Slide-Out Secrets

Tip outs, bump outs, pull outs, or extension rooms… I have heard all the names.  Whatever you call them, the extra room a Slide-Out makes is a huge improvement in interior space and livability.  Slide-outs add many square feet to an RV when they are set up.  The more slide-outs that you have, the more space you have.  Sleeping capacity is added, storage is added, and most of all comfort is added.  However like anything in life that is a moving part, slide-outs require a little TLC and occasionally some maintenance over their life to perform at their greatest level.

Most slide-out are driven by some version of a electro-mechanical system.  Also occasionally a hydraulic system.  The majority of all slide-outs that are manufactured do not require lubrication.  However owners can do their part by keeping the equipment clean, which tends to prolong the life span of the mechanisms.  With doing your own part in taking care of the equipment, the owner will also begin to become familiarized with their trailer slide-out.  And might notice something go awry before it becomes a major issue.

A few general rules and troubleshooting tips to follow can help you avoid costly trips to a service center.  The first thing you should always do before pressing that slide-out button, is to make sure your coach is level, and any latches are released. Make sure there is nothing impeding the path of the slide out.  Move all throw rugs, make sure cabinet and interior doors are closed.  Make sure you have the proper distance on the outside of the trailer to operate the slide-out.  If the slide-out has not been extended for a lengthy period of time, check the edges of the seals to make sure non sticking is occurring.

Slide-outs can bind if the chassis/frame of your unit is twisted or not properly leveled.  Mechanism motors can bog down if they do not have the proper voltage supplied.  To ensure a sufficient power supply to the motor, keep the shorepower connection intact.

If a slide-out moves slowly or sticks when moving.  Check for binding around the edges of the opening that the slide-out is attempting to pass through.  The best way to know if something is binding or impeding your slide-out, is listen.  The more you run your slide-outs in and out, you will learn to hear any differences in the process.  So stop, look and listen.

If your slide out fails to extend or retract when you push that magical button.  Do not panic, the first thing to do is check to make sure the mechanism is getting power.  Look for a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker.  Locations for these very.  However the first place to look is in the fuse/breaker panel.  If all looks good there, proceed to the battery compartment or in the wiring harness near the motor driving the slide mechanism.

If you hear the motor straining and if the lights dim when the slide-out is activated, either voltage is low or the mechanisms are binding.  Inspect the underside of the mechanism to see if anything is corroded, broken or otherwise damaged.  If all else fails most, if not all, slide-out mechanisms have the good old manual over-ride.  This over-ride is a designed method to operate the slide-out if a problem does occur.  Hydraulic systems usually require that the pressure be released in the ram by manually opening a valve, and then the slide-out room must be pushed closed or pulled open.  Mechanical slide-out systems usually have a hand crank, but the motor may have to be removed first to all the gears to turn freely.  Cable driven slide-out systems will have an adapter that can be placed in a portable drill to allow the drill to act as the motor to extend and contract the slide system.  The owner’s manual that came with your RV will outline which type of system and manual method you should use.

The best thing an owner can do, is to become familiar with all the operational aspects of your RV.  You do not need to become a pro.  However the more knowledge you know, the less likely you will need to cut your enjoyable trip short.  If you do have any questions about proper slide-out maintenance or operation, please contact your Central PA RV Dealer.  We will help you with any questions that you may have.


3 thoughts on “Slide-Out Secrets

  1. Pingback: Page not found « RVing is Easy at Lerch RV

  2. Question: When we were at our campsite at Bristol for the races this past weekend–we leveled the RV–it has automatic levelers, but we still had to put quite a few boards under the front levelers, as the site was no where near level—when it was leveled–we put the slide out–and the rv would then tilt a little and it was no longer level—so we had to retract and do it again–this happened twice–so we left the slides out and then leveled and it worked fine–but just want to know how that could damage our slide operation—if it is in a bind–will it cause cracks and leakage etc??? What is your suggestion if this happens again. We are in a 2008 Class C Diesel—Gulfstream Super Nova 40′ with a full wall slide on the driver’s side and a small bedroom slide on the passenger side.

    • Wendy,
      I would love to answer your question, however I am not familiar with your exact model of motor-home. We do very limited work on motorized RVs. I would recommend that you contact your dealership of purchase or Gulfstream, the manufacturer of your Class A.

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