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Old 11-28-2021, 04:20 PM   #1
tld
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How unlevel can I be and still extend slides without fear of doing damage?

This is not a question about should you level before or after putting your slides out, and this is not a question about how to level, or where to put your torpedo level to see if you are level.

My question is specifically how unlevel, front to back or side to side (or both), can you be and still extend and retract your slides without fear of doing damage to the slide.

If I am, say, 3 inches higher in the front of the trailer than the rear, is that too high to safely extend the slides? If I'm, say, 2 inches off from side-to-side, is that too much to safely extend the slides?

This question stems from pulling into rest areas for a quick lunch and wanting to extend a slide, or pulling into an overnight parking situation and not wanting to unhook and go through the leveling process but still wanting to extend the slides.

Your thoughts and comments will be greatly appreciated. Thanks
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Old 11-28-2021, 04:43 PM   #2
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When you say 3" high front to back; it depends a little on the length of your trailer. Pitch is greater on a shorter trailer if you are off by 3 inches. However, in general, you are not significantly out of level, and 2" side to side is not severe. As long as your frame is not "twisted" by being on really uneven ground, your slides will be OK. You should have your support jacks down to support the frame from more than just the wheels and the hitch.
I might be a little cautious about sitting at dinette table or lounge chairs if they are in a slide.
The bigger issue with being out of level is your refrigerator, assuming you have an absorption refrigerator. The refrigerant needs to have a the proper flow back down to the generator. That's why the black tubes you see are sloping back and forth toward the bottom. If you are out of level enough for them not to drain properly, you will have a problem with crystallization, which causes a catastrophic blockage. You can set up off level (front to back) sometime, then remove the lower vent cover to the refer and check to see if the tubes all still some downward pitch. If they don't - you will have a problem.
Most rest areas have level enough surfaces for you to get away with what you want to do.
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Old 11-28-2021, 06:37 PM   #3
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I would not extend your slides in a rest area. Too much of a chance of them getting hit by a eighteen wheeler or other TT when they are pulling in to the space next to you. If your slides block your frig or other cabinets when in put lunch in a cooler and other stuff out. Thankfully our slides in still leave us access to everything(frig, dinette, cabinets.)
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Old 11-28-2021, 07:40 PM   #4
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2-3 inches unlevel in the front/rear or L/R side should be of no concern for slideout operation. Thats at most 2 2X boards L/R, similar front/rear. Out of level yes, but more an irritant than any concern for the slide operation.

Dont know "how much" unlevel is safe for slide op.
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Old 11-28-2021, 08:15 PM   #5
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Why don't you do an experiment and start with your unit level and then start un-leveling it an inch at a time and run the slides in and out until things start getting torn up.
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Old 11-28-2021, 08:35 PM   #6
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I poked around some of the other forums, and read what other RV'ers said about running slides out before being level. Wow! After sifting through several threads and posts, there seems to be two opposite thoughts, mostly pertaining to what their manual states. There are quotes stating "Level first, then slides out. Slides in, then levelers up". In contradiction there are apparently some brands that list "Slides out, then level".

All of these opinions are in relation to setting up at a campsite, as there's no mention about temporary stops. They also talk about when to dump the air bags, so the rigs are bigger, with air suspension. I would take a peek in your manual, if you haven't already, and see if there's mention of it.
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Old 11-29-2021, 04:16 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JFlightRisk View Post
I poked around some of the other forums, and read what other RV'ers said about running slides out before being level. Wow! After sifting through several threads and posts, there seems to be two opposite thoughts, mostly pertaining to what their manual states. There are quotes stating "Level first, then slides out. Slides in, then levelers up". In contradiction there are apparently some brands that list "Slides out, then level".

All of these opinions are in relation to setting up at a campsite, as there's no mention about temporary stops. They also talk about when to dump the air bags, so the rigs are bigger, with air suspension. I would take a peek in your manual, if you haven't already, and see if there's mention of it.
I did some browsing as well, and agree with JFlightRisk that the information you are looking for is not readily available.

