repair method. Any ideas are most welcome. By the looks of things, I may have to get a welder involved.
Update on the Broken Stairs
I was able to make a more long-term fix by using a pair of long 3/8th inch bolts from above the aluminum floor beam. See video below for details.