Slides Refuse to Retract Occasionally…
The 3rd or 4th time I tried to retract the slides was back in late March of 2016, just 7 weeks after I bought the Journey, and they wouldn’t retract. Being new to slides, I had no idea what the problem was and assumed that it was due to something I was doing wrong. The symptom was that the slides just wouldn’t retract when pushing the buttons. With my hearing being as bad as it is, and the fact that the control assembly is under the living room slide, I couldn’t hear whether any solenoids were clicking when I operated the push buttons or not.
The LR slide control switch is on the dash and fairly obvious but I have to say that the first several times I went looking for it, I had a hell of a time spotting it.
Back in the bedroom, the slide switch is on the wall just above the built in chest of drawers. I’d been parked for nearly two months after I bought the RV, with just one trip in those 7 weeks and I had a hell of a time finding the BR slide switch then too. And I made the mistake of waiting to try and find it the morning I was suppose to leave.
In any event, after I found both switches and attempted to retract the slides on moving day, I was met with silence. I figured that maybe it was a safety lockout switch or something that was preventing them from retracting so I wandered around looking for something that might cause that. Nothing I could find. So I grabbed the operator’s manual and read through that. Hmm, didn’t see anything there.
Getting desperate, I thought maybe I was suppose to retract the jacks first? So that’s what I did. I switched the ignition key on to ACC, and pushed the ‘Store’ button on the jacks controller. One of them was reluctant to fully retract so I used the controller to jog it up/down several times. Trying to exercise it, loosen it up a bit.
And the slides fixed themselves…I have no idea what happened, but perhaps jogging the jacks had something to do with it. The slides weren’t working, I messed around with some stuff, not really knowing what to do, and suddenly they started working on their own after I’d retracted the jacks. Huh. OK, after I get settled at my destination park, I’ll look into it more carefully.
And when I got settled at a park outside of Phoenix, I checked the ATF level in the tank, and found it was a couple of quarts low. Finding the right ATF near where I was staying was an adventure but I found it at one of the three fueling stations near the freeway. The aluminum cap shown below on top of the black tank is where the ATF level is topped off.
While I was working here under the LR slide, I thought I should lube the hydraulic solenoids. Those round black things over the tank with the wires going to them. They all have handles on the back end of each solenoid you can use to relieve pressure on jacks or slides if they stop working automatically. Doing so would allow you to get back on the road and travel.
And I tried to lube them since they didn’t want to turn. When I tried to turn one of the relief handles with a tool, it broke off. Wouldn’t budge. I probably shouldn’t have used a tool. Well, at least it’s not leaking and hasn’t affected operation since that happened.
In any event, it’s now 11 months later and the problem of the slides not retracting has happened 3 times. Each time it occurred the morning I was attempting to leave a RV park and move on. And each time I had retracted the BR slide the night before so I could dump the holding tanks and it has always worked.
The length of time between times I’d try to operate the slide was so great the first year of ownership that I’d forget what I’d done the time before to get them working, each time it’s seemed to be slightly different. Like the 2nd time, I crawled under and inspected the controller under the driver’s side of the dash. And found a 2 wire connector that wasn’t connected properly. With printing on the controller, “Slide Switch”. Reconnected that, and the slides start working.
The next time, checked that connector right off and it was fine. Went out to the controller under the slide shown above, and whacked things with a rubber mallet. And the slides worked again. Hmmm. Seems that I’ll have to check the solenoid that operates the slides soon, once I figure out which one it is.
But as of yet, I haven’t figured out what’s wrong with the slides…I just know that sometimes, vibration will get them to work. So until I have removed and cleaned or replaced the solenoid, I’ll have to whack things with my rubber mallet. I do so enjoy doing that.
Update – Oct. 2017
After the last time I had a balky slide where it wouldn’t retract, I checked and wiggled all the connectors I could find underneath on the Slide/Jack assembly. And got into the habit of holding the ‘Retract’ and ‘Extend’ switches for 4-5 seconds after it the slides were fully extended or retracted. Reason for do so is twofold. HWH instructions tell you to do that for one, and the 2nd reason is that electrical contacts tend to stay clean when they have current run through them that is slightly higher than normal. And holding the slide in/out for a few seconds qualifies as increased current.
But…I’ve pretty much only operated my slides recently when the ambient temps were up in the 60’s or 70’s and really didn’t have much of a problem. But I’m here in Burns Oregon and we had a cold front pass through and the morning temps have been in the 30’s. And the slides not operating issue cropped back up. I’ve found that the problem definitely is temp related. And as you know, metal shrinks when it’s cold, and expands when it’s warm, so that points to an electrical contact. Most likely cause, and should be easy to fix. And I’ll crawl under the rig and work on that when I’m further south in a couple weeks.