When people extend their RV slides for the first time, the process may not look encouraging. Depending on the type of mechanism, many slides can look like they are going to fall off the RV when they reach the end of their extension journey.
With some slide mechanisms, the tilting look is normal. There is nothing wrong with the slide of the mechanism if it looks like it is slanted on its way out. There will be other signs telling you that there is a problem with the slide mechanism.
To learn more about this slide position, just continue to read our article. It delves into the topic so you have the information you need to understand why the slide tilts and why that is not the same as a problem with the slide.
Before you panic, we should say that this is a very common question asked by first-time RV owners. They are extending the slide for the first time and do not realize how the process should look so they get worried something is wrong with their RV.
This is a very normal process for some slides. There are about 8 or 9 companies that make slides for RVs and they all do not act in the same way. A Schwimtec system should not have the tilt at all, while Lippert and some of the other companies will have the slides tilt as they go out.
One reason that explains this design is that the slide companies want any water on the roof to drain away from the RV or trailer. Whether that is the correct reason it is a practical one when retracting your slide after a rainy day.
You may find that some RVs and trailers that have multiple slides will not have all the slides extending and retracting in the same way. One owner reported that out of his 3 slides, 2 tilt and 1 does not.
The tilting is considered completely normal and no one should be worried about it unless the slide is causing some damage to your RV, etc. Another owner says his slide does the reverse and tilts up in front. That may or may not be normal.
The adjustment is not so much for the tilt angle. Instead, adjustments can be made to make sure the upper and lower seals seal correctly. This means you can raise and lower your slide a little bit to make the seals tighter.
With slides made from different companies, the process may be different for this adjustment than we describe below. These instructions are for the Lippert model.
1. Seals in the ‘in’ position
Move the room partly out and then locate your adjusting nuts. Then using a strong wrench hold onto the A nut in the diagram while adjusting the C nut in or out. You have about 2 to 3 inches of play and it may take some time to get the seal just right.
After each small adjustment, you will have to retract the slide to see if you got the seal correct. If not keep repeating the process until the seal is just right.
2. Seal in the ‘out’ position
In this option, you start with the slide extended completely. Check the inside fascia and sealing position before you start making any adjustments. Now partially retract the slide.
Then move nut A away from nut B to give the latter some adjustment room. Adjust Nut B away from the bracket if the slide extends too far and does damage to the fascia.
Adjust in the opposite direction if the room does not seal. Do this in small adjustments and extend the slide after each one to make sure you have the seals in the right position. When you do return nut A to being next to nut B to tighten the adjustment.
You should have user or owner’s manuals for the slide mechanisms and the locations of those adjustment mechanisms should be in one or the other. Since there are different types of slides, you will not find these adjustment mechanisms in the same place on each one.
While there may be 8 or 9 manufacturers that make slides, there are only 4 basic types of mechanisms you will find in different RVs or trailers. Here are the different styles that may be present in your unit.
1. Rack & pinion- this is the least expensive to make and install. Plus, they take up little space and are easy to operate as well as maintain. A few moving parts make this design very popular.
2. Pulley & cable- this system is not as popular as the rack and pinion system but you will find them on heavier and larger slides. The cables, pulleys, and electric motors can handle heavier weight but the drawbacks are, they are more expensive and take up more room in your RV.
This system is also easy to use and requires little maintenance.
#3 & 4. Schwintek slides and the power gear slide out system-made by Lippert who makes several other slide-out designs. The Schwintek has only been around for 5 years but it is now installed in over 70 brands of RVs and trailers.
The power gear is a programmable option and can be set to different extension stops to meet specifications.
Unless you see the damage done to your RV, the tilt process is normal when extending or retracting your RV. The damage that tells you something is wrong can be scrapes on your floor, torn carpet, or a water leak, and soon.
If you do not see any damage being done, you can relax. Everything is working like it should and you can enjoy your slide-outs without worry. Just make sure you know which slide system your RV or trailer has so you can do proper maintenance on it.