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Slide leaks, linear bearings, etc.
#1
Howdy,

We took a maintenance pit stop last week here in Charlotte to get a failed linear bearing on our #1 slide replaced.  While preparing for that work, Newell warned me that there might be a water leak that we should try to track down.

We looked for telltale signs of a leak when the bearing cover was removed and we were replacing the bearing.  There were some minor suggestions of something on some of the surrounding plywood, but really nothing stood out.  The bearing itself was all rusty.

As a precaution, the tech cleaned and applied sealant along the seams on the roof/top of our slide, both the long one that runs parallel to the coach as well as one or more lateral seams, one of which is in the center of the slide.

Today, while riding out this tropical storm here, I woke up to find water gently dripping in the center of my kitchen via the overhead cabinetry.  Feeling along the top of these cabinets, I find that about two cabinets worth of carpeted ceiling there is somewhat damp.  Clearly, the slide roof is now leaking.

I unleveled the coach to dump excess water off the slide,  but since it is pouring down rain right now, that only did so much.  When I brought the slide in (to stop the leaking for the duration of this hurricane), a bunch of the water on the top sluiced off and into the various trim pieces and also off the aft of the slide and into the area where the Silverleaf is.  

Now that the slide is in, I can see the very end of the bearing rail and inside two Valid bearings using my endoscope through a crack behind the aft slide trim.  Those rails are covered with water, presumably from the sluicing off rather than from the slow leak in the center of the slide, although I can't be sure.

I also discovered a slow leak somewhere in my #3 slide as well, earlier this weekend, so I brought that one in to stop the madness also.

My questions are three:

1)  Does it seem strange that the design of these slides/coach is such that in wet conditions there appears to be no way to bring in the slide without putting the slide bearings at risk?  It was over $2k to disassemble and replace the damaged bearings last week, not to mention the two weeks beforehand when we couldn't use the slide (stuck in) or the hotel and other costs while we were displaced from living in the coach.  My guess is I'm going to get to do that again, given the water I see that has made it in there.  There doesn't really appear to be anything designed to redirect the water away from that sensitive area that I can see.  There is no way for me to get in there easily and dry it out, either.  On this particular slide a large portion of the trim and sidewall has to be disassembled to get access.  

2)  Does anyone have tips for sealing the seams atop Valid slides?  (Or HWH ones, I guess?)  The tech used Proflex RV to seal after what he said was a light cleaning with SD20.  He said to use a very small amount so that there is no bump or protrusion that could hang up or get gooped onto the slide seal later.

3)  Is there something else I should consider doing?

Thanks,

Ben
2008 Newell #1234
Boulder, CO

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#2
Ben,

Sorry about the deluge. My comments are based on what I have observed. They may or may not apply to your coach.

I have seen three major sources of water ingress in the slide rooms. First is the seam between the outer skin and the perimeter of the slide room. Because the skin is about 1/8 proud of the perimeter, it forms a little dam, and if there is the slightest crack, water will come in. Lots of water will come in. I know you said it was just sealed, but I would inspect it carefully.

Second is that the top of the slide room bows down in the middle. Bows down so far that the seal does not actually seal when the room is deployed. This phemenon seems to be worse as the ceiling treatment becomes more elaborate. On the fancier treatments, aka later model coaches, all of the substrate is plywood and it is too heavy for the structure trying to hold it up. This problem is sort of tricky because you have to remove the valence to actually see the slide seal. Water runs under the seal, towards the valence, and then changes direction and runs into the ceiling of the slideout.

The third, and I don't think this applies to what you described. For those of us with flanged windows, they have to be resealed from time to time or water seeps between the flange and the coach skin.

I don't have any experience with that product, and I don't recognize it's composition looking and Safety Data Sheet. I generally use one of the urethane air cure sealants.

I don't know about small amount. I used a generous amount. Enough to form a nicely radiused filet between the skin and the roof. I also ran that filet down both the verticals.
Richard and Rhonda Entrekin
99 Newell, 512
Subaru Outback Toad
Inverness, FL (when we're home Cool )
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#3
Richard,

Thanks for the quick reply with many thoughts. A few clarifications, if you will:

Quote:I have seen three major sources of water ingress in the slide rooms. First is the seam between the outer skin and the perimeter of the slide room. Because the skin is about 1/8 proud of the perimeter, it forms a little dam, and if there is the slightest crack, water will come in. Lots of water will come in. I know you said it was just sealed, but I would inspect it carefully.

I have never looked at this very closely, but I will when the rain stops. I will be checking this very carefully.

