Thursday, August 14, 2014

Keep your slideout corners from getting away

Got a slideout or two on your RV? Take a close look at the exterior of your slideout rooms next time you do a walk-around. Many slideouts have corner pieces installed -- they're an easy way to cover the slideout trim pieces where they join at a 45 degree angle.

Here's a problem through: These cover pieces can get loose over time and eventually blow off on the side of the road somewhere in Texas. One solution is to take them off and reapply adhesive using a clamp to hold them in place until the glue thoroughly cures. An alternate fix is to remove them, drill and countersink three or four holes, then reapply adhesive and screw them back into place. Once the glue cures, cut the protruding screws off the back side where the slideout meets the wall. This application will keep those pieces in place -- even in Texas!

Thanks to Jim Twamley, Professor of RVing

Monday, June 2, 2014

How do you handle wind-blown slideout toppers?

tpsdave on (public domain)
If your rig is equipped with "slide toppers," those fancy awnings that extend out over slideouts to keep weather and dirt from collecting on the slide, you know they can be real nice. Real nice, that is, until the wind starts to blow hard from the wrong direction. One RVer, out on a road trip with a ton of noisy grandchildren struggled when the wind began to blow and, fearing the awnings would tear, brought in the slide outs. A lot less floor space with all those kids . . .

So what can you do? If your RV travels take you to windy sections of the country, what's to be done when the wind blows? Some RVers say they just grin and bear the noise of the flapping toppers, while others have related horror stories about the damage done to their slide toppers. Other RVers say they've just given up on having slide toppers for this very reason.

Roll 'em in? Leave 'em out? It seems experienced RVers agree – much depends on the angle of the wind, how strong the wind – and perhaps how strong your will power is when the flapping noises take over your life. But maybe there are a couple of things to be done that could allow you to leave your slide out when the wind blows.

One trick that some RVers report has success is lassoing that rebel slide topper. How so? With a soft (perhaps manila) rope, toss a line over the slideout, width-ways. Tighten down the rope slightly to form a "V" with the slide topper, and tie off both ends of the rope. The slide out bars under the slideout are probably just the place for the tie points.

Others have reported that they temporarily install tether balls between the slideout roof and the topper. The tether balls take up some of the slack, and with their design, you can run a light line (like clothes line) to the ball to facilitate quick removal without having to mount the ladder when the winds die off.

Still others suggest replacing the factory-equipped topper material with sunscreen material. This material still provides shade to help cool down the slideout in bright sun, but because of its screen-like form, the wind doesn't have as much opportunity grab at the topper surface, hence, less noise, less chance of tearing.

Lots of ideas, lots of things to think about.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The great debate: Slideout supports

Ah, the great debates. Lincoln v. Douglas. Chevy v. Ford. Slideout supports v. nothing. Round up a few folks around a campfire and pop the question – "Do you think I need supports under my slideout," and watch the fun begin.

Variously called "slide out stabilizers," or "slide out supports," these little jack stands are designed to slip under a slide out frame and crank up to give added support. One major retailer says they, "Protect your slide-out extension tubes from bending, causing difficult slide-out operation." Sounds pretty serious--a bent frame could be bad news when it's time to weigh anchor and hit the road. But hang on a minute--if they're so critical, why don't RV manufacturers provide them with new rigs, or at least make them a piece of optional equipment?

Not everyone with a slide out "buys into" the stabilizer story. One RV technician says his understanding is that if an RV under warranty comes in with a damaged slide that could be attributed to a stabilizer, all bets are off for getting warranty service. It begs the question: If your slide out needs stabilization to prevent damage, why aren't there scores of unhappy campers limping across the country on their way to service bays, slide out rooms flapping in the breeze?

Some of those who foreswear slide out stabilizers point to a potential problem: What if your rig were to "settle" while the stabilizers did not: They suggest the pressures placed on the slide out frame could be enough to damage it, leaving the RVer in a world of hurt.

On the other hand, friends of ours just don't feel comfortable "hanging out in space," without the additional support under their slide out. Of course, we also have a friend who won't venture up into the "gooseneck" portion of her fifth wheel until her husband installs a king pin stabilizer. Says she knows it's crazy, but she just imagines the whole works tipping down on the king pin when she shifts her weight forward. Does impose an interesting mental picture . . .