Friday, September 17, 2021
Friday, September 17, 2021

Ask Dave: Schwintek slide out system problems – Part 2

Answers to questions about RV Repair and Maintenance from RV expert Dave Solberg, author of the RV Handbook and the managing editor of the RV Repair Club. This column appears Monday through Saturday in the RV Travel and RV Daily Tips newsletters. (Sign up for an email reminder for each new issue if you do not already receive one.) Today Dave discusses the Schwintek RV slide out system in further detail.

Dear Readers,
We have received several comments and follow-up questions after the original Schwintek question was posted last week. I’m putting them in this post to hopefully answer those questions.

Dear Dave,
Where are those two motors located for my Schwintek slide system?  —Stephen

Dear Stephen,
The motors are on each side of the slide room on the top portion even with the rail accessible from the inside. You will need to pull back the outer trim and the rubber seal or flap to get to them. Newer models have a notch in the metal trim that runs along the side so there is access to the motor. Older models need to be notched with a grinder or reciprocating saw. Run the room out about 2″-3” and then you will have access to it and stabilize the room. There is a small screw that needs to be removed from the outside. Here is a diagram from the owner’s manual.

Click/tap to enlarge.

****

Dear Dave,
I learned a lot about the Schwintek slide out system from your articles the last two days in the RV Travel newsletter. I’m sure, even with proper lubrication and leveling before extending, a drive motor is going to fail. So, how do I retract a Schwintek slide out when a motor fails at a campsite? And then, how do I secure the slide out for travel on a road to home or repair shop? Thank you!  —Edward

Dear Edward,
We have had a couple motors fail at shows during set up and wanted to show the coach with the slide room out, so four guys pushed the entire room out to full extension. We did the same thing at the end of the show pushing it in. They drove it back to the factory without the room coming out as there was resistance from the failed motor. It was a little hard and I would believe it would have been better to remove the motor and push the room in. Then you could use a 2×4 propped or wedged on the top between the sidewall and the slideroom inner trim piece. Lippert Components Inc. (LCI) has several videos on their site showing the procedure.

****

Here is a comment that was posted after the original article:

I would never buy an RV with Lippert/Schwintek slides and levelers based on my personal terrible experience with those products. Eight slide out failures and two jack failures in 24 months. Seven weeks spent at the Winnebago factory trying to get fixes, not to mention many more weeks stranded at various places across the country when failures occurred. Every time I went to put out/in a slide or jack, I cringed. —Clint

Clint,
I understand your frustration and would like to research a little more why your rig was at Winnebago for seven weeks? I spoke with my owner relations contact there and he was not aware of anything taking that long. However, without the make, model, and serial number we can’t track what happened. He did say that they have stopped using the Schwintek mechanism – not so much because of failures but because of bigger slide rooms and better designs of the in-rail slide mechanisms that run on hydraulics rather than the electric motor. He has not seen any significant spikes in repairs. However, that might be because units are out of warranty by now and the calls would go to LCI.

So I called my LCI technical contact and he stated that the Schwintek mechanism is the most widely used model in the world – not just the U.S., but also in China, Europe, everywhere!  The biggest issue with the mechanism is the motors getting out of sync. He stated it operates just like a drawer with rollers such as a mechanic’s tool chest. The room should be run with the button pushed all the way to extension and retraction and keep the button pressed until it shuts itself off. This will synchronize the motors.

What happens is in the case of a slide room having more weight on one end – such as a refrigerator or other heavy item and lighter on the other side – the heavy side motor works harder during initial start up and stops faster when the button is not on. The lighter side will “drift” slightly while the heavy side stops and this puts it out of sync. This causes excess friction when going in and out. Eventually the system will shut down and display an error code on the controller: one blink for motor one, two for motor two. All this can be fixed by overriding the controller – run the room in and out a few times leaving the button on until it shuts itself off. However, LCI is seeing a rash of simple motor swaps at dealerships without really troubleshooting the problem and it happens again.

My LCI technical contact recommends the following:

1. Always level and stabilize the rig before extending and retracting the slide rooms. The integrity of the motors can be jeopardized by a weak foundation or sidewall structure.

