What to Do When Your Slide Outs Don’t Slide In


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Having a slide out on your RV is a great feature as it can quickly expand the living space that you have available once the RV is parked and set up for your trip. Of course, in addition to being a great feature, a slide out is also another moving part that has the potential to break down. While modern slide outs are impressively reliable the majority of the time, there still is a chance that yours will give you problems on a trip. If you find that your slide outs won’t slide back in when you are ready to head for home, you will have a serious problem on your hands. After all, you can’t hit the road with the slide outs extended, so they need to get tucked back in as soon as possible.

slide-out-problemsBattery First

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Before you assume that something has broken or is stuck within the slide out mechanism itself, check to see if you are getting enough power from your battery to run the system. You obviously need sufficient voltage from your battery to make the slide out move properly, so an old or worn out battery may be the underlying problem. Also, this is the easiest potential solution, so it makes sense to look here first. If you determine that the battery is the problem, replacing it could get you up and running quickly and easily.

Other Electrical Problems

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If the battery has plenty of juice, the next place to look is in your fuses and circuit breaker. Is there any noise coming from the motor that runs the slide out when you hit the switch? If not, you may have this sort of electrical problem. If there is a blown fuse or a tripped circuit breaker, you won’t be getting any of the power you need to move the slide out back into place.

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Check for a Manual Option

When the first two points listed above fail to take care of the problem, the next thing you can do is check for a manual option to close the slide out in order to get on the road. Consult with your owner’s manual to see if there is a way to close the slide out manually when the mechanism that is supposed to handle the job has failed. Most RV’s have some form of manual override to allow you to get back on the road successfully. To be as prepared for your trips as possible, it would be a good idea to learn about this option before you even head out for vacation. Knowing how to close your slide outs manually will offer you peace of mind if you happen to run into a problem along the way.

Call for Help

As a last resort, you may need to call for help to have your slide out repaired right there at the campsite. If you are far from home, ask around at the campground to see if anyone can recommend a local dealer or mechanic who may be able to assist with the problem. Obviously you would like to avoid this outcome if at all possible, but the slide out has to get back in one way or another before you can go home. Once at home, you can have the RV inspected to figure out what went wrong and how you can prevent it from happening again on your next vacation.

Have you ever had issues with your slide? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Comments 35

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  1. We had this problem arise last Memorial weekend. All packed up and one of the last things to do was bring in the slide. Pushed the button, heard the motor running, but the slide did not come in. Since apparently the motor worked we tried the manual method. Last resort we were able to contact a technician at an RV repair center.. on Memorial day no less. He told us there was no way to field repair what he thought was wrong but did tell us how to get the slide in. Under our situation he told us to have someone press the slide in button while myself and a few of my fellow campers manually pushed the slide it. Thank goodness that worked. Turned out the Ram Arm had broken and needed to be replaced and fortunately the rig was still under warranty. Hope that never happens again.

    1. Same thing happened to me. I worked the switch while my buddy gave a good push from the outside. Sprayed The bars under the slide out with lubrication spray and it works fine. I now keep it well lubricated to avoid this problem in the future.

  2. Broke a gearbox and only way to get slide back in was to push it in with 4WD pickup and 4×4 and 4×10 to push on..one corner at a time. Fortunately found a RV parts man who recognized the part and manufacturer. He took one look at the gearbox and said ” Oh that’s a Barker.” One phone call and had a replacement overnight!
    BTW service center was Custom RV Service in DE Forest, WI.

  3. We have three slides, the bedroom and desk/tv slide go in first and go in just fine. The living room slide will start in and all of a sudden the motor just cuts out. If I take my finger off th ed button for a minute and then push it ag as in the motor starts up agsin. Sometimes this will happen twice before the slide is fully in. We have checked everything we can think of. Any ideas??

    1. Sounds like you have an auto reset breaker that is weak. Find the breaker and replace and I’ll bet your problem ends

    2. I have that same problem on my living room slide. Every time I start to bring in that slide the slide starts in and stops before it lifts and comes in. I take my finger off of the switch for a few seconds and try again and it will come in. I had it worked on while under warranty 2 times and it continues to do the same thing. The unit is a 2004 Southwind that we bought new and still have the problem.
      I was told by the Technician that it is caused by a resetable inline fuse and it works like he said it would.

      1. There might also be some binding in the slide system itself. This will cause the motor to work harder, overheat, and cause excess current flow which trips the breaker. Definitely check if it has been lubed lately.

  4. We had that happen too. All packed up and ready to go. Then the slide wouldn’t go in. The battery was dead and wouldn’t work even though we were hooked up to the truck (does the camper get its power from the truck when plugged in, I thought it did) anyway we pulled our other vehicle sound and put jumper cables on and it worked.

    1. You truck needs to be running for it to supply power. At least most newer trucks are set up this way to prevent the truck battery from being drained accidently.

