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What to do about a sticky slideout

By Chris Dougherty
Chris Dougherty is a certified RV technician. Here is a letter he received from a reader about a sticky slideout while he was serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor.

Dear Chris,
Lately my larger slideout really moans and has a hard time retracting. Sometimes my wife and I are pulling on the slider’s walls the best we can or pushing to get it out perfectly straight. It’s scary to the point I panic on whether the slide will complete its retraction. Taking in the larger slide seems better than if we pull in the small slide first. Better weight distribution, I think. In case the slide doesn’t come in one of these days, what can we do? A manual ratchet somewhere? Should I have my mechanic adjust something or lube something? —Ken

Dear Ken,
In your particular case, the issue you’re experiencing with a sticky slideout is probably from one or more of three things. First, you probably have what is called a rack and pinion slideout system with the gears and slide rails underneath the room. Since the room is going in and out cockeyed, I would think that either a shear bolt has snapped in the bar crossing between the two sides, or a weld has broken in the same area on the rack.

Another thing is the slide mechanism could be in need of adjustment and lubrication. Lastly, it may be possible that something is jamming the room, most likely from underneath. It can be something as simple as a shoe or pet toy, a broken slide roller, or swollen wood from a leak. In these cases, it may be best to have a technician have a look.

Some slide mechanisms have an easy way to ratchet them in. Others have a small switch on the motor that unlocks the gears and allows the room to be slid in manually. You need to reference the owner’s packet for your coach to see what you have. If there’s nothing there, go to the slideout motor and look for identification there. Once you have the make, model and serial number (if there is one) from it, you can go online to look up the company and get in touch with them directly. Some companies like Lippert Components and Power Gear have a lot of their technical manuals available online.

Related:

What to do about squeaky slideouts

##RVDT1712

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Mary
3 months ago

We have cable slides and I recently made a discovery: as our entire kitchen and pantry are in one big slide, I need to reduce the weight to get the slide in without someone pushing from the outside. I unload the pantry and some items from the refrigerator, take it in then replace the items. If we are just camped for one or two nights we just leave that slide in. Not ideal but it gets us on the road.

Bob M
3 months ago

My Jayco Jayfight didn’t come with a slide owners manual. Nor is there anything that tells me what kind of slide I have. I was told I can crank mine in from underneath. I’m thinking when it comes time to buy a new travel trailer. I’m going to buy one without a slide. Hear too many people have trouble with slides. What slide has the least amount of trouble?

Tommy Molnar
3 months ago

I would love to see one of these owner’s manuals all the repair guys refer to. What owner’s manual?

Drew
3 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

I know what you mean but in my case, Winnebago has great reference material within the owner’s info case. It’s online also- going back over 2 decades of models. Luckily I’ve never had a complete slide failure.

Tommy Molnar
3 months ago
Reply to  Drew

We got a brand-wide manual that was supposed to cover all the models the mfg made. NO specifics on anything. The one good thing they did was to leave us with all the installation ‘manuals’ for the ac, stove, microwave, etc. Nothing about the slide though.

Last edited 3 months ago by Tommy Molnar
Terry Hennessy Jr
3 months ago
Reply to  Drew

If you have an RV MANUAL, (sometimes?) in back, they put a VENDORS LIST? Then if you can find any labels underneath slide for Model, you can download easily from Online. Otherwise, while extended, look for labels for MFR/ Model, or take pictures so if you search online, you can reference to determine model? Luck.