Advice on leveling the RV - and help with a recent issue bringing in the slide

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thelazyl

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Nov 9, 2018
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Molalla, Oregon
I need advice regarding my main slide.  I think I know what to do but want to be sure.  I am still a novice regarding RV?s.  I have a 2003 Fleetwood DP 37?. 

Under normal conditions this is what I observe when selecting the ?in? button on my panel to bring in the slide.  I hear the electric motor slowly turn and then ?bear down? as if climbing a steep hill.  The slide raises slightly.  At this point the motor seems to almost come to a halt.  Soon after the motor sounds like a normal ?whirring? as the slide continues in.  When the slide is completely in then the motor becomes quiet and then I un-press the ?in? button.  I?ve had the slide in and out 20+ times in the last 6 months.

Last weekend something different happened.  Soon after the motor ?bear down? sound, and when I expected the motor to sound like it was nearing a complete halt, the motor in fact came to a halt.  I soon un-pressed the ?in? button because I was worried about burning up the motor.  My remedy was to go outside and push the slide while my DW pressed the ?in? button.  This worked.  I believe the root cause is the RV wasn?t sufficiently level when I put out the slide.  My first question is ? does this make sense to you as well?  On the evening prior to this, when looking at the slide compared to the RV, it didn?t look quite right as if something was not ?square?.  I included a picture of our slide when it is out from an earlier trip. 

That brings me to my second question.  I have difficulty figuring out how to properly level the RV.  I have Power Gear hydraulic jacks and near the controls there is a bubble thing.  When I try to center the bubble the RV doesn?t seem level -- in particular front to back.  We also use a leveling app on my cell phone and place it on the kitchen counter.  The app seems to be more accurate based on how the RV feels.  I?ve been relying on the leveling app.  The bubble thing is part of the Power Gear controls and therefore I have a hard time believing it could ever been inaccurate.  I know this is a very basic question but I am hoping someone can share their insight.  I?ve included a picture of my Power Gear control panel.

Thanks in advance.


 








 

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donn

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Nov 8, 2009
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Sounds typical for electric motors.  There are a couple of reasons.  Bad wiring, undersized wiring, low battery voltage, bad motor, bad connectors.  Start with connections and battery voltage.  Work out from there.  Also clean and lube the alide room mechanisms.
 

Laura & Charles

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Could be anywhere. Originally from Ohio. Go Bucks!
Our slide on the driver?s side has to climb a bit when retracting and it works hard to get over the ?hump?. I assume you?re retracting in preparation of travel. When we first started out, we found we needed to stow heavier items on the passenger side or put them on the driver side after the slide was in.
Our Power Gear leveling system has auto and manual. It doesn?t know level and when I read through the process to reset it, I figured I could manage to level manually just fine using water in a wine glass. (And I?m quite certain if we were low enough on the driver?s side, the slide motor wouldn?t make it.)
 

Larry N.

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Westminster, Colorado
Also clean and lube the alide room mechanisms.
I'm not sure the slide would need lube, no more wear than they get. I'd be afraid of the lube collecting dirt and making things worse.

...when I expected the motor to sound like it was nearing a complete halt, the motor in fact came to a halt.
That sounds more like low voltage than "uphill," unless it was well off level. Or maybe too much weight on the slide.
 

lavarock1210

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Nov 7, 2010
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I have a 5th wheel but a slide is a slide.

I always wait until my trailer is level and blocked before I open the slides.  Same for closing the slides.  Close slides before I unblock the trailer.

I also have the trailer either connected to my truck with engine running or if in a campground before I disconnect shore power.

I found things work better if the batteries are fully charged and either connected to the truck with engine running or connected to shore power.
 

Old_Crow

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Tom's Place, California
I, too, have the little bubble deal by the switches for the levelers.  It's way off, but after 2 years of  using a small torpedo level on the kitchen counter, I've got a pretty good idea of where the bubbles ride when the coach is actually level.  I just set it close before I get out of the pilots seat, then check the counter with the level and adjust if necessary.  After the coach is level I put out the slide.
 

Dragginourbedaround

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I always run the engine or hooked up to a pedestal when leveling. That way I don't have to worry about low voltage. I have an auto level system, but I use a bubble level at the bottom center of the refrigerator. Worse case I level to within half a bubble if the site I'm on is impossible to level. On the driver's side I have a long heavy slide, and over time I have found that I have to over compensate by a quarter to a half bubble for that slide in order for the rig to be level. My routine is with the slides in, I auto level the rig until it shows that the driver's side is too high by a half bubble. Then I put both passenger side slides out first, then I put the driver's long slide out and the bubble is usually near dead center.
 

thelazyl

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Molalla, Oregon
Thank you Dragginourbedaround.  This helps me understand the leveling problem. I will ignore the bubble and focus on a leveler on the counter.

