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Operating Slides Without Running Engine

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We have a 2011 Bounder Classic 30 ft on a F-53.

Operation of the slides call for starting the engine, brake on, etc. My question is, can I operate the slides while plugged into our 50 amp service at home, battery charger operating and batteries charged, without having the engine running.

I don't want to burn up the slide motors or anything like that, but I would like to be able to operate the slides without having to run the engine. Starting the engine to me means letting it run 15-20 minutes to warm up before shutting down.

The slides are electric and operate with Powergear motors. If in doubt, I will continue to operate slides like the manual says....

Thanks,

Rob

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I often operate my slides while the engine is off, but each RV may be different. It might be appropriate to follow the instructions in your manual.

Just running the engine for 15 or 20 minutes is not enough for most engines. They have to be exercised (driven) to get the engine temp. up to operating temps. and get the oil adequately dispersed. Plus this is good for the tires as well. This also allows the transmission to get adequately oiled and warmed.

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If your charger charges both battery banks and has close to the same charging capacity that your engine alternator has then yes, you can use your slides while plugged in. If you have a voltage monitor on board you can watch what happens when you move the slides while plugged in. If the voltage starts to fall of quickly then it's not going to work. If the batteries hold their charge or you only see a minimal drop then you will be OK. The other consideration...as I write and ramble....is that the manufacturer wants to see more than 12V which the engine alternator likely provides when it's running (sometimes close to 14V). If that's true you might be able to force your charger into bulk mode to get the higher charge or put it into equalization mode while you run the slides in or out and then turn it off. Equalization mode will get the volts up to the 14+ range.

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Rob,

Like Bill, I do not see an issue running your slide(s) in and out while connected to shore power or running the generator. The chargers put out around 90 amps in most cases.

So if the coach batteries are in good condition / or nearly fully charged the slide motors should run just fine.

The key here is the fact that the slide motors do draw a considerable load and by being connected to a source of power keeps them from being discharged and then left in that condition.

Rich.

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Well, it seems to work just fine with the charger in bulk mode and the ignition key must be on. It also appears the current is being taken from the "start battery", not the house batteries. But I'm fine with that.. We do run our MH down the road often just to keep the tires round, but now it will be more convienent to put a slide out or in as needed for whatever reason when we're at the house.

Thanks to all of ya,

Rob

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The one constant in RVs is there is no standard. All the manufactures have their own idea of how they want to wire their coach. You just have to read there owners manual. I can run my slides without starting the motor but I prefer to do it when plugged in or the generator running. I have run them when not plugged in but they do drag the batteries down pretty bad. Bill

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the whole point is to keep the voltage up when running the slides. If your slides are powered from the chassis battery, make sure your charger (inverter) is supplying charge current to them. If not, the voltage will drop toward (or below) 12 volts which results in higher current through the motor(s) which in turn caused more heat in the motors and (possibly) premature failure.

Lenp

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My rig has a interlock that prevents the slides from operating with the engine running or the key on. Like Wild Bill said there is no standard in the RV industry when it comes to controls etc.

There is also no quality manufacturing standard as in the auto industry so we all put up with manufacturing defects etc.

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The one constant in RVs is there is no standard. All the manufactures have their own idea of how they want to wire their coach. You just have to read there owners manual. I can run my slides without starting the motor but I prefer to do it when plugged in or the generator running. I have run them when not plugged in but they do drag the batteries down pretty bad. Bill

Amen to that! With my previous Bounder I usually had the engine running while extending/retracting the slides since that's what Fleetwood said. And it seems kind of natural when arriving or leaving a campsite to do it that way. If I was at home with 50amp shore power connected I may not start the engine.

Now though, our new to us HR Endeavor DP is completely backward from the instructions for the Bounder...engine off when operating the slides. Additionally the Bounder specified to always deploy leveling jacks before operating the slides. The HR specifically says to deploy slides, dump air, then level. I'll get used to it eventually!

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We have a different Fleetwood model, but it is similar to your Bounder. When we get to our site beside our home, I leave the engine running long enough to lower the jacks and extend the two slides. But after unloading what we need to and cleaning, I just turn on the ignition and retract slides without starting engine. When we are getting loaded to leave, I again turn on the ignition without starting the engine and extend to slides and again to retract for departure. My jacks take a lot more power than the slide motors, so I start the engine, retract the slides and then retract the jacks. The key is to know the state of charge of your batteries before operating high power motors.

