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Old 02-24-2015, 12:48 PM   #1
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Installation of Slide Toppers - Dealer vs CW

Friends,

DW and I have been discussing where to get our slide toppers installed... We have the option of going to our selling RW dealer or having Camping World or another dealer install them... From a cost stand point I think materials are roughly the same either route... From a labor stand point however the costs are worlds apart.

Our selling dealer has quoted labor for install to be roughly 2 hours per slide and they are giving us their discounted labor rate of $125 per hour. With 5 slides that is a chunk of change. Camping World on the other hand has their reduced installation cost specials that are periodically run. If I recall correctly the last installation special for install of slide toppers was around $79 per topper.

I don't think our dealer would be of the nature to frown on our going to another dealer for this work however I am more worried about the quality of the install work itself...

Has anyone with a RW gone to Camping World or a non-RW selling dealer to have this type of work done? And what was your impression of the quality of work and then and negative issues afterwards from the selling dealer.

I appreciate your thoughts and experiences and DW and I wade our way through this process...

Happy Travels to all... (Sorry for duplicative post here... No previous response.)

Bill n Diana
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Old 02-24-2015, 01:15 PM   #2
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I've had CW do some work for me on my other RV and they did a pretty good job. However I watched the guy and talked with him ahead of time. I have been to CW in the past and after watching or talking to the techs, I was surprised to see they were wearing shoes that had to be tied.

If you're thinking of CW, I would talk to the tech and ask them how steep they could make the slide because this seems to make a difference on how well they shed water. If the guy (or lady) looks at you dumb founded.....walk away.

Personally......I think the slide toppers look nice but not impressed with the function (kind of the girl you introduce to dad because mom just wouldn't understand).
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Old 02-24-2015, 03:21 PM   #3
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I agree, when I looked at the advantages and disadvantages of the slide toppers I opted not to get them...more trouble than good....No regrets!!!
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Old 02-24-2015, 03:50 PM   #4
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It is a personal decision to get them or not...
we just got back Sunday and our camping buddies were worn out from lack of sleep since their toppers flapped all weekend in the wind coming off the lake...
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Old 02-24-2015, 04:12 PM   #5
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I don't live in the south, but I've always excluded slide toppers on every purchase and never missed them.

I have helped others cut them off so they can get home after the wind tears them up and they won't roll back up. Seems like it happens every other year. Just helped a guy last fall in Colorado with a new Crossroads Cruiser the wind pulled the fabric out, jammed the roller, and partially ripped the rail off the body over his bedroom. It was a mess. Too windy around these parts for them.
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Old 02-24-2015, 08:21 PM   #6
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Last MH I had before the RW had the toppers and from Day one I hated the noise and the flopping in the wind. I was always putting in the slides when the wind was above 35mph for fear they would rip off. Nothing like two days with slides in to make you tired of the RV.
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Old 02-24-2015, 09:29 PM   #7
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We seasonal camp and have them on the street side slides. Yes they do hold water, yes they do flap but the roofs are clean and I wash them three times a season. I wish I could have one on the dining slide, but because we have an awning we were not able to have one. All in all you have to consider your life style.
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Old 02-24-2015, 11:03 PM   #8
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That's a really loaded question:
This will be a rather long answer, but will give you my feelings about CW Service.
As with everything, there are good Techs and CWs and some Techs I wouldn't trust to sweep the floor of the RW.
Our Montana came from a CW and Slide toppers were part of the deal, but would have to be installed after the sale as they didn't have any in stock. They finally installed Dometic Toppers but for some unknown reason did intall the Anti-Billow device/arm. Made an appointment to take it back and get the arms installed. The morning I arrived and checked with the Service manager he asked what it was I wanted, but could seem to get across to him what it was. Called their parts order Gal to see if she had ordered anything, answer "Nope". Had them pull another topper from stock and open the package, I then pointed to the arm in question. The response from the Service Manager "Oh, we throw them away". I then proceeded to show him the instructions from Dometic that stated that if they weren't installed and your topper unrolled going down the highway, your warranty was null and void.
Anyway, backed the Montana into the shop to install the Anti-billow arms. I was there watching and the Kid didn't have a clue how to install them, so I had to explain where they went. Then he needed to put the main slide out and started for the inside and I asked what he was going to do. When he told me, I said "Wait until I turn off the valve for the bedroom slide or you'll jam it into the side of the shop door" On the Montanas with Hydraulic slides the lightest (usually the bedroom) goes out first.
I've had several other cases with other CWs that weren't much better, so I personally have no use for CW Service Departments.
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Old 02-25-2015, 12:32 AM   #9
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I had Camping World scheduled to install a satellite dome, W/D and 5th airborne pin box on my brand new Montana. I went out to check on them and two guys were on a fork truck holding the pin box and one was underneath with a sledge hammer beating it in place. He said the hitch welds were making it to hard to fit.