  5. We had the problem with one side moving in a few inches then stopping because the other side wasn’t working. Swapping the leads fixed the problem, after a call to the manufacturer. We have had it happen a few more times but now we don’t stress b/c we know how to deal with it.

  6. We’ve had the same problem as Jodi on our big kitchen slide. We have a 2009 class A Newmar Grand Star. We were at the Newmar factory in April of this year for another issue and had them also check out the slide. They tighten some gears or cogs (not sure exactly what they’re called). They also said to always have sufficient power, with either the electric plugged in or the generator running. It still occasionally happens, which makes me hesitant to use it.

  7. Our (Thor) Grand Junction 5th wheel has a manual crank on each slide for emergency use. We had a Livingroom slide motor fail in Tucson when traveling with company on board. Since we needed that slide operational during a 40 day trip, we decided to replace the slide motor and found a repairman. He ordered parts and got us on the road in 2 days. (If we didn’t have company onboard, we would have done without that slide opening til we got home.)

    Deering another trip across Canada, we had a pin break on our huge kitchen slide. My husband was able to put a sheer pen in which held until we got back to Florida for service at our RV dealership.

  8. We had a slide on our travel trailer that did not open up fully. A repairman came out and determined that there was not enough hydraulic fluid in the reservoir. He topped off the reservoir and the slide out began working properly. Easy fix. I wish they were all like that.

  9. Well this is kind of a nightmare situation we had this summer. We had already blown a tie on the rig to the tune of $985 ( July 3d) ,then a trailer tire blew $100 so when we lost power and spent 6 1/2 hours on the side of the interstate in 95 degree heat it was kinda the last straw. Wrong . We spent the weekend at the Cummings dealer they were closed when we got towed there. They were super nice and came in on Sat to work on our rig. Sun morn we r ready to leave and hubby pulled it around to hook up the car and I am yelling there is transmission fluid coming out from under the steps. It ok its normal I added some to the hydraulic motor it has a slow leak says dear hubby. Wrong white smoke pours out I thought we were going to burn up. Burned motor up TOTALLY. Problem? He filled it with the slides out then when he pulled them in , the fluid pushed out and burned up motor. We limped home with slides in and lived like that for a month till the part came in. Moral of this story? When your wife is screaming that fluid is gushing and smoke is coming out from under steps- BELIEVE HER- its NOT NORMAL !!! Expensive trip.

  10. We started a two week trip to Ohio and Kentucky in July of this year and the first night in an RV Campground in Tennessee, the living room slide-out moved about a foot and hung up and stopped. So we retracted it and left it alone. The bedroom slide-out worked fine. We lived with it and in rural Kentucky we found a shade-tree RV mechanic and he worked on it and it worked. Not so fast, Kemosabe. That night, same thing. So we finished the trip without it.
    We bought our RV brand-new in July of last year so we consulted the Lippert Slide-out manual that was included with our documentation and learned that when using the slide-outs always keep the engine running to give it extra juice. Our slide-outs are electrically operated. Muy importante, amigo! Previously, we operated them using battery power only. No more. Our baby is back home with us in North Georgia after being in the shop for nearly two months while they fixed it and we are planning our Fall trip. Yahoo!

  11. I have three slides, one which is a full wall slide, as well as two of the slides utilize the LCI Schwintek In-Wall Slide-Out system. I have had my share of slide problems and it took me some time, and two trips to the manufacturer for repairs, to learn what seems to work for my motorhome. I always level the coach, start the engine, as well as open the door, or a window when extending, or retracting the slides. It is surprising how much vacuum and pressure is created when the slides operate, which is why I open the door, or window. Still I do enjoy RVing.

  12. for a future R.V owner I want to thank all for all the tips and confusion you have gone through, hopefully this will greatly help me if problems arise.

  13. Our 2013 Tiffin Allegro wants us to travel with the galley slide out. It has no pattern just hold your mouth tight and eventually it will come in. It has refused to move when we are plugged in or engine running or on battery. We have pulled it in first last and in between. The last ten days it was flawless. What do I replace?
    Thanks
    Tony DeGroot

  14. Our slide goes out without any trouble, however it tilts off kilter as it is sliding out which will in turn cause it to leak when it rains. It lists to the left, you can put a jack under it and adjust it with no problem after we set up, however we really don’t want to have to do that every time we set up. It has been looked at twice by rv repair people and we have been told there is nothing wrong with it. Any suggestions would be very helpful. There are only 2 shops in our area within 100 miles and we have used both of them with the same result.

  15. Slides would not come in on a Sunday morning in northern Minnesota. Tried everything and finally had to break the hydraulic lines loose and manually push them in. Motor was shot. We had the INDS warranty service and they would not pay because we had not preauthorized the repair. It did not matter to them that they wouldn’t answer the phone or return our calls. This was not the first time they refused to pay a claim. So I canceled my policy with them and it took 6 weeks for them to send me a check. Do not buy warranty insurance from interstate Star RV. It is a scam. One of our slides has an electric motor that went bad and had to be replaced. They would not pay for that either.

