Slide out Extension & Retraction w/ Hydraulic Leveling - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 04-16-2019, 04:04 AM   #1
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Slide out Extension & Retraction w/ Hydraulic Leveling

Ok, I posted this on the Facebook Voltage group page, but thought Iíd post here too as food for thought & opinions.

This question for those of you with the 6-point hydraulic leveling jacks. It really doesnít apply to anyone else, because the pressures arenít as great with electric legs or manual systems.

So Iíve had my rig coming on 6 years now... and as a usual practice, after unhitching, I always level out my rig BEFORE extending my slides. When getting ready to depart... I retract the slides BEFORE I raise the nose gear, hitch up, and then fully retract all of the jacks.

This is how I was taught by other RVing friends before buying my own, and never thought much else about it. I also canít say Iíve had any real issues doing it this way after all this time. So, why am I bringing it up?

Had an interesting discussion with a mobile tech a few weeks ago. Iíd used the guy a few years before, liked his work, and had him come take care of a few little issues when I revisited the area again this spring. So what Iím saying is, the guyís not a fly-by-night flunkie... heís a professional whoís got a pretty good idea about what heís doing.

Anyway, the work required us to relieve pressure on the front hydraulic gear, so Iíd need to hitch up. I told him to gimme a minute while I moved a few things around inside to retract the slide, and he asked ďWhy are you dong that?Ē As I began to explain that I didnít wanna leave it out while I raised the gear & flexed the frame... he just smiled. I stopped, and said... ďOk, obviously you donít like that idea... explain it to me.Ē

He said he sees it all the time, and many times itís why people have issues with their slides. His theory:

He said, think about it. When is the frame of your rig the straightest, and least stressed? Provided youíre on relatively level ground, and/or the wheels arenít sitting in deep craters on one side... when itís in a natural state, unsupported by any of the jacks. Any slight ground imperfections are absorbed by the suspension. However, when you unhitch and then begin the auto-level sequence... the hydraulic forces from the jacks begin exerting great pressures on the frame, with the sole purpose of getting the sensors (front-rear, side-to-side) level with each other... regardless of how that affects the integrity of the frame.

Ergo, according to him, the time when the frame is at its most natural, unstressed state, is BEFORE the rig is unhitched. A close 2nd is with the rig unhitched, resting on the front landing gear, and again, BEFORE the leveling sequence is begun. And therefore, that should be the time the slides are extended and/or retracted.

Itís an interesting view, and Iíve done a bit of searching on the web... but Iíve yet to find a definitive answer. Seen lots of opinions, from lots of different people, but nothing Iíd call definitive.

So Iím curious... let me hear a few more opinions & theories. Do you retract your slides before or after... or, does it really matter to you?

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Old 04-16-2019, 07:31 AM   #2
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Hmm interesting I like you have always extended or retracted slides only when level BUT this theory actually makes sense I'm interested to hear others opinions and hear what other experts say

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Old 04-16-2019, 08:14 AM   #3
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Makes sense, but on the other hand 6 years without an issue kind of speaks for itself also.
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Old 04-16-2019, 12:28 PM   #4
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This question for those of you with the 6-point hydraulic leveling jacks. It really doesnít apply to anyone else, because the pressures arenít as great with electric legs or manual systems.

Would it not take the same amount of work and force to level the frame regardless of being raised by a motor or a ram or a gear?
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Old 04-16-2019, 11:59 PM   #5
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Very interesting. I also always level first with no problems in the past 2 years. I wonder what Dutchmen says. I can't seem to find a thing on auto levelers operation and sequence. Will be following close.
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Old 04-17-2019, 12:55 AM   #6
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I level first because of the crappy Schwintec slides I have. When I'm setting up an RV show, I don't level the 5th wheels at all and the slides still work fine. Seems it really doesn't matter.
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Old 04-17-2019, 07:20 AM   #7
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Interesting concept but I still would rather have my 8 foot sofa slide moving in and out when the frame is level to the ground. Yes I could see some pressure on the frame but if the steel frame is level then I would think that is best.

Maybe the actual answer is that it really doesnít matter either way but as all of us in here seem to level first I really donít feel like changing my program.
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Old 04-18-2019, 09:49 AM   #8
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Interesting POV from the tech. On Schwintec I think the manual calls for leveling first. I haven't had a unit with hydraulic slides so I can't say one way or the other.


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