Wednesday, September 28, 2022


Ask Dave: Can I retract RV’s rear slideout manually?

Dear Dave,
My trailer has a rear slideout. It is operated by an electric motor and cables. My question is what do I do to get the slideout back in if I was to lose electrical power? Is there a manual system to operate to get the slideout assembly back into the trailer? I have looked but can’t find any such mechanism. —Jim, 2016 Keystone Outback 24URL toy hauler

Dear Jim,
It looks like your slide room has the BAL® Accu-Slide mechanism, which utilizes an electric motor, pulleys, and cables. It does have a manual override.

The motor is typically located above the room behind the molding. Here is a photo of one that we worked on for the RV Repair Club. We had to take the decorative front wooden molding off to access the motor and cables.

How the slide mechanism works

The motor is powered by the 12-volt deep cycle house batteries and the gear at the top turns and moves the chain similar to that used on a bicycle. The chain is attached to blocks that have the cables and they go to the pulleys on the corners.

According to your owner’s manual, you should have a flexible shaft that you can attach to a ¼” socket. On one end of the motor, there is a ¼” hex bolt that will manually turn the motor in either direction so you can extend or retract manually if you lose power to the motor.

What to check if you don’t hear motor running

This procedure only works if the room extends and retracts freely and the gear, chain, and pulleys are not compromised. If your room does not extend or retract and you do not hear the motor running, check for 12-volt power at the motor. If the voltage is lower than 10.5 volts, your house batteries are not charged sufficiently to run the motor. But if you do not have voltage at the motor, the issue is downstream, which could be the switch or ground wire. If you do have 12-volt power at the motor and it does not run, typically the motor is bad.

If the motor runs but the room does not extend or retract, the cables could have become disconnected or extremely loose. Also, the chain could be caught on the bracket or is off completely. If the motor runs and the gear is not moving but will turn with your hand, the shaft of the motor is most likely has broken or the keyway is broken. In most of these situations, the manual override will not work as the motor cannot turn the shaft and gear. As long as there is no interference with the room, pulleys, or cables, you should be able to push the room in manually from the outside as it glides on two or three rollers underneath and the components should just move with the room.

What to do if there is binding

If there is a binding in the cables, pulley, chain, or gear, you will need to remove the components that are causing the issue which might mean taking the motor off and removing the chain or taking the cables off the pulleys and letting it “free fall” in the opening. Then you can push it in but make sure you secure the room with either travel braces or a couple of 2x4s cut to length on the top of the room between the slide room flange and the sidewall.

 You might also enjoy this from Dave 

Why won’t the RV’s slideouts come back in?

Dear Dave,
I have an ’05 Monaco Knight (DP) with four slideouts that operate when they want to. I have been having this issue since owning the coach (5.5 years). We go on outings, let the slides out, no problem. Then when we break camp and push the buttons to bring the slides in, nothing. I am able to disconnect the front two motors, hook up a jumper and get them to work. The back motors I cannot get access to because they’re under the mattress, which is under the cabinet of the street-side slideout.

Continue reading William’s question and 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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5 days ago

Having worked on my BAL accu slide system over the years & did gearbox /motor changes on both slides. I believe Crowman is correct that the gearbox is the weak link in the system. The industrial systems I’ve worked on & worked with had limit switches or prox switches that killed power to the motor when it reached its limits of travel thus saving stress on the system. These systems have no such safe guards. My experience thus far that the gearbox breaks on the out cycle ( at least mine has 3 times now) but so far has always ran the slide back in. The location of the motor/gearbox is not user friendly to say the least. YouTube has at least a good amount of videos on repair/replace & adjustment of these systems.

If needed we have pushed slide out by hand while someone pushed the out switch (this seemed to allow the gearbox to release).

5 days ago

The individual/organization that decided RV slide-outs were a good application for cable drive systems should suffer things that would put me on a ‘List” if mentioned here.

5 days ago

Whoa!! Don’t know much about the slide mechanism, but it looks like a great hideout for your furry animal to hide! That chain could do a lot of damage to one’s pet. Even though it’s hard to get to, them cats are very curious! Hope it never happens.

Deborah Johnson
5 days ago
Reply to  Snoopy

Snoopy, my curious cat got under my living room slide while we were on the road. It discovered a hole that I hadn’t noticed. We pulled into a parking lot and coaxed her out with anchovies wrapped around the end of a broom handle. I now occlude openings based on my cat’s whiskers.

5 days ago

The cable system is garbage with a weak gearbox that I’ve seen destroyed because it was undersized for the job. The gearbox is made in China and the lack of quality reflects that.

Bob M
5 days ago

I had a Keystone Outback 240 URS with this same slide. The dealer in NJ I bought it from wouldn’t tell me how to get the slide in or out if their was an issue. Thankfully they sold out to a large multi state dealership. They were terrible. I did figure out what to do if I needed. I had quality issues with my Outback. I met a guy camping who would push his older camper in and out by hand. He also had a custom full size folding king mattress made. The end of which he had chains supporting it to the ceiling bracket. Don’t remember the name of the dealership, but his son had one arm and handled the paperwork.

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