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Re: Slideouts
Fri May 29, 2009 7:32 am

Just to add another potential concern, it appears to be true that even "the professionals" don't get it right sometimes - even when there are far less than 4 slides.

Two examples come to mind.

First example: Right now, in the "plastic" motrohome marketplace, "Alfa SeeYa" (That's the actual model name) motorhomes built in the roughly 2005 or so timeframe are an APPARENT bargain compared to other diesel pusher chances of similar original cost. These have 2 fairly deep slides and a taller ceiling than most coaches - about as tall a ceiling as a bus whose roof has been raised a few inches. After I noticed about half a dozen of them at different dealerships, I asked a sales rep why. What he told me is that the slides on these keep failing. They get stuck in the open position and the coach can't be moved.

Second example: I have a good retired friend who is on his 3rd plastic coach and has not yet discovered buses. His current Winnebago pusher is an upper model in the Winnebago line and is about 3 years old I think. It has 2 slides of moderate depth. My friend's coach has developed a stress crack in the fiberglass (which means undue stress and strain occurring BENEATH the fiberglass in the metal framework) at the same spot 3 times now, and has been repaired twice already AT THE WINNEBAGO FACTORY and is going back for its 3rd attempted repair this June.

My friend is a retired materials analysis laboratory manager from Honeywell. Among other things, he did forensic analysis on military strucutural aircraft failures. By comparing notes with other owners of the same model, and by examining examples of the same model whenever they appear for sale at his local dealer (Lazy Days in Florida - largest RV dealer in the USA I think), he has found that this model of coach pretty much always gets this stress cracking at this location at the front lower corner of the rear slide. The crack starts small but eventually gets to be a foot or more long and widens if not addressed.

Winnebago, while not admitting there is a recurrent problem, has been fixing these for the most persistent and obnoxious owners. The fix involves tearing off the fiberglass, making some structural alterations, and then reskinning and repainting. Interestingly, Winnebago's "solution" includes welding in a small metal "coupon" (to spread the load at a key stress point), and the coupon actually "prints" through the fiberglass and paint (like a concealed firearm sometimes prints through a man's shirt!), as the fiberglass actually seems to deform around it during the vacuum rebonding process. This is the repair that my friend's coach has had now twice and needs a 3rd time (in 2 years). So, Winnebago, surely one of the best resourced RV companies from an engineering and experience perspective, can't fix this slide problem.

I point out these two examples so that anyone contemplating adding slides understands that they might not be as easy as they may appear. Now, one thing going for Eagle owners is that the Eagle structure appears to be very strong, and is certainly MUCH superior to the matchstick structure of a plastic motorhome, so can surely absorb a lot more stress without deformation or failure. But do remember that even the pros appear to sometimes create situations they are unable to solve.
Jim Gnitecki
("Jim G")
1979 Eagle Model 05 reborn around 1997
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Location: Austin, TX


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