Thumbs down: Loose bolts under the slideout

Thumbs down: Loose bolts under the slideout

We received this letter from an RVtravel.com reader. There are two sides to every story, so always keep that in mind. After reading this, please comment about your own, similar experiences.

Dear Chuck,
Recently I noticed daylight emitting into my fifth wheel along the side of the slide-out. The RV is a Rockwood Signature Ultra Light, 32-foot 8289WS by Forest River. After an examination and a couple quick measurements it was determined the slide-out had shifted and needed to be realigned.

Going under the slide-out to find the adjustment bolts I discovered the manufacturer had used a regular nut to secure the adjustment bolts. Three out of four nuts had vibrated loose allowing the slide-out to shift.

I fired off an e-mail to the manufacturer of my rig and a day later got a reply. I was told due to the fact that RV vibrated while going down the highway I should periodically check all nuts and bolts on my rig. He said “Treat it like a lug nut.”

I fired back with, “How about the manufacturer use a locking nut so that owners don’t have to crawl around under their rigs checking nuts and bolts?”

Since then I went to the hardware store and purchased “jam” nuts which snug up against the original nut to lock them in place.

AFTERWARDS, I had the opportunity to speak with some of my neighbors. I asked them if they ever crawled under their rig to inspect the nuts and bolts for tightness. They all said no and could not believe that was the reply from the manufacturer.  —Kurt S.

Please take a moment to answer this poll:

##RVT812

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17 thoughts on “Thumbs down: Loose bolts under the slideout

  1. Billy Bob Thorton

    Yes, do open slide, check and re-tighten all bolts. Make it part of your fall put it to bed, maintenance schedule. Mine were loose.

  2. Rob Kidder & Arlene Wood

    There are so few good stories about RV dealers, I would like to share one. We recently had problems with one of our slides. We own a 2013 Coachmen Leprechaun 317 SA with full body paint. We purchased it new from Manteca Trailer and RV. We are full time and love it. Our main slide made a noise like a tree branch snapping when we were bring it in. Looked, nothing? When we were putting the slide out, we heard what sounded like a machine gun ( Vietnam Vet). The slide was half way out and tilting towards the ground. We were able to bring it back in. 75% of the screws in the Interior flange had popped out. Lucky to be back from Arizona. Drove Jeep to Manteca Trailer and explained our problem. We were told they couldn’t help us for at least a week. Booked solid! The shop manager heard our problem and came out and said….. can you be here tomorrow at 8 am? We were there at 8 am. and out at 1 pm. All screws replaced with larger better screws. $196 total cost. We have a $200 deductible. They were great. We have been really lucky with very few problems with our motorhome.

  3. Patrick Stiltner

    I check my slide very other time I go out. Nonetheless, it has come out of alignment due to simply driving my coach down the road. It’s not uncommon to find constructions trash and dirt under the slide, especially when camping near dirt and sand. My no shoe policy in the coach seems to help but dust and dirt still collect.

  4. Michael Gardner

    I’m a 2017 flagstaff owner, my daughter has the a Rockwood built a couple of months later at the same Elkhart factory. BOTH had wiring in that metal box under the front left side of the trailer that wasn’t close to being done properly. My trailer – the Brake Breakaway switch wasn’t crimped in. On the Rockwood the BRAKE wire going to the wheels wasn’t crimped. It was making intermittent contact inside the connector, but NOT TIGHT. Other wires, were also not properly crimped. BOTH trailers, the main 8 gauge battery wire was CUT and “connected” via a wire nut. Mine was loose. FOUR INCHES away, this wire connects to a breaker with a nice eye lug. WHY CUT IT? I strongly suggest that ANY owner of ANY Flagstaff trailer built in the last few years take a good look inside this box on their trailer – test every connection for loose wires.

  5. DAVE TELENKO

    My comment is from my current experience with my 2017 Forest River Berkshire 34QS. If you have a Forest River, your going to have many issues, not just loose nuts. Their Quality Control is the end user, up to date I’ve had over 30 issues with my M/H & in only 9 months. I’m fed up with them & I hear the same story about most other Motor Homes, very sad!

    1. daniel mcgreevy

      would never buy a forest river again they have no pride in their work and Albany rv is worse them have a year to get service by the you have to pay for it good luck

  6. Paul Goldberg

    I get under my slideout rooms from time to time. One day I was under just to access the compartment door and noticed what appeared to be a broken bolt. It turned out to be a stop bolt, positioned to stop the slideout from being pulled too far into the coach. I was able to buy a suitable bolt of appropriate size and grade and replace it. Now, every time I am working outside the coach I make sure to take a look at all the stop bolts and other fittings that secure the slideout rooms. I do not crawl under the frame any more, that was for my younger years. I pay Freightliner handsomely to do those inspections.

  7. Roy Ellithorpe

    I just walk around and pick up the nuts, bolts and screws that have fallen off. Pretty difficult to check for most loose stuff. One day we lost power in the kitchen, much searching later found burned wires in one of 3 junction boxes below due to loose wire nut. You have to move a LOT of stuff to crawl around under there. One Dec 24 the furnace won’t come on. A loose connection on the back of the Aqua Hot made it think we were using hot water which overrides the furnace function. Yes, that’s a place I’m going to crawl into once a year.

  8. Travilenman

    I have cable operated slides there are no nuts/bolts under the slides…BUT I do regularly check the cable system…

  9. Bob

    Frequency depends on miles travelled.
    But it is iimportant to not only check for loose fasteners but also for cracked welds and other items. For confirmTion read the DeMaris’s post about their trailer hitch. It is something I do on a regular basis. There is nothing worse than standing on the side of the road with a dumb look on your face.

  10. Nelson Needham

    I have been under my trailer a number of times. As a new RVer (1 year) and an old (10 year) trailer, I have done maintenance, inspections and repairs, but have never checked for loose nuts and bolts. I do not have any slide outs.

  11. Traveling Man

    An inexpensive fix (by the manufacturer would be to at least install RTV or Locktite on each nut. Fender skirt screws are too small for the job but at least that would keep them from coming out and giving one flat tire.

  12. Rusty

    Beginning of each camping season, not a full timer yet, I do the under carriage crawl inspection of our cls C. The neighbors class A unit is almost impossible to crawl under in some areas

  13. M H Bell

    Same thing as ED said, only if I am under the coach doing something else.

  14. Ed

    Only when I am under there for some other service like an oil change and then only in that area of the coach.

  15. Mike Sokol

    Another thing to consider is loose screws in the RV’s electrical system. I’ve seen a number of electrical problems including open grounds and hot-skin conditions that were caused by loose connections in the circuit breaker panel and various junction boxes. Since there’s no locking mechanism in these connectors, road vibration and heating/cooling effects tend to loosen those screws over time. I’m not sure of any solution other than to open up the circuit box and re-torque the screws every few years. More to study on this…

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