Slide topper damage in sub freezing temperatures
Iím wondering if anyone else has experienced this situation with slide out toppers. We have a 2003 MountainAire DP. I recently tried putting my living room slide out. The temp was about -4F. The slide was making some cracking noises when going out. I thought it was just angry because it was really cold out, but after the slide was about half way out, everything quieted down and the slide continued out just fine. It wasnít till I brought the slide back in and the slide came to a stop about 5-6 inches from being all the way in that I realized there might be a problem. I shut everything down and went outside to take a look to see if there was an obvious problem. WOW! Both top corners of the slide out were bent inwards toward the coach, and both slide brackets had sheared off over half of the screws that hold the brackets. So I get a ladder out to take a closer up look. Both brackets were really crooked and the topper roller assembly had jumped over the top of the slide out. I didnít have to move anything too much and both brackets fell completely off the slide out.
I was able to use a rubber mallet to straighten out the top corners of the slide, and then used some short pieces of 2x4 to raise the roller up high enough on each end to clear the top of the slide, and then had my wife operate the switch while I watched. Working together, we were able to get the slide out the rest of the way in. Luckily there is no apparent damage to the coach side of this disaster. Iím kind of done messing with any further fix until warmer weather. Iím going to at least need to do some touch up painting on the two top corners of the slide, which shouldnít be a big problem. It looks as if I can replace the sheared off screws with either the same size or the next size up. I wonít know till I actually get into the repair. There were five screws holding each bracket to the slide. Im thinking I can use the same holes even if I have to go the next size up with the screw size. I may add a few more screws also. The topper roller seems to be operating correctly, but again, till I get everything put back together and give it a try, I wonít really know.
My diagnosis of what happened is that water froze inside the topper roller assembly. The cracking popping that I thought was just noise from cold weather operation, well it was just that. Only it was more. The ice between the turns of the rolled up topper created so much resistance that it sheared the screws off from the brackets, which in turn bent over the top corners of the slide.
I hope all goes well with the repair this spring, early summer. In the future I'm going to be much more careful operating the slide in sub freezing temps.
All comments and/or suggestions are appreciated. Thanks!