How to Replace the Seal on RV Slide Out

There is always work to be done. When you own an RV, maintenance seems to be a never-ending task. You never know what may go wrong with an RV but that doesn’t change the fact that using an RV is a lot of fun and a great getaway.

How to Replace the Seal on RV Slide Out: Seals take a lot of care to keep the rain and debris from entering your home. One tip in how to keep them in top working order would be to practice good leveling habits. A non-level RV puts a lot of stress on your slide out seals.

To learn more how to care for your slide out seals and how to replace them when they get damaged, just continue to read our article. T has the information you need to make sure you are not inundated with debris and water through faulty seals.

  • Tip #1: Do not expect your seals to be in top shape after an extended break from use. Seals on your slide outs will dry out and crack when left unused. You will have to replace them when this happens.
  • Tip #2: clean your seals regularly. That is the best way to keep them in top working order and in great shape. Don’t forget to remove the debris before you use your slide out.

How do RV Slide Out Seals Work

Slide out seals are basically two or more pieces of soft rubber that work together to keep the outside weather and debris, outside. One of the two rubber gaskets is designed to compress and form a seal blocking anything and everything from entering your RV.

The mate is made to help wipe away that outside debris before it becomes a problem. In a nutshell, that is how the slide out seals work. They are not fancy pieces of RV parts that light up and entertain you.

They are actually part of the boring members of your RV unit that quietly go about their business making sure you and your interior does not get dirty or wet. While not flashy or highly exciting, they do their job and do it well when properly maintained.

  • Tip #3: From time to time, you should give your seals a little rubber treatment boost. This extra coating helps your slide out seals maintain a good water-tight seal.

RV Slide Out Seal Replacement Cost

Most repair costs are going to be a depends answer. It depends on who does the work, where you buy the seals and how much the labor costs are going to be. Some dealers will charge between $125 to $185 per hour for labor costs while other smaller repair shops may go as low as $65.

If you do it yourself and go to the big box stores, you may be looking at paying about a few bucks per linear foot. That cost may go up if you have some damage to repair along with replacing the seals.

Other estimates have been around $1,000 to replace your seals. Your actual cost will depend on you and the decisions you need to make.

  • Tip #4: To protect your seals and help them last a lot longer, you may want to use slide out toppers. These will add another level of protection for you and save you a little money in the long run.

How to Repair RV Slide Seal

If you are replacing your wiper seal, you will need to measure the whole length of your current one. Then once that is done, you should add about 10 to 20% to that length to cover for any mistakes you may make.

After you have that done, just pull the old seal off the aluminum extrusion. Then snap the new seal into place making sure to glue it in the right spots. A top adhesive designed for gluing is recommended.

Replacing the other seal should be just as easy. The key is to make sure that no other damage has taken place. If there is some damage, then you may be looking at a high repair bill including the cost of the seals.

  • Tip #5: Replacing a slide-out seal can get tedious and a little difficult at times. Use a little patience and take your time. You do not want to damage your new seal before it has a chance to do some work for you.

Replacing an RV Slide Out Seal

If you do not have the time or the patience to replace your old slide out seals, you may want to consider using a qualified tech. These technicians are skilled in the art of removing slide out seals and can have it done for you fairly quickly.

The only thing you would have to worry about is the high per-hour labor costs. If you are lucky you may find a tech that will do it for about $60 per hour and the cost of materials. If you do the job yourself, avoid using any silicone adhesive.

A weather stripping adhesive is the best type to use and you can get it at most auto parts stores.

  • Tip #6: To maintain your seals, it is best to start with the slide out fully retracted. This gives you the room you need to apply any conditioner. Make sure you give the seals time to absorb the conditioner before extending your slide out.

Adjusting RV Slide Out Seal to Minimize Gaps

Most RVs should come with a set of nuts or adjustment mechanisms to reduce and eliminate any gaps that crop up when you close or open your slide out. All you have to do is tighten or loosen these nuts, etc., in the right direction to get rid of those gaps you have found.

Your owner’s manual should show you the location of each adjustment nut or mechanism so they should not be that difficult to find. For some adjustments, all you have to do is adjust the independent slide rails up or down to cut out any top gaps that have made their way into your seals.

