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Old 01-27-2013, 11:23 AM   #1
Whirlybird
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Slide out covers

I have a Springdale with a 14ft slideout without a cover. I was wondering if anyone has put a cover on a slideout. If so,is it much work?
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:29 AM   #2
Festus2
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Do you mean a slide topper or a slide cover?
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Old 01-27-2013, 01:17 PM   #3
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Assuming you're talking about a slide topper, our sales person recommended against one for two reasons:

1) they put added stress on the power slide mechanism, and you may experience issues with the slide mechanism
2) the springs weaken and the awning material stretches unevenly over time causing other issues (e.g., pooling water, flapping).

I'm not 100% sure I agree with his view, but we had one installed on our previous HTT and I can say that we did experience the water pooling.

We also had almost all of the lag bolts work loose and had some fall out on the power slide mechanism causing issues with extending and retracting the slide. I can't positively attribute it to the slide topper or not. I will say they only put in about half of the bolts and smaller ones than I would have put in, though, so either the lack of bolts and/or the extra tension was to blame.

That said, to your actual question, they don't look too difficult to add if you have good automotive and mechanical skills.

Given some of the issues I had on the last camper, I decided not to get one this time. The only issue so far is that I need to get up and make sure it's brushed off before retracting it.
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:09 PM   #4
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There are several good videos on youtube on how to install a slide topper. Watch a few to get an idea whether or not you think your skills are up to the task. Doesn't look too hard if you have the correct ladders and a good assistant.
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:24 PM   #5
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Thanks for all the responses. Sounds like there are pros and cons either way. I'll probably just keep go without slider toppers and keep the step ladder and broom handy
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Old 01-28-2013, 03:42 PM   #6
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Slide out covers

Our Vantage FLS 32 also lacks a cover on the slide out. The dealer told us we couldn't install a cover because the slide out includes the refrigerator, which, of course, includes the gas exhaust vent, which could cause a heat issue with the cover. Don't know if that's true, since our last trailer had the refrigerator vent right under the main awning and it never caused a problem. Nevertheless, we decided to go without. The dealer did say it was important to keep the top of the slide out clean of leaves, needles, etc. I tried using a broom as you plan, but found that was a hassle...instead, I bought a cheapo $29 leaf blower and it works like a charm.
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Old 01-28-2013, 04:35 PM   #7
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Rheltzel, think you better find a new dealer. If your fridge is in the slide out both intake and output are on the side. Think about it, if it were on the roof of the slide, how would you run your fridge while on the road? Leave your slide out?? I don't think so. Our fridge is in the slide and we have a slide topper on without any problems. So of the issues may have to do with the slide mechanism it's self. Ours will push over a small tree if you're parked too close. Maybe those with the cable operation are more subject to issue with the slightly additional load of a topper.
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Old 01-28-2013, 04:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhs4771 View Post
Rheltzel, think you better find a new dealer. If your fridge is in the slide out both intake and output are on the side. Think about it, if it were on the roof of the slide, how would you run your fridge while on the road? Leave your slide out?? I don't think so. Our fridge is in the slide and we have a slide topper on without any problems.
Ditto!

Keystones with the fridge in the slide usually have a fan just below the upper vent opening to help move air up through the cooling vanes and out the vent. Since the vent is on the side of the slide and the topper is on the top, it's pretty much impossible for the topper to interfere with the fridge venting air flow.

Another dealer doozie to add to the list!
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Old 01-28-2013, 04:56 PM   #9
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Whirlybird -
I don't think the "cons" experienced by twstdpear outweigh the benefits of having a slide topper. Over time, the topper fabric will probably stretch and fade somewhat - just like your awning fabric. Some pooling of water may occur but it isn't a big problem on ours.
If the topper has been installed properly, there shouldn't be any excessive strain on the mechanism nor should it pull out from the walls of the camper.

Before bringing in the slide, I always check to make sure there are no branches or other debris that has fallen on the topper. I don't usually sweep it off if I am camping out in the open but will climb up on the ladder and give it a good look-see before retracting it if I am under or near trees.

For us, the benefits of a topper far outweigh any disadvantages and ours has stood up well and has been trouble-free. It has been a valuable addition to our 5th wheel and one that I would recommend having installed.
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhs4771 View Post
Rheltzel, think you better find a new dealer. If your fridge is in the slide out both intake and output are on the side. Think about it, if it were on the roof of the slide, how would you run your fridge while on the road? Leave your slide out?? I don't think so. Our fridge is in the slide and we have a slide topper on without any problems. So of the issues may have to do with the slide mechanism it's self. Ours will push over a small tree if you're parked too close. Maybe those with the cable operation are more subject to issue with the slightly additional load of a topper.
Our fridge vents are on the side of the slide out. I didn't pursue it with the dealer because I wanted to see if experience would indicate a need for the slide out cover. So far, after weathering several downpours, no need, although I suppose as the seals age, it might not prove as waterproof as it has been.

