Wednesday, September 27, 2023


Gearbox broke and our slide is grinding – Help!

Dear Mark,
We are on the road and I think a gearbox broke when we went to deploy our kitchen slide. The slide moved about an inch and stopped moving and started grinding. No mobile techs are available for days and we are hours from any dealership. What can we do to get through this trip?

Hi there,
The signature sign of a gearbox failing is the grinding noise you experienced. It is caused by teeth breaking off one of the gears inside. You can still deploy or retract your slide by pushing it while someone holds the button for the appropriate direction. In your case, to deploy the slide, one person should be on the inside of the RV on one side of the kitchen slide, and another person should also be inside on the opposite side of the slide. While a third person pushes the button to deploy the slide, both people should apply equal pressure at the same time to push the slide out. It should move freely. When the slide is fully extended, stop pushing and release the button.

The slide will probably retract without an issue, but you still need to have that gearbox replaced. In the event that the slide won’t retract when you prepare to leave your site due to the failing gearbox, follow the same procedure with two people pushing the slide in while someone pushes the button to retract it.

Mark Gorrie has been an avid RVer since 2003 and owns RVForce LLC, a full-service mobile and shop-based RV repair facility based in Winter Haven, Florida. RVForce has a full team of certified technicians on staff to answer your RV questions. Email them to .


Emily Woodbury
Emily Woodbury
Emily Woodbury is the editor here at She was lucky enough to grow up alongside two traveling parents, one domestically by RV (yep, Chuck Woodbury) and the other for international adventures, and has been lucky to see a great deal of our world (and counting!). She lives near Seattle with her dog and chickens. When she's not cranking out 365+ newsletters for she's hiking, cooking or, well, probably traveling.


  1. Our units slides run on cables. Recently had a gearbox failure. Went online ( YouTube) to see if there was information on repair. There was a lot!
    Next searched for replacement part online. Seems a lot of out of stock. Could not even talk to see if the part was in stock & could be expedited . Went through dealer took so long we had to cancel 2 weeks in NP . I did the repair myself, took a hour. I now carry a spare motor/ gearbox & I bet I’ll never use it but that’s ok

    • I was lucky as the failure happen at home. At first I cursed the system but since I learned so much about them I’m glad to have this type. They aren’t perfect but once you really learn about them you can probably avoid future calamity.
      Fingers crossed

  2. I would be afraid that I could not apply enough force to push the slide back in on my motorhome. Motorhome slides are typically higher off the ground than travel trailer slides.

    • I would be afraid to ‘push’ our slide out too, and we have a travel trailer. I would be in fear of the slide sticking way out there and someone taking a picture of me on the road and end up seeing myself in an RVTravel article . . .

    • On our motorhome there is a special procedure to bring in a non-working slide. The motorhome came with a hand crank and a specialized belt that hooks on to the slide. Our is hydraulically operated and you have to release the system pressure by turning two T-valves before cranking the slide back in.


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