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Ask Dave: Can I relocate my slide room switch? It’s in the worst place!

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Dear Dave,
The control panel for my unit is in the back and to get to it I have to walk to the back. This is difficult because the slides almost come together and the walkway is extremely narrow. Can I relocate the slide room switch and controls to the front of the unit? Also, the main light switch is at the bottom of the steps and makes it hard to get to from the top. Poor design for both. I am asking if there can be more convenient switches for these two items added. Seems like wires from the slide panel and the light switch could be run to a better location. Any ideas? —Barry, 2021 Jayco Precept Class A

Dear Barry,
You did not give the floor plan. However, from the photos I saw on RVTrader.com, the control panel is back on the bathroom wall in most models and does look to be difficult to get to when the rooms are retracted. I have found that most people who design RVs don’t use them much and don’t have to work on them.

These photos happen to be from a 31-foot model and the switches for the slide rooms are molded and designed into the panel. Looking at the photos, it seems there are three slides, with the front two being an under-the-box mechanism such as power gear or other rack and pinion. The bedroom looks to be Schwintek. You probably could get by with just relocating the kitchen/loveseat slide, which would give you access to the panel. The passenger side slide is forward of the entrance door and the bedroom slide would be back of the panel.

Types of slide room switches

There are two different types of switches: a three-wire switch for electric mechanisms and a five-wire switch for hydraulic, as the valves need to be opened, as well.

If you have an electric mechanism such as a Schwintek, Cable, Kwikee, or one of the Lippert in-rail slide mechanisms, you can remove the panel and see if there is room to reroute the wires to the front side of the bathroom wall. Here is a photo of a similar unit in a Thor Challenger. The switches may be a little different, but the three-wire combo on the back is similar.

Relocating the slide room switch body

This is just a simple rocker switch that reverses polarity to the motor so it runs clockwise or counterclockwise depending on the position of the switch. If there is enough wire length, you could relocate the entire switch body you see in this photo by taking the four nylon nuts off, cutting three new rectangular holes in the front side, and reinstalling them in the new location. The challenge would be getting some type of molding for the front to help “finish” it as there would be no panel like you see in the photo above.

Another option would be to get new individual switches that have a flush mount plate the actual switch is covered by. You would need to match the voltage and amperage, which you should be able to find on the side of the current switch body.

Bigger challenge

A bigger challenge in relocating the slide room switch is being able to get the wiring and switch through the wall to the new location and have enough wiring to do that. Most interior walls are designed with a framework of 1.5” wood and paneling sandwiched with adhesive or staples. So trying to “fish” wires horizontally is not easy as you will run into framework and there’s no good way to access it without taking the entire plywood panel wall off. Some of the wires are routed in the block foam insulation of the sidewall and/or roof and are not accessible at all.

If you do not have enough wire to reach the desired location, you can splice more wire. But keep in mind the more length you add, the more you will have a drop in amperage and might need to go with a heavier gauge wire. Most RV manufacturers use the lightest gauge possible to save cost.

If your mechanism is hydraulic, then it’s not as easy, as you will need the 5-pin connection and typically an automotive-type male-to-female connection that requires more sophisticated connections and tools.

It can be done. You just need to identify the slide mechanism and type of switch, easiest relocation, and the length of wiring needed to that location. It would be helpful to get a wiring diagram, if possible.


 You might also enjoy this from Dave 

My slide room squeaks when retracting. Can I use WD-40?

Dear Dave,
There is a loud noise (squeaking) coming from the slide out when retracting, but not so much going out. I’ve “heard” that WD-40 is not the best lubricant for slides. Is there a better option? —Carol

Read Dave’s answer.


Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and the author of the “RV Handbook.”

Read more from Dave here

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Snoopy
27 days ago

How about really thinking out of the box! Thinking a Blue Tooth design & of course using your cell phone in your pocket to put your slides in & out would just plain make it simple, you know the KISS system! one can dream right??
Snoopy