The great debate: Slideout supports

The great debate: Slideout supports

By Russ and Tiña De Maris

Ah, the great debates. Lincoln v. Douglas. Chevy v. Ford. Slideout supports v. nothing. Round up a few folks around a campfire and pop the question – “Do you think I need supports under my slideout,” and watch the fun begin.

Variously called “slide out stabilizers,” or “slide out supports,” these little jack stands are designed to slip under a slide out frame and crank up to give added support. One major retailer says they, “Protect your slide-out extension tubes from bending, causing difficult slide-out operation.” Sounds pretty serious–a bent frame could be bad news when it’s time to weigh anchor and hit the road. But hang on a minute–if they’re so critical, why don’t RV manufacturers provide them with new rigs, or at least make them a piece of optional equipment?

Not everyone with a slide out “buys into” the stabilizer story. One RV technician says his understanding is that if an RV under warranty comes in with a damaged slide that could be attributed to a stabilizer, all bets are off for getting warranty service. It begs the question: If your slide out needs stabilization to prevent damage, why aren’t there scores of unhappy campers limping across the country on their way to service bays, slide out rooms flapping in the breeze?

Some of those who foreswear slide out stabilizers point to a potential problem: What if your rig were to “settle” while the stabilizers did not: They suggest the pressures placed on the slide out frame could be enough to damage it, leaving the RVer in a world of hurt.

On the other hand, friends of ours just don’t feel comfortable “hanging out in space,” without the additional support under their slide out. Of course, we also have a friend who won’t venture up into the “gooseneck” portion of her fifth wheel until her husband installs a king pin stabilizer. Says she knows it’s crazy, but she just imagines the whole works tipping down on the king pin when she shifts her weight forward. Does impose an interesting mental picture . . .

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