Maintenance & RepairsOutdoor Fun

Help! My RV Slide-Out Is Stuck… How Do I Adjust The Slide-Out Manually?

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By Curtis

Is your RV slide-out stuck?

Is your RV slide-out stuck? Here's how to fix it.

Unfortunately, a stuck RV slide-out tends to happen fairly often. And the longer you own your RV, the more likely you will run into an RV slide-out adjustment issue .

More than once, I have seen RVs going down the road with the slide-outs stuck out — because they couldn’t figure out how to get them back in manually.

As much as slide-outs improve livability in an RV, the mechanical issues can be a huge negative.

Following are a few ways to manually adjust a slide-out that won’t budge…

First of all, don’t panic. Well, okay… maybe panic just a little.

Slide-outs usually end up being one of the more troublesome items on any RV — especially as it gets older.

Things flex, parts wear, and it’s only a matter of time before your slide-out is not going to do what you expect it to do.

And, of course, it will stop working at the most inopportune time!

3 Simple Ways To Fix A Failed RV Slide-Out

If you’ve pushed the slide-out button in your RV only to have nothing happen, start by checking these 3 simple things first:

#1 – Make sure the fuse isn’t blown.

Blowing the fuse for the slide-out is a common failure. If you hold the button for a split second too long, the fuse will blow in order to save the motor. Just replace the fuse and the slide-out should move properly again. (And always carry spare fuses with you!)

#2 – Make sure the RV is level.

Having your RV reasonably level is important to avoid excessive stress on the slide-out mechanism. If your RV slide-out is stuck, make sure that your RV is level.

#3 – Make sure the RV battery is charged.

If your RV battery is low, there may not be enough power to drive the slide-out motor. If possible, run your slide-outs while you are connected to shore power — to minimize the effect of a heavy electrical draw.

How To Manually Adjust RV Slide-Outs

If you’ve confirmed that you have power going to the RV slide-out motor but it still doesn’t work, then it’s time to manually adjust the slide-out.

Keep in mind, there are lots of different drive mechanisms for RV slide-outs:

  • Some require nothing more than for you to use the supplied hand crank to move the slide-out in or out.
  • Others may require that you cut an access hole through the bottom of your RV to find the motor — so you can then use a wrench to turn the gearing.
  • Some have cables and gear-driven mechanisms that can manually be adjusted.
  • Others require that you remove the drive motor to allow the slide-out to be pushed in manually.

For me to give generalized instructions that will solve all RV slide-out problems is impossible. The best I can do is to provide links and examples for a number of different slide-out systems — and you can use whichever one applies to your RV.

Lippert RV Slide-Out Manual Operation Tips

Lippert slide-out mechanisms are popular on RV travel trailers.

Scenario #1:

In most cases, there is a hole provided through the frame of the RV — where you insert a hand crank in order to manually operate the slide-out mechanism.

This is the hand crank on my RV trailer. It's behind the steps and it's used to manually adjust the RV slide-out.

On my travel trailer, this hole is hidden behind the entry steps — which must be extended to allow access.

Scenario #2:

If there is no access hole, then you will need to cut open a section of the RV’s underbelly covering — to gain access to the rv slide-out motor. Then, you can manually turn the mechanism to adjust the slide-out.

In this next video, you can see how to access the RV slide-out motor through the underbelly of the slide-out when no access hole is provided for hand cranking. There is also information on how to manually operate some hydraulic mechanisms. Towards the end of the video, they also cover cable-driven mechanisms:

How To Adjust Slide-Outs With Multiple Motors

Another type of slide-out mechanism has multiple motors attached inside the RV — which drive on a cog rail, mounted on the side of the slide-out.

To manually retract this type of RV slide-out, the motor that has failed needs to be removed.

While running the other motor, you push the failed side of the RV slide-out in by hand — as seen in this video:

Here is another excellent video showing how to retract a failed Schwintek slide-out mechanism:

Hydraulic RV Slide-Out Manual Operation Advice

Many older and simpler hydraulic systems can be manually operated by pushing in on the solenoid stub that protrudes out of the valve body housing.

Normally, the valve is operated by electromagnets. But in the event of control failure, you should be able to manually activate the valves.

If the electric hydraulic pump has failed, it may become necessary to disconnect hydraulic lines and manually adjust the slide-out. Have a bucket handy… this will be a messy process!

Although no two systems operate the same, this video shows how to bypass an electrically failed hydraulic slide-out mechanism:

The Bottom Line

Slide-out manufacturers use different systems. So by no means is there a one-size-fits-all approach to fixing an RV slide-out that’s stuck.

It’s imperative to do your homework beforehand — to avoid being stuck in a bad situation. Do you know what you would do if your RV slide-out stuck tomorrow?

I always recommend that it’s best to find a knowledgeable technician (through an RV dealer) before you try to “force” something — or take the advice of another camper who claims to know everything there is to know about your particular RV. The number of fools in the world far outnumber the experts.

Slide-out mechanisms are not simple or straightforward, and it takes a lot of mechanical experience to determine the right course of action each time the RV slide-outs fail.

The time to figure out what you’re going to do in this situation is before it happens.

After you’ve manually retracted the RV slide-out… if you had disconnected any of the mechanisms that keep the slide-out retracted, then you will need to block the slide-out from creeping back out while transporting. Placing a length of 2×4 between the interior wall and the lip of the slide-out will keep it secure!

Are RV Supports A Good Idea… Or Not?

Most manufacturers say not to use RV slide-out supports — which are stabilizers designed specifically to prevent slide-outs from sagging.

RV slide-out supports are stabilizers that keep the slide-out from sagging.

Generally speaking, you shouldn’t put any sort of support underneath the slides unless the manufacturer recommends it. (Check your owner’s manual.)

Why not?

Because if one of your RV stabilizers or jacks settles, the one underneath the slide may not settle.

This would raise the slide-out, relative to the main body of the RV — which could cause expensive damage to the slide-out or to frame of your RV.

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RV slide-out stuck? Manual RV slide-out adjustments to try first!