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Maintaining RV Slide-Out Seals

Maintaining RV Slide-Out Seals

RV slide-out rooms have both inner and outer seals (I also refer to them as gaskets, but seals is probably the more accurate word). They keep the slides sealed against the elements whether they are extended or retracted. Keeping them working smoothly is a quick and easy once-a-year maintenance item… probably the simplest task on our annual spring cleaning list!

Although there are commercial products available for lubricating slideout seals, when we picked up our new motorhome from Newmar, they recommended that we simply rub them with baby powder / talcum powder once a year, and nothing else would be required. This has worked well for us over the 7 years we’ve owned our RV, and avoids the cost of commercial products. Another benefit of baby powder is that it doesn’t attract dust and dirt the way many liquid products can.

Our slide-out room seals look pretty much brand new, even after nearly 7 years of full-timing. If your manufacturer recommends some other method, by all means follow their recommendation, but we’re pleased with this method and highly recommend giving it a try.

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

NOTE: Our “baby powder” has an ingredient list of just “talc & fragrance”, so be sure to check the ingredients on the powder you’re using. Some baby powders are corn starch, and not talcum powder… and that may not work as well (or could even be a problem). So be sure to use talc-based powder, not corn starch.

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Loel

Wednesday 20th of October 2021

I know this is a post some time since you put up the slide seal maintenance videos so I hope you see this and can comment. Since posting parts 1 & 2 the issue of Talc powder has removed it from our market replacing it with cornstarch based powder. What do you use now? Also, two related questions: 1) Since powder does nothing for UV would you consider treating exterior seals with 303 Arospace first and then Talc? 2) Although I treat my seals with 3M seal ( now I use 303) I notice the wiper seals "sticking" part in and part out, the opposite of how they should face with slide movement. Should powder solve this problem? If not what do you recommend?

TheRVgeeks

Wednesday 20th of October 2021

Hi Loel,

Good question. We haven't yet updated this post with our answer, because we haven't definitively identified one yet (mostly because we still have a container of talcum powder that may last us the rest of our lives, since slide seals is literally the only use we have for it, LOL!).

First off... we wouldn't use cornstarch as a replacement for the talcum powder because the cornstarch is likely to attract moisture instead and then clump. Actually, many of the recommended replacements for talc have that same problem. You really want a mineral powder that's fine enough not to scratch or damage the slideout and/or the seals... and which isn't going to dissolve in water and just get washed away easily. We'd consider using a Zinc powder (like this one on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3vI9CUN) or a white cosmetic Kaolin clay (like this, also on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3G8nmg0), though we may skew toward the Kaolin because the Zinc powder may be fine enough that it could make a bit of a mess (think Zinc Oxide sunscreen). We haven't tried either yeat, but these are what we'd target.

We don't use ANY products (3M seal or Aerospace 303 or anything) on our slideout seals because Newmar doesn't recommend it. The reasoning is because pretty much ANYTHING you spray onto the seal is going to make it stickier. Which can cause the seal to "stick" to the slide as it's coming in/out... and potentially rip/tear it. And because that stickiness can lead to grit getting stuck to the surface, again risking damaging the finish on the slide. So we've never sprayed our slideout seals with any kind of UV protectant in the 16+ years we've owned it... and they're all still in great shape. Maybe Newmar uses a different material for their slide seals than other manufacturers (ours is a black/gray, somewhat spongy material)?

If your manufacturer recommends using a protectant like Aerospace 303 on the seals, then you definitely should follow their lead. But if doing so is causing it to stick to the slide... you could try coating them with a light dusting of Zinc powder to stop that from happening (though we'd recommend being sure they aren't still too wet with the 303, since that could make a big mess)... OR you could try putting strips of adhesive step traction/tread material (like this: https://amzn.to/3AUN5op) in strategic places along this sidewall of the slide, to "grip" the seal as the slide goes in/out, helping to flip them the right way. Older era Monaco/Holiday Rambler motorhomes often have that installed (from the factory we think) for that very reason.

Hope all of this helps!

