Tip of the Day… Slide Outs. There are basically two types of slide out operations Electrical or Hydraulic. There are however, many different types of configuration.
Hydraulic is the simplest and I only know of one configuration. An electric motor turns a hydraulic pump that through a series of valves pushes or pulls a set of rams to move the slide out or in. As with all fluid based systems, you will want to check the fluid levels before operating the hydraulic slide outs.
Electrical slide outs come in various styles. Some will operate much like the hydraulic units by using an electric motor to turn a set of rams to move the slide out or in. These require less maintenance than their hydraulic cousins.
A newer type of slide out mechanism uses a set of electric motors to directly drive the slide outs in and out. This is the Schwintek Slide Out System and is easily identified by the tracks on each side of the slide out. It basically operates with a set of worm gears that ride in the track and when turning move along the track pulling it in or out as they turn. Two problems have been reported with this system, first is that the motors get out of sync with each other and the slide does not seat or extend properly. The second is that the motor gears are wearing out due to the torque of the motors within their housing.
When inspecting the slide outs, you will want to note the type of slide out installed. You will need to inspect the drive mechanism to determine if it has been maintained. You will be looking for grease or lubrication on the rams (hydraulic or electrical). For the Schwintek systems the motors are normally in the upper corners behind the molding. This molding may just pop of or will be screwed in. If you can access the motor area, you will want to look for metal filings around the motor which will indicate that it is wearing out the bushings.
Operate the slides and check for proper sealing both extended and retracting. Try to slide a credit card between the seal and the wall of the RV. If you can easily slide the card between the seal and wall it may need adjusting.
Examine the rams and the drives for signs of rust or damage.