RV Slide Out Operation and Troubleshooting

RV Slide Out Operation and Troubleshooting

RV Slide out systems require 12 Volt DC electricity from your RV Batteries to operate so check the voltage of your battery and charge if/as needed BEFORE any troubleshooting.

If there is no response when you operate the slide out switch, check for blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker. It could be in the ‘house’ fuse/breaker panel, around the battery compartment or in the power line at the motor.

There two basic types of RV slide out systems, hydraulic and mechanical.

Hydraulic RV slide out mechanisms use a motor-driven hydraulic pump to actuate a hydraulic ram which pushes out or pulls in the slide out. The direction is controlled by a combination of valves.

In addition to electrical problems outlined above, hydraulic slides can fail due to low hydraulic fluid level, fluid leaks and defective valves.

There are two basic types of mechanical RV slide out systems, screw-jack and rack and pinion.

<p “>The screw jack slide out systems generally utilize the same components used in fifth wheel landing gear only placed horizontally.

Rack and Pinion RV Slide Out System
Rack and Pinion RV Slide Out System

Rack and pinion slide out system manufacturers use different configurations but the graphic shows generally how they work.

In addition to electrical problems, mechanical slide out systems will fail due to broken shear pins, gears and clutches.

If the slide out moves slow or jerks when moving, check for binding around the wall and ceiling the slide out passes through. Look for any objects that don’t belong there. Using caution not to cut yourself, run your fingers around the inner and outer seals, between the slide and the RVs wall opening, top and sides. NYJim says he’s seen tree branches and other items… a fishing pole, a wet tightly rolled T-Shirt, beer cans, used fireworks displays, and a “lost” Winegard TV Antenna… lodged between the top of the slide and the opposing wall, causing the whole room to come to a stand-still!

If there is no obvious reason for the binding it’s probably time to contact an RV repair center. It could be the slide out is out of adjustment and needs re-aligned.

Most slide out systems provide a way to manually operate the slide out if problems arise.

For hydraulic systems this usually requires relieving pressure in the hydraulic ram and physically pushing the slide out… ask some friends to help you.

Mechanical slide out systems usually provide a hand crank but you may have to remove the motor first. Make sure you have the the proper crank handle.

Your owners manual should provide the specific procedure for you slide out.  If you don’t have a manual, contact the RV manufacture or slide out component manufacturer for that information.  If that is not possible then it would be worth the expense to have an RV tech show you how to do it.  And you should know how before you need to do it.

Slide out systems require 12 Volt DC electricity from your RV Batteries to operate so check the voltage of your battery and charge if/as needed BEFORE any troubleshooting.

If there is no response when you operate the slide out switch, check for blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker. It could be in the ‘house’ fuse/breaker panel, around the battery compartment or in the power line at the motor.

There two basic types of slide out mechanisms, hydraulic and mechanical.

Hydraulic mechanisms use a motor-driven hydraulic pump to actuate a hydraulic ram which pushes out or pulls in the slide out. The direction is controlled by a combination of valves.

In addition to electrical problems outlined above, hydraulic slides can fail due to low hydraulic fluid level, fluid leaks and defective valves.

There are two basic types of mechanical slide out mechanisms, screw-jack and rack and pinion.

The screw jack systems generally utilize the same components used in fifth wheel landing gear only placed horizontally.,/p>

Rack and pinion system manufacturers use different configurations but the graphic shows generally how they work.

In addition to electrical problems, mechanical slide out systems will fail due to broken shear pins, gears and clutches.

If the slide moves slow or jerks when moving, check for binding around the wall and ceiling the slide out passes through. Look for any objects that don’t belong there. Using caution not to cut yourself, run your fingers around the inner and outer seals, between the slide and the RVs wall opening, top and sides. NYJim says he’s seen tree branches and other items… a fishing pole, a wet tightly rolled T-Shirt, beer cans, used fireworks displays, and a “lost” Winegard TV Antenna… lodged between the top of the slide and the opposing wall, causing the whole room to come to a stand-still!

It’s also possible that a drawer or cabinet door has opened during travel and is lodged in the slide out.  It happened to us!  Always listen for unusual noise and watch for erratic movement whenever you operate your slide outs.

If there is no obvious reason for the binding it’s probably time to contact an RV repair center. It could be the slide out is out of adjustment and needs re-aligned.

Most slide out systems provide a way to manually operate the slide out if problems arise.

For hydraulic systems this usually requires relieving pressure in the hydraulic ram and physically pushing the slide out… ask some friends to help you.

Mechanical slide out systems usually provide a hand crank but you may have to remove the motor first. Make sure you have the the proper crank handle.

Your owners manual should provide the specific procedure for you slide out.  If you don’t have a manual, contact the RV manufacture or slide out component manufacturer for that information.  If that is not possible then it would be worth the expense to have an RV tech show you how to do it.  And you should know how before you need to do it.

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104 Responses to "RV Slide Out Operation and Troubleshooting"

  1. I have a 2005 Freedom Spirit by Thor. Lately, my slide out does not want to operate when it is all the way in. If I take the manual crank and move it a little then it goes out and in smoothly with no problems. I thought I remembered reading that they should not be lubricated but thought a little grease on the gears at the start might help. Let me know what you think. Thanks

  2. There are several slide out systems so it isn’t possible to give you specific advice. My slideouts are mechanical rather than hydraulic and there is a clutch on the motor. You can hear it working at the end of the slide travel before you release the switch. I have experienced the same thing you describe and have needed to use the manual crank on occasion. I believe the problem is caused by a weak clutch but I have not tried to fix it since the problem happens infrequently. I think it happens when the trailer frame is tweaked a little and the clutch is too weak to overcome it. That’s just my speculation, mind you, but the clutch is the first thing I would work on.

    As for grease, I am not sure if it is a good idea or not. My manual advises against using grease and I have never felt the need. They are not high-speed precision gears after all.

  3. The living room slide on my big horn 5th wheel this spring jumped some cogs as it tried to go out. As a result one side is out about 2 inches at the bottom. Comes in okay but the opposite bottom side is out by about 2 inches. It looks like I can drop the nylon gears holding assembly on both tracks and then push out bottom of slide. Is this the right fix?

  4. On 2012 flagstaff, motor will not move slide so tried to manual move it. no go. sheared pin. took motor and gear box off. tried to manually move it. It still wouldn’t move. any sugestions

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