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Troubleshooting Drawer Slide Noise

A little too tight or too loose, and the slides will make noise. December 10, 2007

We are having problems with a customer complaint about slides we have used for years. They are KV 8405 full extension slides. Complaint is that they are noisy and stiff-moving. We have gone out and adjusted all drawers post-install. I think that he is feeling the second slide member when it activates. Are there any other side-mount slides anyone has worked with that are quieter and more free-moving? Customer has undermount in his kitchen (cabinets made by someone else), but originally did not want to pay for the upgrade we offered for undermount.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor S:
Any of the brands can be installed too tight and sound noisy. If the drawer box is too big by a hair, the first telescoping section is forced outward against the stationary member. I outsource my drawer boxes and sometimes they come a hair too wide; I have to shave them. Also, if they are too narrow, it will pull the second telescoping section with a clink sound. I use Dyna slides, which if installed perfectly, don't make any noise, but will do just what you describe if you're not careful.

From contributor G:
Ditto with the Dynaslides. I have found them to be much quieter than the KVs.

From contributor V:
Contributors S and G are right about the problems and the solutions. I will add one more, and that is sometimes in a dusty shop, you get a lot of sawdust in the slides, which will give them a grinding sound that can be pretty loud. This coupled with too much of the grease getting wiped off during the install makes it even worse. Bottom line, though - it sounds more like the client expects to get out of this what he does from the under mounts that he didn't want to pay for. It may end up being that even if you get them perfect, he still will not be happy.

From contributor J:
I use KV 8405's all the time. I run into problems with them when there's damage from someone who doesn't understand (and I show them) that you need to install them correctly. Often the drawer box part isn't in the bearing race correctly. After they shove it home (thinking that forcing is the best solution), they spend 10 minutes trying to get the drawer out. Once it's done, there's often damage (to be fair, this can happen with any brand of this type of slide). Then the customer complains that he has bad drawer slides. You would not believe how many builders and finishers destroy ball bearing slides. Then it's the cabinetmaker's problem. The brands that are quieter are tighter and less free-moving. The KV is a great slide. If you want a quiet slide, buy a Fultura. They do work well, but not as well as a correctly set KV8405.

From contributor A:
The KV 8405 is a very popular slide, and for a good reason - it works well at a good price. They're about all I use for side mount slides. I've never found a side mount slide which feels or operates like an undermount.

Customer expectations are one of the most aggravating problems in this business. It seems that sometimes, no matter how hard you try to think of every possibility, some assumption goes uncovered and undiscussed - and a misunderstanding results. In a case such as yours, it's really hard to objectively assign blame - although your customer has done so. Since you say you have used these slides for years, you probably know how they should be installed, and how they should operate when properly installed. Try explaining to your customer that undermounts and sidemounts are (generally) apples and oranges, and they should not be expected to work the same. Finally, as they say, you can't please all the people all the time.

From contributor K:
I have had similar occurrences with the KV 8400s. Cleaning and re-greasing will help tremendously. Also, I have noticed that they tend to quiet down and smooth out over time with use.