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Thursday, April 12, 2012

An Overlooked Maintenance Item

Recreational vehicles are complicated beasts, with many different types of systems and equipment.  Most motorhome manufacturers provide instruction manuals on how this equipment works, but often are lacking in details on how to maintain some of these systems.

Winnebago does a great job in providing manuals, documentation and maintenance, I have a black briefcase full of the stuff.  Plus Winnebago has all its plumbing diagrams, electrical schematics and parts catalogs for all of its models for the last ten or so years posted on line for owner and technician references.

However, with all the complicated systems, sometimes a detail is overlooked and how to maintain something gets left out.  That detail can cause a bit of trouble down the road.

On Winnebagos with large slides built after 2006, the slides have locks installed so the slides will remain tight against the motorhome body when the slide is in.  Winnebago has designed the locks to be built into the top of the slides under the awnings.  When the slide is in, the lock pushes a rod up into a cavity to hold the slide tight, and the rod retracts down for the slide to go out.

The lock works good, but the placement leaves something to be desired.  The lock rod resides in a small depression on top of the slide.  Despite the slide being covered by an awning, water and dust can and do get under the awning and pool in the depression.  Despite there being a seal on the rod, if the water is allowed to pool in the depression, it will (and does) leak into the motorhome.

Winnebago came up with a solution to drain the water out of the slide lock depression, the installed a drain tube and a hole to the outside of the slide body.  Looking up at the middle of the large slides, you'll see a little round thing about the size of a quarter.

This was overlooked in my manuals, it has to be cleaned periodically.  Dirt and dust can clog the drain and allow water to back up.  When the water backs up, it overwhelms the seals and enters into the lock mechanism inside the cabinets.  The locks are covered by black plastic covers and will drain into the cabinets. 

I know this firsthand by having a major leak during a heavy rain, with water cascading down all over my dinette.  That surprised me and led me to find what the problem was and how to solve it by reading it on an RV forum.

It takes a high tech tool to clean the drains.

Yes, that is a pipe cleaner.  Push it in until it stops and pull it back out.  Several passes is all it takes.  If you look closely at the picture, you can see little pieces of dirt on the pipe cleaner.  The last time I did this, I did get a little water out of one side, this time just the dirt.

It doesn't have to be done too much, once every couple of months suffices.

Hopefully, Winnebago has corrected the oversight of not having the drain cleaning item in the newer model motorhomes owner's manuals.  By the way, the drains are only on the large slides, smaller slides like bedrooms are not equipped with the locking mechanisms.

Now, back to visiting with our special little Anabelle, also known as "Little Miss Ruffle Butt".   ;c)

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.


  1. Too bad I don't smoke a pipe! Then I'd have one of those cleaners around. :) I'll have to get some for my one slide.

  2. I can't believe how many manuals, pamphlets, and paperwork came with our Montana. George has a big Rubbermaid container devoted to them. Good thing that you are mechanically minded and figured the whole pipe cleaner thing out :)

  3. Did we not talk to you about the "weep holes"? We make it a point to point them out to every Winnie owner we meet! All it takes is one "cascade" (and yes, we've had one) to make cleaning the weep holes a regular maintenance item. We use a paper clip. But, a pipe cleaner looks much more efficient!

    Enjoy the little ruffle!

  4. Ruffle Butt or Blossom Bottom...sure is cute. Thanks for the pipe cleaner tip.

  5. Oh...Little Miss Ruffle Butte is so sweet! How fortunate to have your little one to hold!

  6. how something so small as that weep hole can cause big problems...glad it was an easy fix and a cheap one too...Ruffle Butt is adorable...glad your enjoying your visit...

  7. Little Miss Ruffle Butt sure is a sweetie pie!

  8. I wonder if the Alfa has any weep holes, I'll have to look around!

  9. Little Miss Ruffle Butt sure has a nice full head of hair! She's gonna be a charmer...Oh wait, she already is!

    Even though we don't have a Winnebago, many of your tips cross to other brands. Thanks for all the help.

  10. I liked the picture of the Anabelle the best and her ruffle butt. This stop has been good for you. You're getting a lot of needed work done and keeping those hands from getting idle.

  11. Since I have a 2006, I have not had to deal with that, but it is good to know in case we get a newer coach. I am not really crazy about the lock idea. I am afraid I would forget to unlock before moving the slide. In six years I have yet to have a problem with the slide moving on its own.

  12. Don't think we have the lock or weep hole on the Tiffin, but I will remind Mui to read your post ... right now, he's just s little busy driving the Phaeton down I-81 :-)))

  13. Ruffle Butt is totally adorable!!!

    I forwarded your blog post to some fellow Winnebago owners I know. Not sure if they have those weep holes, but good to pass on the word! They belong to a Winnebago club and pass the word around too.

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

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