Monday, April 5, 2010

To slide or not to slide…

There is no doubt that when we walked into our first RV that had slide outs we were overwhelmed about how spacious it seemed, and from that point on we would not even consider buying an RV without at least one. The consensus on the web is that if we only have one slide it must be a bedroom slide since the bedrooms in RV’s are the

most cramped. So what will it be fur us? One slide, two, three, four or none?

Slides operate using two types of systems, hydraulic and mechanical. Hydraulic slides use a motor-driven hydraulic pump to push or pull the slide in or out. Mechanical slides use things such as screws or rack and pinion to move the slides. The key here is they both involve moving parts.

So what can go wrong with slides? Both types can have electrical problems. Hydraulic slides can also fail when the hydraulic fluid is low, or if it is leaking. Hydraulic valves can also fail causing the slide not to work properly. Mechanical slides may also have problems and fail due to broken shear pins or gear or clutch problems.

If we get a rig with slide outs we need to make sure it has a way to manually operate the slide if, and when, problems arise. If not then we just won’t buy the rig. If a slide fails it is said we should always check first for a blown fuse or a tripped circuit breaker. For hydraulic systems this may involve physically pushing on the slide to get it in or out… now that sounds like fun… Not! Mechanical slides use some type of hand crank however before we manually operate a slide we will be sure to consult the owners manual.

Pros of having a slide out from the net:

  • It is all about space – slides = more space, more slides = more space
  • Furniture can be moved around (if not fixed to the floor)
  • Better for resale value based upon the current trends.

Cons of having slide outs:

  • Increased weight of slides will reduce fuel economy
  • When retracted there is limited usable space
  • Space constraints in some sites may make it impossible to open the slide
  • Water leaks will eventually occur if you have a slide.
  • More parts moving mean more maintenance required
  • Usually result in reduced "basement" storage space

Lastly if we do get slides we need to check each campsite before we take one to make sure that nothing like a tree or post will block the slide from going out. To slide or not to slide that is the question…


  1. A very good question! For me, I will definitely need a rig that has access to the bed on both sides. We Rented one that you had to crawl into. I don't want anything that I have to use a ladder with either!

    So far all I have looked at have been floor plans and they usually include slides.

    Keep researching. Your doing good!

  2. Hum, I think I disagree with that. We only have one slide and it's in the living area. After all, how much time do you spend in the bedroom? It would be nice to have a second one there because of the additional closet space, but if you only have one, I'd pick the living room. Also, the fifth wheel I drove before I moved in with Ron only had a slide in the living area. In both cases, you can (could) walk around the bed.

    It's interesting following along with your 'journey' to get on the road. I decided to go fulltime and in five months, I was gone. But I guess one could say I am impulsive. :-) Better to research things instead of just depending on luck.

  3. Barbara and Ron - I tend to agree with you that if I would want a single slide it would be in the living area... as you said more space where you are when you are awake.... but as you said and as Merikay eluded too that would only work if you could already get around both sides of the bed... now with regards to time sometimes I wished we just jumped in with both feet but for now we have the time...