Virtually every RV manufactured today is equipped with a slide-out room. There are various types of RV slide-out systems. These include hand crank (screw type) mechanisms, cable systems, hydraulic systems and electric motor operated systems. All manufacturers provide a means to retract the room by hand in the event of battery failure.
The Two Types of RV Slide-Outs
Gear-Driven RV Slide-Out
A slide-out motor powers a gearbox on either side of the slide room (smaller slides only use one) and then the force is transmitted to a rack and pinion arrangement on the telescoping supports that hold up the room. While this method is far less complicated (and less expensive) than the hydraulic system, it requires more periodic maintenance.
Hydraulic RV Slide-Out
An electric slide-out motor powers a hydraulic pump and then this force is transmitted to the slide room using hydraulic hoses, a series of control valves and hydraulic rams or cylinders to move the room. Multiple slide rooms on the RV can be powered by one pump and motor unit. Hydraulic systems are under high pressure and repairs should only be done by a qualified repair depot.
RV Slide-Out Maintenance Tips
An electric slide-out motor draws considerable current and needs a fully charged battery to operate. Plugging in to shore power will help supply the needed voltage and current and prevents overstraining the system. The slide-out motor is usually controlled by a circuit board and relay. There will be a fuse located on the circuit board or in the power line that supplies the slide-out motor.
Maintaining the slide mechanism is important. The room is free floating as it moves in or out. There are typically rollers in the mechanism that carry the weight and rails that guide the room to its resting point. The rollers and rails need to be lubricated from time to time to prevent wear and to protect the metal components from rust and corrosion. Each manufacturer has different lubrication points. Here's a short video and description of how to lubricate a Schwintek Slide-Out System from Lippert Components.
Slide-out lubrication or dry lube protectant penetrates around moving parts to prevent rust and corrosion. This lubricant is also excellent treatment for leaf springs, steering and suspension components, battery connections and any other metal surfaces that are subject to rust and corrosion.
The seals on the slide-out keep the weather and pests out of the RV. Keeping the seals working and looking like new requires periodic maintenance. Keep an eye out for unusual wear areas or places where the seals may become dislodged by the movement of the slide room. It is also a good idea to keep your slide-out closed when not in use. This will help protect the seals, roof, and other components of the slide-out from the sun and other elements.
Slide-out Seal treatment products can extend the life of rubber seals by protecting from excessive wear and the damaging effects of the sun, road grime and pollutants. These kind of products produces a slick surface to reduce friction and wear as the seals rub against the slide-out.
Get Slide-Out Slickers & Other RV Slide-Out Accessories
Protect your carpet and keep it looking like new with Slide-Out Slickers. Plus, protect vital slide-out plumbing, wiring and hoses under the slide room floor with Flex Guard. Both from Lippert Components.