Last Updated on
As an owner of a Keystone RV, you may have come across a problem in its slide outs. Believe it or not, Keystone RV slide out problems seem to be rather common, but it isn’t easy to find a solution to one.
If you happen to be looking for a direction (or maybe even a solution) for your problem, then this material may be able to help you whether you have a Keystone RV or an RV from any other manufacturer.
Keystone RV Slide Out Problems
First of all, let’s begin our guide with general issues that can happen in any kind of a slide out, no matter what kind of moving mechanism it has.
If spotted early, these issues are usually easier and cheaper to resolve. But if you allow them to cause damage to the driving mechanism of the slide out, the repair may be much costlier.
There are many things that could cause damage to RV slide-out systems, and it isn’t really possible to foresee every single one of them. Due to this, we’d like to talk about the 5 most common causes of problems in slide outs regardless of their type.
Generally, when dealing with slide out problems in your RV, you shouldn’t just assume that it must be the motor or the pump system that has gone bad. Sometimes, things are much simpler than that. If the issue in the slide out is caused by something outside of its driving system, then replacing a valve or a shear pin won’t solve the issue.
Thus, before assuming that the worst has happened and that you need to replace the slide out’s motor, make sure that the cause of the issue isn’t something much simpler and easier to treat.
To extend and retract, slide outs obviously rely on an electrical power supply. And probably one of the first things that you’d suspect to have gone wrong with your RV’s slide out is its power supply system.
There are many things that could have gone wrong with your slide out’s power supply system – there may be some bad wiring, a weak battery, or a blown fuse. To determine whether or not your power supply system is fine, make sure to test all the components that constitute it.
If your slide out is stuck in place due to a foreign object, you can consider yourself more or less lucky.
Issues caused by foreign objects are arguably easier to resolve since they usually aren’t associated with damage in the slide outs or their driving systems. You can just remove the foreign object and use your slide out with no issues.
When coming across an issue with your RV’s slide out, among the first things that you should do is figure out whether it was caused by something stuck between the slide out and the RV’s body. If you can find nothing, then the issue is somewhere else.
Even if you do find a branch or any other foreign object, don’t celebrate your victory just yet since a stranded branch may have caused bigger problems to the slide out. For example, the motor unit, trying to overcome the resistance of the branch, may have drawn more power and overloaded itself.
So continue to troubleshoot your slide outs to find out whether there are other issues with them.
Damage to the rail system
A more or less common cause for issues in the slide out movement is damage to the rail system. If the rail gets bent or twisted, then the slide out’s driving mechanism may experience difficulties with moving the slide out or might be unable to move it altogether. This can be a problem even if your slide out’s mechanism is otherwise completely fine.
Issues with the rail system may also cause the slide out to lose proper alignment or its levelness with the ground, which also is a serious problem that needs to be dealt with.
So after you’ve made sure that there either were or weren’t foreign objects in the slide-out system, inspect the rail system. And once again, if you do or don’t discover any issues with it, don’t stop there and make sure to continue troubleshooting.
Since slide-out mechanisms have quite many moving parts in them, they require proper lubrication from time to time. If you fail to keep the slide out mechanism lubricated, you will sooner or later come across issues in it.
If you discover a lubrication issue early, you may be lucky enough not to have to deal with the consequences of wear and increased strain on the motor due to friction. In the worst case scenario, you may have to deal with a worn-out rail system, as well as a motor damaged from overloading.
The problems we described above are related to difficulties in extending and retracting the slide out. A leaking slide out doesn’t necessarily have difficulties with movement, but what it will likely have troubles with is keeping the interior of the slide out protected from outdoor elements.
RVs usually come with their slide outs sealed out of the dealership. However, as time goes on, the seals become less durable and can allow moisture to get in whether in an extended position or not.
If you suspect that there is a leak somewhere in your RV’s slide out, make sure to treat both sides of the slide out’s old seal with a new sealing solution. There are many sealants that you could go for out there, so do some more research to figure out which one is right for you.
Problems specific to slide out types
Whether or not you’ve discovered any of the aforementioned issues in your RV’s slide out, you should inspect their driving mechanism as well. As we’ve mentioned above, a minor issue, if left untreated for a long time, could cause more serious issues in the slide out’s mechanism.
There are two common types of slide-out mechanisms – electric and hydraulic. While they are both susceptible to the issues described above, they have a few other problems that are specific to them.
Electric slide out
Slide outs powered by electric motors are most often found on smaller RVs. Electric slide outs are driven by a motor and gear system, which very often become a cause of problems.
Typically, here are the issues that electric slide outs are prone to having:
- Malfunctioning in the gear system, mostly due to wear – the motor runs but the gears don’t move in order to move the slide out.
- Issues with the shear pin on the main gear. Again, even if the motor is fully functional, a bad shear pin will not be able to move the slide out. This problem is rather easy to solve by just replacing the shear pin.
- Motor overload. This usually happens due to drag in the slide out caused by objects that don’t belong there, as well as by bent or otherwise damaged rails. When faced with such resistance, the motor is forced to draw excess current, which could ultimately lead to the motor getting damaged.
Electric slide outs are usually easier to repair than hydraulic systems since they have a simpler build. Most importantly, there aren’t any kind of fluids or leaks that you have to deal with in electric slide outs.
Hydraulic slide out
Instead of a motor and gear system, hydraulic slide outs, as suggested by their name, employ pumps to trigger a hydraulic ram to move the slide outs.
Hydraulic slide outs are more complex than their electric counterparts. Aside from that, hydraulic slide outs are more powerful, due to which they are mainly used in larger RVs. In fact, hydraulic slides sometimes have enough power to move more than one slide.
With these benefits come several weaknesses, the most important of which are:
- Possible leaks due to damaged valves, pumps, etc. If the fluid level in the system is lower than necessary, the fluid pressure won’t be sufficient in order to move the slide outs.
- Malfunctions in the pump due to low fluid level. In this case, the fluid simply cannot go where it is supposed to go.
- Susceptibleness to wear, friction, heat.
It’s quite difficult to maintain and repair a hydraulic slide out, so if you suspect that there is a problem with it, you should have a professional fix it.
Should you fix your slide out yourself?
After you’ve evaluated the condition of your RV slide outs, you may be wondering whether you should fix the issues yourself or not. Well, the answer to this question is simple – if you aren’t confident that you can do it, don’t do it.
There are many issues in slide outs that need a trained eye. For example, such an issue would be a loss of alignment in the slide out.
If your slide out operates on a hydraulic driving system, do not attempt to fix it on your own. Hydraulic pumps operate on high pressure, and any wrong move could be disastrous for you and your RV.
If you don’t have the knowledge, the tools, or the confidence in order to deal with the slide out issue yourself, take your RV to a professional service center.