Common RV Slide Out Problems and How To Fix Them

Common RV Slide Out Problems and How To Fix Them

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If you own an RV or have owned one before, then you know how bad a problem with the slide-out can be. RV slide-out problems are rather common.

Nevertheless, if you stay up to date with your RV’s maintenance schedule, in addition to routine servicing, you won’t be stressing out as often.

Slide outs in travel trailers or motorhomes definitely increase the space tremendously but they also come with issues that can make you feel frustrated.

In this article, we will look at the common RV slide out issues, how to fix them, and the much it’ll cost you to get the job done.

RV slide out leaking

Sometimes the hydraulic system which powers the RV slide out may have a leak.

RV leaking at the slide out is a very common problem and it can get very frustrating if you don’t get it fixed early. I had earlier covered this topic as a separate detailed guide itself, check it out.

How to Fix it

Check the hydraulic fluid level in the reservoir.

You should be aware that when the system is engaged, i.e., when the slide-out is out and the leveling legs down, the fluid level will be lower in the reservoir.

If the slide-out is fully retracted and the leveling legs are up, the hydraulic fluid level should be high, near the top of the reservoir.

If you note that the pump runs but the slide-out remains retracted while the fluid level in the reservoir is low, then there is a high likelihood of a leak.

Try to follow through with the hydraulic lines to establish where the leak might be. The owner’s manual will also contain explicit instructions on how to troubleshoot the hydraulic system.

If you identify a leak, you should have that section replaced or mended at the repair shop. The cost will vary depending on whether the hydraulic line needs a replacement or repair, and the amount of hydraulic fluid required for a top-up.

If there are no leaks, a valve actuator may have failed. In such cases, the pump runs without pushing the fluid. This can lead to a bigger problem- pump cavitation, if not addressed in time. You should turn the actuator manually, typically by using either a screwdriver or an Allen key to close or open it. You need to perform this task carefully since the valves are quite delicate.

RV slide-out will not retract

RV slide-out may fail to retract for two reasons, a problem with the control switch, or insufficient power to the pump motor.

How to Fix it

Begin by checking whether the control switch is in the proper working condition. Then check whether the pump motor is receiving enough power. If the control switch isn’t supplying enough power to the pump, you need to replace the switch.

If both the control switch and the motor are running, but the slide-out won’t come in, check the retract valve for damages and repair (or replace) if any.

You can do the replacement yourself, for it’ll only involve unscrewing the damaged one and replacing it with a new one. ensure he system is not powered before replacing the valve.

The cost of an RV retract valve may range between $50 to $200, depending on your specific RV model.

RV slide-out making noise

The slide-out may produce some noise when in operation due to a couple of reasons, including:

  • Track misalignment
  • Too little lubrication
  • Using the wrong lubricant
  • Worn out slide mechanism
  • Debris like ice and snow on the slide toppers

How to Fix it

For track misalignment or a worn slide mechanism, you will need to take your RV to a repair shop for specialized service. The cost will vary depending on the extent of damage and any parts you may have to replace.

Your RV user manual specifies what lubricant and how much of it you should apply on the track. Ensure you lubricate as per these instructions.

If you are camping out during the winter, you’ll need to clear off the ice or snow manually from the slide tracks or the slide toppers. If you force the motor to do extra work pushing through the snow, you will severely shorten the motor windings’ lifespan.

RV slide-out switch problem

You may notice the slide-out doesn’t make even the slightest movement when you operate the switch. Such may be a problem with the control switch itself.

How to Fix it

Now, if your RV has several slide-outs, try the other switches to see if they are functional. If they operate, then you need to replace the failed switch.

If they also fail to actuate the slide-outs, then there could be a problem with the power supply to the entire slide-out circuitry. Check for any short-circuits and correct them accordingly.

An RV control switch will cost you anywhere between $5 to $100 depending on the quality and the RV model. If you do not have the skills to do the job, hire an electrician do it for as low as $10.

RV slide out problems clicking noise

There are usually two common issues whenever you hear a clicking noise when operating the slide-out. One of the issues could be a partially charged battery.

You should note that most slides will function only when the battery is fully charged, even if you are connected to the shore power. In such cases, the slide-out system will only click without moving.

Another issue can be either when the motor gears are broken from inside the gearbox, the shear pin is broken, or the relay is blown out.

How to Fix it

If you are out camping far from any repair shop, you can still retract the slide-out manually.

If the motor gear is broken, replacing it should cost you upwards of $800. This price is dependent on the RV model and the repair shop.

RV slide goes out but not in

The most common cause for this problem is usually a misalignment in the electrical motor gears. There could also be an electrical issue that causes a broken circuit during sliding out. This would cut the power required to retract the slide in. This happens mostly with two-position momentary arm switches.

How to Fix it

Check the connections to ensure the wires that travel with the slide are not short-circuiting or broken.

RV slide-out is crooked

Whenever the slide-out looks or feels crooked, it can be a gear misalignment or an issue with the timing gear.

With the right tools and the RV owner’s manual, you can fix the crooked slide out from the comfort of your home (I’m assuming you don’t carry all the repair gear during the camping trip).

How to Fix it

Check the battery and fuses first. If all is fine, go ahead to change any broken parts. These parts can be sourced from the local store, but the prices can vary significantly depending on the individual part and your RV model.