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I find this interesting that there are so many different procedures to accomplish the same end result based off of each manufacture and in some cases the same manufacture, different model.

My slides will only operate if the side bay doors (under the slide) are closed and the ignition key is in the OFF position. I am not sure which battery bank they are connected to but I have brought them in and out with no external power source or generator on many times, honestly never gave it any thought and the engine cranks over just fine after.

I believe they are made by power gear; there is an electrical motor with a drive shaft extending to the left and right that has a gear on the end of each shaft, similar to a rack and pinion design. Very basic and simple design.

I can tell you that when I am plugged in or the generator is on the chassis and coach batteries are being charged.

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My manual specifically states to run the engine to let the alternator provide additional current, and also to level before extending the slides. I reverse the process when departing a CG. Have I extended the jacks or extended the slides without the engine running? Yes, with no adverse affect and only occasionally do I do that. I will just put the iginition into accessory mode and tweak leveling when I have to without the engine running. About 99.9% of the time I do what the manual states should be done.

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When we camped at the Grand Canyon it was dry camping and we put our slide out and in several times on the house battery. We just ran the generator to charge the batteries when needed, usually each morning while fixing/having breakfast. But in the future I might either have the engine on or the generator on when I do move the slide, just so the battery charge is higher.

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The slides on our coach will not operate unless the key in the ignition is turned off. The owners manual also states to move the slides only when the suspension is inflated. Then you must deflate the suspension before leveling the coach.

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I guess the real answer is that every manufacturer, and even models withing MFG's can be different so it is best to read the manual. If a manual is not on hand, call them. If they are out of business try and find someone with a manual if you don't have one.

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I guess the real answer is that every manufacturer, and even models withing MFG's can be different so it is best to read the manual. If a manual is not on hand, call them. If they are out of business try and find someone with a manual if you don't have one.

TOTALLY AGREE.

There is no "one answer fits all".

And, posting what is correct for one coach may be the exact opposite of that is recommended for another coach.

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Rob, my slides will not operate with the engine running or even with the key on and the engine not running.

Herman

Same for mine. Ignition must be off.

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Something different here. Owned our 2003 Phaeton for 16 months. Always extended the slides after leveling and plugged into park power (engine off). Started having a little trouble on our way to Colorado. Tapped on the solenoid using a wrench with success. Last week at the KOA in Limon the slides would not come in. Felt the solenoid and it was warm to the touch though it had done nothing but receive a short jolt of 12 volts. Paid for another day guessing the solenoid was bad. Quick removal and off to NAPA for a replacement. They found a "will fit," and the installation was easy. Hit the in button on both slides and nothing happened. Got on a Tiffin oriented site and read an old response about the ignition key being on. Turned the key on and the slides worked. Never had to do that before??? We are at the Heart of the Rockies RV site on US 50 west of Poncha Springs. The manager lives in an identical 40 Phaeton so I mentioned the event to him. He assured me that his slides can be moved with the ignition off. He even double checked to be sure he was right.

Oh well/ I now have a spare solenoid, but still puzzled by why things changed after 16 months. It will always be an adventure when I operate them from now on.

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ObedB,

I can relate, mine are not supposed to operate with the key on and the front one will not move, but the rear one will come on, and shut down, cycle the slide switch and it will move another foot and stop, you can do this all the way in or out, or just go and turn the ignition switch to the off position and it works just fine. When the engine is running they do not work at all, oddly the engine will start when they are extended and its not supposed to. I have a process that works for me when setting up:

1, pull into the site stop where you want to park, set parking brake.

2, feather the brake pedal so the compressor comes on, let it build air, once the air dryer purges I shut the engine off.

3, run both slides out

4, dump the air suspension

5, press the auto level button.

6, while its leveling I hook up Water/sewer etc...

I just noticed my electric back up compressor stopped working, so I will have to see whats going on there.

One thing that seems odd, when I dump the suspension I use air from my tanks, the gauge will drop.

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All these coaches are different. I was told that the reason my slides would not operate without the key on (recommend engine running) was a safety consideration. Apparently they were concerned a child could active a slide by just pushing a button...if he/she could reach it.

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