By Cheri Sicard
The team from Big Truck Big RV (one of our readers’ FAVORITE RV YouTube channels), has produced an informative video about the different types of RV slide technologies and how they work.
All RV slides are not created equal. I have to confess, as I have never owned an RV with slides, I did not know much about them. But after this RV slide technologies primer, I feel far more educated.
This information will be especially important if you are RV shopping. Understanding how the various types of RV slide technologies work can help you make better distinctions between models and to figure out what will work best for your needs.
RV slide technologies covered:
Schwintek slide system
This is a popular system and features twin slide rails that is essentially a rack and pinion system. The video says this is a reliable RV slide system as long as you don’t use it on a slide that is too long or too heavy. Another plus of this RV slide technology is that if the motor ever gives out you have the ability to manually push them in.
Motorized rack and pinion system
Watch the video for a demonstration of how it works. It is the oldest and most tried and true slide technology. However, it’s also heavy and requires holes in the RV frame that will need to be reinforced. The only thing that can fail on it is the motor, and should that happen, you can move the slide manually.
Hydraulic pump rack and pinion
A hydraulic pump powers this rack and pinion system. The one downside is if you have multiple slides, as one button deploys all the slides (in most cases, anyway). That means you can’t control the order of the slides extending and retracting individually. You are stuck with the order they are programmed to deploy. You do have the ability to manually move your slide with system failure.
Cable drive slide system
The system uses cables and pulleys to extend and retract the RV slide. The mechanics of the system live above the slide. Again, the video shows exactly how it works. The video producers like the system for small slides only. They also caution that while the cables may be strong, some of the connectors and other parts may not be. Plus, the cables can stretch over time and, if it fails, there is no way to retract or extend your slide until it is fixed.
The hidden slide system
These are unseen rails that run underneath the slide on the inside of the coach. The system works well, although it is not designed for heavier slides. It is a clean slide with nothing exposed outside. You do have the ability to manually move the slide in an outage.
LCI slim rack slide system
This is a motor-powered rack and pinion system that is mounted to the side of the slide. Since the rack is affixed to the side of the slide, it will be visible on the inside of the RV when the slide is retracted, and you can see it on the outside when extended. This is a relatively new system—so new, in fact, that the video could not comment on its longevity or its failure rates.
If anyone is interested YouTube has many videos on each slide version. I find it important to really know what you’re dealing with for prevention & repair. Just search your brand of slide.
This video lacks details
The LCI Slim rack system appears to have big gaps in the sealing gaskets where the rack comes through the wall that may let weather get inside.
This was extremely interesting to watch. Thanks Cheri.