RV Slide Out Operation and Troubleshooting
DISCLAIMER: AS AN AMAZON ASSOCIATE I EARN FROM QUALIFYING PURCHASES. THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS THAT WILL REWARD ME MONETARILY OR OTHERWISE WHEN YOU USE THEM TO MAKE QUALIFYING PURCHASES. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE READ MY EARNINGS DISCLAIMER.
Before you start operating your slideout, the first thing to check is if there are any obstructions that could get in the way (people, trees, other campers). Besides that, you should always check if your battery has enough juice in it to power your slide-out, or the converter for the 12 volt DC system is working properly.
Operating a slideout (or a pop-out) for a brand new RVer sometimes could be difficult to get accustomed to. There are many dos and don’ts to operating a slide-out, which are important to know before your mess something up.
If you don’t have enough power coming in, you could start overworking your slideout’s motor until it overheats. This is how you will end up being stuck with an open slideout.
Now, let’s get into the details!
RV slide-out operation
So, you found a perfect parking space for your camper and are ready to pull your slide out. Before reading further, I highly recommend that you take out your RV papers and study carefully the instruction manual for your slide-out:
There could be some cases where your manual got lost or you purchased a pre-owned recreational vehicle without one. In this case, I will do my best to inform you on how to operate your slideout trouble-free.
Inside your RV you will have a control panel that looks similar to this:
You may need a key to operate your control panel:
Most slideouts also have a load-sensing capability. This means that when your slideout is fully extended or retracted, the motor will stop.
Extending the slideout (outside)
Before you get all excited and start pressing all the buttons on the panel, please check the following:
- There are NO obstacles outside. Go outside and make sure there is NOTHING on the way of your slide-out. The slideout pathway should be clear from tables, people, trees, electrical posts, etc.
- You have enough power supply. RV’s slideout system is operated by a 12 volt DC electric motor and you need to make sure that you supply it with enough power through a converter or a fully charged 12-volt battery.
- Your vehicle is leveled. You need to level your vehicle before operating the slideout.
- Your transit bars are removed. If your unit is equipped with transit bars, you will need to remove them to operate your slideout.
Now it’s time to push some buttons!
- Turn the switch ON. You may be required to insert your key in order to start operating your slide-out or there could be just a switch. In either case, turn it ON.
- Push the OUT button. Hold a key (if provided) in the OUT position until the room is fully extended. If it’s just a button, hold a button until the room stops moving. Now, the room will lock into place.
- Turn the switch OFF. If you are using a key, turn it to the OFF position and remove it. If there is a switch, flip it to the OFF position.
Retracting the slideout (inside)
Once again, even if you are tired from packing and setting things up before you hit the road, don’t just start pressing buttons, to get that slide-out in and get going! Slideout is a mechanism that is strong enough to damage walls, cabinets, and the floor, if not taken care of properly.
Nothing great can be done in a hurry, and this is why you have to make sure that there are NO people near the slide rails when the room starts moving! Injuries could be caused by clothing being caught up in the gear assembly.
So, this is a short “to-do” list before you start retracting the slideout:
- Check your driver’s seat. Make sure it is not on the way of your slideout. Just put your seat in the upright position, pull it in and you are good to go.
- Check your cabinets. Make sure they are closed and will not be damaged when you pull the slideout back in. After you are ready to push some buttons, go back, and audit yourself (double-check it).
- Check where your “crew” is! Get all the humans and pets out of the way while operating the slideout.
Now, we can finally push some buttons and get our slideout back in. Steps are very similar to extending the slideout, only instead of pressing the OUT button, you will need to press the IN button or hold a key in that direction.
After you release the ON/OFF switch, it’s time to crank our slideout motor brake lever. If your motor brake is NOT in the ENGAGED position, the slide-out room will not lock into place.
Engage your motor brake to seal your slideout (which is a must prior to transit):
Now we can install the transit bars (if equipped) and take off!
RV slide-out troubleshooting
Our next subject is troubleshooting RV slideouts. Why? Life is not perfect and sometimes “stinks”, meaning that if you press the switch button and your slideout does not respond, you will spend the rest of the night trying to solve a problem or being jammed in a tiny provided space.
Before we get into more complicated details of your problem, let’s make sure that the following is taken care of:
- Your 12-volt battery is connected and fully charged (obviously ????).
- Your electrical system is turned ON (main power switch).
- Your breakers are turned ON (if you have fuses, make sure they are not blown).
- Your converter is turned ON and is working properly (if you didn’t think of that, please check it).
- If you are plugged into shore power, make sure that electricity is supplied by them (a simple voltage-monitoring device could be used).
Do you still have a problem? Sorry to hear that, so let’s get to work!
We all like that RV slideouts provide us with a larger living space in the motorhome, but like with anything else where you have electricity and motors involved, things could go wrong and mess the whole experience up!
Here are a few common situations with RV’s slideout system:
1. The room does not move
Check if your transit bars are removed. If not, remove them.