Needless to say I got refunds for all remaining installs and took all the hardware home and installed it myself.

When we had our A&E manual awning converted to Carefree electric, I called an authorized mobile tech recommended by Carefree to install. He didn't do much better, and drilled 11 holes in the new gelcoat in the wrong place for the window awnings. He paid the body shop about $1,600 to get all those repaired.

It is very hard to find competent help for this stuff.
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Old 02-25-2015, 12:45 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnboytoo View Post
It is a personal decision to get them or not...
we just got back Sunday and our camping buddies were worn out from lack of sleep since their toppers flapped all weekend in the wind coming off the lake...
That is the main reason I don't plan on getting any. I had them on my last motorhome and had the same problem with the wind blowing causing the toppers to be noisy. There were times I almost pulled in the slide to stop the noise.
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Old 02-25-2015, 01:06 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RWJSIM2003 View Post
Last MH I had before the RW had the toppers and from Day one I hated the noise and the flopping in the wind. I was always putting in the slides when the wind was above 35mph for fear they would rip off. Nothing like two days with slides in to make you tired of the RV.
That is one nice looking setup in your signature!
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Old 02-25-2015, 03:02 AM   #12
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Thanks Atom, looks similar to another
I have seen on here
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Old 02-25-2015, 03:19 AM   #13
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As some have already mentioned, there are good and bad technicians regardless of were they work at. Now with that said, I had a bad experience at our local CW. When I still had my last motorhome, one of the slide toppers ripped, so I had CW replace it. They asked me to measure it so they could order it. I measured it three times to ensure I had it correct and gave them the measurements. When they went to install it they said I had given them the wrong size. I told them I measured the canvas three times and I am positive it is correct. One of the techs basically called me a liar in not so many words. So I when home and brought back the old canvas and told them to measure it. It was the size I told them. Then there was some tap dancing by the service department. They then said, Oh, I guess they put the wrong one on at the factory. Needless to say I am still angry from this ordeal and they knew this. Some of the service people did apologize, but the technician that basically called me a liar did not. So how did they make this situation right? They offered to order me the correct size as long as I paid for everything. I told them to put on the one that was ordered. I have never gone back to CW for any kind of service since.
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Old 02-25-2015, 04:12 AM   #14
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Most of our camping is in the woods. My days of climbing a ladder to take the branches, leaves and pine needles off the roof are over. We put toppers on our slides and maybe the wind is diminished in the woods but I've never heard the toppers flap against the roof. I love them and would always put them on. The water does pond up on them but it all goes away when I pull the slides in.
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Old 02-25-2015, 12:41 PM   #15
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Foxfire - same here. I have an aversion to ladders and only use one if absolutely necessary. Maybe my rig is one of the rare ones but the only time I've ever heard my toppers flap was in the middle of a godawful thunderstorm when I was seriously considering pulling the slides in and then running.

I did, however, have the dealer put an extra 2 turns of tension on them when the rig was new. I get a little puddling in heavy rains but that's about it.
If there's a next coach, it will have them too.
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Old 02-25-2015, 04:29 PM   #16
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Foxfire - same here. I have an aversion to ladders and only use one if absolutely necessary. Maybe my rig is one of the rare ones but the only time I've ever heard my toppers flap was in the middle of a godawful thunderstorm when I was seriously considering pulling the slides in and then running.

