|Yes, this photo is doctored. But this can happen!|
There can be no doubt that slideout rooms in fifth wheels (and other RVs as well) are the difference between night and day. That little bit of extra floor space can make up for a whole-lot of “too much togetherness.” Now the question: Should you use aftermarket slide out support stands?
Variously called “slide out stabilizers” or “slide out supports,” these little jack stands are designed to slip under a slideout frame and crank up to give added support. One major retailer says they, “Protect your slideout extension tubes from bending, causing difficult slideout operation.” Sounds pretty serious — a bent frame could be bad news when it’s time to weigh anchor and hit the road. But hang on a minute — if they’re so critical, why don’t RV manufacturers provide them with new rigs, or at least make them a piece of optional equipment?
Not everyone with a slideout “buys into” the stabilizer story. One RV technician says his understanding is that if an RV under warranty comes in with a damaged slide that could be attributed to a stabilizer, all bets are off for getting warranty service. It begs the question: If your slideout needs stabilization to prevent damage, why aren’t there scores of unhappy campers limping across the country on their way to service bays, slide out rooms flapping in the breeze?
Some of those who fore swear slide out stabilizers point to a potential problem: What if your rig were to “settle” while the stabilizers did not: They suggest the pressures placed on the slide out frame could be enough to damage it, leaving the RVer in a world of hurt.
On the other hand, friends of ours just don’t feel comfortable “hanging out in space” without the additional support under their slide out. Of course, we also have a friend who won’t venture up into the “gooseneck” portion of her fifth wheel until her husband installs a king pin stabilizer. Says she knows it’s crazy, but she just imagines the whole works tipping down on the king pin when she shifts her weight forward. Does impose an interesting mental picture . . . okay, we’ll turn it over to you. Have you had experience with a slideout frame bending — with or without a stabilizer?