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Should RV slide outs be supported?

How much weight can a slide out hold?

You’d be surprised at how much weight RV slide outs can carry.

rv slide out
rv slide out

A slide out is designed to carry at the very least, 100 kgs of weight. This is static weight, meaning objects on top of it don’t move thereby disallowing the forces of gravity to affect it. Unsupported, 250 to 270 kgs is a modest estimate of what it can handle. With support beams or hydraulic jacks, the possibilities are endless.

You have to take note though that, as the RV slide out is fully extended and cantilevered from the main body, the pivot point is where stress occurs the most. Investing in slide out supports like the CAMCO EAZ Lift Support is one of the best decisions you can make as an RV owner.

Although an RV slide out is meant to handle a lot of weight, allowing this to operate unsupported could result in mechanism issues. A slide out operates on a channel with bearings powered by hydraulics or a pulley system. When activated, it pushes the entire area out. This, although mostly stable, is where issues arise.

Having an RV slide out is a polarizing topic for most RV owners. For some, RVs shouldn’t have slide outs as they are additional sources of maintenance issues. There have also been instances wherein RV owners completely forget retracting their RV slide outs causing traffic issues. RV slide outs have also been known to fail mechanically preventing it from being fully recessed.

Lastly there have been reports of RV slide outs giving out due to overloading.

So If They’re Problematic, Why Have an RV Slide Out In The First Place?

Well, because RV slide outs provide the much needed space that most RV owners would also like to have inside their RV. That remains the biggest reason why most RV owners like having slide outs on their vehicles. And if it’s any consolation, RV slide outs often fail due to lack of maintenance or they were outside of their operational capabilities.

rv slide outs provide additional space
rv slide outs provide additional space

Very rarely do slide outs fail due to manufacturing or product defects. After all, RV slide outs are mostly found in luxury Type A and B trailers. Most people pay a lot of money for their RV slide out to work.

So How Can You Prevent Your RV Slide Out From Premature Malfunction?

Your RV slide outs are recessed portions that extend out from the main body of your RV. Once fully extended, your RV slide outs trade off stability for additional space. Here are some things you can do to reduce the risk of premature malfunction from occurring to your RV slide outs.

supported rv slide out
supported rv slide out

The use of support beams, hydraulic jacks, proper maintenance and using it according to the manufacturer’s manual are just some of the ways that you can ensure your RV slide outs will function properly for years to come. Here’s a list of a few things that RV owners with slide outs do that you can use.

Use Support Beams For Added Stability

It is highly advisable for RV owners who park and have their RV slide out in operation to create a stable base to support the weight of the extended portion plus all the weight it is expected to handle during that time. This is the reason why most RV slide outs have telescoping beams at the bottom that extend to the ground providing additional strength and stability.

rv slide out with support
rv slide out with support

To prevent scuffing at the bottom of your support beams from contact with the ground, use 2 inch rubber pads. Place the pads in between the top of the ground and the bottom of the beams.

These CAMCO Stabilizing pads will do the trick if all you basically need are leveling pads that protect your jack stands.

If you’re looking for more durable ones, use the CAMCO Jack Flex from the same company.

But if you’re looking for the absolute best, these Heavy Duty Pads will keep your stands from slipping in the most effective manner.

Use Hydraulic Jacks In Place Of The Telescoping Beams

If you don’t have telescoping beams, you can make do with hydraulic jacks. These CAMCO Olympian Aluminum Stack Jacks should do the trick.

When parked, get the jacks out and ensure it is fully extended to fit flush to the bottom of the slide out. As an added protection to your RV slide out, place a 2 inch rubber pad in between the slide out’s bottom and the jack. This prevents the metal surfaces from rubbing against each other and damaging the paint.

You can use hydraulic jacks designed to handle off-road vehicles. There are also hydraulic jacks designed specifically for RVs. These are heavy duty load bearing jacks that have oversized bases for additional stability. Try the CAMCO Adjustible Stabilizer for RVs for increased stability.

Retract your RV slide out when not in use

As mentioned above your RV slide outs are cantilevered from the main body of your RV. The weight on top of that extended section has an effect on the pivot points. Every little vibration can derail the entire system leading to major malfunctions. Make sure your RV slide outs are fully recessed before heading out.

This also applies during the winter season. Snow will find its way into the system if your RV slide out is fully extended. This can wreak havoc on your pulley system, roller channels, bearings, pivot points and other moving parts associated with your RV slide out.

Preventive Maintenance Is The Key To Your RV Slide Outs’ Longevity

Your RV slide out need preventive maintenance to ensure full functionality. Lubricating the channels and ensuring the bearings, pivot point and pulley system are in good condition ensures worry free operation at all times.

Use these products to keep your RV in tip-top shape:

Replace worn parts immediately to reduce the risk of these negatively affecting the entire system. Add a generous amount of lubrication to ensure there is no friction amongst the mechanical parts. And don’t forget to rust proof the entire system.

For best results, make sure you get the services of a professional RV maintenance person or bring your RV to the dealer to ensure proper handling.

Avoid Dynamic Weight Changes To The Extended Section

One way to avoid adding unnecessary stress to the pivot points is to keep the weight on the extending section static. Meaning, the weight doesn’t change or gravity doesn’t affect it because of the impact of moving weight on top of it. You can easily do this by placing shelves, kitchen appliances or other non-moving or non-load bearing objects on your RV slide out.

Or at the very least, ask your kids to stop jumping up and down the couch when you camp for the night and your RV slide outs are fully extended.

One last thing before you go: Make sure you retract the telescoping beams or remove the jacks and slide your RV slide out back into the main vehicle before driving off to your next destination.

rv slide outs recessed on the road
rv slide outs recessed on the road

Related Questions

How to get furniture in for your RV slide out?

Replacing furniture inside the RV is one of the hardest things to do that most RV owners face. One solution is to remove the large windows on the slide out, get the old furniture out before replacing it with the new one.

Can you drive on the highway with your RV slide outs out?

Yes you can but don’t do it. Aside from being a possible traffic hazard for being an extra wide vehicle, the extra movement affects the pivot points & the channels. Ultimately, these movements could derail the entire section leading to major malfunction or the entire thing getting misaligned.

How Many People Can Seat On My Couch In The RV Slide Out?

Five. An unsupported RV slide out can carry a total weight roughly estimated at 250 to 270 kgs. This means it can easily handle 2 adults & 3 children with a couch thrown into the mix. With the support beams fully extended or the jacks in place, the total weight increases tenfold.

The Auto Sunday is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

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The Auto Sunday is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.