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Slide out seals, Part 2: What can happen if you don’t maintain your slide out roof

Before you continue reading, make sure you start with last Friday’s tip from Dustin: When was the last time you inspected your slide out seals? Do it now!

Now here’s a follow-up…

By Dustin Simpson, California RV Specialists
Neglecting your slide out roof seam tape and wiper seals can cost you thousands of dollars.

For example, in the pictures below, this owner was saying that there was water leaking into the inside room of the slide out, as well at the bottom floor line.

When we asked the customer if he has been servicing the slide outs, he said “no,” and stated that they didn’t know that anything needed to be done!

The husband then stated he thought the water was coming in because the seals weren’t wiping properly and flipping out properly on the sides. He told us that sometimes he could see that the top of the slide out roof seal was doing the same.

When I asked for more information, he stated that he would flip the seals out the best that he could by hand and didn’t notice the damage to the top seals.

After taking a closer look, we found the slide out roof surface (rubber) was dirty, the wiper seals were very dry (because of the dirt and lack of conditioning), and the slide out roof side sealants, flange sealants, and miscellaneous areas around the window all needed some care. Additionally, the slide out roof seam tape was coming loose, which also had small worn spots and tape that started to shrink up, peel and let loose.

Cracked and damaged slide out seams

Let this be a reminder to inspect your slide out roofs and make sure you pay attention, especially if you have slide out toppers. In most cases, the slide out toppers will need to be removed for cleaning and servicing.

Make sure that you clean and lube the bulb seals and wipers seal with the proper conditioners every 4-6 months, depending on use. Make sure to check all the sealants prior to washing or rain, and after any trips.

If your slide out seam tape is damaged, coming loose or leaking due to holes in the tape, you will want to clean and prep the surface, remove anything possible that is loose, and reapply new tape over the surface of the old tape.

It’s very important to check all the flange T mounting hardware, screws, rivets and insert moldings. If the flange (picture frame around the box) becomes loose it can also cause leaks on the seams. These leaks can cause the floor to dry rot and cause the flanges to come loose. This results in damage to floors, walls, box or slide out rails.

Regular inspections are simple and most shops shouldn’t mind checking for you at no charge.

Most owner’s manuals will not say anything about inspection, other than cleaning and lining seals. But each slide out is designed differently and made for each design. They all have different issues and different characteristics based on location and the unit design.

So no matter if it’s a BAL cable slideout, Schwintek, or gear and rack style, the point is that they all require some maintenance.

Here is a link for Quick Roof Extreme White 4″ x 25′ for slide out roof seams. The tapes come available in white or black, and they come in 4” – 6” widths and 12.5 ft., 25 ft., and 50 ft. lengths.

And here is a link for slide out rubber seal conditioner treatment. I like this one because it comes as a hand spray bottle so it can be used inside on the slide out seals and you can control it better.

Please join us on YouTube for more on maintaining your RV.

##RVDT1912

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Rick
12 days ago

I wish I could see consistent recommendation on exactly WHAT to use on the rubber seals. All kinds of sprays etc are designed for them, but if you ask Grand Design, they suggest only using talcum powder. I recently read an article about products to protect your tires and found out several tire manufacturers recommend NOTHING but washing them, as many after-market protectants can actually counter the preservatives that are built into the tires from the manufacturer and cause the tires to prematurely age and/or dry out.

Randy
12 days ago
Reply to  Rick

We’ve had the same issue. We keep things clean and well-dried before moving the slides in, but I’m afraid to use anything on them. The techs where we bought our RV all have different suggestions for the Schwintek slides. One says don’t use anything because the wrong thing can damage the slide–what is the RIGHT thing? One says keep it clean and make sure it’s dry before you put the slide in–great advice when you have to pack up in the rain. The manufacturer of the RV says to ask the manufacturer of the slide mechanism. Seriously?

Megan Edwards
13 days ago

Another reason to have a trailer without slideouts.

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