Safely Removing and Replacing RV Slide Out Sections | Process Explained

Safely Removing and Replacing RV Slide Out Sections | Process Explained
Table Of Content

Understanding RV Slide Outs and When to Remove Them

Recreational vehicles (RVs) have become an extremely popular way for people to travel and vacation while bringing many comforts of home along. One feature that has become very common in newer RVs are slide out sections - these allow extra interior space when the vehicle is parked while still meeting street width regulations for transit.

Slide outs extend outwards when the RV is stationary to create a wider living area. However, there may come a time when an RV slide out needs to be removed. This article will discuss what slide outs are, why you may need to remove one, and how the slide out removal process works.

What Are RV Slide Outs?

RV slide outs are boxed-in sections mounted along the walls of a recreational vehicle that can be extended outwards when parked. This allows for extra living space with features like beds, dinettes, or even an entire room. When transit time comes, the slide out can retract inwards so the RV meets regulations for road width and height clearances.

Slide outs are usually operated via electric motors, hydraulic pumps, or a combination of the two. Control panels inside the RV allow the owner to activate slide functions. Sophisticated designs mean slide outs can be mounted along nearly any exterior wall without compromising structural integrity when retracted.

Why Would an RV Slide Out Need Removal?

The most common reasons an RV slide out may need removal include:

  • A damaged slide out that cannot be repaired. This may result from an accident, rot and corrosion, or faulty operation.
  • Upgrading to a newer, larger slide out to change RV layouts.
  • Switching slide technology from hydraulic to electric operation.
  • Converting an existing slide to make room for new features inside the rig.

Regardless of the specific reason, slide out removal is a complex job best left to qualified RV service technicians. Proper tools, techniques, and safety protocols must be followed along the way.

How Are RV Slide Outs Removed?

Removing an RV slide out occurs in three main phases:

  1. Prep Work. Anything obstructing slide removal is dealt with first. This can mean relocating or removing furniture, walls, plumbing, and utilities running through the slide area.
  2. Detachment. The slide is disconnected from motors and controllers. Then fasteners are systematically removed to separate the slide unit from the RV body while ensuring the surrounding area stays structurally sound.
  3. Extraction. Pulleys, levers, lifts, or even a forklift may be utilized to gently pull the slide free. New support braces or walls are installed in the vacated cavity.

Proper shoring inside the RV is vital during this process to prevent catastrophic collapse as exterior walls lose their slide out reinforcing. Teardown may take several hours or drag across multiple days depending on slide size and complications encountered.

How an RV Slide Out Lift System Works

One specialized piece of equipment that may be utilized during slide out removal is called a slide out lift system. This uses a pneumatic or hydraulic cylinder mounted to a movable skid platform placed beneath the RV.

When a Slide Out Lift Is Needed

Common situations where a slide out lift becomes necessary include:

  • Extracting a damaged, jammed, or broken slide that cannot operate normally.
  • Supporting a detached slide so it does not fall and become further damaged.
  • Assisting technicians with handling a heavy slide unit during removal.
  • Allowing safer access for repairs to the slide or RV body structures.

Slide out lifts often feature adjustable lifting heights and can handle thousands of pounds. Using one minimizes injury risks and damage during the removal process.

How Slide Out Lift Systems Function

These specialty lift devices function via the following operation steps:

  1. The lift platform is positioned properly beneath the target slide out using built-in wheels and swivel casters.
  2. Outrigger feet on the platform are adjusted to ensure stability beneath the RV.
  3. Hydraulic or pneumatic power raises the platform up to apply lifting force beneath the detached slide.
  4. Technicians detach final connections or move the slide as needed while the lift safely carries the load.
  5. The work platform is lowered and rolled back out once slide handling is complete.

Precise control of lifting speed and height lets technicians carefully manipulate the slide. Locking wheels and outriggers keep the work platform from shifting unexpectedly while under the tremendous loads involved. Safety chains also retention the slide unit in case of mechanical lift failures.

Key Takeaways

RV slide outs give recreational vehicles expanded living space at the push of a button. However, sometimes slide removal becomes necessary for upgrades, repairs, or replacement. This complex process is best performed by qualified technicians utilizing proper tools, safety protocols, and systematic disassembly techniques. Slide out lift platforms provide secure, adjustable lifting capability to safely handle these heavy units during removal and installation.

Understanding when and why slide out removal happens allows RV owners to better plan for this intrusive but sometimes necessary process. Consulting qualified RV service centers gives access to the expertise and capabilities needed to get slide projects completed properly.


What are some common reasons my RV would need a slide out removed?

Some reasons for slide removal include needing repairs for damaged components, upgrading to a newer/larger slide system, converting the area for new interior layouts, or switching from hydraulic to electric operation.

Is slide out removal something I can do myself?

No, slide out removal is a complex, labor-intensive process best left to qualified RV service technicians. Proper tools, techniques, and safety protocols are required to avoid RV damage or personal injuries.

What kind of tools are used to extract slide outs?

Slide out removal may involve pulleys, levers, specialty lift equipment, and even forklifts. The system must be properly detached from the RV first, then carefully extracted to avoid catastrophic damage.

How long does a slide out removal project usually take?

An RV slide out removal can take several hours to multiple days depending on the slide size, complexity, and any discovery repairs needed. Scheduling adequate shop time is recommended.

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