Maintaining Your Slides’ Glides - RV Enthusiast Magazine

Maintaining Your Slides’ Glides

by | Jul 28, 2023 | Pro Tip, RVEXPERT

Lubricating rack-and-pinion slideout mechanisms will squelch annoying noises, restore a smooth operation and provide years of trouble-free service. While you’re at it, give those bulb and wiper seals some TLC, too.
Just about everyone with an RV has a slideout — or two, three, four or five these days — which, of course, enhances livability. For the most part, these expanding rooms work without complaint — but when they break, the repairs can be complicated and costly. And, of course, there’s always the aggravation of being stuck somewhere and the frustration of finding a repair shop or mobile mechanic.

To circumvent premature failures, there’s a certain amount of maintenance that is required of the owner — including lubrication, depending on type of slideout mechanism.

One of the most common types of slideouts operates on rack-and-pinion mechanicals. It’s a tried-and-true system that has withstood many years of service. For the most part, other than lubricating the gear pack and arms with teeth cut into the steel (rack), there’s not much the end user can do. Over time, though, these systems tend to develop grunts, grinds and squeals that are annoying — and can lead to other adjustment issues. Proper lubrication will quiet down the mechanism and restore confidence that the system will keep on working as designed.

There are many lubrication products on the market, and we’ve tried most of them. You don’t want to use a lubricant that will attract dirt, which can gum up the system. One product that does the trick is CRC White Lithium Grease. This lithium-based spray is easy to dispense and will provide a uniform layer of lubrication that lasts a fairly long time, depending on the number of extend/retract cycles and exposure to the elements. Spray the gear pack liberally, but don’t overdo it. You just need enough to provide a protective layer, not one that makes mess; it’s pretty easy to visualize the lubrication coverage.

close view of a spray container of CRC White Lithium Grease
lose view of a spray container of Blaster Advanced Dry Lube with Teflon
CRC White Lithium Grease and Blaster Dry Lube with Teflon provide a one-two punch in the elimination of slideout mechanism friction and annoying noises.
the slideroom gear pack shown liberally sprayed with CRC White Lithium Grease
Spray the gear pack liberally, but don’t go crazy. Overloading the components with too much lubrication only makes a mess.

Next, spray the White Lithium Grease along the teeth of the rack — and you’re done with this part of the service.

a gear rack, along with the teeth and steel arms, is sprayed with the CRC White Lithium Grease
The front and rear racks should be sprayed with the CRC White Lithium Grease along the teeth cut into the steel arms.
Continue by spraying the contact points where the floor of the RV and the slideout room meet. Normally there is some space between the two, but in some cases, like the one shown here, the two surfaces will rub. To circumvent adverse friction, spray the area with Blaster Dry Lube with Teflon, which is a dry silicone-based lubricant. Once the spraying is complete, run the slideout room in and out a few times to make sure all moving parts are covered. In just about all cases, any noises will quiet down immediately — and the slide-out will move more smoothly with less bumps and chattering.
Blaster Dry Lube with Teflon is sprayed in the small area between the RV and slideout floors
Blaster Dry Lube with Teflon does a great job of lubricating the surfaces at the confluence of the RV and slideout floors. Normally there’s a little more space between the surfaces, but in this case, they were touching and making annoying noises, which were quieted with the dry lube.
While you’re at it, take the time to treat the slideout bulb and wiper seals to a coating of Aerospace 303 Protectant. This is a distillate-free product (meaning it will not degrade EPDM material used for seals) that will protect the rubber from the harsh UV elements. Regular spraying of Aerospace 303 Protectant will ensure longer life of the rubber compound and continue to allow the seals to perform as designed and prevent moisture/wind intrusion.
view of the tire with a new lug nut (top left) and an original lug nut (top right) for comparison
Spraying the slideout bulb and wiper seals with Aerospace 303 Protectant will protect the rubber over the long run, and make sure moisture and air leaking through the slideouts are kept at bay. (And no, it doesn’t come in this bottle—we bought it in a gallon container and transfered the liquid into this type bottle, which we’ve found works easier when spraying at different angles.)

All three of these products are available at auto parts and/or home improvement stores and online. It’s simple maintenance, with long-term benefits. Take care of your slideouts and they will take care of you.

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