What do you do when your slide out leaks and you’re not sure why? Unless you want to spend a lot of time and money at some RV shop, the answer is to first find out the cause of the leak, then fix it yourself!
Why Does My Slide Out Seal Leak?
The most challenging part of any RV maintenance project is often determining the exact cause of the problem, and identifying the proper terminology regarding any applicable fix. The fine folks at Northwood Manufacturing have always been very helpful whenever I have called to inquire about the equipment and appliances in our Arctic Fox 275B or previous AF 245N.
When troubleshooting a leak along one wall of the slide in our fifth wheel, I discovered the top flap seal was not creating a tight seam along the roof. A gap of nearly 1″ was allowing rainwater to penetrate the inner seal and run down the wall inside our RV.
I measured the distance on each side of the slide to confirm my suspicion. One side was extended out nearly 2″ farther than the other. I thought there’s gotta be a simple way to realign the slide. There is.
Synchronize Your RV Slide-Out Rail Timing
The technical term for describing our slide being out of alignment is: the rails are out of synch, or the gear timing is off. So, technically speaking I adjusted the timing of the rails supporting our slideout to realign the room. Follow these simple steps below to synchronize your RV slideout rails, and adjust the slide to prevent leaks caused by a misaligned flap seal.
Power Gear Slide-Out Inner Rail Alignment
- Remove cotter pin from idler drive shaft.
- Push the idler drive shaft toward opposite rail to disengage the gear from the gear rack.
- Adjust the gear timing by sliding the idler rail side of the room to the proper position (Measure to ensure the same distance from
the frame as the drive rail side).*
- Push the idler drive shaft back into position, engaging the gear onto the gear rack.
- Reinstall cotter pin into idler drive shaft.
Extend and retract the slide a few times and check for proper room flange sealing. If the room is not properly aligned, repeat steps 1 thru 6.
*Depending on the size of your slide, you may need help moving the room by hand.
Download Power Gear Slide-Out System Manuals
- Print these slide-out rail timing adjustment instructions.
- Optional: If necessary, print these instructions for slide-out room vertical adjustment.
- Download complete Power Gear Slide Out Systems Service Manual
(4MB, 111 pages covering all Power Gear Slide-out models).
- Search for your specific RV slide-out model, and find all Power Gear Manuals here.
Photos of DIY Slide-Out Rail Alignment
Since a picture’s worth so many words, below are some photos I took to help illustrate the steps described above for synchronizing our Power Gear RV slide-out rails.
The photo above shows the idler rail, or “slave” rail with gear engaged in the normal operating position and cotter pin attached. It is not necessary to remove the drive shaft from the gear (retainer bolt shown at left).
By removing the cotter pin, the gear can easily be disengaged from the idler rail gear rack by sliding the drive shaft toward the drive rail, under the opposite side of the room (to the left in this picture).
The gear disengaged easily for me by shaking the drive shaft a bit as I shoved it toward the other rail. The nut shown at right is the manual override nut for manually moving the slide in the event of motor failure. Tap on that lightly with a mallet while sliding the drive shaft if necessary.
Once the idler rail gear is off the rack, both rails can be synchronized by manually moving the disengaged side until the room is aligned properly. Refer to photo above of gear engaged on the rack in proper functioning position before operating slide-out.
Once the gear is engaged, operate the slide-out and measure the depth of the slide on both sides to ensure proper alignment. Measure under the slide from the frame to the inner wall and/or from the exterior of the RV to the outer edge of the slide.
I guess we won’t know if this fix did the job until the next big rain storm, but the seam sure looks a lot better! Subscribe below to be notified of future blog updates if you want to find out.
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