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Old 03-25-2020, 07:28 PM   #1
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Slide Toppers - the good bad and ugly at this point

Bought a new HC. After reading, studying, evaluating, hoping etc. I chose to have them add the toppers to the new trailer simply because I thought they might be beneficial for debris on the slide tops, possibly keeping the slide tops cooler and maybe mitigating any moisture intrusion through the seals - which I've never had.

To date; had it out one time and sat in our property next door - the slide covers appear to "twist"; they accumulate water and it won't go anywhere but stretch the fabric until you retract the slide - even if you are staying in it; need to put some time in it to check out the new repairs to the furnace but....the wind here in W TX is supposed to blow around 40 mph for the next few days so....it goes nowhere and I won't pull out the slides. And, never having done it, how in the world do I clean the seals and lubricate them with a cover over them?

First impression - gut feeling....this was a huge waste of money and point of irritation and increased maintenance going forward. Told DW I was just going to hit the covers with a razor knife and cut them off...and be back to normal RV life. Maybe I'm missing something but don't see how you can do normal things with an RV, slides deployed, in windy weather, with slide toppers. Just throwing that out there for folks that might think they are the cat's meow....they aren't in my experience so far....

Danny & Susan wife of 53 years
2019 Ram 3500 Laramie CC SB 6.4 4x4 4.10
2020 Montana High Country 331RL
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Old 03-25-2020, 09:53 PM   #2
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Sourdough, slide toppers are a great investment. We have been sitting about 50’ off the Pacific Ocean since January 1st, yes in strong winds the topper on the 13’ x 3’ supper slide will rattle a bit . This can be quieter by simply tossing a rope or tow strap over to reduce the flapping. Even at that the flapping is more noise than damaging.

Russ & Paula and Belle the Beagle.
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2005 Copper Canyon 293 FWSLS 32í GVWR 12,360
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Old 03-26-2020, 03:53 AM   #3
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Your not going to regret them. There is an easy way to remove the topper if you really want to service the top slide seal, but since itís underneath, you wonít have the exposure to the sun. Iíve seen numerous ďolderĒ units with toppers and obviously no maintenance to the seals. In nearly all cases, they are still good.

Canít speak to the flapping because I donít have toppers.

2012 Copper Canyon 273FWRET being towed by a 1994 Ford F350 CC,LB,Dually diesel.
Airlift 5000 bags, Prodigy brake control, 5 gauges on the pillar.Used to tow a '97 Jayco 323RKS.

Now an RVIA registered tech. Retired from Law enforcement in 2008 after 25+ yrs.
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Old 03-26-2020, 07:42 AM   #4
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I've got slide toppers that have been on our Cougar for 6 (going on 7) years now. There are some problems, but nothing I haven't "worked around". The benefits (IMHO) far outweigh the inconvenience.

As for "flapping". It's the edges that "flap in the wind". Lay something heavy on the edge and the flapping stops. A strap over the topper works well, no "tight pulling required"...

Pooling water is an issue. But if you look under the awning, the slide roof is dry with no pine needles or leaves on it. Which is worse: having to sweep the awning roof before bringing in the slide or having to watch water dump off the topper while "inside, dry and not covered with wet leaves" ???

On my slide toppers, if I "really wanted to wipe them down" I can get on a ladder at either end and with a 8' 1x2 with a old towel tied to the end, I can reach the entire seal. Dawn and warm water followed by a "quick hose down" followed by a wipe with Aerospace 303 and I'm done for the year. No need to do it every month when I wash the RV, the seals stay clean and coated.

If, for some reason, I wanted to completely inspect the slide seals, there's 2 screws to loosen to slide the topper edge mechanism off the roof. Just insert the cotter pin in the spring (important not to forget this step) loosen the two screws, pull the bar out of the end of the roller tube, lift the topper onto the roof and the slide top is completely open for work/inspection. It's about a 10 minute process, honestly much less than the 30 minutes to clean pine needles off the slide, and only need to do it every 3 or 4 years.

I'd urge you to not move too quickly to get rid of them. Just like a cup of coffee, once you put milk in it, you simply can't go back to "black with sugar"... Same with slide toppers, once you cut them off, you're committed to spending lots of money or not having any of the advantages....

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2014 Cougar X Lite 27RKS
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Old 03-26-2020, 08:27 AM   #5
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The only topper that gathers water is my large long one. If the wind is blowing it will usually dry off pretty quickly. Occasionally I will get my ladder out to release a little tension on it to drain some off. For the most part we donít notice much flapping. Iím grateful I donít have to get on the roof each time I camp under a tree to make sure the slide tops are clean.
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Old 03-26-2020, 08:48 AM   #6
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My toppers were very loose causing water to pool, when (after 6 years) I replaced the fabric I gave to roller tubes a couple extra twist tightening the fabric afterwards the water only pooled in the very center of the longest slide.
I learned quickly to raise the RV front a few inches prior to retracting the slides to dump the water, this after getting wet a couple times pushing the auto level controls.
Am also from the windy parts of Texas & they will drive nuts after a few days of 30-40 mph winds popping/flapping them, but while in Florida all winter you'll really like them.
Danny & Linda
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Old 03-26-2020, 09:08 AM   #7
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Thanks all. I knew when pondering getting them that it was sort of a catch 22. Not having ever had them I am going to give it a bit and at least see how bad it gets (the razor knife was DWs idea after I told her I would not take it out in the wind ).

My biggest concern is the topper damaging something else. I've lived in windy country all my life and I've seen all manner of things torn off, torn up, blown away etc. - including an entire sheet metal building blowing over my fence into my property...from just normal wind here. It can get pretty stout and it's not uncommon to have 50, 60 or 70mph winds.

The conversation was precipitated by a talk I had with another owner that said when the winds really got up he had to pull in his slides; that is a no go for us if we are staying in it. I will try strapping them down in some manner to see if that works. My intention ((hopefully) is to be in places the vast majority of the time where the wind concern is unimportant.

As far as the water I guess I'll just let it build up then come off when the slide comes in. When I had it out here in the rain it was a literal waterfall coming down the sides as I pulled in the slides. I would think that much water would stretch the fabric and just compound other issues...just don't know yet. Thought about the trick of putting a ball of some kind under the topper but don't see how that is going to keep it from pooling unless I put a 1/2 dozen of them on each of the slides, plus, I wanted them so I didn't "have" to get to the tops of the slides every time I went out.

I'll give it some time and see how bad it gets. One of the big positives about getting them, in my mind, was the ability to park again under trees. When I had trailers with no slides I parked anywhere/everywhere. After a couple of times doing that with slides and having to clean them I started scouting places and made sure to park in full sun....that is not fun in the summer. I was hoping to "get in the shade" again. Thanks again for the thoughts, hints and guidance.

Danny & Susan wife of 53 years
2019 Ram 3500 Laramie CC SB 6.4 4x4 4.10
2020 Montana High Country 331RL
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