I did, however, have the dealer put an extra 2 turns of tension on them when the rig was new. I get a little puddling in heavy rains but that's about it.
If there's a next coach, it will have them too.

Vaughn.....same here. I think the primary issue that people are having with slide toppers is incorrect installation and not enough tension on the take up roller. As indicated in previous posts, there are a lot of shop people working for these dealers and CW that are not properly trained and supervised. So, you get "shoddy" work results. In many cases, people would be better off doing the installation themselves with a helper.

We have 3 1/2 years in and over 14K miles on our 36RL. We have toppers on all 3 slides from the factory. We have not had a noise issue except in very windy conditions........we do get some water pooling and if it is excessive, I raise the front of the coach and dump the water, then re-level the coach. It takes about 5 minutes.

The only issue that we have had occurred the second summer of owning our RW. We were traveling across Kansas to Colorado. Apparently one morning, when I put in the bedroom slide, the topper did not roll up correctly and I was not being observant enough to realize that it had not rolled up correctly. During the day while in transit, it apparently partially unfurled and was shredded on one end of the topper. Surprisingly enough, when I took to the Crossroads Factory Service Center that fall for it annual inspection and other service, RW replaced the entire topper under warranty.

I love the toppers and would not be without them.
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Old 02-25-2015, 05:29 PM   #17
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I don't think I would go as far as generalizing the problem as improper installation being "primary".

Most of the misery I have seen with topper owners have nothing to do with being installed improperly, its just a the fact you have an awning that you can't retract when the weather is not conducive to having an awning out.

I have retractable awnings all over my house - and they have been up there for 12 years because they automatically know when to come in. They are for shade or protection from rain, but I would never use them as protection for a perfectly good roof. One failed to come in for an overnight snow because I over-rode the automatic controls, and I paid dearly for that when it collapsed.

To me slide toppers are like a fix to something that is not a problem, and they require additional fixes to fix the new problems created by the fix that wasn't needed to begin with. Ahh the beauty of aftermarket
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Old 02-25-2015, 07:03 PM   #18
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I do appreciate all the ideas presented with this topic... It will greatly assist the wife and I when/if the time comes to execute this purchase...

Like some have stated I don't like ladders and am very very anxious everytime I have to climb the ladder prior to bringing in slides to ensure that nothing is on top of the slides... Based on my fears/aprehension slide toppers appear to be a method (maybe the best method) to minimize the amount of time I need to spend on a ladder...

Please continue to post your good ideas and experiences with slide toppers as it will assist us and others make this decision...
Thanks to all,

Bill n Diana
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Old 02-26-2015, 12:47 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atom ant View Post
I don't think I would go as far as generalizing the problem as improper installation being "primary".

Most of the misery I have seen with topper owners have nothing to do with being installed improperly, its just a the fact you have an awning that you can't retract when the weather is not conducive to having an awning out.

I have retractable awnings all over my house - and they have been up there for 12 years because they automatically know when to come in. They are for shade or protection from rain, but I would never use them as protection for a perfectly good roof. One failed to come in for an overnight snow because I over-rode the automatic controls, and I paid dearly for that when it collapsed.

To me slide toppers are like a fix to something that is not a problem, and they require additional fixes to fix the new problems created by the fix that wasn't needed to begin with. Ahh the beauty of aftermarket
Brad
That's a lot of fixes
Personally I have had slide awnings for the last 10 years. I have not had any issues with them even in the Santa Anna winds we get. If the slope is good and tension set the water does not pool as much. I have not had a problem with them tearing in the wind. I do change them and the main awning out every 4 years or so because of the UV rays break them down. They really do help to keep leaves branches etc from getting drug into the coach when pulling in the slides as well as helping to keep it cooler in hot temps. They are like anything else if you look after them they do their job. I am still debating whether to put them on the redwood. As you said they are a lot of money to put out and maintain. To each their own
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Old 02-26-2015, 02:09 AM   #20
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All I can say: "Having RW put them on all three slides of our MB".
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