2. The room moved and stopped
If the room movement is detected, but it suddenly stops, there could be several issues:
- If there is an obstruction blocking the way that you did not notice, remove the obstacle, or move your RV.
- If you notice any excess buildup of dirt while visually inspecting the inner slide rail assemblies (while the room is out), remove the debris and lightly lubricate the driveshaft and roller areas.
3. The room moves too slow
Not enough power supply could be your problem. Check if your battery is discharged and replace it if needed.
If you are in the RV park, make sure your shore power is giving you good voltages or the converter is performing well. If none of these solutions work, we can start inspecting your RV further.
RV slide-out problems
Other troubleshooting methods may have electrical work involved, so before you do anything, please disconnect your power supply and a battery. More complicated problems for slide-outs include:
- Motor failure
- Mechanical issues
- Electrical issues
Typical slideouts are either hydraulic (a larger slide) or electric (a smaller slide):
1. Hydraulic systems
Hydraulic systems use the principle of hydraulic pressure and it is more common on larger-sized slides. This pressure is activated by a pump and these pumps, however, can malfunction when they are low in fluid.
This person had a problem with a “low fluid” and he made a video on how he fixed it:
Pumps could leak simply because they are being used and this means that they do require regular checkups in order not to be stuck in a situation like that. Also, if any components of the hydraulic line will fail, you will have a problem with your slideout.
Hydraulic line components include actuators that move rams and if they fail, the whole system will not work. Damaged valves could be another reason for pumps to malfunction.
Hydraulic lines may stall or jam, causing the rams and actuator triggers to misfire or not function at all. Not only does this cause a serious malfunction of the slide-out, but it could also be dangerous for the person operating the slide-out.
If there is a problem with a hydraulic line system, only a specialist will be able to determine that and this issue cannot be easily fixed. It would typically involve the disassembly of the slide-out and full replacement of the faulty line.
2. Electrical systems
A variety of electrical issues could cause RV’s slideout to malfunction. They could be anything from faulty writing or weak battery, to system overload that could have tripped your breakers or blown a fuse.
Electric slideout uses an electric motor to drive a slideout gear system in your RV or camper. This motor is powered by a 12-volt system and needs a certain amount of amps to function.
If you have many devices turned on while trying to pull out the slide, you may have a problem with overwhelming the circuit. Don’t forget that:
3o-amp system will give you 3,600 watts
5o-amp system will give you 12,000 watts
One way to avoid this type of power failure is to have your 12-volt battery fully charged and connected, even if you are plugged into the shore power. The reason for this is that battery will take on some of the load if the power problem is detected.
3. Motor issues
Overloaded motors can also cause significant issues for your RV to slide out. If there is a jam or some kind of mechanical issue, your motor may experience resistance and will try to draw extra energy to complete its task.
If it’s stuck this way long enough, it is just going to break down. In both of these scenarios, it is a good idea to take the RV to a dealership or repair shop as soon as possible and have it fixed.
** Warning! This is NOT a DIY project since working with electric motors is complicated and dangerous!
Other RV slideout problems
Some other RV slide-out issues are not only easy to diagnose, but they are usually not complicated to repair. Leaks are a common issue for RV slide-out.
Slideout seals become less and less durable due to weather conditions and general wear and tear. If they stop working, the moisture may get inside causing all kinds of problems, including a possible growth of mold or worse, an electric problem.
Not to mention that who would be happy with a water leak or inability to keep the RV warm on a cold winter day? The solution to leaking can be as simple as replacing a worn-out seal (paid link) or a broken awning.
If your awning is frayed or being held by duct tape, it is a good sign that replacement is needed. I found some replacement toppers (paid link) for you on Amazon.
Maintaining the proper cleaning of the slide-out and protective sealing will prevent all kinds of leak issues.Feel free to save the infoPin below for your future Reference :
Manual slideout override
If all else fails and you are stuck with an extended slideout, do not worry, this too shall be solved… Slideout systems are usually equipped with the capability of extending or retracting in the event of power loss.
Please refer to the user manual for the exact location of the nut. Here is a visual of what this process looks like:
Servicing your RV slideout
If you are not taking proper care of your RV’s slide-outs, you may end up spending a whole lot more on parts replacement, than you would just be servicing it in a local RV shop 3-4 times a month. Problems with RV slideouts can sometimes be easy, but sometimes very complicated.
If you are suspecting a serious breakdown or are diagnosed with something that you cannot handle yourself, go to a certified RV technician to get repaired. After all, it’s your baby and you want to give it the best treatment possible!
You can also search our database:
Attention! This article is for informational purposes ONLY and is NOT a replacement for professional advice! ALWAYS consult your local specialist for an appropriate solution to your problem. All statements, prices, contact information, recommendations, and reviews contained herein came from sources that we believe to be reliable, but the accuracy or completeness thereof is not guaranteed. Please contact the service provider for complete details and updates.