Levelers & slideouts question?

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jymbee

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Assuming you're parked on a flat, even surface are there any issues with putting out your slides without putting the levelers down? Just wondering as we always do this no matter what kind of terrain we're parked at figuring that even though the coach is level the levelers will provide for another contact point thereby making the coach more stable.
 

Larry N.

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When your rig isn't level, the slide motor on one side might be overloaded trying to fight more gravity, while the other side would have it a bit easier. But I'd certainly be concerned about any twisting of the coach body having its effects, and if it's out of level more than just side to side, then you have other forces that it wasn't designed for causing potential problems. Of course how much off level and what direction(s) will have their effects.

So, personally, I'm reluctant to extend slides without leveling.

But if the rig is level without the levelers extended, you might be OK, keeping in mind that when one slide extends it drops that side of the coach, and the other side may not match its effects when extended -- depends so much on the configuration (and how soft the surface, too).
 

HappyWanderer

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Yes, there are thousands of motorhomes and trailers without automatic levelers that do this all the time.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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No real issues and we've done it many times with 4 different RVs.  In fact, one of the RV didn't have any leveling jacks.  The "motor overload" thing gets mentioned a lot, but unless the coach is at an extreme angle, it's real unlikely. And in most systems, the motor will just stop with no damage because the slide controller senses high amps and stops (safety feature).

That said, we usually deploy the jacks for our comfort (stability). The only time we do not is during short stops, e.g. lunch breaks.
 

jymbee

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Gary RV_Wizard said:
No real issues and we've done it many times with 4 different RVs.  In fact, one of the RV didn't have any leveling jacks.  The "motor overload" thing gets mentioned a lot, but unless the coach is at an extreme angle, it's real unlikely. And in most systems, the motor will just stop with no damage because the slide controller senses high amps and stops (safety feature).

That said, we usually deploy the jacks for our comfort (stability). The only time we do not is during short stops, e.g. lunch breaks.

Ah, I now feel reassured thanks to the input from all here.
Thanks!
 

kdbgoat

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Ride around your local RV dealers and see if they have jack's down, or if all their stock has been leveled up. They may be close to level front to back, but they don't sweat level too much, just get 'em close enough for folks to wander through them comfortably. I have seldom seen jacks down either.
 

HappyWanderer

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I once saw a trailer being moved across a dealer's parking lot by forklift, with slides and awning extended. Not sure I would go that far though.
 

Larry N.

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Ride around your local RV dealers and see if they have jack's down, or if all their stock has been leveled up.
I don't put much faith in dealers treating the rigs well. Some may, but there are too many things I've seen (such as Happy mentioned).
 

JoelP

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While I have seen lots of people doing this I make it a practice to always level first.  Even so, I just paid $1500 to have the center ram of my superslide straightened.  Somehow it was bent and was making a clicking sound when I extended it.  The shop had to cut it out, straighten it and weld it back in.  They were not able to tell me what could have caused this.  Still I remain very cautious about how I extend my slides, especially my long slide.
 

billwild

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joelP,
  Perhaps extending jacks on very uneven ground bent the jack.


Bill
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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JoelP:  Hydraulic ram or rack & pinion gearing?  The only way I know of to damage a hydraulic ram slide is to push the slide against an unmovable object like a tree.  Unlike the geared motors in rack & pinion slide, the hydraulic pump just keeps the pressure up and hopes the slide moves. Even then I'm surprised a ram could bend.  Maybe the ram mechanicals have been cheapened a lot since I had a hydraulic system on a 1996 Southwind.
 

JoelP

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billwild said:
joelP,
  Perhaps extending jacks on very uneven ground bent the jack.


Bill
I make sure that it is always well supported and level.  The repair shop said that it just happens from time to time.  My bet is that when I brought it in using the electric manual override it did not come in evenly enough.

 

JoelP

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Gary RV_Wizard said:
JoelP:  Hydraulic ram or rack & pinion gearing?  The only way I know of to damage a hydraulic ram slide is to push the slide against an unmovable object like a tree.  Unlike the geared motors in rack & pinion slide, the hydraulic pump just keeps the pressure up and hopes the slide moves. Even then I'm surprised a ram could bend.  Maybe the ram mechanicals have been cheapened a lot since I had a hydraulic system on a 1996 Southwind.

Rack and pinion.  I always make sure to have plenty of clearance and it has never been extended against any immovable object over the 2+ years I have owned it.
 

JoelP

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Pugapooh said:
Assuming you're parked on a flat, even surface

Flat,even campsites?  Where are those at?

No, but I when I level on much of a slope I use leveling blocks to insure that my hydraulic levelers really get me to level.  If I am not level I almost never extend my slides. Perhaps once I extended while traveling in a Walmart, but that lot was nearly level.
 

David L

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The topic of level rig and then slide, or slide and then level was "hotly" debated on another large RV forum site (multiple times).
The results were (are):

RVs with Full Wall Slides (FWS) are, because of their longer slide length more picky that the chassis is not torqued (twisted) before the slides are moved.  This is because the longer length of the slide magnifies any amount of twist in the chassis.  It is also because the RV has less structure due to the larger opening that lends itself to less resistance to twist.  The manufacturers have added more geometric structure in the floor to account for the reduction in box structure.

Several manufacturers state that before the slides are moved the operator should go outside and visually inspect that the gaps between the slide and the chassis are even side to side.  If that is so, then if the RV is somewhat level, then the slides can be moved.  If not even, then using the leveling system, level the rig and visually inspect again.  This is really steps to verify that the rig is not just level, but also not twisted.

My hypothesis is that many rigs don't have leveling sensors at the front AND at the rear of the vehicle to properly detect twist, so the operator must visually inspect first.  I am working on a solution for that problem.

The high recommendation from most is "follow your owner's manual for the procedure".
My personal observation is the RV should be level and square (not twisted) before moving slides.  If the vehicle is at that state sitting fully on it's wheels, fine.  If it is on levelers in that state, fine.
And, if you have FWS - you should be even more wary that it's in that state.
 

Bigmau

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In the event of a malfunction with the slide motor, can it be retracted manually in an emergency? Just curious..
 
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