Tuesday, September 27, 2022


Ask Dave: What is the best lubrication spray for my RV’s slideouts?

Dear Dave,
What is the best lubrication spray for my RV’s slideouts to keep them from jerking? —Randy

Dear Randy,
To provide a more specific recommendation for the best lubrication spray for your RV’s slideouts, we need to know the make, model, and year of your rig and which room mechanism it is. However, here are some common mechanisms and recommendations.

Rack and pinion

Several manufacturers use a gear-driven mechanism that turns and pushes a rail with teeth or cogs such as Power Gear®. Lippert™, who owns Power Gear, recommended using Mobil 1™ Synthetic Oil to lubricate just the bearings inside and out, not the gears.

First, loosen the bolts, front and back, to allow space between the housing and the bearings.

Then use a mechanics’ oil can to apply the Mobil 1 to the bearings. Wipe off any oil that comes into contact with the gears and tighten the bolts. These photos came from a video we did a few years ago on a Lippert through-the-rails slide mechanism.

I have noticed several videos and articles that recommend other products, so I contacted Lippert to ask. The technician stated they still recommend the Mobil 1 product. However, with the new technology of “dry lube” components such as 3-in-1 and other slide room lubricants, they see a benefit from them, as well. They said it can be much easier to apply and less of a mess.

He also suggested spraying the gear and rail gear with the same dry lube component and wiping it off to clean up rust and corrosion. I would suggest checking your owner’s manual for specifics on maintenace for your rig.

Schwintek mechanism

This slide room mechanism has top and bottom rails on the side of the room and two motors at the top of each side that drive the room in and out. The bottom does not have a motor, rather a gear to guide the room on the bottom rail. This mechanism is also now owned by Lippert and they recommend lubricating with CRC® Power Lube®.

Here is a diagram from Lippert of the motor coupler and the gibs:

Pull the rubber seal back and lubricate the coupler on the top diagram and gib as well as the gib on the lower part of the diagram.

Cable drive

Some mechanisms use a small electric motor and a series of cables with pulleys, like the BAL® Accu-Slide™.

An electric motor with gear pulls a chain connected to the cables with several pulleys. The BAL manual recommends periodically lubricating the pulley bearings with a dry lube, as well.

There are literally a dozen or more types of slide mechanisms, and Lippert owns most of them. Talking with their technical representative, it seems they use the Power Gear label for most of them other than Kwikee® and SlimRack®. They have an excellent support section on their website here.

They have 19 different above-floor slide mechanisms and 27 through-the-frame mechanisms. Most recommend a light dry lube and wipe off any excess liquid. Identify your type of mechanism and download the manual. It will have the recommended preventive maintenance.

Their SlimRack system is very similar to the Schwintek and should be lubricated the same.

Inspect and lubricate the floor rollers and seals

Most slide rooms “free float” in and out of the opening on floor rollers or glides. It is important to inspect them to make sure they are rolling free and not broken or binding.

And condition the rubber seals on the RV’s slideouts with a good lubricant like the products from ProtectAll®.

Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club.

Read more from Dave here


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David Myers
5 months ago

Aren’t the bearings in the power gear system sealed?

Gene Sannes
5 months ago

Lubricating the slide outs has just come up on my radar and suddenly the answers fall on me from Daves maintenance tips. Wow, just in time and perfect descriptions to correct my problems.

5 months ago

Having spent 40 years dealing with wire rope cables, and seeing these newer systems coming apart in campgrounds, I can’t stress enough the need to lubricate the CABLE itself, not just sheaves and bearings. Wire ropes, or “Cables” are “Machines” with metal components that wear upon each other. This requires lubrication to retard wear and failure of the machine. Dry lube is most desirable in RVs, such as HD silicone, due to contamination.

FWIW – There is a formula for determining the size of sheaves to use with a given size cable. These are MINIMUMS that are frequently used by bean counters to save money. History (Field application) dictates these minimums can be as much as 50% too small, causing excessive stress to the cable and premature failure. Within an RV there can be a huge problem finding the space for a larger sheave. Thus I personally would never own a cable driven slide out.

5 months ago

Ditto what parts do you lube for the schwintek system ???

Gene Sannes
5 months ago
Reply to  Richard

I just saw this one on You Tube. Just type in the Schwintek RV slide out system and a great “how to video” comes up. In fact several of them.

5 months ago

You mentioned the correct lube for the schwintek system but not what parts to lube. You do not lubricate the gears or the gear tracks.

Michelle Traynor
5 months ago
Reply to  Leroy

Thanks for pointing that out. I noticed that too?

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