Friday, May 24, 2019

Bedroom Slide Repair (cable system)


As we made our way towards Phoenix this winter our bedroom slide began to act differently.  It developed a hesitation accompanied with a 'clunk' sound about every four inches of travel as it retracted.  Nothing unusual during the extension.  At the first available opportunity, I accessed the motor/gearbox assembly that was located under the head of the bed.  Heartland didn't see fit to provide a very large opening to access things, so I had to become the 'human pretzel' to try to figure out what was going on.  The long and short of it was that it appeared we had some sort of issue with the motor/gearbox.

Knowing that we were going to be off the road for a week while at Lake Pleasant Regional Park, I made calls around trying to locate someone who might be able to repair it.  Trying to schedule a stop into a shop while in route to our destination proved impossible, so I directed my efforts at finding a mobile repair outfit.  By the time I had found someone and they had made it to our site at Lake Pleasant and verified my suspicions, there was no time to get the part and have it repaired before we needed to head towards home.

We made the decision that we would monitor the slide and if it got any worse we may have to leave it in until we got home where I could address the issue.  It made it through a few more stops before it got so bad that we determined that we had better leave it in for the rest of the trip and deal with having to crawl over the bed to get to the master bath.  Carol moved some of her clothes from the drawers in the bedroom that could no longer be opened with the bed retracted.  It turned out to be a rather minor inconvenience.

OK, so now fast forward to today and back at Ud's Resort...

Thursday, May 9...the investigation

Today I would begin my deeper investigation into the bedroom slide issue.  Fortunately, the slide  had gone out without a hitch when we got home a couple weeks earlier, so it was in the better position for me to get at the motor/gearbox.  I had watched a few videos that others had posted on YouTube, so I had a pretty good idea of the plan.

 According to the information I gathered, you want to make sure the slide cannot move during the replacement process.  Since the slide was fully extended I just had to make sure it couldn't move in.  I used a 2x4 and some blocking to accomplish this.

The supported slide

Next I took a picture of the gearbox and marked the location of the chains on the drive sprocket and the turnbuckles on either end where the cable adjusters were located.  I used a yellow paint pen to mark things.

I then loosened the bottom chain first until it had sufficient slack to remove it from the sprocket.  It did the same with the top chain.  Removal of the gearbox was simply loosening and removing two retainer bolts that hold the gearbox on the mounting plate.  With that done there wasn't much more I could do in the trailer until I had the a new gearbox.  I would however open the gearbox to verify what caused the issue.
Once I had the gearbox opened the damage was fairly apparent.  The intermediate reduction gear (removed from gearbox) was missing a tooth which you can see at one end of the yellow line.  This explains the hesitation and the noise both.  Continued use then caused one of the bosses that the intermediate gear rides in to become deformed as you can see at the bottom of the red line.  This ultimately cause the complete failure.

Armed with the part number off the gearbox, I headed to the house to do some shopping.  Ultimately I found the exact gearbox on Ebay for $79.95 and placed the order.  Now I would just have to wait.

Thursday, May 16..the repair

The gearbox showed up yesterday, so today I will put things back together.  I headed out to the trailer to get started.

New gearbox ready for install.
I initially removed the new gear box from the mounting plate that it came with, but when I installed it on the original plate mounted in the trailer, it didn't fit correctly.  There was a minor difference in the shape of the plate where the main output shaft extended.  I ended up having to remove the original mounting plate and use the new one which was not a big deal.  It just added a step to the process.

New gearbox installed and ready for testing.
Once the gearbox was back in place it was a matter of installing the chains back to the original position.  It wasn't hard to get the two paint marks on each chain to line up with each other, but they were not in the same location on the sprocket.  This didn't seem to be a concern to me as long as they line up with each other.  I tightened both chains starting with the bottom one first.

When I had the chains tightened fairly close to the marks that I had put on the cable adjusters on both sides, I went outside and removed the blocking from under the slide.  I went back inside and using the LCI remote control, jogged the slide in just enough to put tension on the opposite turnbuckles for each chain.  This allowed me to take up the rest of the cable adjustment.  I finished my going outside and checking all four cables for slack.  I made some final adustment to the master adjustment for each side.

The slide moves in and out flawlessly now.  I suspect that during our trip, one of us didn't let off on the button for the slide control when the slide came to a stop and that caused the damage to the gear breaking off the tooth.  The rest of the damage was inevitable.

Well, that's about the sum of changing out the gearbox.  The important thing was to make sure you mark all the adjusters and the chain locations BEFORE you start to disassemble things.  That step alone will save you much time and headache trying to get this 'give and take' system adjusted.  If you ever need to make the same repair take time to find the videos that are out on the web.  They are a good source for details on how to make this task a lot easier.