Quote:Second is that the top of the slide room bows down in the middle. Bows down so far that the seal does not actually seal when the room is deployed. This phemenon seems to be worse as the ceiling treatment becomes more elaborate. On the fancier treatments, aka later model coaches, all of the substrate is plywood and it is too heavy for the structure trying to hold it up. This problem is sort of tricky because you have to remove the valence to actually see the slide seal. Water runs under the seal, towards the valence, and then changes direction and runs into the ceiling of the slideout.

This bowing effect you describe makes me wonder if that is why I see a plastic "L clip" on the top of my slide in the center. It is on the slide near the valence, and it grabs the frame of the coach when the slide is full extended. Pretty hard, I'd say, because I can see where it puts a nice dent in the trim where it is designed to grab.

I have never noticed any bowing, but it might be because of that clip. Or it might be that my slide rooms are beefier or something.

I will say that I can see the slide seal when the slide is fully extended. In some parts I can see it because my valence curves outward far enough plus my ceiling trim in the middle of the coach is little enough that I can get my eyeballs up there and look. In the other parts, I have to put my endoscope up there and stick it in. Both of which I did today to assess this situation.

And, for better or worse, I can't see any spots along the seal where any water appears to be getting in. There isn't much surface past the sealing spot towards in the inside, but I didn't observe any moisture further in. That's not to say there isn't some -- and I did notice some leaves and other junk up there in the "track" where the seal seats, so those could be part of the problem.

One thing I DO notice is that, when I pull the slide back in with water atop it, the water quickly sluices into the valence and then makes a GIANT MESS everywhere very quickly. But with my "slow" overnight leak, all the water was back up in the cabinetry. None of it was accumulated in the valence area. I put my hand up in the valence, where it was possible, and it felt dry all along the whole way before I did the slide bringing-in.

Quote:The third, and I don't think this applies to what you described. For those of us with flanged windows, they have to be resealed from time to time or water seeps between the flange and the coach skin.

As it happens, I have the flush-mount windows. I had Newell replace all of my windows with vented ones when we bought the coach. Except they forgot to order one of them, so I had to replace it myself in the field later. This means I am rather intimately familiar with the window installation process on this coach. Smile

The good news is that my one installation attempt seemed to go well. The bad news is that one of the windows Newell installed can leak just a little bit, but only when someone power-sprays the wall at the top. Something happened with the butyl tape seal there, and Newell is going to have to pull that window and reinstall it for me, under warranty, the next time I get back to the factory.

Quote:I don't know about small amount. I used a generous amount. Enough to form a nicely radiused filet between the skin and the roof. I also ran that filet down both the verticals.

So, do your slides not have additional seams on the top? You have mentioned "skin", which I assume is the vertical piece, and the "roof", which I think might be a part of the "perimeter" you described earlier. My slides have a bunch of seams in both directions on the top ("roof"?) of the slides. Not just at the very edges, I think.

Cheers!
2008 Newell #1234
Boulder, CO

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#4
Ben,

Another place that allows water to get back into your cabinets is around the awning wiring that enters through the wall of the coach.  A lot of water can get in through that little opening if not properly sealed.  Newell had to fix that problem on mine under warranty as well as other water leak areas - long story and expensive fixes but they fixed them all under warranty and she is tight with no leaks now.

Some statements you made about a "plastic L clip"  and that it is "denting the trim" concern me.  Mine are all steel L brackets that have a tapered end that is quite sharp.  That end slides into a steel channel in the upper wall that makes sure your slide top is secure and the correct distance to the upper wall.  If your trim is getting dented it sounds like it might be out of adjustment and it may be letting your slide top bow down as Richard was mentioning.  Make sure Newell looks at that too and gets it fixed if needed before your warranty runs out.

Good luck,
Oscar
Oscar & Janet Valent
Full timing
2007 Newell Coach #815
2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit
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#5
Oscar is right on about the L bracket. On my '98 with HWH slides it was out of adjustment and would occasionally slide under the slot which actually made it worse since the slot was pushing the L bracket down. If you watch your slide when you are extending it a couple inches before it stops it will lift up slightly showing that the L bracket is engaged. If not then run it back it again and extend it again. Tom and I tried to adjust it with no success but a trip to Newell and they had it done. But once I understood I would watch it while extending the slide. It seemed to only miss when the coach was on an unlevel surface, why? I don't know.
Forest & Cindy Olivier
1999 Foretravel 36' U320
former owners 1998 Newell 45' 2 slide #486 

former owners 1993 Newell 39' #337 
2011 Chevy Tahoe RZR 570LE

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#6
Ben, I have one additional seam on the roof of the slide. It is perpendicular to the long axis of the coach. When sealing that seam, I agree that the sealant needs to be neat and does not need to protrude to catch on the seal.

