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Old 12-07-2022, 11:57 AM   #1
FlyboyTR
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Lightbulb Bed-Deck Slides (Plastic & Loose Bolts): A New Point Of View

Back in 2019 there was a thread about replacing the cheap plastic bed deck slides with aluminum. Mine had a couple of cracks. So...

I also jumped on board and did the upgrade to aluminum. I also took the slack out of the two slide bolts...never did understand why the bolts are so long with about 1/2" slack between the swing support frame and the nut. I sold that TM two years ago. Well....

Here we are on the verge of 2023 with our NU2US Mouse Motel. Kathy and I were doing some weather stripping maintenance around the beds. At this time we were working on the front bed. We had the bed extended and propped up about a foot on the inside to give us room to work on things. Kathy made a laughing comment about the slack in the bolt was almost gone with the bed tilted...and "YOU" need to take care of that (tighten the bolts up).

As I stared at the arrangement...something VERY important came to mind and my point of view about this subject was suddenly changed. I believe I now realize why the TM Factory uses fragile plastic strips for the under-bed slides and the nuts of the bolts were never tightened to remove most of the slack!

Generally speaking as a means of providing an emergency escape route, the bed decks are designed (on most models) to be lifted UP from the inside and pushed outwards after unlatching the slide pin. The slack in the bolts allows upward movement of the deck which is then pushed outwards. That will cause the bed deck to separate from the camper as it slides aft and the downward (breaking the plastic slide runners as the bolt head breaks free). This is your escape route.

If aluminum sliders are used (many folks are using 1/8" flat bar) and then we take the slack out of the bolts...(in my opinion and new/current way of thinking) we are greatly limiting the ability to effectively lift and push the bed deck out/away. Not having any slack in the bolts has the potential to make this even more difficult. First thought is...with my hulk-like build I could easily overpower this and quickly lift the bed deck, mattress, covers and pillows with one hand...causing both bolt heads to break free of the aluminum runners. LOL BUT...what if it is my 120 lb wife needing to escape...could she do the same? I don't think so.

Our current TM had a factory block on the rear of the closet to prevent the bed deck from being able to be lifted. It has an escape window across the rear (give some mental and physical consideration to climbing out that emergency exit window...). Yes, Really...go stare at that arrangement with the camper set up and think about having to crawl out that escape window! I have removed that block and have now ensured I can lift/push the bed deck out/down should the need to escape ever occur.

So with my new way of looking at why plastic runners and loose bolts were used by the Factory, I do honestly believe this is to effectively allow the bed deck to break away so that one could then climb out the front/back of the camper. I welcome your thoughts on this... Thanks!
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Old 12-07-2022, 02:36 PM   #2
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Awesome insight here!

TM has used the escape window for over ten years now. But let me tell you, I 100% see myself getting wedged in that window space like Winnie the Pooh in Rabbit’s tunnel… I 100% agree the bed is the easier route, front or rear.

And to those with a front slide model, this is why you don’t stack all your knick-knacks on that front vinyl velcro flap. In case of fire, that’s the front emergency exit.

And while we are on the topic of fires safety, here’s another little nugget… Those fire extinguishers in your trailer? It’s not really designed to put a fire out as much as it is for you to suppress the fire enough for you to get out. Which is why having it by the door probably isn’t the best place!
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Old 12-07-2022, 02:43 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shane826 View Post
Awesome insight here!

TM has used the escape window for over ten years now. But let me tell you, I 100% see myself getting wedged in that window space like Winnie the Pooh in Rabbit’s tunnel… I 100% agree the bed is the easier route, front or rear.

And to those with a front slide model, this is why you don’t stack all your knick-knacks on that front vinyl velcro flap. In case of fire, that’s the front emergency exit.

