Short before AZPete posted his message we left for Europe. And very, very nice people we met, with exactly the same motorhome like ours, were willing to take care for next steps. Unfortunately, Lone Star RV (who they put in charge due to good experience with other repairs) did not do much beneficial to the slide, besides getting it out once 'to look for part numbers', but only, and after more than three months, to come up with the result that they themselves can't do anything ...
Wait, there was one thing, they actually did: they loosened, or even removed the front plate of the left ram (looking from the outside), explaining that this was locking the slide. After that, we've been told they have been able to move the main slide as well as the rear slide in and out. They kept refilling the hydraulic fluid tank because the system is leaking, most obvious behind the front plate of the ram on the right hand side.
So, the motorhome was declared 'livable' for now and we got it out of storage about a week ago after we traveled back from Europe. Stayed at our 'home park' (Thousand Trails in Columbus/TX) for a few days, moved both slides out after refilling the tank and putting drip pans under all leaking points.
When we left for Florida on Saturday we had a group of neighbors supporting the main slide retracting at about the same speed on both ends. Worked out pretty good.
We are now on our way to St. Petersburg, using the rear slide at night, keeping the main slide in at all times, strapped to the ground for security purposes. No dripping for now, but we took a few gallons of hydraulic fluid, just in case.
We have been in touch with Paul Maddox over the phone for recommendations who in the St. Petersburg area could fix the problem within the next three weeks (when we are NOT staying in the RV). Did not receive anything yet, but still hoping for his input. HWH themselves did not even try to call us back, as promised at the beginning of September 22. And the directory on their website seems to be kinda outdated. About half of the shops we have been in touch with so far seem to be gone out of business since 2019, at the time of their last update.
We know there's a lot of great people out there. YOU! And it would be just great if somebody would know somebody. (But not just anybody ;-) ;-))
We still did not give up the plan to get it fixed and actually enjoy traveling for another 3 weeks before Europe is waiting for us again on March 22nd. Do we really have to take a Winnebago to Spain, or Germany, to finally have it fixed?
Although we read a lot about that heavy machinery shops might even be more knowledgeable in handling hydraulic systems, Paul Maddox seemed to lean towards RV Service. What do you think?
Thanks for your help, we really appreciate it! Meike