Rubber Slide Wiper
Q: I recently bought a fifthwheel trailer. This is the first trailer I’ve had with slideouts. What purpose do the rubber wipes around the slide-outs serve? I have wipes on the inside and the outside. I can see that a wipe on the outside should stop water, leaves, etc. from coming into the unit when the slide is retracted. What purpose would a wipe on the inside serve?
The reason I ask is because the inside wipes on my slides don’t curl under when I extend the slide; they just jam up behind the fascia on the inside. I’ve been told they are redundant and really don’t need to be there. If they don’t need to be there, why does the manufacturer put them there? Your comments would be appreciated and any suggestions as to how to make the wipes curl under, besides using a stick to jam them into the moving slide.
— Richard Sands, Belleville, Michigan
A: The inside seals/wipers are not a redundancy. They are designed to prevent water from seeping into the interior of the rig. It’s possible that they are not moving properly because the slide-out needs adjustment. If the slide is too far to one side, the seal could be restricted from moving in both directions.
It’s also possible that the seals are installed improperly or that a poor design is preventing them from moving in both directions. At this point, your best bet is to spray the seals with pure silicone. Saturate them well and allow drying before reapplying. Do this two or three times until the seals become more supple. This is probably your best defense without spending a lot of money.
If you prefer to upgrade the system, consider using a high-quality H-seal, which is very supple. Retrofitting to this type of seal is rather expensive, with costs driven up by the extensive labor time and pricey seals.
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