By Chris Dougherty
Chris Dougherty is a certified RV technician. Here is a letter he received from a reader while he was serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor.
Lately my larger slideout really moans and has a hard time retracting. Sometimes my wife 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
In your particular case, the issue you’re experiencing 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.