Friday, January 20, 2012

Slideouts -- Be careful when buying them in your RV

If you have been reading our blog, you're well aware that we had a major system failure last Tuesday.  The hydraulic system that controls the jacks and the slides failed.   Let me tell you folks, it is a very demoralizing event.  As our motorhome sat there with the slides out, it couldn't be towed down the road.  (It is much too wide.)

Since we have RV'd for more years then we care to remember, we had a good idea of what we needed when we purchased this motorhome.   We wanted access to the kitchen and refrigerator so that we could use it during the noon breaks.  We also needed access to the bathroom facilities.  (Isn't carrying your own potty one of the advantages to using an RV?)   We are the owner/moderator of a yahoogroup called Walmartrving and many of its members get very concerned about the use of a slideout in a commercial parking lot.  How are they going to sleep overnight if the slide does not go out?

We have seen some units, especially fifth wheels, where you couldn't access the refrigerator or many of the kitchen facilities while the slides are in.  With that in mind, how do you expect to resupply and store your groceries when you make a quick stop at Walmart while enroute?  It doesn't work very well.

Those are the short-comings that the trusty salesman won't tell you about.  All he is looking for is that commission check when he sells a unit to gullible you.  Remember, it is buyer beware.

So how did we fare with our three days of living in a compressed RV?   Well, it was challenging.  The meals were fine.  We did have to change the seating arrangement slightly for me.  (Slides in or out, Sandy has full access to the kitchen area.)   Where we were slightly inconvenienced was in the bedroom.  Since our plan had been to do the laundry on Tuesday, Sandy had set the laundry bag out of the tall closet.  Sandy had been able to retract the bedroom slide, but that was it.  Had the laundry bag been left in the tall closet, our clothing supply would have been  zip!   The hanging things in the short closets were available.  Anything in the bedroom chest of drawers was kind of available via a 3 inch opening of the drawer.  However, they were empty as we were headed to the laundromat.  We had lots of clothes after visiting the laundromat, just no place to store them!

This morning at 8 AM, the mechanic showed up with the cap to make a slight change in the hydraulic pump to see if the problem was the pump or a valve.  Thankfully, it was the valve (easier to fix) and it was music to our ears when I pushed on the "Extend" button and the slide moved out.  Sandy and I both wanted to let out a shout that it works.  Sandy then tried the bedroom slide and it worked! HURRAH!!!   (Finally after three days, Sandy could make sure that the bed covers were all properly in place and stretched.)  This afternoon, we even tested the "Retract" button and it works.  Amazing what technology can do.

Tomorrow morning Sandy wants to vacuum and then we need to move from this location to another one.  (In the beginning, we were told that if we stayed, we might have to move after a couple of days.  We can handle that.)  Our new location will be closer to the highway but very level.  I failed to mention that the slight change on the pump plumbing was to leave the jacks disabled.   So we have no leveling jacks right now.   (They will always come up, but they need the pump to go down.)  Our new location is in their work area, so they'll want to get us in and out.  The replacement part is scheduled in on Tuesday (providing old man weather doesn't mess things up!)

Remember, if you're going to purchase an RV with a slide-out, seriously consider how you can live in it when the slide fails.  (Murphy is alive and well.  It will fail sometime.)


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