RV slide-outs are a miraculous invention because they dramatically increase the space inside your RV. That leads to a much more comfortable camping experience, but it also means you must consider whether installing RV slide-out supports is a good idea for your coach.
When a slide room is extended, a lot of weight is placed on the slide room extensions and supporting frame. This leads some RVers to ask the natural question: should I use RV slide-out supports?
What are RV Slide-out Supports?
Slide-out supports are a weight-bearing accessory with a wide, flat base at the bottom. The top secures under the frame of your slide-outs. They can be raised or lowered to accommodate your situation.
The Benefits of Slide-out Supports
Here are a few reasons to add slide-out supports for your RV:
- Relieve stress on your slide-out extensions.
- Reduce sag on the entire slide-out.
- Reduce swaying and rocking when you’re moving around inside.
- Stabilize fully extended slide-outs.
Are Slide Out Supports Necessary?
Once your slide-outs are extended, it’s time to consider if they warrant additional support. RV manufacturers design slide-outs to be safe and stable without supports, but extra support will extend the life of your slide-out and reduce maintenance needs.
They’re most useful for full-time or seasonal campers that are set up in one place for a month or longer. They should also be used each time you set up camp if your slide-outs hold a lot of weight, but they’re not absolutely necessary, especially if you move camp frequently.
But be careful!
Technician Tip: Failure to support the coach chassis with jacks and/or stands before installing slide-out supports can damage the sidewall and/or the slide-out as the coach and slide-out would not be able to move together in the wind and as occupants move about inside.
How to Extend RV Slideouts
Regardless of whether you use slide-out supports or not, many slide-out issues can be avoided by operating them properly. Complete these checks before extending your slide-outs:
- Ensure your slide-out has enough clearance by knowing its depth and adding six inches.
- Ensure all people and passengers are clear of the slide-out and its components.
- Refrain from standing on the floor of the slide-out when extending or retracting.
- Remove slide-out locks (if applicable).
- Ensure the space around the slide-out inside your RV is clear – above, below, and on the sides. Items may have shifted during your drive. Check every time!
- Ensure your RV battery is fully charged.
Now, here are the quick steps to using your RV’s slide-outs:
- Locate the slide-out control switch inside your RV.
- Depress the switch’s ‘Out’ or ‘Extend’ side to extend your slide-out.
- Listen for the slide-out motor winding down or groaning, indicating it’s time to release the switch. You may hear a clicking sound on some trailers when fully extended. You may also notice interior lights dimming as the slide-out seals.
- On Schwintek systems, hold the switch for five seconds once the room is fully opened (or closed) for the control board to complete its calculations. Failure to do so will cause the room to go out of synchronization over time.
- Visually, look for the fascia on the interior of the slide-out to set flush with your RV’s interior wall.
- Never extend or retract slide-outs partially. They must be fully open or closed to maintain their seal and keep the interior of your RV waterproof.
How to Manually Retract RV Slide-outs
Accu-Slide Cable-Operated Slide-out:
1. Locate the slide-out motor.
The motor is best accessed from inside your RV or travel trailer. It’s usually located on top of the slide-out in the center with cables and pulleys attached. You may need to remove the interior fascia to gain access.
If you’re in warranty, remove the fascia; technicians will replace it once you take your RV to a service center. Or you can use that extension to try to operate the motor without removing the fascia.
2. Fit the square #3 bit into the end of the motor.
3. Connect the flexible extension to the square bit and secure the other end into your portable drill.
You’ll need to flex that extension up and over the fascia if you haven’t removed it.
4. Drive counterclockwise to bring your slide-out in.
Retract until the seal is flush with your RV’s exterior wall.
Schwintek (Worm Gear) Slide-out:
1. Locate the slide-out’s electronic control box.
It could be in an underneath storage compartment or inside your coach. When your slide-out is extending, the control box counts motor revolutions to keep the slide-out in timing and ensure that both ends extend equally and together.
2. Bypass the electronic control box.
Read the instructions on the control box and follow them. Instructions can be found in your owner’s manual as well.
3. Using a pen, push the reset button six times, then hold on the 7th.
Red and green lights should start flashing.
4. Depress the normal slide-out switch to test its function.
Your slide-out should come in so you can get to a dealer to figure out the issue with your electronic control box. There’s little to no risk in overriding this control box to retract your slide. It should not be done to extend your slide, however.
Rack and Pinion (Through-Frame with Electric Motor) Slide-out:
1. Locate the extension rod attached to the electric actuator motor.
2. Unhook the battery.
*This removes the potential for electric backfeed that could damage the slide-out system.
3. Connect the manual override crank tool to the extension rod.
4. Turn the crank handle clockwise to retract the slide-out.
5. Stop when you feel resistance and the slide is flush with the exterior RV wall.
*Don’t overcrank, as it can damage the slide-out.
RV slideouts are excellent amenities for increasing your RV’s interior space. But a stuck slide-out must be remedied ASAP. Use these manual retraction tips to secure your slide-out room before driving safely.
For full-time RVers, slide-out supports are a great investment. They’ll protect your slide-out from sagging when extended for a month or longer. We hope this helps you troubleshoot any problems you may run into with your rig's slide outs in the future!
See you on the road!