As to our dealer, they have been excellent on after-the-sale warranty issues. I have nothing bad to say about them, although I share your scepticism about the advice on installing the cover.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:05 PM   #11
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We wanted slide toppers, but with four slides on the trailer, it was going to be a very expensive proposition. Two of the slides are at least 14' in length.

But we waited and I am glad we did. Our dealership had a winter offer last year that was outstanding: $500 per topper installed as long as we placed the order before the end of February and had the work done before April. If you have priced toppers, you will know that is a heck of a deal. I figure we saved about a thousand bucks over all.

It turned out that we only got three toppers. The fourth slide is a relatively tiny one - about 50" in width and it only rolls out about 12" at most. The dealer suggested we hold off on that one and do it later as we'd save even more money by not paying the flat rate for that one. Plus they weren't able to order one to be delivered in time to have the work done on all four at the same time. I can buy that one for about $125 and install it myself.

One of the large toppers collects rain a bit, but the other two shed the water just fine. I am probably going to get an inflatable pillow for that one just for peace of mind.
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:32 AM   #12
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We don't have slide toppers (yet) and are still considering whether to get them or not. So I can not offer anything but more "confusion" about whether they're worth it or not since I haven't got the answer for myself yet either....

But as for rain runoff, I've see a lot of people use a beach ball, one of the rubber kid's balls from WalMart that sell for $2.00 stacked in the center aisle and also swimming pool cover pillows. Any of those would work to prop up the center of the cover just enough to change the dip to help with runoff.
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:54 AM   #13
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My husband and I did two slide toppers ourselves, took maybe 2 hours to do them both. Wasn't that hard, but it does take 2 people.

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Old 01-31-2013, 09:33 PM   #14
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We just purchased our Springdale also with a large slide. I asked if we should get a slide cover and they told me that we don't need it. They said that the rubber on top of the slide won't allow debris to enter the trailer and would act like a squeegy.

I had concerns about the debris collected on top of the slide because our previous trailer allowed leaves and other debris into the trailer. With my sons' asthma, this was a concern.
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Old 01-31-2013, 09:39 PM   #15
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Get a collapsible ladder and a little wisk broom and go up and sweep it off before closing it. That's what I do and no issues.


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Old 02-01-2013, 07:02 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by kimrb266 View Post
We just purchased our Springdale also with a large slide. I asked if we should get a slide cover and they told me that we don't need it. They said that the rubber on top of the slide won't allow debris to enter the trailer and would act like a squeegy.

I had concerns about the debris collected on top of the slide because our previous trailer allowed leaves and other debris into the trailer. With my sons' asthma, this was a concern.
I have a Springdale with a large slide and a rubber roof/rubber seals. Let me tell you, the dealer has never camped in a unit like this if he says the seals "squeegee" the debris off the roof. That ain't happenin' You will also see, when you look at the outside edge of the slide, a 4" lip on the slide. No seal will push debris up and over that lip, so any twig, branch, heavy leaf, bug, etc is going to be pushed into and/or under the slide seal when the slide moves in.

You may want to carry a broom, blower or some other device to clean stuff off the roof of the slide before pulling it in.

I've found that I can back the truck up next to the slide at most campgrounds and stand in the bed or on the tailgate to clear the slide roof. I use a broom and it has worked well so far. But DON'T believe the slide seals will clean the roof, they don't.
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:02 AM   #17
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To add to what JRTJH mentions about debris, etc., on the slide roof, a slide topper also collects that same debris much like your regular awning does. The topper still has to be checked and cleaned before it is retracted into its roller. In this sense, it doesn't really save you from having to perform that chore - it just moves the location from one area to another.
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Old 03-03-2013, 12:54 AM   #18
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I am super mechanically inclined and have replaced a complete awning with ease. I just purchased our second TT new. It doesnít have a slide topper/awning and I simply donít see any advantage to getting one. Iíve camped in 2 days of pouring rain and had 0 issues. The roof of the slide is the same as the roof of the TT. I clean and condition the roof of the TT and the slide with a special cleaner and then a UV conditioner/protectant regularly. A slide topper would prevent me from doing this process to the slide roof. We live in So Cal and Camp monthly Therefore my slide is open about 40 days out of 365. So basically 89% of the time my slide is inside the trailer. It takes less than 5 minutes to climb on top of the trailer and sweep the slide and this is only when we camp under trees. My slide roof will only be exposed to the elements 11% of the life of the trailer. Iíd rather spend my money on something more useful for my travel trailer, like our high quality cover and tire covers, which will protect my TT the other 89% of the time itís not in use, keeping clean, shiny and looking new.
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