The key here is to take your time as this can be a time-consuming project.

  • Tip #7: After you have done the interior seals, extend your slide out and tackle the exterior seal maintenance task. Also, give these seals time to absorb the conditioner.

RV Slide Seal Adhesive

It is highly recommended by a majority of RV owners that you stay away from silicone-based seal adhesives. These types of adhesives just do not bond very well and may have too much flex in them to hold the seal in place.

That flexibility may cause a lot more damage to your new seals that normal wear and tear will. What you want to use instead is some sort of contact type adhesive or weather stripping adhesive that holds your seals tightly in place and does not add to their stress.

You can get these adhesives at a variety of big box stores, your RV parts store or even auto parts outlets. You can also ask a good RV technician for the type of glue they prefer to use and purchase that brand.

  • Tip #8: Don’t ignore little cracks or dry spots on your seals. Even the little imperfection can be a sign that the seal is wearing out and needs to be replaced.

RV Slide Out Seal Sticking

If your slide out seals are sticking, you can do the easy do it yourself way and pick up a large container of baby powder. Then you can use an old or a new cloth and put the baby powder on the slide-out or the seals. This little additive goes a long way to keep your seals from sticking as they move out.

Of course, if you do not want to use baby powder there are lots of professional RV products available to handle this task. If you are lucky, you will only have to use this maintenance trick about once a year.

How to Maintain RV Slide Seals

The right way to maintain your slide out seals is to pick up a good can or two of RV slide out seal conditioner. All you have to do is spray the conditioner on and your seals should remain in top quality condition.

The key is to allow your seals enough time to absorb the conditioner before operating your slide out. Make sure to keep your slide out retracted when doing your inside seals. This provides you with better access to those seals and lets you cover them completely.

Extend your slide out when it is the exterior seals’ turn to be conditioned. Your RV tech should have a good idea of which brand is the best conditioner you should use. Or ask an experienced RV owner what they use to save yourself a little time and money.

  • Tip #9: Slide out seals are only thin slices of rubber. There is only so much they can do. A temporary solution would be to put some sealant over the crack or hole until you get to a town with a reputable dealer to replace those broken seals.

How to Clean RV Slide Out Seals

You may not believe it, but a little soap and water will handle the cleanup chore on your dirty seals. That is all it takes. You may want to use a soft bristle broom tor brush to remove the leaves, debris and other objects from around your seals.

After that, you just need to get on your hands and knees and start wiping those seals down. If they are in top shape, you can hose the soap and water off quickly. That will save you a few minutes of your time.

Once you are done, just let the slide out remain extended and dry out in the sun. After you clean your seals, that might be a good time to apply the seal conditioner you bought to help maintain the seal’s pliability.

Also, while you are washing your seals, you can check for any damage, leaks or cracks at the same time. This will save you a little work in the future. Have someone inside checking the seals in case water is getting through as you wash.

  • Tip #10: One way to tell if your slide out is even or not is to check the compression on the bulb seals. If they are even, then your room is level. If they are not, then you have a level problem to deal with or an out of alignment slide out.

What to Use on RV Slide Seals

There are several good products you can use to keep your RV’s slide out seals in top condition. One is to use a good lubricant. These products make sure your seals slide properly without losing their pliability.

Another method to use would be seal conditioner. These sprays work hard so your seals stay ready to fulfill their duties. If you are far from an RV or auto parts store, you can get by with using baby powder to keep the seals from getting damages through sticking.

Any of these choices should help keep your seals in the best condition possible. But a little reminder. Rubber seals are made from thin rubber and will eventually crack, break or get a hole in them. Your conditioning work may delay that process for a few years but not forever.

Some Final Words

Slide out seals are usually anonymous until a problem happens. You can easily forget about them because they do not make noise until they start to wear out or have another problem.

If you practice good preventive maintenance, you can keep your slide out seals in top shape for many years. Do regular spot checks, have someone inside the RV with a flashlight to help you find gaps, then take the appropriate action.

It is possible for you to replace them yourselves but you will need a lot of patience as the work can be a bit boring and tedious to complete.

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