RV slideouts, RV Tips, slideouts, tech tip, tips, Travel Tips
Many, if not most, of today’s recreational vehicles come equipped with at least one slideout room. Although these add much-needed floor space, it is also important to bear in mind the added maintenance required to keep the slide rooms working reliably and properly. Slide rooms come in many different sizes, but it is important to understand that regardless of how large the slideout is, the operating mechanism is doing a significant amount of work whenever the slide is extended or retracted. Therefore, even though the systems are inherently reliable, they do require regular attention.
Aside from other mechanical breakdown that may occur with slideouts, there are two main areas of “common” failure, which are misalignment and leaks. Although these seem like small problems to resolve, I strongly recommend having all slide issues, whether they are deemed minor or major, identified and repaired by a certified RV repair facility. Even minor slide adjustments can lead to additional problems, and even coach damage, if not properly performed.
Slide misalignment can occur for a variety of reasons and, depending on the severity, the symptoms range from minor water leaks to damage caused by binding. When adjusting a misaligned slide, two primary steps must be undertaken, and these must be done expertly and carefully to avoid further damage. The first step is to identify the cause of the misalignment. This is best left to a professional RV technician, as slide mechanisms consist of several components working together, and identifying the point of failure is rarely straightforward, even for the savviest RV owner. The second step is obviously to correct the misalignment. Slide misalignment can occur along any axis, and the adjustments vary accordingly. While adjusting the slide, there is significant risk of over-compensating, possibly resulting in binding between the slide room and the sidewall of the RV. Binding can become so severe as to seize the slideout and possibly damage the RV. Over-adjusting is fairly common, especially among RV owners who attempt to perform their own adjustment. In reality, even among RV service centers, it is common for some RV technicians to specialize in slideout repair, and some to never touch them due to the complexity of the systems, and specialized training is often undertaken.
Slideout leaks are usually caused by misalignment, but may also be due to worn or damaged seals. Slideout rooms incorporate a variety of different seal types, which prevent the slide from leaking when both extended and retracted. If you notice a leak in the area of your slideout, it is advisable to attempt to identify the exact location of the leak and provide this information to your local service dealer. Slide room leaks and misalignment tend to be related, and both can be easily remedied by your local service shop, so you should certainly report any slide issues to your local dealership immediately, as waiting is bound to make the problem worse, and more expensive.
In terms of regular maintenance, be sure to regularly lubricate the slide mechanism with specially formulated slideout lubricant available from your local RV supply outlet. Spray all external parts of the mechanism, but be sure not to get any spray on rollers or other components that contact flooring, tile, or carpet. If your slide room is hydraulic, ensure the reservoir is always full and that there are no hydraulic leaks. Perform other maintenance as indicated in your owner’s manual. When it comes to slide rooms, maintenance is the key to avoiding expensive repair.
About the Author:
Steve Froese, an avid RV owner, traveler, and Coach-Net member since 2013, is the principal of “A Word to the Wise Technical Communications”, a published RV author, certified RV technician, and licensed Professional Engineer. He frequently collaborates with the “RV Doctor”, Gary Bunzer, and has worked with the RVIA/RVDA as a technical and training writer and consultant. Professionally, he works as a quality engineer and musician. Watch for more of Steve’s work in upcoming Coach-Net publications.
I have a open range that has slide out that use pulleys and cables rather then the standard slide out mechanism. What do you recommend for normal upkeep thanks
Do not try to adjust or service this yourself, but do regularly inspect for wear and damage. Pay particular attention to frayed or damaged cables. If you find any cause for concern, have the unit repaired. It is also a good idea to have the slide mechanism inspected whenever the rest of the RV is.
Terry A said:
Pretty useless article all it says is if there is a problem with your slideout take it to a dealer.
If you are going to post a article about slide out maintenance then it should be for the diy people with pics and examples. We can all write an article that says “take it to the dealer.”
Because of the large number of different slide mechanisms out there, the intent of this article is to give general information regarding slide issues and regular maintenance advice to help avoid any future issues. It is recommended that slide adjustments not be DIY projects. The suggestion by the author not to attempt slide repairs comes from his vast experience of repairing damaged coaches as owners attempted minor adjustments. Attempting to make minor slide adjustments could lead to major repairs and possible injury if not performed properly. Coach-Net is dedicated to the safety of our Members and wants to provide the best advice while ensuring your utmost protection on and off the road.
Russell Roberts said:
We bought a new FR 3 from a dealer in South Carolina. On our first trip out after stopping the first time we found the bedroom slide would not retract properly. I managed to push it back in and blocked it from sliding out for the rest of the trip. The bedroom was unusable. On our way back we found the windshield leaked in front of the driver. We returned the unit to the dealer who ordered parts and fixed the leak and slide.
The next trip was to Florida. On the way down we stopped in Georgia overnight. The slide retracted OK. After spending a few days in Florida at one campground I noticed the operating cables had no tension and we’re hanging down. Sure enough, it would not retract and needed to be pushed in and blocked again. Of course, the windshield still leaked.
Since we could not wait for the unit to be repaired again we decided to trade it
for a 2 year old unit that has all of the problems worked out. Everything has worked perfectly.
Extended warranty was a saver but I am not so sure all dealers with repair facilities are all that reputable.
Our 99 Flair 34d had a 12 foot wide slide that always worked. I performed a regular schedule for lubrication on it and did my own maintenance/repair like installing a new rubber roof and engine oil cooler to name a few.
Owners can do a lot of maintenance and repair work as long as you know what you are doing. Slide out repair should be left to a reputable repair place under warranty or not.
Slides work well on our concord. But the slide has knocking sound when in the retracted state and driving down the road.could it be too much tension during closure?