To those who replied about possible low voltage -- regarding the point where the motor "bears down" and comes to a near halt.  I want to clarify a few points.
I always have the motor running when pushing out and then bringing in the slides.  The entire slide raises up, starts to come in, and then settles down for the rest of the trip to inside.  Upon settling down the motor then whirs at what I believe is a normal speed.  Is there anyone else whose slide acts in this manner?  Does your motor sound like it is working hard until "over the hill"?  When I first purchased the RV I had the slides inspected by a reputable RV shop.  They gave the slides a clean bill of health.  At that point I had used the slides only twice and didn't think about asking the tech is the laboring motor sound was normal.  Regardless I will learn how to check for low voltage - I have a tester but don't know how to use it yet.  Also, I suspect I need to check voltage at the motor which is at a very difficult spot for me to reach.  I will start a new thread if/when I get to the point of needing more help.  I also have the option of going back to the RV shop.

Thanks again for helping a newbie.

 

ChasA

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Mar 21, 2009
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Try leaving your door open while operating your slides. A friend told me this and I was sceptical,  but tried it and it made a big difference. I think the seals on your slides will determine if this works for you.
 

Dragginourbedaround

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My living room slide acts that way. We?re always amazed when it comes in and when it goes out, because it when it goes ?over the hump? it looks and feels like it?s going to fall completely out. We were told to continue holding the buttons for and extra 3-5 seconds when putting the slides out or bringing them in to sync the motors. My motors always whine and I think they?re going to fail. It?s been four years and I?ve had slide failures, but not the motors. It?s because the motors were out of sync or gearing problems.
 

BruceinFL

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Mar 12, 2005
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Although I have a fifth wheel, my largest slide operates the same as yours. My owners manual ( which by the way was the best in the industry IMHO) says to level the RV before operating the slides.
 

ChasA

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Larry N. said:
Opening a window just a little will accomplish the same thing, if air pressure (air tight) is the problem.
On my coach a window open, even wide open helps some, but the door open has the most effect,  especially when operating the full-wall slide. Plus, it's easier to open/close the door.
 

thelazyl

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Nov 9, 2018
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Molalla, Oregon
Thank you, all!  My questions are answered:

1.  I will level the RV using the kitchen counter instead of the bubble thing on the dash.
2.  The "over the hill" and "near halt" motor behavior of my big slide is to be expected.  I will try opening a window or door next time.  It is common for us to travel from the Willamette Valley to the Coast - which will have different air pressure (I trained as a pilot - low to high watch the sky; high to low look at below - are there other pilots on this forum?).

Thanks again for your help. 
 

John Stephens

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Jan 27, 2015
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Cape Coral, FL
I have learned to level my coach before putting out the slides, especially if the coach is fairly far off from being level. I use a double bubble level we keep in the kitchen drawer and put it on the counter. I get the coach reasonably level and then set out the slides because they will throw off the leveling since one side has more slide area than the other. After all the slides are out, I will then do a more precise leveling. If it is impossible to get the coach level due to the ground we're parked on, I'll use the bubble level that came with the refrigerator to make sure at least half of the bubble is within the circle to ensure the coach is level enough to run the fridge.
 

Dragginourbedaround

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I'll use the bubble level that came with the refrigerator to make sure at least half of the bubble is within the circle to ensure the coach is level enough to run the fridge.
That's important and why I always use the level in the fridge.
Just because it's level at the fridge doesn't mean the whole coach is level. Sometimes when we are parked for any length of time, and I have absolutely nothing else to do I will make minor adjustments if I see water in the shower pooling in one area and not completely draining, or doors that won't stay open. Well, it has less to do with I have absolutely nothing else to do and more to do with my DW wanting things to work right.  :)
 

John Stephens

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Dragginourbedaround said:
That's important and why I always use the level in the fridge.
Just because it's level at the fridge doesn't mean the whole coach is level. Sometimes when we are parked for any length of time, and I have absolutely nothing else to do I will make minor adjustments if I see water in the shower pooling in one area and not completely draining, or doors that won't stay open. Well, it has less to do with I have absolutely nothing else to do and more to do with my DW wanting things to work right.  :)

Since our refrigerator is in the middle of the coach, if it's level, the entire coach is going to be reasonable. Like yourself, I will make adjustments to the leveling after being in one spot for some time simply because the leveling usually will not stay in place. The ground may sink a little or one of the jacks may lose a little pressure. Watching the water drain in any of the sinks or shower is a good indication of needing to re-level.
 

A Traveler

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Heli_av8tor said:
I?ve been amazed at how many RVer?s I?ve met who are fellow pilots.
King Air 350 driver here.

No, it?s not mine. I?m just the airborne bus driver. ?
 

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