Slide Construction (Done)

Here is a link to my 2015 blog post on the subject.

Note: This page, as well as many others, were part of my study notes years ago.

  • Hydraulic slides appear to be more popular in higher end rigs than electric.  And many use a separate hydraulic system for the slides and rig leveling.
  • Here is a very good explanation of the typical slide models.
  • Here is a very informative article on slides by
  • Is hydraulic more powerful, like system used for levelers, compared to electric?  Do they work faster and smoother?
  • Look for system that has easy to get at manual override as a failed battery could even prevent movement.
  • Good article from RV Doctor
  • Tons of video here
  • Electric vs Hydraulic
  • Insulation in the slide is a factor.
  • See wall page regarding laminated or pre-hung.
  • Ease of access just in case you have to go manual.
  • What problems have been posted. I’m paying attention to everything others are posting as I study.
  • Would think slides would not be a make it or break it item in terms of selecting a rig.  For example, can I “live with” whatever system the manufacturer we buy from builds – or not.
  • All slides can be/or not independently operated for times there is not room to put out one of the slides.
  • What about heat or cooling vents that are covered when the slides are in?
  • Actually read a blog post where they had trouble with slide which had only one drive rod down the center, slide kept going in at a slant.
  • Seals are as important as slide mechanism.
  • What new technologies are out there and who is using them. Such as tracks on all four corners vs two corners.
  • Corner Guards for Slide Outs: Saves deep gashes in head. Not sure if ones permanently fixed or movable are best yet. I noticed on the higher end fifth wheels corner guards are standard.
  • Well I read something on a forum post from someone who is trusted by many. Had to think about the comment. This person says do not give slide technology a lot of thought because one does not select an RV based upon what slide technology they are using. Might be a lot of truth in this comment. I also suppose a manufacturer of even a “higher end” model might try and control cost by not using the slide they actual prefer.
  • Here is a link about slides with some video and more importantly, operating manuals from a few slide models.
  • We want a slide where the walls are made from the same materials as the other walls, such as fully laminated. Not some cheaper, thinner material.

Below is What I have Been Cutting and Pasting for Study Notes:

Electric Motor Driven

  • Gear driven electric motor drives a gear system.
  • Used more on smaller and lighter slides.
  • Work adequately when not overloaded (from engineering standpoint and yes not all are engineered correctly.)

Weaknesses of Electric Slide Outs

  • Motor/gear box can go bad.
  • Can shear drive pen in main gear drive mechanism.
  • Motor can become overloaded ( excessive amp draw) from drag in the slide.


  • Used primarily on larger and heavier slides.
  • Can use one motor/pump assembly to power more than one slide.
  • Mechanically more complex than their electrical counter parts.

Weaknesses of Hydraulic Systems

  • Possible failure of pump, valve or hydraulic line.
  • Hydraulic lines are particularly susceptible to wear, friction, heat etc. Can develop leaks or breaks in the lines themselves.

Design Challenges of RV Slide Outs

  • One would hope the drive systems themselves would be enough to be concerned about but no such luck. The physics alone of moving a thousand to two thousand pound room can be daunting
  • One thing to look for is the vertical stance of the slide as it moves in and out. All slides have the some type of roller assembly at the outer wall but the slide should maintain its stability (with little tipping in or out) as it moves in and out. Poor stability can damage the floor and can affect the slides ability to seal.

Slide Out Seals

Achieving a watertight seal around the entire slide may be one of the most challenging aspects in sealing slides.

On new and used RVs, prospective buyers should carefully inspect top and side seals. You need to understand how the seal is supposed to work, how it is working and the prospect of how long it will continue to work years of use.

In reality, the areas around your slide can be the most open area of your RV. Water, light, varmints and insects can get if not properly sealed.

RV slide-outs are becoming more and more popular and fortunately they are also becoming more reliable. Various methods have been used to provide the means to move the room in and out as required. These included a simple hand crank screw type mechanism on very small slide rooms, a cable system that was used with limited success, and the more modern electric motor operated systems in use today.

The majority of the manufacturers are using one of two methods to power their slide out rooms. Both use electric 12 volt motors to provide the power. All manufacturers provide a means to retract the room by hand in the event of battery failure.

Gear driven slides

The motor powers a gearbox on either side of the slide room (smaller slides only use one) and then the force is transmitted to a rack and pinion arrangement on the telescoping supports that hold up the room. While this method is far less complicated (and less expensive) than the hydraulic system, it requires more periodic maintenance.

Hydraulic slides

The electric motor powers a hydraulic pump and then this force is transmitted to the slide room using hydraulic hoses, a series of control valves, and hydraulic rams or cylinders to move the room. Multiple slide rooms on the RV can be powered by one pump and motor unit. Hydraulic systems are under high pressure and repairs should only be done by a qualified repair depot.

From the RV Doctor Website

“hydraulic systems, such as HWH Corporation’s line of systems require less maintenance overall. Where rack and pinion gears require lubrication and periodic maintenance, the sealed hydraulic cylinders are equipped with state-of-the-art polymer bearings that eliminate the need for periodic lubrication. Another advantage of the hydraulic system is a smoother, quieter, more refined movement of the slideout room.  HWH has been at the forefront of slideout technology since Newmar Corporation offered the first slideout in a motorhome in 1989.”

From a Blog Post on 10/2/15

“It appears there is 4 different slides systems on the market 2 from the past and still current >> Power Gear electric and HWH hydraulic slide systems, and now 2 newer systems on the market >> Bal Accu-Slide cable and Schwintek slide systems.

As I read post on here seems the 2 systems from the past have the least of all issues and the 2 newer systems have the most issues especially the Schwintek system, so my question is why are most all newer RV’s going the newer slides when they are having all the issues, why not stick with the old tried and trued systems, as for me I have the Power Gear and very happy with it and after 7 years of use no issues.” you can tell it is a Schwintek slide if you see metal tracks near the top and bottom of both ends of the slide.

2 thoughts on “Slide Construction (Done)

  1. Pingback: New Blog Pages | Our Future in an RV

  2. Pingback: RV Construction Methods – Slides | Our Future in an RV

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