How to Manually Retract Hydraulic Slide Out

Slide-outs are a great addition to RVs. It gives you the feeling of a bit ‘more’ bang for the buck. They are usually automatic. All you need is to press a button to open or close them. But sometimes the mechanism might fail and won’t just work. Before consulting a technician, you may need to open or close them manually.

The hydraulic slide-out works using a motor. When the motor rotates with the press of a button, the slide-out opens or closes. To manually retract, you have to locate the motor and the hand pump. Then use a bar of appropriate size and manually pump the motor to open or close the slide-out.

A faulty slide out can make or break your family trip. If stuck in an open state, you cannot drive the vehicle and might be stranded in the middle of nowhere. So, some knowledge about manual operation is essential. In the rest of this article, I will describe how to manually retract hydraulic slide out. Also, I am going to share some tips and tricks, so stay tuned.

How to Manually Retract Hydraulic Slide Out?

The location of the motor, hand pump, and the exact procedure varies from model to model. So here I am going to describe the necessary procedures to manually retract any hydraulic slide out.

Step 1: Locate the Motor

Locate the hydraulic motor of your RV. Look in the user manual to find it fast. If you have lost the manual, check the manufacturer’s website for the specific model or try calling their helpline. Usually, the motor is located in the front luggage compartment. You should also check the side compartment.

Step 2: Locate the Slide Out Valve

The slide-out valve decides if the motor works automatically or manually. The slide-out valve isn’t different from other valves in the system. Locating it can be difficult. Usually, there are two levels of system valve and one slid out valve. The level of systems valves should have tags on them so they won’t be challenging to locate.

The remaining valve is your slide-out valve. You will have to rotate the valve either clockwise or counterclockwise to put it in manual operation mode. Look for instructions written around the valve.

Step 3: Find the Hydraulic Valve

Make sure the hydraulic valve is in the correct position. Else, transmission fluid won’t reach the slide out.

Step 4: Locate the Manual Operation Panel

It can either be a hand pump or a knob depending on the model. The older models generally have hand pumps and the latest models boast knobs. If your motor has a hand pump, you will need a bar around two feet long. Attach the bar two the hand pump and keep pumping either the slide is fully retracted.

If your model has a knob, you will need an automatic screw gun. Locate the knob. If it’s easily accessible, rotate it the right way to retract the slide-out. If it’s hard to reach, you will need a flexible screwdriver to reach it.

Step 5: Put Everything Back to Original Position 

Lock the manual operation valve in its position. Then reach out for the slide-out valve and put it back in the original position. Close the motor cover properly.

Some Reasons Behind Slide Outs Malfunctioning

There can be many reasons behind a hydraulic slide-out malfunctioning. Here are some common causes that you should look for in such a case:

Faulty Hydraulic Pump: Your hydraulic pump or the motor might be out of order. It can be either completely dead, or the fuse is blown. You won’t need any technical to tell the difference. If you hear a humming sound when pressing the button, it means that the motor is trying to start indicating the fuse is okay. Look for any internal problem with the motor.

If the motor is dead silent, it’s a strong indication that the fuse is fried. Check if the fuse is okay. If not, buy a spare fuse from any RV store and have it installed by an expert serviceman.

Hydraulic Valve Malfunctioning: Hydraulic valve regulates the flow of hydraulic fluid through circuitry or in this case, through the pipes. You can use the valve to control the direction of the liquid or turn it off completely. If the valve is not working correctly, the transmission fluid won’t reach the designated area. This will result in the slide-out being stuck.

If the valve is positioned in the wrong way, fix it. Make sure the fluid can travel all the way to slide outs.

Leak in Hydraulic Lines: Any leaks in the lines, even the smallest ones, shall result in the loss of hydraulic fluids fast. Fluids will keep dripping all day long and you won’t even notice. This will cause two problems. Firstly, enough fluids won’t be able to reach the slide outs. Secondly, the motor will run out of fluids sooner than expected.

If you are unaware of the leaks, you may get in trouble amid your journey. So always check for leaks properly. Consult a technician if needed.

Routine Checking To Avoid Slide Out Malfunctions 

Low Hydraulic Fluid: Always check for the hydraulic fluid levels. If your RV doesn’t have an electric indicator, use a stick to check the levels. Never travel without having the tank full. Use a good quality automatic transmission fluid. Don’t go for cheaper ones in the market. You might regret your decision.

Some necessary routine checks should be performed before traveling to avoid slide-out malfunctioning in the middle of your journey. These routine checks can save you from ridiculous amounts of hassle:

Obstructions: Look for any obstructions in the slide-out rails. Maybe a piece of rock, pebble, or something else. If the slide out is trying to open but obstructed by something, it will make a particular type of noise. Keep your ears peeled to hear any strange notices. Being a little cautious will save you from tearing the vehicle apart.

Battery Status: Make sure the batteries are fully charged. Dead batteries will not only give you trouble opening the slide-out, but it will also cause other problems too like the self-start won’t work, etc. Although there are lots of charging stations on the roads, why pay extra dollars for something that can be done at home?

Locks: Some models have a locking system to lock the slides. This feature is included to prevent theft of the slide-out. Yes, during the night, thieves will retract the slide-out manually and use a truck or something to get away. This is a fairly common practice. If your RV has a locking system, that’s great. See if the slide-out is unlocked before trying to open it.

Required Tools: After all the precautions and checking I have mentioned above, things can still go wrong. Keep any needed tools for retracting the slide-out manually. Once again, check your user manual to know the appropriate tools.


RV slide outs give you more room in the interior. If you have a large family. You can avail all the space you want without extending your garage or parking space. Family trips shouldn’t be hampered just because of a faulty slide out. Professional consultation might take a toll on your bank balance, so having some basic mechanical knowledge should go a long way.

In this article, I tried to explain as smoothly as possible how to manually retract hydraulic slide out. Additionally, I talked about some common reasons behind slide outs malfunctioning and some routine checkups. I firmly believe that this write-up should be competent enough to guide you to manual retraction of hydraulic slide outs.

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How to Stop the Slide Outs on Your RV From Leaking

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