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?
2013 VOLTAGE 3200 (EPIC I & II)
2014 Ford F-450 PLATINUM