The seam between the roof and the outer skin can be filleted because that area remains outside the seal contact area when the slide is in.

And none of us has mentioned the wrinkles in the corners of the seals. Newell's solution is to put a dab of silicone on the radiused wall in the area where the slide seal is wrinkled and gapped. It seems to work. I have seen slides where that silicone is applied the entire width of the slide but that is overkill. It is only needed for about an inch where the seal contacts the slide when extended or retracted.
Richard and Rhonda Entrekin
99 Newell, 512
Subaru Outback Toad
Inverness, FL (when we're home Cool )
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#7
Richard, I wonder if the silicon on the edge were to be applied all the way across the slide, "perpendicular to the long axis of the coach" as you stated (I like that!), it might would stay put better - I always lose those little pieces of silicon.
Karen & Adrian Abshire 
1998 2 slide 45' Newell towing a 2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited and a 2006 Mercedes SLK320 for wifey. 
Prior: 1985 Foretravel ORED 35, 1988 38' Foretravel U280, 2000 Foretravel 42' U320, 1990 Bluebird Wanderlodge WB40
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#8
Adrian, mine shows no desire to peel off. My issue with four long runs of silicone is that the silicone does what silicone does outdoors. It will eventually turn nasty. You live with the nasty until you scrape it all off and replace. Thus rebooting the cycle. I had rather remove two inches than fourteen inches.
Richard and Rhonda Entrekin
99 Newell, 512
Subaru Outback Toad
Inverness, FL (when we're home Cool )
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#9
Thanks all, great tips.

I spent quite some time on this today, and one thing is probably for certain: I had stuff on the slide roof interfering with the seal. I say "probably" because I can't prove at this point that one or both of my leaking slides were caused by it, but I forced my way up there (mostly via a scope and a mirror) and discovered all manner of gunk and junk along and near and on top of that long narrow strip where the seal should, um, seal after re-inflating when the slide is extended.

I had a few leaves, some tiny twigs, a bunch of what looked like ten years of random decaying detritus and paint flakes, plus a baby pinecone (??) all up along that channel on the two slides.

My guess, now, is that one or more of those bits created a spot where water could wick into the coach from the outside. This water then, in the #1 slide's case, presumably traveled over to the inside edge of the slide roof (not far) and then wrapped its way underneath and into cabinetry. (Just the way Richard describes it above in his second depiction of a way these things can leak.)

What still gives me pause is that I did look and felt up there on the inside side of the seal, which I can sort of see at an angle or using my camera, and I didn't notice a river of water making its way inside and then wrapping around into the interior of the slide room. But, I suspect that is what was happening nevertheless.

The amount of crap up there was so extensive that, absent further evidence and testing, I have to assume that this the cause of my leaks. I cleaned ALL of the stuff off of both the #1 and #3 slides today, with some effort and the slides half-extended so that I had enough headroom at the ceiling to reach in there. I did NOT take any valance or trim material off but instead just worked my way slowly across the room with a ladder.

Another thing I noticed is that where the wire loom/track things sit atop the slide, there was a tendency for even more material to be trapped. I would say there were about twice as many twigs and bits of junk and leaves in those areas (two tracks on my #1 slide, one track on my #3 slide), and indeed the cabinetry leak point on the #1 slide coincides exactly with where one of those tracks is up above.

Until we have an extensive rainstorm again, I won't "get" to test my theory. But I do think this is probably it, which of course is a great relief if so. Although it is not easy to get to that area to look at it, much less clean it off, it is doable at least on my coach on those two slides.

I now have on my list to do the #2 and #4 slides as well.

Finally, regarding the "L" bracket and whether it is doing its job: I discovered today that my big slides (1 and 4) actually have TWO L's, one each at the 1/3 and 2/3 point across the coach. They are definitely mating with the coach when the slide reaches full extension, but that place where they mate is "finished" with the same leather that wraps up to the roof. The leather there is slightly depressed and obviously well-worn, but it is also in a location that is not visible no matter the position of the slide. I will take a picture of it, for your collective analysis, the next time I have a chance, though.

Many thanks again. I hope I'll not have to resurrect this thread with further bad news, but it will be a while until I know if I have this one licked!

Ben

p.s. I am still concerned about the propensity for the linear bearings to get soaked when a slide has to come in wet. I know it is best to just wait and bring in a slide after it's dry, but that's not always an option. I am going to have to take more aggressive action the next time I have to do this. I would prefer that Newell "wrap" the rails and bearings more completely, even with just a protective fabric or something soft under there, but maybe that is impractical given the tight space and the motion path.
2008 Newell #1234
Boulder, CO

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