2. Verify 12-volt power before and during extension/retraction. A sulfated battery could show 12.6 volts initially but will drop dramatically when a load is put on it such as the slide motor.

3. Always leave the button depressed during extension and retraction even after the room hits the full cycle, and wait until the motor shuts itself down. This will ensure proper synchronization.

4. Lubricate the upper and lower gib and upper coupler with the recommended CRC lubricant.

I know this won’t solve the problems of the past. But hopefully it can shed some light on what might be causing some of the issues owners are experiencing and help reduce those issues in the future.

Yesterday’s post: Advice needed about devices that repel rodents

Read more from Dave here

Dave Solberg worked at Winnebago for 15 years developing the dealer training program, as marketing manager, and conducting shows. As the owner of Passport Media Creations, Dave has developed several RV dealer training programs, the RV Safety Training program for The Recreation Vehicle Safety and Education Foundation, and the accredited RV Driving Safety program being conducted at rallies and shows around the country. Dave 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. 

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Bob M
1 month ago

I’m leery of the slide on my Jayco Jayflight. What company makes a good slide? Not sure I want to buy another RV with a slide. I bought a Lippert swivel Rocker recliner and it’s not very comfortable. Next time I’ll buy from a furniture store. If they lose business because they sell junk, maybe they’ll start building quality products.

Chuck Griffiths
1 month ago

Until customers reject those RV’s that employ Lippert Chinese junk, then these problems with levelers and slideouts will never be solved. But try to find a new or used RV that does not have 50% or more of Lippert junk components. Furniture, steps, hitches, windows, slide outs, levelers, awnings, and more junk that is prone to failure and frustration.

Capt. Jim
1 month ago

On the outside, under the bulb seal, about 6 inches from the top. you need to have the slide out at least a foot to have room to work. Should be a #2 square drive.

Jim
1 month ago

What and where is this small screw that was mentioned.

Capt. Jim
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

Oops! Accidentally replied to the post above.

Ran
1 month ago

I had numerous problems with my Winnebago full slide-out as well. I’ve done it all, replaced motors myself realigned, even tried warranty (good luck). In addition to today’s part 2, what has worked for me many times to re-time the slide is this. Open slide all the way out (holding until motor stops as indicated). retract slide 2-3″, stop, go out all the way out, back in 2-3″-stop. Do this 3 times. When completely out (the last time), retract all the way, then extend all the way. Repeat 1 more time. This has always worked for me after on the road out of time motors. One thing that may have not been mentioned is that the slide-out should always be OUT or IN, not stopped in-between or partially open.
This technique was taught to me by a actual RV mechanic. After 3 times, and spending $4k for CW to replace this whole mechanism, Winnebago admitted to problem with the repeated issues due to the weight and the design. They would not warranty or assist with this, so—Good Bye! Sold!

R.C.
1 month ago
Reply to  Ran

Same type problems with my Fleetwood.
And poor service from an RV dealer (CRV) in the 91362 area, leaving us still, to this day, with slideout alignment and noise problems. Although I have been in contact with Fleetwood techs who have been good, we still have to deal with this. I’ve done techs tips and advice and am very mechanically inclined. It still comes back as out of alignment. To the point of the front most end has squashed the vertical rubber seal to a flat state. Not a trusting seal. Never been happy with this slideout and feel that this dealer should have made sure it was right of Fleetwood (REV GROUP) should have SENT a mobile RV Mechanic/technician TO US and corrected it. We bought brand new and our treatment on this subject is still unacceptable to this day. And it’s only 2 years old! Always a worry when we go out. If there’s anywhere left TO go out to 😬.
Happy Travels!
P.S: Hey, Ran: maybe, you should look into a Tiffin👍. Sure wish we did!

Last edited 1 month ago by R.C.
Cathi
1 month ago
Reply to  R.C.

We had good luck with Redlands Truck and RV Service. They fixed our slides three years ago and we have had no issues since. As full time travelers, the slides get a lot of action. We choose to go back each year for and rig issues and to have the slides all checked. 92323 zip so not right next door, but they do have a small RV parking area with full hookups associated with their shop for customers.

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