Got a stuck slide out?
I personally have slide out envy. We do not have any on our Rexhall Aerbus sadly but definitely look forward to the day we do have some in our next rig (whenever that may be). But with my envy also comes with a little win that comes without having slide outs and that is the dreaded stuck out (or in) slide out. Picture it, you’re packing up the rig, its 10:30 AM and you need to clear the spot by 11:00 AM. Everything is good to go and the last thing you need to do before raising the stabilizers is bring in the slides. You go into the rig, push the button, and nothing happens. Its like that scene in Independence Day where Russell Case says “Eagle 20, Fox 2” tries to shoot the missile and nothing happens. You do what he did, shake it off, “Eagle 20 Fox 2”, and push the button again. Nope. No go. Now what?
That's creepy huh?
As always, the first step is to PANIC! Now, make a knee jerk reaction to it not working. Finally, curse and say how it’s a stupid rig and you will get rid of it if it doesn’t work. Better now? Good. Now that calmer heads have prevailed, lets take a look at what we can really do about this. The end goal here is to get the slide in so you can get on the road and have it looked at later. If you can repair it instantly, that’s awesome!
There are a couple types of slides out there today. You’ve got the cable driven slide that has cables that run top & bottom that connect at a gearbox (likely at the top center of the slide). You’ve got Schwintek (LCI) that is either rails on the side or a solid bar underneath with teeth. Finally, you’ve got your good old through frame slide outs that are either hydraulic or electrically controlled. All of these are great systems! You just need to know one important thing besides how do they go in and out on demand. You need to know how to manually maneuver them. This is something you should have the current owner you’re buying it from or the dealer teach you how to do! An added important thing would be to identify where the fuses are for the system. Ok, lets get down to it.
First, identify what type of slide you have (cable, track, hydraulic). Now that you’ve done that, you can find identifying markers on the pump/gearbox/actuator that will tell you the company, make, model, and other information. Easiest step to do (besides read this) is to go to their webpage and download the manual. In there, it will tell you the steps on how to do a manual over ride. In reality, that should be your first stop because I don’t know what changes will happen to the slides after writing this blog post and technology can change.
Next, find your override tool. For the cable slides, it is likely a flexible shaft driver with a ¼” bit on the end. Harbor Freight sells them with extra bits too which is nice if you don’t have it from the previous owner or the dealer forgets to give it to you. You put that bit into the back of the motor into the port, connect it to your drill, and begin SLOWLY cranking. DO NOT crank it out in the wrong direction at full speed. You may over torque the motor and destroy the drive shaft in the middle of it (which is easy to replace). For my visual learners out there, here is a YouTube video for your viewing pleasure, click here. When you’re done, make sure that your slide out is secure and everything is hooked up. You don’t want it coming out while driving down the road. That’s not a good look for anyone (also its EXTREMELY DANGEROUS!).
For the Schwintek slides, you have to get a little more creative. A great helper with these is actually from Lippert with their YouTube library via the LippertUniversity channel. This is a great place for all things LCI by the way and I highly recommend it. Normally, I do not like YouTube as I get what I equate Doctors get when they hear “I read it on WebMD”. Anyone that has been there knows the first thing that comes up is cancer and you’re going to die! Easy bud, you just have heartburn from that pepperoni pizza. You’ll be ok. I digress. The YouTube diagnosis can be helpful but can also be a hindrance. If you’re going to use it, please take a picture of what you’re looking to work on BEFORE you work on it. One for reference, and two for when you call me out to work on it, I’ll know where things went and won’t have to charge you for extra time while I try to figure out what goes where on your dollar (hey, trying to help you out here!)
First, if you have failures take a look at your panel and see what the warning lights are saying. That is a great tool to know where to start troubleshooting. Once there, if you can’t fix it by following the instructions you will need to do an over ride and retract it electronically if you can. You over ride the electrical fault by pressing the button with a pen next to the lights 6 times and then hold it for 5 seconds on the 7th press. The lights should go into disco mode which tells you that it is ready, push the retract button and you should be good to go. Manually try to push the slide out to ensure it is secure, call your local tech or find a mobile tech at your next campground, and travel on. I do not recommend you operate the slide until you have had it repaired. Doing so could damage it or your rig. Hey look, a movie about it right here.
If that didn’t work, you’re going to have to do it the painful way. The slides with the side rails, you will need to remove a screw at the top of the left & right walls behind the seal. That holds the slide motor in. Once that screw is out, you pop the motor up by reaching behind the seal & pushing it upwards about ½” on both sides, and then push the slide in. Easy peasy right? Not so fast. You cannot reinstall the motor completely like this with the slide in. You will need to “travel lock” the slide out so that it cannot move while you’re leaving. A 2x4 is a great tool for this and I recommend you have a couple on hand in your storage bay. For you visual learners, I’ve got you covered again here.
Through frame electrical slide outs are great! They are the ones with the arms that are under the coach and have all the gears showing. To over ride that, you will find a crankshaft that you will need turn to bring it in. Again, you should have the tool from the dealership or you might have the ones where you need to get dirty and turn the ratcheting wrench on it to bring it in or out. Normally, the pin to turn is on the frame and you should be able to access it through a hole cut out on the slide out. Be careful, there are a couple of access holes in the rig and there is one cranking lever what will drop your spare tire down. Each rig is different so you need to look around your coach to find it. Also, consult your manual, as the information is likely in there for you. Word of caution: do not over tighten as you can damage/destroy the threads. Lippert shows you how to do this here.
Hydraulic is almost the easiest to work with. Normally, they have the over ride instructions right on the actuator and you will just have to flip a lever and start pumping. Some however are not as friendly like that and you will need a wrench to turn the pump. With a few different ones out there, I’m going to have to defer you to the owner’s manual to locate and operate this. Or, you can reach out to me and I’ll look it up and walk you through it.
Slide outs are great! You get extra comfort and room in your coach while still being able to shrink it all up and head to the next spot. If your system fails, these tips should help you out and the links should get you on track. If you’d like my help, I am here to assist you! That’s why I went to school right? Reach out to me and we will get you all set up and on your way. Thanks for sticking around and happy travels!