Jan

Thursday 20th of June 2019

This is a brilliant idea. We used baby powder on our slides and they now work fabulously! May I ask a related question? Somewhere I read that the hydraulic oil in our Lippert system should be changed every 36 months. If that’s accurate, we need to do so. I’m trying to find videos or information on the process and can’t locate information for this. I find good info on monitoring the condition of the slides and jacks along with watching the level of the hydraulic oil. What do you recommend for proper maintenance on our Lippert system?

TheRVgeeks

Thursday 20th of June 2019

Hi Jan! Glad the baby powder "trick" worked for you! We've found that it has kept our Newmar's slide seals working great for the past 14 years of full-time use! Hard to complain about that, right?!?! LOL!

As for the maintenance on the Lippert system, we can't say specifically since we've never had that system (our slides are Newmar-designed and electrically operated... and our jack system is by HWH with different maintenance requirements). First, we'd suggest contacting Lippert directly. They should be able to tell you whether the 36 month interval is accurate or not. And, once you've got them on the line, they may be able to provide some instruction on how to replace the fluid.

Barring any help from Lippert, we did find this thread in the Luxury Suites (5th Wheel) Owner's forum that listed a couple of techniques people had used: https://suitesownersinternationaltravelclub.vbulletin.net/forum/soitc-general-forum/tips-tricks-aftermarket-mods/3615-lippert-hydraulic-reservoir-fluid-change. Maybe one of them would work for you. If you can find your hydraulic fluid reservoir, that may help you determine what process would work best. If it's easily accessible, and has a large enough opening, you could use a turkey baster to suck the fluid out. Or, if you have one, a fluid pump that connects to a power/cordless drill could do the job. You'll want to do this when the jacks are retracted (if your jacks are hydraulic and use the same reservoir). As for the slides, you may need to check the fluid level in the tank with the jacks extended and then when they're retracted (replace the tank cap before retracting/extending the slides so you don't have a gusher!) in order to determine which position returns the most fluid to the reservoir (so you can remove the largest quantity and replace with new).

Sorry we can't be more specific... but hope we've given you some ideas!

Elizabeth

Wednesday 3rd of May 2017

Always enjoy our videos and advice. Thank you so much for all the time and effort that goes into them. I have one small suggestion: might it be possible to link to, or somehow include a notification when there is an update or modification to a video?

TheRVgeeks

Wednesday 3rd of May 2017

Thanks so much for your kind words, Elizabeth. Means a lot. ? Once a video is up on YouTube, there's no way to update or modify it, so no way to send out updates.

Stephen Alexander

Friday 2nd of September 2016

Have you ever had to replace the slide-out seals? Just looked at my today and they are cracking on the hot sunny side, Looks like we have two types of seals, one is glued on and the others are pushed on. Any hints on how to replace would be appreciated.

TheRVgeeks

Friday 2nd of September 2016

Hi Stephen. We have seen many slide seals with cracking, and even more commonly "pulling" damage, from the seals sticking to the wall of the slide as it opens, and having little bits of rubber pulled off over time. We've been both careful and lucky, always powdering the seals once a year to prevent sticking, and never having them crack from the sun (that's the lucky part I guess, since I doubt baby powder does anything to prevent that).

So the short answer is no, we've never had to replace any of our slide seals, so we have no experience in the technique to advise you. We'd suggest that the best place to post your question is on the iRV2 forums. If you're not familiar with that, there are thousands of fellow RVers there with experience in any RV topic you can imagine, eager to answer questions that they know about from personal experience. It's free to join and post at http://irv2.com/forums.

Sorry we couldn't be of more help on this one, but hope this gets you headed in the right direction. Best of luck and please let us know how you make out.

John Gostomski

Saturday 12th of December 2015

Unable to load videos on my iPad. Do your videos work on an iPad? We just picked up our new 2016 NEWMAR Dutch Star 3736.

Thanks. John Gostomski

TheRVgeeks

Saturday 12th of December 2015

Congratulations on your brand new Dutch Star, John! All of our videos work on our iPad, and iPhone too. Not sure what the problem might be. Maybe try connecting to fast WiFi network and see if that works? We've not heard anyone have a problem before and our stats show lots of mobile views.

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