Friday, October 3, 2014

Slideout supports: Love 'em or leave 'em?

Yes, this photo is doctored. But this can happen!
There can be no doubt that slideout rooms in fifth wheels (and other RVs as well) are the difference between night and day. That little bit of extra floor space can make up for a whole-lot of "too much togetherness." Now the question: Should you use aftermarket slide out support stands?

Variously called "slide out stabilizers" or "slide out supports," these little jack stands are designed to slip under a slideout frame and crank up to give added support. One major retailer says they, "Protect your slideout extension tubes from bending, causing difficult slideout operation." Sounds pretty serious — a bent frame could be bad news when it's time to weigh anchor and hit the road. But hang on a minute — if they're so critical, why don't RV manufacturers provide them with new rigs, or at least make them a piece of optional equipment?

Not everyone with a slideout "buys into" the stabilizer story. One RV technician says his understanding is that if an RV under warranty comes in with a damaged slide that could be attributed to a stabilizer, all bets are off for getting warranty service. It begs the question: If your slideout needs stabilization to prevent damage, why aren't there scores of unhappy campers limping across the country on their way to service bays, slide out rooms flapping in the breeze?

Some of those who fore swear slide out stabilizers point to a potential problem: What if your rig were to "settle" while the stabilizers did not: They suggest the pressures placed on the slide out frame could be enough to damage it, leaving the RVer in a world of hurt.

On the other hand, friends of ours just don't feel comfortable "hanging out in space" without the additional support under their slide out. Of course, we also have a friend who won't venture up into the "gooseneck" portion of her fifth wheel until her husband installs a king pin stabilizer. Says she knows it's crazy, but she just imagines the whole works tipping down on the king pin when she shifts her weight forward. Does impose an interesting mental picture . . . okay, we'll turn it over to you. Have you had experience with a slideout frame bending — with or without a stabilizer?

Protect your RV's slideout
with this rubber seal lubricant

If you don't take care of your slideout you're asking for problems including dangerous, costly water damage. This rubber seal lubricant from Thetford prevents fading, cracking and deterioration. It cleans, conditions and shines, keeping seals flexible and protected from sunlight destruction. It is also useful on door seals and window seals. It's a mineral oil product and also acts as a lubricant.

Learn more or order.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Use a leaf blower to clean slideout tops

By Jim Twamley

RV slideouts are a wonderful invention and make RVs so much more spacious! Our first 5th wheel with a slideout would accumulate leaves, pine needles and dust especially when we parked under a tree. Since I didn’t know any better, we quickly accumulated this debris inside the rig when we retracted the slides. Some folks elect to install slideout awnings to keep dirt and debris off of their slideouts.
These short awnings automatically deploy when you extend your slides. They can be purchased and installed from any RV dealer with a service department, or if you are so inclined, you can install them yourself. Here is a cheaper solution that has multifunctionality and when I can use a tool in multiple ways it makes me happy. I like leaf blowers! They are great at cleaning up a paved campsite or blowing debris off your little slice of heaven in the RV park.
Arizona is dusty and I use this jewel of a tool to clean up my site in a hurry. But, it also does double duty as a slideout sweeper. I used a length of PVC pipe and a threaded elbow fitting to make a blower extension. I used some gorilla tape to secure it to the nozzle that came with the blower. Now I can clean off the roof and the slideouts without having to get on the roof or climb a ladder. I use a bungee ball cord to hold the blower attachment handle to the main unit and use it as a “sawed off” air shotgun to clean the campsite. When I want to clean the slides I simply attach the homemade blower nozzle extension. I also use this unit to blow out the bed of the truck.

Protect yourself and others
from sharp edges of RV slideouts!

Cut your head just once on the corner of a sharp RV slide out and you'll race out to buy a set of these so it never happens again! Camco's Black RV Slide-Out Corner Guards offer a simple solution to the danger posed by sharp corners on RV slideouts. Simply place them on each exterior corner of the slide to provide a cushion zone. They're made of advanced UV-stabilized resin for long life. Easy to install and no tools are required. Learn more or order.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Heartland debuts fifth wheel aimed at full-timers and families

The following is based on a news release from Heartland

Hitting a price point that “establishes a new category” in the expanding fifth-wheel market, Heartland Recreational Vehicles has introduced its full-profile Oakmont line equipped with the company’s exclusive “Mega Slide.”

Recognizing a heightened demand in the full-profile fifth-wheel segment — driven by an affluent Baby Boomer demographic — Heartland focused on creating a residential-style environment that caters to the needs of both full-timers and RVers with families. The 2015 Oakmont is initially available in four floorplans, two 41-foot bunk models and two 35- to 38-foot couples coaches, with MSRP’s starting at $53,900 well-equipped.

“Our team spent the last eight months reviewing and evaluating residential interiors,” said General Manager Kary Katzenberger, noting Heartland would grow the number of floorplans to seven or eight by next spring. “Our goal was to bring that type of upscale look and comfort into the Oakmont, but even more importantly, at a cost that undercuts the competition. We accomplished that by designing an interior that will grab the attention of the retail customer.”

Heartland President Chris Hermon added, “Heartland’s marketing strategy is to always offer our dealer partners unprecedented value. With the Oakmont, we were are able to create a whole new price point in one of the industry’s fastest-selling segments while still providing the features, amenities and structural integrity that today’s consumers are demanding.”

Katzenberger reported that a key element in the Oakmont design was integrating Heartland’s Mega Slide offered in the builder’s upper-end Big Horn fifth-wheel lineup. “It features a 7-foot-2-inch ceiling height that really opens up the coach,” he said, noting the slide room was currently available on certain Oakmont models. “The slide also offers large, panoramic windows that help enhance the feel of a more spacious interior without sacrificing storage.”

Other features include:
• Six-point hydraulic level system.
• Three to four hydraulic-powered sliderooms
• 7,000-pound Dexter axle and E-Z Flex suspension.
• Residential-style furniture including recliners with power massagers.
• Stackable washer/dryer prep.
• 50-inch LED TVs in main living area.
• Lippert Correct Track suspension system.

Keying on another residential trend, the Oakmont also provides a spacious, fully-equipped kitchen area with residential-style refrigerator and appliances, 20–inch stove for maximum counter space and a deep stainless steel sink and faucet.

The Oakmont will make its debut to consumers at America’s Largest RV Show in Hershey, Pa., while Heartland’s dealer body will receive a first look at the Elkhart County RV Open House.

For more information on the Oakmont fifth-wheel line and other Heartland RV products visit