Troubleshooting drawer slides


I recently put together my first piece of furniture that uses metal drawer slides (Accuride). I purchased an installation jig to go along with them, and getting the holes lined up wasn't as difficult as I'd expected (thanks to the jig).
But here's the thing. I have the 3 drawers in place in the carcase, but the fit isn't quite right. There's too much resistance to moving in and out.
Now, what flummoxes me about this is what seems like the vast number of variables at play here. I can adjust any of the following:
- front to back, and top to bottom placement of the large slide members - front to back, and top to bottom placement of the small slide members - relationship front to back between top and bottom members of the same drawer - overall width inside the carcase (adjustable with shims or with planing/sanding)
...and more. My point is, there are -so- many variables with these things, how on earth does anyone actually troubleshoot? It seems to me that "too much resistance" could be the result of a problem with almost any of those variables, and possibly a combination.
So - anyone with experience perfecting drawer slides able to comment on this? Where do I begin?
Thanks!
PQ
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I just went through the same thing. I found that the rear of the slide was a bit down causing the back of the drawer to drag on the bottom. Raising the rear of the slide fixed the problem.

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It is possible that the drawer part of the slide, and the cabinet part of the slide have not been fully engaged. When you reconnect the drawer part to the cabinet part you need to make sure that the drawer part has been pushed in all the way. It could be that the relative "in/out" locations of the drawer part and the cabinet part are such that even when the drawer is closed the drawer part is not all the way in. So you may have to move the cabinet part closer to the front of the cabinet (or the drawer part closer to the back of the drawer).
I assume that the slides operated ok before they were installed?
Measure the clearance between the drawer and the cabinet. It should be exactly 1/2 inch.
Try a drop of oil here and there along the slide.
The position of the whole slide assembly, relative to the drawer is not important. As long as the moving part and the stationary part are all in a line.
Mitch
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I've used the Accurides a lot over the years. Difficulty opening and closing is usually one of two things: 1) Your drawer is a little to wide and you're "forcing" the mating hardware too tightly against each other. Is it hard to get the drawer into the cabinet runners when you first put the drawer in? Do you see any marks on the sides of your drawers where the wood is rubbing against the cabinet hardware. You can usually get away with being a little bit "thin" in the width because of the slop in the accuride members, but too thick can cause problems. 2) Another common possibility is the matching left and right runners or cabinet members aren't parallel to each other or coplanar. If one member points a little bit up and the other points a little down - as the drawer closes it's going to start "binding" as it fights to go in opposite planes.
My 2 cents.
Gary in KC

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"PetQuality" wrote in message

Start with the drawers ... if they are too wide, you will have to somehow trim/plane one or both drawer sides until the drawer width falls within the guidlines of your slides.
If they are too narrow, you will have to shim the drawer slides. If both of these are in play, then do what you have to do with a combination of shimming and trimming and take the last sentence below to heart.
With that out of the way ...
There is some wiggle room built into the slides themselves and you can generally get a sense of where things are wrong pretty quickly with just a couple of screws on each slide, and by taking advantage of the built in adjustment holes in the slides themselves.
Remove all but two screws on each side, leave one in the front, one in the back. Make sure the screws are in the MIDDLE of holes that allow the most vertical adjustment, as that is where the problem often is.
(You can usually tell quickly if the drawer slides are not lined up with each other along their length/height by closing the drawer and seeing if one side of the drawer want to be further inside the cabinet than the other, or higher on one side, or if it rocks excessively in any plane ... if so, rectify that situation first, with the front screws)
Leave the back screws just loose enough to allow the slides to move out of any bind as you close the drawer. Does it now close easier? If so, open the drawer and tighten up the back screws a bit at a time, repeating the open and close routine, until the drawer works like you want it.
If not, loosen the two front screws a bit and repeat the process, alternately tightening from front to back, side to side as you go.
If the above doesn't work at all, then chances are you've got a problem with the width of the installation. If it gets more difficult to close as you tighten the screws in the first above, you may need to shim one, or both, of the slides at the back, or vice versa.
Good luck ... and don't settle for less than perfection. The more you work at getting it "perfect", the more you learn, the more your intuition becomes finely tuned, and the quicker the process becomes for the next drawer.
IME, most of the problems with drawer slides stem from the cabinet or drawer sides, or both, not being square and that generally comes from like parts not being BATCH cut to the same size ... doing that one step can save you all the time and frustration of going through the above.
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Thanks for all the suggestions! I'll go through everything later tonight and see where it lands me.
I don't know why Accuride can't be bothered to include any troubleshooting tips. It seems like it wouldn't be that hard for them to compile a list of "check this first, if x then y", etc. I understand that some of thier customers have done this so many times that it comes naturally, but for those of us just starting out with this type of slide it'd be awfully helpful to have more information provided up front, or at least available on their website.
PQ
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It could be that they are in denial that there are problems. Seems to be a lot of that... ;~)
John
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"PetQuality" wrote in message

