Maintaining Slide-out Seals – Part 2: How To Reach Under Slide Toppers

TheRVgeeks Annual Maintenance 14 Comments

When we shared our tip about using baby powder to maintain slide-out seals like new, we didn’t treat the entire upper outside seals because the slide toppers prevented access. Then we figured out this simple trick to overcome that obstacle… without removing the slide toppers!

We’re very meticulous about RV maintenance. Okay… you can go ahead say it without offending us… we’re anal retentive about it. But paying close attention to detail can be so easy sometimes, and failing to keep up can create real problems. Slide-out seal maintenance is like that: so simple, but potentially so important, especially over time. They keep water out, and neglecting anything (Dicor maintenance anyone?) that keeps water from penetrating the interior of an RV can lead to a serious, and potentially expensive, headache.

If you’ve ever seen slide-out seals with chunks of rubber missing, it’s usually the result of lack of maintenance. Simple maintenance at that. It may seem like overkill to worry about such a small thing, but ask anyone who’s dealt with water damage about their experience. It probably wasn’t one of the highlights of their RVing life.

The reason we’ve been able to keep our entire rig operating so smoothly, with so few problems (especially user-caused problems) is by taking the time to figure out how to stop troubles before they start. Attention to detail is what it’s all about… like taking the time to rub a little baby powder on every inch of our RV’s slide-out seals once a year.

NOTE: As mentioned in a comment below by one of our viewers, there is a possible link between talc and ovarian cancer. Please research this, and proceed wisely.


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If you’re planning to replace your slide topper anyway, that’s the perfect time to inspect and maintain your seals. Don’t forget that RVgeeks viewers get a 5% discount on awning and slide topper fabric at ToughTopAwnings.com when they use the Discount Code “RVGEEKSROCK” at checkout.


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We're handy RVers, not professional technicians. We're happy with the techniques and products we use, but be sure to confirm that all methods and materials you use are compatible with your equipment and abilities. Regardless of what we recommend, consult a professional if you're unsure about working on your RV. Any task you perform or product you purchase based on any information we provide is strictly at your own risk.

We sometimes receive products for evaluation at no cost, and The RVgeeks are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. But our opinions are our own, you won’t pay an extra penny, and we only link to products we personally use, love and can recommend to friends with complete confidence.


Comments 14

  1. I really enjoy all your videos. My wife and I did a lot of RVing when we were first married back in 1970. We used what was called back then a “mini motorhome”, which today I guess would be a small Class C without any slides. It was a nice unit but very simple and uncomplicated. We used that motorhome for about 8 years and then ended our RVing. Last year, now in our retired years, we decided to give RVing another try and purchased a 35’ Class A pusher. My how much more complicated RV’s have become.

    We’re learning a lot from your videos, including this one about the slides. My wife who is a retired ER Nurse, mentioned the recent reports about the possible link between talc and ovarian cancer. Seems unlikely that the infrequent and type of use of talc you are recommending would be of any concern, but on the other hand back when you did this video, those concerns did not exist. Just thought I’d mention it in the event any disclaimer is needed on your video and text about the video.

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      Author

      Hi John, and welcome back to RVing! Thanks so much for the information. Being a cancer survivor myself (Peter… nearly 21 years in remission!), I take this seriously. We appreciate the tip, and will make note of it on the post.

  2. Thanks much for another great video. I notice you use baby powder and the Wynns use silicone spray to treat their slide-out gaskets. In your minds, what’s the relationship between the two types of products? First one, then the other? Mutually exclusive based on preference? Etc. Concerns over build-up over time? Appreciate your comment on this.

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      Author

      Newmar recommended baby powder, and we’ve been using it for 10+ years with great results. Some silicone products can contain rubber damaging solvents and tire manufacturers recommend avoiding it, so we’ve never used it on any rubber. Anything that might attract dirt is to be avoided.

  3. Hi guys, I’m getting a bit confused about seal maintenance. You’ve done two great videos using baby powder and I agree that is a good way of keeping the seals from sticking. You don’t mention “lubricating” the seals. The shop that works on my rig says I should be using one of the available silicone lubes to keep the seals from drying out. Do you use anything besides powder?

    Thanks

    Vin

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      Author

      Hi Vin. We’ve never done anything but baby powder the seals, since that’s all Newmar recommends. Still looking like new after 10+ years of full-time use. Maybe Newmar’s seals are different than your brand? We’d check with you manufacturer rather than listen to any one tech. We’d think the most important thing to do is not put anything on them that will attract and hold dirt.

  4. What a great tip for maintaining the slide-out seals. Is there any tips on how to lubricate the gasket that presses against the slide-out sides? I always hear the gasket squealing when moving the slide out or in like when a squeegee runs over a smooth surface. I’ve tried waxing the slide sides so the gasket does not drag too much but have not noticed much improvement. Also is there a product that will rejuvenate a rubber seal/gasket?

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      Author

      Hi Rod. We’ve never had that issue, so don’t have a first-hand recommendation. Waxing is exactly what we were going to suggest, but since you’ve already tried that, it obviously didn’t do the trick. Have you tried baby powder on them too? That might stop the friction/dragging that’s likely causing the squealing, but without causing any greasiness or attracting dirt the way a typical lubricant might.

  5. I have a question: do you have a complete listing anywhere of all of your “maintenance items” you do to your coach? I’m sure my 5th wheel would require most of them, and probably additional ones, like repacking axle bearings. If you have a list, it would be helpful to know what products you use while doing the “maintenance items.” Keep up the great videos! I look forward to each one!

    Jerry

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      Author

      Hi Jerry! We do have an overview video of our annual maintenance and spring cleaning items that does include a lot of the basics, although the chassis/engine service is not included. You can find that one here: http://www.thervgeeks.com/annual-maintenance/rv-spring-cleaning/

      We also have a playlist covering a whole host of service items, although again, some of the chassis service is not covered, since there are some things we have done at a shop. That playlist is here: http://www.thervgeeks.com/maintenance/

      Hope this helps!

  6. Great video. Just mentioned to the wife that there was a video I watched about protecting the rubber seals. Just couldn’t remember where. Thanks for the brain refresher. I’ll get her on that right away. LOL.

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      Author

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