My thought would be to not extend the slide without being almost(?) level. There is some torquing and twisting in our Greyhawk when we setup that makes me not want to extend the slide unless level. We have a bathroom door that latches most of the time, but sometimes the latch doesn't line up vertically. That makes me think the coach gets some warp in certain setup locations that could bind the slide.
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Old 11-29-2021, 08:15 AM   #8
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We extend ours at rest stop all the time.. As long as you are parked fairly level and you are hitched to your tow vehicle at proper hitch heights i dont see any problem extending your slides. Unless of course your are parked in an unusual unleveled spot. We try to park somewhere in the back forty and will take up four spots only if the rest stop is not busy.. You'll have to use your best judgment when and when not too. If you are parked and you 'think' you are not level enough, then don't do it.
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Old 11-29-2021, 08:40 AM   #9
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We ran our absorption refrigerator (Dometic) on uneven ground at a sharp pitch for two days. Unbeknownst to us, this killed our fridge. The refrigerant separated and it would no longer cool. In our attempts at diagnosing the problem, we learned that these fridges can catch fire (search up the YouTubes) because of what we had done.

Fortunately the problem fixed itself on the many days drive back to our home base thanks to the bumpy roads "remixing" the refrigerant and it has worked flawlessly since but it was a big lesson learned. Level the travel trailer when the fridge is on or turn it off.

On the IRV forums here: https://www.irv2.com/forums/f54/dome...el-330088.html the poster has this from Dometic: "Thank you for contacting Dometic. The refrigerator should not be more than 3 degrees unlevel left to right, or 6 degrees unlevel front to back. We do not recommend having the unit unlevel for more than 1-2 hours as this can increase the chances of a blockage. However, we do recommend if you can, have the unit level at all times."

Now, to your question about the slide. On that same sharp pitch, the slide stared to creak and moan real bad so we stopped before we broke it. We were off level by a good bit. I mean, a lot! We needed to access the inside of the fridge only by a few inches.

We camp at state parks quite a bit in Virginia and they are notorious for not having level pads. We always try to get the travel trailer level before extending the slide. I have noticed just the tiniest change in level once the slide is extended and not enough to cause concern, IMO.

Our setup goes like this:
1) Wife and I walk the site where we are parking.
2) She has a handheld radio to communicate with me in the truck as I back in.
3) She checks for level as we are hitched, adds leveling blocks as needed, and I pull onto the blocks.
4) We chock the wheels, unhitch, level fore and aft, drop the stabilizers, then extend the slide.
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Old 11-29-2021, 08:55 AM   #10
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Why in the hell would someone take the risk of running their slides while not level?!?! Okay if you want to do an experiment and are not concerned with the cost of the consequences, go for it.
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Old 11-29-2021, 09:59 AM   #11
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[QUOTE=gobdeep


We always try to get the travel trailer level before extending the slide. I have noticed just the tiniest change in level once the slide is extended and not enough to cause concern, IMO.

Our setup goes like this:
1) Wife and I walk the site where we are parking.
2)She checks for level as we are hitched, adds leveling blocks as needed, and I pull onto the blocks.
3) keep the slide side about 1/2Ē higher.
4) We chock the wheels, unhitch, level fore and aft, drop the stabilizers, then extend the slide.[/QUOTE]

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Old 11-29-2021, 12:49 PM   #12
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How unlevel can I be and still extend slides without fear of doing damage?

Kind of depends on the degree of unlevel. When I bring my trailer by the house to toss a couple items in before a trip, itís not really practical to unhitch, chock and level for a few items. My street is sloped slightly for and aft and then again slightly to the curb. I wonít touch either schwintec in this state(try not to even make eye contact)but Iíll open my in frame rack and pinion slide. Itís works a little to retract up hill on battery but no terrible sounds indicating stress.

This really depends on the severity of the situation. A trailer or FW on a truck on relatively level ground. Iíd say itís ok. An uneven campsite with really obvious lean or pitch. Nope.
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Old 12-04-2021, 01:02 PM   #13
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Good info from Gobdeep.
Just remember that "6 degrees front to back" is the refrigerator front to back. In ours that becomes the trailer side to side.
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Old 12-04-2021, 03:14 PM   #14
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Hooked to the tow vehicle? It shouldn't matter.
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