Should I Level My RV With Slides In or Out?

by Edward
(NJ)

Why You Should Level Your RV With the Slides In

Why You Should Level Your RV With the Slides In

My question is,, Should the slides be in or out when leveling your RV using Hydraulic Jack‎s? I have heard both, I also was told by the dealer to level first but service has stated to have them out...need some help.

ANSWER: Hi Edward, the rule of thumb for the majority of RVs with powered hydraulic leveling jacks is to level your RV first then extend your RV's slides (check your RV's owner's manual to be sure). This procedure creates a level platform to start with and produces less strain on the leveling and slideout systems.

Let's try a little physics experiment so that you can get a better idea of why the level first method is best. For this experiment you will need a 10 pound weight or something that weighs close to 10 pounds that you can hold in one of your hands.


For this experiment your legs are going to act as your RV's leveling jacks and your arm is your RV's slideout. In this case we are talking about a 1 slide RV.

To start out just hold the weight in one of your hands with your arms relaxed at your side. That 10 pound weight is in your center of gravity and you should have no problems squatting with this extra weight. With the slides in the weight stays closer to your RV's center of gravity giving the leveling jacks an easier
job of handling the weight.

Now take that weight and push it straight out to your side at shoulder level. You can now see that the 10 pounds seems much heavier and it may be a little bit harder to squat up and down because you are having to adjust for the uneven weight distribution.

In multi slide RVs, the slides are very seldom the exact same size and weight, So it would be like holding a 50 pound weight in your other hand, except slideouts weigh hundreds of pounds and you can see how this uneven weight distribution can cause strain on the leveling jacks.

Another factor is that most slideout systems are designed to be extended and retracted when they are level. The less level your RV is when the slides are being extended the more strain that is put on the leveling systems trying to push the slides out at an angle. On some mechanical slide out systems this extra strain is a good way to break the shear pins on the gears that move the slides in and out. When this happens the slides have to be manually opened and closed.

I hope this information helped.

Do you have any suggestions or comments on this topic? You can add them to this page by clicking on the "Click Here To Post Comments" link located near the bottom of this page.

Happy RVing

RVing Al

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Check manufacturer's recommendation first..
by: R Roberts

The experiment is very convincing, but I will stick with the manufacturer's guide. I have a 2016 Mountain Aire ( Newmar) and the manual says to extend slides then level, and when breaking camp, retract the leveling pads, then retract the slides. I am a FT'er and have been doing it this way for 2 years with this RV, and I have had no problems with slides whatsoever. I will repeat, check the manufacturer's guide and follow their instructions. That way you stay out of trouble. Most salesmen don't own an RV, so there is no way I'm taking their recommendations as gospel.Some rigs on the market recommend you level first and then extend slides, yet others recommend you extend the slides then level. There is a distinc difference between towables and mototrized RF's. There are differences between manufacturers also. So do yourself a favor and check.......

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My experience
by: Anonymous

Have a 2017 travel trailer with2 sliders on the same side. We also level with boards BEFORE extending slides. The first few trips went well until when wandering around the unit I noticed it was out of level. Now I have learned how much the slides knock the unit off so I level it with the slides in but leave the bubble off the amount that the slides tip the unit when extended. I also bought slide supports to cut the wobbles that amount of weight hanging out there causes. Just don’t crank those supports too high. Not meant for jacking, just for preventing seesawing.

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Walk around before extending
by: Buly

I walk around the coach ( Dutch Stat) and check the gaps around the slides. If there is a gross difference in the gaps, it will let me know there is a twist in the chassis. Than I level and check again. So far it works well for me.

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Air suspension or springs?
by: Just a thought

We are looking for one answer to cover all slide outs & there is no one solution. All coaches are NOT created equal, all slides are not created equal, all foundations / frames are not of equal strength. Generally, with the air suspension coaches the frame is on a more stable foundation with little to no twist / torque on the frame. Some with the air suspension will compensate for the weight changes as the slides are extended. Thus Entegra & some others recommend to slide the extensions out before using the leveling jacks. Coaches with spring suspension, (& some air systems) the possibility exist for the frame / foundation to have a slight twist or as the slid is extended will create a weight problem thus creating a bind on the slide. In this case leveling would be preferred before extending.
( I know the adds state solid foundations with special bracing to create a non twisting, solid foundation, some do as they advertise. Please, I know of brand loyalty, and personal experience...) SO Check with your manufacture, if they say slid out first, do it. If it is not recommended do not. Remember NOT all coaches, not all slides are created equal, even different model coaches from the same manufacture.

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Diffrent strokes for diffrent folks
by: Bob

A 2011 Monaco Cayman has only 3 jacks one only at the front. The manual says to put the slides out only when sitting on fully pressurised air bag system which has self levelers. They don't say why not to jack first to level but I gather that the frame can be twisted slightly when only 1 jack is used on the front, and that could upset the sliding mechanisms.

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Slide levling
by: Anonymous

I have been told that having a 4 inch block under the foot of the leveling Jack decreases the movement inside. The shorter the rod sticks out makes it more stable.

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Entegra Motor Coach
by: One55chev

We visited the Entegra Manufacturing plant for our 2 year inspection. While not only going thought assembly line, we had PJ give classes and answer questions.This was brought and he stated that on
On Entegra Coaches to let the slidesoutfirst, then the leveling. Reverse order when leaving.

Thanks,
Stan

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Slid out
by: Earnies2

When I jack and level my JAYCO 25E the slid out binds

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There isn't an answer.
by: Anonymous

If you talk to the manufacturer of the slide; they want the unit level to not damage their product. And the statement is the same for the leveling. They would like to minimize any load change from running hundreds or thousands of pounds outside center of gravity. As a master technician my experience tells me if the product is installed properly (slide outs and leveling system). I doesn't matter. If something fails it can almost always attributed to another issue.

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Leveling with slides in or out
by: Jim

My question is this. Once the slides are out and you notice that you're not as level as you thought, could it be harmful to do a little "fine tuning" without bringing the slides back in?

Note from RVing Al: To prevent damage to your slide outs or leveling system, I would not ever recommend trying to adjust the level of your RV with the slides out.

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Dumb
by: Anonymous

The only dumb question is the one not asked !! Maybe you should keep your derogatory comments to yourself !!

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dumb
by: Anonymous

Whats a shame is that people can not ask questions without a self proclaimed expert throwing in some smartass reply.

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slides in or out when leveling
by: Anonymous

I mostly agree with your comments and reasoning; however, our motorhome has a different leveling system and explicitly says to put the slides out before leveling. My advice is to look at your manuals to make sure. I know that our previous motorhome and 5th wheel both said level and then put slides out.
I think the one we have now is one of the few that is different.

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Dumb
by: Anonymous

I hope that this is made up if it's not people this dumb should not own a rv with slides.

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leveling
by: Jeff Jones

What would be the proper way to level if you dont have the leveling jacks ?? I have wood blocks that i drive up on to get level. Never thought about it before but(i know safety 1st)should i do the slideout first then drive up on my blocks or get on blocks first then do slideout ?? Thanks much. Jeff Jones

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