I mentioned some time ago in several blogs that we were having trouble with our slide-outs suddenly and arbitrarily not working. These were seemingly random and seldom occurring events but very, very frustrating every time they failed. I read as much as I could on the forums and web in general but really couldn’t seem to isolate the issue.
We have four slide-outs which when properly working provide us a lot of inside living space. Our RV, with four slide-outs, seems more like an efficiency apartment than it does and RV. Well… that is if you don’t notice the driver and passenger seats in the front…
However, when it is time to leave and none of the slide-outs work, I mean, not even one! It can be very frustrating. I had read on several forums that the issue was due to the RV not being in Park (or recognizing that it was) or that the leveling jacks were not being properly recognized as being fully extracted. Another suggested issue was that the ignition switch was faulty and not being recognized as switched on. Well all these issues really didn’t help much as there was no real way to test them. Then when I opened the black plastic cover of my electrical panel I saw what you see in the top photo – a maze of wires and components!
Researching the internet some suggestions to solve my slide out issue were: (1) to turn off and on the ignition switch several times to get it to “wake up”, (2) to push the transmission selector to “Park” and “Neutral” several times to “wake it up” and (3) to engage the jacks to extract and then fully retract to “wake them up”. Well sometimes this would seemingly work and sometimes it wouldn’t. What worked the most, it seemed, was simply turning the ignition key on and off but waiting a minute or two in between attempts.
After taking some pictures inside my electrical panel I sent an email to Tiffin to help me identify the components in the compartment. So in photo above - A is the slide out solenoid (which Tiffin suggested as the likely culprit) and B is the 12 volt disconnect solenoid (if it was bad then I wouldn’t have any lights or 12 volt inside the coach). In photo below C is the two slide out control boards (I checked the 2 fuses in each one with a test light and they were good) and D and E are the charging and boost solenoids for the emergency/auxillary start.
After speaking with a Tiffin mechanic on the phone we had determined that the solenoid was the most likely cause of the failing slides. The slide-out solenoid (see photo below – item with tape and the number 22906 on it) apparently would only occasionally fully energize and work properly. The only real way to test it was to wait till the next slide-out failure.
Well during one of several famous “Betty’s Shuffles” while we were staying at Betty’s RV Park the slide-outs failed again. The mechanic at Tiffin suggest I first try simply tapping the solenoid firmly with a small hammer to “wake it up” and if that didn’t work to run a wire across the two (positive and negative) terminals and bypass it altogether. Well after the first tap-tap with the hammer the slides all went in. Finally, I was able to determine the real culprit behind the infrequent failure of all slide-outs.
I ordered a new solenoid (above photo) and when it came I got all the necessary tools together to complete the task.
- Multimeter or Test Light – to easily check live current
- A 3/8 socket set to use on the nuts that need to be removed
- Phillips Screwdriver to remove solenoid bracket from bay wall
- Black Sharpie to number wires in sequence (also I use different color Sharpies dots to mark opposite ends of connections)
First I numbered the wires that were going to be removed and labeled them according to when they would go back on. Then I removed all the nuts that held the wires and solenoid bracket in place. Next in the picture below I swapped one wire at a time from the old solenoid to the new solenoid to ensure no mistakes in wiring were made. I always take a before picture of the wiring just in case!.
With everything installed and tightened I was ready for the test! The new solenoid (below) was installed and ready to go to work…
Well it was indeed the problem as I have brought the slides in and out multiple times since the installation of the new solenoid. Hopefully my experience will help someone else out there that has a similar problem…