If you think some parts should be repaired, or you don’t have the handy skills to change parts, hire a professional to fix the slideout for you. Again, the cost of this service will depend on the amount of work to be done and the expertise required.

RV slide-out motor failure

Motor failure is one of the worst problems that an RV slide-out system can experience. The motor may fail to function due to an open electrical connection, a short circuit, or a tripped circuit breaker.

If you have several slide-outs powered by a separate motor, then a tripped breaker may not be the case if one of the motors stops. The way around this situation is by testing the failed motor.

How to Fix it

With a multimeter, test the supply terminals to see if the right amount of current is flowing to the motor.

If indeed there is power, test the motor terminals for continuity and resistance. If the resistance is higher than usual, or there is no electrical continuity, the motor may have blown out. You will need to get the motor rewound or replace it.

RV slide-out motors are priced from $150 to $700 on average, but the exact price depends on the motor rating, the supplier, and the shipping cost if any.

If you do not have the skills, have a qualified electrician replace the motor for you.

RV slide-out goes in but not out

Misalignment of the motor gears is the main cause of this issue. An open electrical connection may also cause a problem with retraction.

How to Fix it

For a hydraulically operated slide-out system, loss of pressure can cause the slide-out to fail to retract. The pressure loss is in most cases caused by a leak within the hydraulic lines. If this is the case, have a professional check and repair the system for you.

If the problems happen at the campground, you can still try to push the slide out manually, but carefully not to damage the delicate parts.

If it feels jammed, call in an expert. Of course, this will cost you more, but isn’t it worth the money rather than putting yourself and other motorists at risk by driving with a protruding slide out?

RV slide-out keeps stopping

This happens when there is a loose electrical connection.

How to Fix it

Check the power supply to the motor. If the circuit is totally fine, but the intermittent stops persist, try resetting the breaker. Automatic resetting breakers will often drop if there is an extra load (caused by inadequate lubrication in most cases).

The battery may also be too low to sustain the motor through the sliding out time. Ensure the battery is fully charged and operate the slide-out once again.

RV slide out moving very slowly

Inadequate lubrication is the most common reason for a sluggishly moving slide out. Another cause could be a misalignment of the slide-out and the track.

How to Fix it

Applying a suitable lubricant should help with smoother movement. If it doesn’t, check the alignment.

If you still do not get the desired results, have a professional check the motor for wear or loss of power.

An inspection will often be quoted separately, or inclusively with the repairs. Call several repair shops and compare the fees before deciding where to take your RV.

RV slide-not closing all the way

Sometimes the slide may not close fully at the top or at the bottom.

How to Fix it

This is usually an issue with an adjustment which you should not attempt to solve on your own if you do not have experience with such. Trying to adjust it could offset the slide too much, causing it to graze the ceiling or the floor when operating. You certainly don’t want to mess your RV further!

You should apply some wax (preferably carnauba wax) on the slide walls to have the slide fully retracted and then take your RV to a service shop.

Again, the repair cost depends on where you take the RV for service and the amount of work required to fix the issue.

RV slide out misalignment

The first sign of misalignment in the slide-out mechanism is a jamming slide. The slide-out mechanism can be adjusted for alignment and smoother movement on the top and bottom tracks.

How to Fix it

Due to the delicate nature of the system, it’s best to engage an expert to adjust the slide out for you. You can do it yourself if you have the skills and experience.

Misalignment will mostly stem from improper or inadequate lubrication.

After the system is properly aligned, lubricate the moving parts.

Ensure any seals are replaced after lubrication to keep dust and other debris out.

Check the manufacturer’s instructions on the right type and amount of lubricant to apply.

The total cost of fixing the misalignment and lubrication will depend on the charge per individual repair service, and the cost of the lubricants.

Jayco RV slide-out issues

The most common issue in Jayco RVs is the slide-out not extending or retracting. Insufficient power is often the most common cause of this problem.

How to Fix

Check the battery power level and charge if it’s low. Some other things you can check include the wiring and the fuses/breakers.

Foreign objects on the tracks, insufficient lubrication, and leaks are other common issues with Jayco RVs. You can troubleshoot and solve these problems as described earlier under common issues.

Keystone RV slide out issues

Keystone RVs experience common slide-out issues with Jayco RVs- the most common problem being insufficient electrical power. This results in the slide-out not extending or retracting.

How to Fix it

Just like with Jayco RVs, start by ensuring the battery is fully charged and then ensure the electrical circuit is complete. If the slide still doesn’t move, check with the other common issues described above.

Hydraulic fluid leaks, foreign objects on the tracks, and insufficient lubrication are other common problems with Keystone RVs. You can troubleshoot these issues yourself but engage a professional whenever in doubt.

Conclusion

Despite providing us with the ultimate camping experience, RVs can sometimes be a headache when the slide-outs don’t slide as we want them to. If any of the above issues happen to you, you at least know where to begin or when to call in a professional.

As a reminder, dedicate a certain spot in your RV for the basic repair and service tools. These can be an adjustable wrench, some lubricant, and the famous WD40.

Enjoy RVing!

G. Yoganand

A RV enthusiast who spends countless hours researching and learning various things related to RV camping. He believes in spending time doing Outdoor activities.
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