And while we are on the topic of fires safety, here’s another little nugget… Those fire extinguishers in your trailer? It’s not really designed to put a fire out as much as it is for you to suppress the fire enough for you to get out. Which is why having it by the door probably isn’t the best place!
Thanks, Shane...!
Good comment about the front slide flap! I have a second fire extinguisher mounted just inside the bottom cabinet by the bed. I have a simple hook that fits of the rear shower wall. When setting up the camper, I remove the extinguisher (and hook) from the cabinet and hang it on the wall. So I have a unit in MY bedroom! ALWAYS...better safe than sorry!
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Old 12-07-2022, 03:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shane826 View Post
Awesome insight here!
I'm right there with you, Shane. That is something I never would have considered. It took me a couple minutes to draw the picture in my mind, but when it suddenly solidified, I was amazed.

Quote:
TM has used the escape window for over ten years now.
If memory serves, they have actually used several versions of the escape window. Early ones were fairly small, and like you, I wondered about getting it open and slithering out in an emergency. The escape window in my present TM looks considerably bigger, though I admit I haven't opened it yet. Raising the front edge of the rear bed is still a good solution in my mind, and I'm thinking of adding a drop-down leg to hold it open during the escape.

Like the OP in the related thread, I am having a minor problem with a rear bed slide. The pile-up of washers on the bolt slips into a different configuration as the bed reaches the inner end of its travel, so pushing the last inch is a bit tougher. A wrinkle in the plastic slide is at fault. I've flattened it as much as I can, and I was getting ready to go to aluminum as others have done. Having read your post, Travis, I guess I won't do that. Maybe a new plastic slide, cut to the right length and properly screwed down, will do the job. It's not really a big enough annoyance to get excited about.

Quote:
And to those with a front slide model, this is why you don’t stack all your knick-knacks on that front vinyl velcro flap. In case of fire, that’s the front emergency exit.
Oh, I can sweep all that stuff off there in no time if I don't mind breaking some of it. Wedging myself down through the opening gives me pause, but I bet I could do it. What worries me more is the time required to hold the couch cushion forward and rip open that long Velcro strip, so I can raise the flap.

Thanks to both of you for your comments and ideas.

Bill
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Old 12-07-2022, 05:32 PM   #5
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Bill,
you are more than welcome. I had been looking on the Grainger site and they have 1/8" acrylic strips, 60" and 48" available in pairs. Could be another solution.

OH...if the bed is riding a bit LOW on the swinging arms it will be very difficult to push in the last few inches. Adding an additional washer/spacer MAY free that up for you. Anyway...more food for thought! Thanks again!
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Old 12-07-2022, 06:07 PM   #6
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Maybe I'm not understanding this correctly, but on my TM, the bolt heads are not captured by the nylon slides. The bed just rides on the large nylon washers that go over the bolts, and can be freely raised off the bolts once the latch inside is unlatched.

Is yours different?

Dave
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Old 12-07-2022, 06:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShrimpBurrito View Post
Maybe I'm not understanding this correctly, but on my TM, the bolt heads are not captured by the nylon slides. The bed just rides on the large nylon washers that go over the bolts, and can be freely raised off the bolts once the latch inside is unlatched.

Is yours different?

Dave
Dave,
The plastic strips down each side of the groove overlap the groove on each side by a little bit. The head of the bolt with a washer rides inside this groove and above the plastic strips. This strips basically trap the head of the bolt and centers the bolt head and shaft in the middle of the groove. This is to prevent the bolt head from wearing against the wood sides of the groove.

If your plastic strips don't extend a bit over the groove, it is possible that at some point they were changed.

LOL...that made my head hurt...I hope you understand what I was trying to convey. Thanks for the question!
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Old 12-07-2022, 08:54 PM   #8
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Your new TM has the clips behind the couch? My 3326 did, but doesn’t after the remodel. Just velcro behind the couch.
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Old 12-07-2022, 11:30 PM   #9
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Shane, you are right. I was thinking of the velcro strip when I wrote it, but got mixed signals in my mind. I think ripping open the velcro might take longer than unsnapping two clips, but who knows?

I have modified that part of my comment.

Thanks

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