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Slide outs are the most prominent external features in an RV. But, they can become problematic if neglected. RV slide out maintenance is therefore very necessary and should not be neglected.
The modern type of slide out mechanism fall into two categories whereby one is 12-volt dc electrically driven that involves rack & pinion, chain, cable, screw drive, scissors arms, tracks, etc.
While the other one is hydraulic cylinder driven that works independently or with a leveling method and has single or multiple barrels in a room.
1. Lubricate Often
All the mechanisms involving slide outs always require an often lubrication.
The use of a dry lube is always recommended. However, some use light grease, for instance, lithium to lubricate the mechanism.
The last thing you want at a campground is an extended slide out not sliding in while you are about to leave. This can happen if the slide out has been not maintained properly. The slide out has metal parts and there can be corrosion or rusting.
Lubrication of these moving parts will keep them in proper shape. There are specific products that are used only for RV slide outs, check with your RV manufacturer or dealer for same.
A thick lubricant should be avoided as it can accumulate sand or dust. While some people say its okay to lubricate once a year, it may not really be a great idea. try to lubricate every month or so.
Inspect the slide out carefully and apply lubricant as and when needed.
During the period of the RV warranty, it is recommended that you should follow OEM recommendations.
You should never power wash the hydraulic cylinders. Hydraulic rams, as well as cylinders, just require you to wipe down with a clean, soft, cloth, and lightly oiled, with all remains of the lube removed entirely afterward.
2. Inspect The Seals For Dryness
The rooms in your RV or travel trailer are all prepared with rubber seals, whereby their primary role is to prevent water, pollutants, and air from entering inside the RV.
Do check for damage and dryness in seals. Have a close look while the slide out move inside out. Clear any debris or dust that may accumulate over a period of time.
Slide-outs can also lead to water leaks in RV. SO, its not only the roof that is responsible for water leaks. This can happen when the rubber seal goes dry. With time the seal becomes dry and lead to leaking water.
A high temperature makes the seals dry and ultimately you may have to replace the seal. Using a seal conditioner can however increase the rubber seal life.
There would be different seals like wiper seal, blade seal, wiper seal, sweeper seal, flapper seal, bulb seal, and more, you are advised to restore the seal with another one, but it should match with the original one.
They are two sets of the seals, one for the room when it is completely extended and the other one for the room when it is closed.
3. Do Adjustments If Needed
Every slide out in your motorhome has to be centered, side-to-side during the opening. Each slide room has horizontal, vertical, and lateral adjustments points, and each one is different in terms of type.
The rooms often get out of the adjustments, and it is advisable for RV users to keep taking measurements regularly. By doing so, they can note whether the room has shifted east, west, north, or south and call on a certified and experienced RV technician to fix the problem.
Before you extend the slide-out make sure there aren’t any items like bottle stuck in between. Can, or bottle crushing while opening the slide out can result in problems i don’t want to stress enough.
Also, make sure there isn’t any locks or latches than can keep the slide out from extending fully in your travel trailer.
Do, make sure there isn’t any obstruction outside while the slide is being extended. This will obviously result in exterior slide out damaging. Such wear and tear will also not look great on your motorhome. You definitely don’t want that another visit to the technician for such repair.
Modern slide outs rooms are made for minimum or zero maintenance. Since human is to an error, you can consider the following additional guidelines.
- Have an inspection of unusual wear patterns and especially on the metallic constituents of the mechanism, as this will indicate a need for vertical adjustment.
- Keep all the moving parts clean and also dirty free of and always lubricate appropriately.
- Having a hydraulic slide out system, always check the fluid reservoir regularly, although hydraulic is a sealed system, no leaks should be experienced or even adding of oil is not necessary. But you can always refer to the manuals menu for the right brand of fluid that you should use.
- Lubricate the awning moving parts if the slide out is equipped with it. There are many good products like 3-IN-ONE RVcare Slide Out Silicone Lube, Camco slide out tube and many more.
- Consider maintaining the 12- voltage DC battery bank because 90% of the slide motor glitches occur from the negative part of the circuit. Low voltage or inadequate current capability leads to improper slide mechanism. Slideouts do draw lot of amps and thus your battery need to have good charge.
- Be alert for noises emerging from the RV. When the slideout motor is under operation, they may moan or groan a bit, and this could indicate a maladjusted room.
- Some of the slide outs have galley machinery that always requires regular inspection.
- Always ensure that the underneath of the slide-out area is clean in order to keep the dust from causing damage to the bottom seal hence preventing contamination.
If the slide out has a refrigerator for absorption, it will comprise of a lower external vent and an upper external side vent, which usually eliminates the ordinary roof jack. In installations such as these, the back chimney that connects the lower vent to the top vent should stay clear of obstructions.
Tips For using Slide out
Here are some tips while using slide outs rooms in RV:
- Be alert on whatever may be blocking or preventing slide out extension.
- Always clean and inspect the slide-out roof and never store any load on the section of a closed room.
- Never open or close a room by force because it will result in damage and injury of that room.
- Battery banks should be fully charged
- Don’t stay near any moving slide out, whether inside or out, also the pets.
- Keep the movable parts lubricated.
- Always keep the rooms closed when not in use.
- Detach transit bars, locks, and brackets.
- Never exceed weight in the slide rooms that have exterior storage compartments.
- Always level the RV ahead of extending the slide outs. Otherwise you may see the slide out tilt. Its very irritating to have a slide out leaning, i am sure you understand what i mean.
How to adjust the slide out height
The slide out can low on the rear, causing it not to contact the outboard seal at the top of the wiper seal.
The mechanism is effortless, whereby a spiked wheel with holes ride on it, and the front and rear wheels act as the power and the support that is mounted on a powered shaft that is carried in overhang bearings. There is also a collar adjustment on the pole to the front and rear gears.
Slide out Manual Operation
Slide outs operation depends on battery power, but what if the battery bank stops working; you will need to manually override for the area to fully retract.
All the slide out mechanisms have a manual override in which some of the 12-volt Dc electrical systems contain a motor brake that one needs to be detached while another tool requires the motor to be physically relocated to separate it from its drive track.
In the case of hydraulic systems, they use a bypass regulator that is located on a hydraulic pump or a connected manifold block. When you open the bypass regulator for that room, it exhausts the hydraulic pressure as much as necessary for the place to be closed manually, and after the closure, make sure that you make tighter the bypass valve in order to stop the room from moving time and again.
Common problems with slide out
There are several problems that can occur with slide out. A good maintenance and servcing is all it needs to keep it in good condition.
Lets see some of the issue you may run through when the maintenance isn’t that great.
1. Slide Out Motor Overload
A not si lubricated slide out will offer high resstance resulting in loading the motor. Well, this is obivous and thats the same reason you need to lubriacae it.
2. Faulty motor or gearbox
This can occur in motor driven slide outs. The motor is what runs the slide out and with a faulty motor it wont run.
3. Damaged drive pins
Drive pins in your slide out system can get damaged due to excess pressure or force being exerted.
4. Hydraulic pump fail
A hydraulic powered slide out can have pump failure which can be due to various reasons. When in warranty you can check out with the manufacturer or dealer.
5. Breakdown due to aging
A normal wear and tear clubbed together with neglected maintenance can result in failure of slide outs over long period of time.
This turns out to be true when you have been using the slide out day in and day out without much attention to it.
An old fifth wheel with a slide out not lubricated properly will one day see its failure when it simply says no to extending.
Slide outs give you that extra room and space. Its awesome way to add space to your RV. But, having a slide out that does not function can be a headache. So, the preventive maintenance is the best option you have. Have a checklist that covers slide out maintenance as well.