Actually, and I don't mean to be snide, there is enough play built into the drawer slides that if you do your job building a square cabinet and drawers, you shouldn't have any problem whatsoever with installation.
In short, they've already done pretty much all they can do when they ship them out the door.
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Swingman wrote:

Well, I'm certainly not claiming to have built a 100% dead-on square carcase, but I disagree that Accuride has done all they can. I think that at the very least, some basic installation tips other than their semi-cryptic instructions would be nice.
An update - I was able to significantly improve the slide behavior, mostly by slightly loosening the screws on the large members (the part attached to the inside of the carcase). It seems that I'd torqued them down too much and was creating a little bit of a warp in the slide that way. I also added a couple of small shims in spots where the carcase sides weren't quite flat.
So, the drawers are close. Now, the main problem is that the last 1/2 to 3/4 inch of travel is way rough. In other words, if you pull a drawer all the way out, it moves reasonably well back in, until you get -almost- all the way in. Then it basically stops, and you have to use a fair bit of pressure to get it the rest of the way in. In practice, this probably won't matter much since my design uses false fronts that will prevent the drawers from going 100% back in anyways. But I'm still left wondering what the problem is here.
As I mentioned, my carcase isn't 100% dead-on square (though it's close). The individual drawers are pretty square, though one is admittedly further off than the others. But the clearance between drawer edges and inside edges is -fairly- consistent. Again, not perfect but pretty close.
So, other than planing out the carcase interior, can anyone suggest something else to try, to eliminate this end-of-travel binding? Anyone run across this problem before?
PQ
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Square and flat surfaces are a must with ANY brand slide. I have been using these type slides for a long time and when the drawer does not fit right, it is a manufacturiung problem on my part.

Now your learning. ;~)

Ok, on most of these type slides if your drawer width is not with in 1/32" of be what it should be the drawers will be harder to insert, index, and operate. That said as you have noticed, the drawers seem to want to stop going in. Almost always this is because the ball bearings that slide indipendently on the carcus portion of the slide are not properly positioned. To properly position them simply keep working on getting the drawer to fully close. Then pull the drawer out FULLY, you may find that it also does not want to come all the way out with out some resistance. Again work the drawer untill it is all the way out to its stops. After doing this the drawer should open cand close fully with much less resistance. Note however that the better you fit the drawer to the specified opening in the instructions the easier the drawer will position the ball bearing carrier. Consider also that if the back of the ends of the carcus slides are either closer or farther apart than the front ends there will be more resistance like you witnessed.

Again, it is imperative that you pay very close attention to the details you mentioned. If the drawers widths are not with in 1/32 or 1/16 collectively for both slides the slides are going to be tight. If the sides of the carcus where the slide is attached are not dead on parallel to each other your slides are going to be tight. If you drawers are not dead on square, they will not properly or fully close.

I have been there and can only repeat to adhere to exact fit and squareness of the drawers and cabinet there the drawers will fit.
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"Leon" wrote in message

squareness
LOL ... hopefully _that_ point has been well made. ;)
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If you are talking about the last half inch of travel this may help:
The end of the slide (on the drawer) has a "c" shaped clip that engages a rubber bumper (on the carcass side). This helps to keep the drawer closed. You can use a pair of pliers to open the clip that engages the rubber bumper. Also a drop of silicone spray lets the clip slide easier over the bumper.
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Thanks, I'll try a little silicone and adjusting the clip.
And as for the many comments on getting things square in the first place, yes, I promise - I get it :-)
PQ
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DO NOT go near your project with SILICONE until you are totally finished. If you get it on the wood before applying your finish, the finish will not stick.
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Double echo on that! In fact I'd go so far as to say throw the damned can of silicone away - or use it to waterproof the boots you bought your wife for shoveling out the driveway. That stuff is the death of any kind of future finish work, on any material. There's a ton of things that will give all the lubrication necessary - simple bar soap being one of the most commonly available, and it won't cause you any grief with finishes.
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Hm ok - thanks for the added warnings. I guess I'll skip the silicone, at least for now. Good thing I haven't bought it yet, 'cause there's not much need for waterproofing boots or shoveling driveways here in Phoenix :-)
PQ
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Chances are you built the drawer too wide or narrow. OR you cabinet sides are not parallel to each other. EVERYTHING must be parallel.
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