We bought a 1998 Tradewinds last week. The slide is slow to extend and we have to help push it open the last 12" or so. It will not retract on it's own. Moves about 2" and gets stuck/stops. Haven't tried helping it in yet. Before I dive too deep into this I thought I'd ask for any pointers to save on wasted energy.
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I always extend mine with the engine running...you should notice the rack and pinion system in the bays beneath the slide on the drivers side. The motor is probably in the forward storage bay. You should be able to watch the system working while someone else is retracting it.
Put slide out and check bottom of floor under slide to see if it is dragging. I have a 2000 Tradewinds and the floor was dragging on the main floor and caused it to shear a pin. I don’t know if yours is the same as mine but mine had glides that the slide moved on. I had to make some for mine. I ordered HDPE plastic round stock from grangers supply and made some brackets to mount them with. It works fine now. They are not as complicated are you may think. I had to install one under sink and one outside under rear of slide.
My 04 Dolphin BR slide was sluggish and squealing. I was told to wax the bottom with Mother’s car wax, which I did , and it works perfectly smooth with no noise. Of course the slide must be open to get underneath and you must use Mother’s brand. I keep a can in the bay and when it starts the noise again in about a year or so, I put another coat on it. The gears are not suppose to be lubricated from what I have read.