  16. Last April my biggest slide would not go in after one night dry camping in Quartzsite. Unhooked my car & drove to the nearest shop about a mile away. He gave me the number for a mobile repairman who came out immediately & determined the slide motor was broken. But it was the very end of the season & he was leaving the area the next day, so it was back to the shop. The shop ordered the part telling me it would be there in 7-10 days. They refused to come out to try to push my slide in. I tried AAA, Good Sam, no help. Also, no internet service where I was parked; my smart phone would allow calls & texts most of the time, so I would drive to town daily to get connected, but even that was unreliable. There was a miscommunication between the shop & the part shipper, long story short, I dry camped 19 nights on the nearly deserted desert. Happily I had enough gas to run the generator a couple of hours morning & evening, & plenty of propane, because some days it was 90 degrees & others it was 60 degrees. It was an adventure!

  17. Last spring on our first camping trip of the year we arrived at the site and the super slide would not move. The motor was turning fine. No way to manually crank back in being it was turning freely. After an hour looking under our 5th wheel I had found that a shear pin had sheared of in the gear box. I replaced the pin with a nail I found on the ground. We finished our weekend adventure and replaced the pin myself after arriving back home.

  18. Our slide seemed to stop working in extreme heat, which lead me to replace the circuit breaker which was located on the tongue of the trailer frame. This did not solve the problem so I traced the wiring back to a junction box on the frame. Opened it up and found all of the white wires, or negative side of the system, wrapped together under one large blue wire nut. Taking off the wire nut revealed one of the white wires just barely making contact with the others. I disconnected the battery and proceeded to make sure all the copper leads were properly pigtailed with plenty of copper touching, and replaced the large blue wire nut. Trailer is only a year old. This was a factory assembly line issue for sure. Everything works just fine now, with no hiccups.

  19. On our first trip in our new 2016 Tiffin Allegro we headed west to Lake Powell, Utah. Had to spend a night in the Walmart parking lot (along with 26 other rigs) at Page, Arizona. While setting up our motor home the leveling/stabilizer jacks couldn’t level us enough, kept indicating a failed attempt at leveling. I finally did a manual level, using old fashioned bubble levels on the floor I got the coach very level, then extended our two slide outs. Evidently the leveling sensors were not happy with my over riding their operation.
    The next day we could not get the front slide out (living room) to operate. It was totally dead. No noise, no reaction at all to the retract button. After checking batteries, breakers, owners manual etc. I did a manual retract of the jacks (auto leveling retract would not work with slide outs extended). The moment the jacks were totally in their fully retracted position our slide outs worked. On this model of Allegro the leveling system and the front living room slide out are combined together. The moment the leveling system was happy with being fully retracted it allowed the slide out to function again. I know this is an over-simplification using street terms for what happened. When we returned to our selling dealer they did some calibrations on the leveling system and functionally checked the slide outs.

  20. We to had this happen to us. Our first trip in our brand new Montana fifth wheel, go to pull the slides in and only one of the three were working. After calls to the dealer and the manufacture the solution was to go into the compartment and basically re-set the computer. Everything is ran by a computer, it happened at the end of that trip to. Not so sure about the computer part of the rig, time will tell.

  21. We didn’t have a slide in/out problem, but half way through a 3 week vacation the slide seal frame attached pulled away from the motorhome cabin (looked like rusted metal part of the seal) 2 of 3 sides the slide out, leaving a 2-4″ gap where noise, heat and generator exhaust would enter cabin if I used it. We either had to (but and) use a 8′ step ladder to pus the sealsback every time we put it out or we didn’t open it. In a 2008 32′ Monaco Monarch, in order for a begged person to get to the bedroom or bathroom the slide has to be out a few inches at least!! We just powered on until we got home. And went out and bought a newer different make where I didn’t have to use the slides to use the facilities!!!

  22. Bedroom slide came in Main would not even respond to pushing button. After checking everything we could think of checked the internet, finally found to check all basement doors underneath the slide to make sure they were completely closed.
    After doing that went right in.

  23. When two of our three sides would not come in I learned to check the fuse’s first – thank heavens that’s all it was. Now we carry a full assortment of replacement fuses.

  24. Bought a Sunnybrook with a slide out but can’t find a owners manual so not sure if it has a manual slide out. Have a brother in law that had to totally rebuild his bedroom slide out so naturally these slide outs worry me but do love it. Wish could find a manual

  25. We spend winters in FL. After our first winter, we were getting ready to head back north. Unfortunately, our rear passenger side slide would not slide in. I could hear the electric motor trying to turn but the slide wouldn’t move. I checked the motor to see if it was getting enough juice, it was. I called for a mobile mechanic. He found that the drive shaft for the sprocket was bent. It took about 8 days for a new shaft to be sent from the manufacturer and installed. About $800 later, we were on the road. Fortunately, my extended warranty covered all but the $100 deductible.

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