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Ask Dave: How do I winterize my RV’s slide room?

Dear Dave,
With winterization right around the corner, I am wondering if we should lube the slide room—specifically the slide mechanism and/or the rubber seals. If so, should it be done before winter storage or in the spring when dewinterizing? Do you recommend any specific brand of lubricant? Thank you. —Leigh, 2022 Imagine 22MLE

Dear Leigh,
The proper lubrication and seal conditioning depend on the type of mechanism your RV has and the seals used. Looking at RV Trader and several dealer walkaround videos, I believe your slide mechanism is a Schwintek model on the driver’s side of the unit.

I just completed the Schwintek/Lippert Certification program and they do not recommend periodic lubrication of the mechanism but rather a thorough inspection of the tracks, bearing blocks, underneath rollers, and seals.

Weight of slide room on floor rollers

First, the entire weight of the slide room should be resting on the floor rollers. The spur gears only roll the room in and out, with no weight on the rack. It is important to inspect the lower rollers to make sure there is contact on them and they are not flattened, broken, or bent tabs. Also, make sure the “flapper” gasket is not getting pinched in the roller.

If the roller is making noise or squeaking, they recommend spraying the sides with a dry silicone. They also recommend only cleaning the rubber seal with mild detergent and water. I have discussed this with other Schwintek technicians as well as Trim-Lok, that manufactures most of the rubber gaskets for openings. They recommend a slide seal lube, and I’ve always recommended 303 Protectant as it keeps it from weather checking. It depends on how exposed the gasket is to sunlight throughout the year. In your case, cleaning the rubber gasket with soap and water and a light application of 303 Protectant wiped off before storage and then again when bringing it out would be good.

Inspect the rails of slide room

They also recommend inspecting the rails on the upper and lower side of the box to make sure they are clean and not getting gouged by the spear gear. Here is a diagram of where those components are.

Inspect the bearing blocks to ensure the grooves are clean and not gouged, the spur gear has good teeth, and the shoe is sitting flush in the groove and not worn. If the shoe is missing, the unit will wobble and eventually fail. On the bottom of the bearing block, inspect the V-roller to make sure it is in the groove and is not damaged. Inspect the screws holding the gear rack to the side of the unit as they need to be flush to the rack. If they are not flush, the bearing block will hit the screw and cause damage.

The H-column is fastened to the sidewall by either screws or rivets and should be inspected to make sure they are all intact. A missing fastener means the H-column will move or shift during operation and eventually cause a failure.

If the spur gear is making a noise, dry silicone can be applied to the grooves in the top and bottom of the gear rack, which will lubricate the shoe and the V-roller.


 You might also enjoy this from Dave 

How often should I lubricate my RV’s slide mechanism?

Dear Dave,
My RV has two slideouts. The bed is enclosed; however, the living room is exposed. How often should the arm underneath be lubricated? —Michael, 2007 Terry 305RLDS by Fleetwood

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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Bob M
15 days ago

During your Schwintek/Lippert Certification did they mention about all the issues people have with their slide and why they don’t do away with it. Having read about all the Schwintek slide problems. I wouldn’t buy an RV with one.

Tommy Molnar
15 days ago
Reply to  Bob M

Actually Bob, neither would I.

Tom
15 days ago
Reply to  Bob M

They seem to work well on the smaller and lighter slides, such as an extension in the bedroom area. That’s what we have. It just extends the small closet and drawer area to give more space. This slide doesn’t weigh much, when compared to the full slide that holds the fridge, stove/oven, pantry and fireplace/TV. That slide is a through-frame. I’ve heard that the larger/heavier the slide, the more issues with the Schwintek system. Maybe they don’t stay as well balanced or the system isn’t heavy-duty enough to handle all of that weight and size if anything begins to get out of alignment.

Bob p
15 days ago
Reply to  Bob M

SIL and daughter had a TT with this slide, it worked great at the dealership(it was used but only 7 months old)(no warranty). First time they opened it everything is OK. Upon trying to close it one side quits and the room cocks sideways and jams. Reading the manual, back out and retry, same issue. Several trouble shooting tries it works in manual emergency mode but not in automatic. Several calls to manufacturer resulting in many different attempts and the purchase of a new motor, finally talked with the chief engineer suggesting a new wiring harness. Upon routing the new harness we found(I had been helping) a pinched wire where the fresh water tank had been installed over the wiring harness, it was almost cut in half. New harness installed it worked perfect, it had been that way since building it and everybody just put it in emergency mode to work it. Don’t know why it worked that way, SIL is a perfectionist, if it’s supposed to work a certain way he wants it to work.

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