Forest River is a famous company focused on manufacturing large vehicles like RVs, motorhomes, and trailers. Some of their vehicles are designed with slide-outs in them. These are small rooms that can be extended to increase the storage in your vehicle. However, some users have complained about getting issues with their Forest River slide-out.
Forest River Slide-Out Problems
1. Electrical Wires Getting Disconnected
The most common issue that most people using slide-outs get is related to the wirings. In some cases, a surge or fluctuation in electric current can cause the short-circuit of the wires. Alternatively, these wires can also come off or break while opening or closing the slide out.
Whatever the case might be, it is important to inspect these wiring connections. You have to start by checking for disconnected wires. If you locate the disconnected wires, connect them back to fix the problem.
On the other hand, if there are no disconnected wires but the electrical outlets aren’t working, you can test the voltage ratings from the cables. If you notice any irregularities in the voltage rating, the problem is from the electricity provider or main electricity supply .
Secondly, if there are surges, you need to test the batteries. Make sure that these are working fine by troubleshooting them. Dry batteries only require you to clean their terminals to optimize their functionality. This is because the terminals often have an oxide layer, which has to be removed with warm water and scrubbing.
2. Slide Out Not Opening
The slide-out not opening or closing is the most common issue with trailers and RVs. Generally, it can be caused by electrical problems, and fixing them by following the previously-mentioned steps will resolve the problem. On the other hand, if those steps don’t fix the problem, there could be something wrong with the slide-out motor.
The motor might have burned out due to an electric surge or voltage fluctuation. The only solution for a burnt-out motor is replacement. However, before you replace the motor, test it with the ohmmeter to be sure.
Depending on the voltage of the vehicle, the reading should be 120 or 12 when it’s checked. While purchasing the new motor, make sure that it’s compatible with your vehicle’s size ratings and voltage.
3. Slide Out Is Stuck
The slide-out often gets stuck while closing or opening it, and it’s usually caused by a burnt-out motor. However, if the motor is already replaced, you need to check the internal components of the system. Before you start inspecting these components, make sure that the power connection is switched off to protect yourself from electrocution.
Once the power connection is switched off, clean up the motor to clear away the debris from the moving parts. This is important because dirt prevents the motor and wheels from spinning, which makes your slide-out to be stuck in a specific position.
It is better that you completely extend the slide-out before cleaning it, as this will make the cleaning job easier. On the contrary, if you don’t know how to access the motor, consult the manual.
4. Slide-Out Switch Has Stopped Working
If the slide-out isn’t moving when you operate the control switch, and the pump and motor don’t operate either, there is something wrong with the switch. In case there are multiple slide-outs, you need to check all the switches to determine which ones are working and replace the bad ones.
On the other hand, if all the switches have stopped working, there is something wrong with the power connection. The vehicles have main power control boards that operate the switches, so replacing the main control board will fix the problem.
5. Power Issues
There are various power-related issues associated with the slide-outs which impact the pump, power controls, and motors. In case of power issues, you need to check the power center breakers and fuses to ensure they are working optimally.
The slides work on 12v power, but when you experience power issues, it’s better to connect the vehicle to a generator or shore power to make sure the slide motors are properly powered.
Secondly, you must check the state of charge of the battery and make sure it’s above 12v . Ideally, it must be higher than 12.4v to ensure unhindered operation.
6. Slide-Out Hydraulic Pump Has Failed
In case the slide-outs are operated on hydraulics, and the slide doesn’t move when the switch is activated, it’s important to check the pump and motor. Usually, the pump is shared with the hydraulic leveling system.
So, find the hydraulic pump and check the connecting wiring. Keep in mind that you might have to disconnect the wiring before operating the switch.
When you operate the switch, use the multimeter to check the pump’s voltage. If the multimeter shows proper voltage, but there isn’t any movement, there are high chances that the pump is burnt-out, and the only solution is the replacement.
7. Slide-Out Hydraulic System Leak
The hydraulic system leak is another common problem associated with the slide-out. First of all, you have to check the hydraulic fluid reservoir to check if there is sufficient fluid in the system. When the slide-outs are out and the leveling legs are positioned out, the reservoir will lower the level of fluid, and vice versa.
However, when the slide-out stops working, there are chances that the fluid level is low or zero. For this purpose, you must track down the hydraulic lines to the operating ram from the pump to locate the leak. When you see a leak, that particular hydraulic line has to be replaced.
8. Failed Hydraulic Valve Actuators
The hydraulic valve actuators are responsible for converting the fluid pressure into a motion, which is essential for operating the valve and optimizing the flow of hydraulic fluid. However, the users often complain about failed hydraulic valve actuators, which hinder the flow of fluid. As a result, the slide won’t retract or extend.
The temporary solution is to use a screwdriver or a wrench for closing or opening the actuator manually, but you must be careful as these valves are easily damaged. Still, it’s suggested to replace the actuators as soon as possible to retrieve the fluid flow.
9. Motor Is Running But Slide-Out Is Not Moving
If the electric motor is running, but the slide-out is not moving, it is suggested that you perform the diagnosis of the slide mechanism. To diagnose the slide mechanism, you will need to check the manual as different Forest River vehicles have different mechanisms or you could hire a technician.
10. Slide Stops Before Fully Closing Or Opening
Every slide mechanism has a specific way to determine if it’s closed or open. So, if the slide doesn’t work while opening and closing, you will require specific information about the slide mechanism to determine the causes.
However, in the majority of cases, the electronic controllers have a programming issue that can only be fixed by a professional electrician who has experience working with trailers.
11. Slide Is Jammed
The slide-outs are quite complex and have to be properly adjusted to ensure proper alignment and smooth movement. For this reason, it is better to hire a professional to fix the alignment issues.
However, when the slide gets jammed, you can also lubricate it as it can maintain smooth functionality and movement. There are various silicone lubricants available in the market that you can use for preserving the slide’s seals.
Before you apply the lubricant, it’s important to check the manufacturer’s suggested practices for the quantity, type, and frequency of lubrication as it depends on the slide’s mechanism. For future reference, it is suggested that you don’t retract or extend the slides when the vehicle is not leveled because it puts extra pressure on the system and motor as they have to move against gravity, which often leads to jamming.
The Bottom Line
The slide-outs are a great feature for every recreational trailer and RV as they provide extra space. However, with constant retraction and extension, the slide-outs run into problems, which is why preventive maintenance is suggested . Still, if problems occur, it is always better to call for professional help if you don’t have prior experience.