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Old 11-14-2010, 05:45 PM   #1
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Power Dometic Awning flops a lot...even in a mild breeze..normal??

...or is it just mine?

We thought a power awning would be the cat's meow. However the one on our "new to us" Alpine is a real disappointment.

I can't believe how floppy it is even in a mild breeze/wind. we have had many manual awnings on 5th wheels and gas class A's.

All we have ever had to do was roll 'em out, tie the corners to some added weight, and for leave them alone for weeks at a time. (the added weight allowed the corners to lift if a breeze got unusually stiff, and pulled it back down when it abated. Something I learned on asphalt parking areas where we couldn't drive stakes...in fact it works much better than stakes, because it allows the awning to give a little if it has too..

..another thing. Our awning provides shade about midmorning to mid afternoon...other than that that it's useless. It just doesn't come down far enough. That might be something we could get used to(not!) but the constant flopping unless there is no "breeze"...I don't think so.

The rear arm scopes in/out and raises up and down when it gets a breeze, almost continually. The front arm is more stationary. Are all the power awnings like this? This is our first one..

If they are all like this..can a Dometic A&E awning power awning be converted to a manual awning...or do you have to replace all the hardware, tube, arms and all?

Or is this situation unusual, and can be fixed..?

Thanks and best regards..Stan M.
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Old 11-15-2010, 12:38 AM   #2
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Stan,

Sounds like something is awry. Mine only moves in a stiff breeze. It buckles a bit to let accumulated water off, too. Yours sounds like it's not quite in balance, or perhaps a bit short on fabric, not allowing the full weight to come to bear. That would also explain the lack of shade. I don't really have that problem, either. Fully out, I'd guess it's 7.5' off the ground, with jacks mostly extended (anyhow, I can touch the roller, standing flat footed, at 5' 11")

Of course, maybe in Texas, a "mild breeze" is actually a Category 4! LOL!

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Old 11-15-2010, 12:57 AM   #3
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What you might find is that the gas struts have degraded and need replacement. They are what keeps the awning down taut when it is extended. The design is such that if a gust of wind hits the awning, the struts will compress and allow the awning rails to give and not over stress the awning, while the automatic retraction is activated.

Although the design sounds good, my experience is that if a big gust comes up, both ends of the awning won't necessarily retract, and if the auto retraction starts you may have one end roll up without the other end retracting at the same rate.

IMHO, extending the awning and tying down the ends after turning the auto retraction OFF is a better solution but the struts may still need to be replaced.
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Old 11-15-2010, 07:18 AM   #4
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I guess it could be the struts, I'll look at it again..I hate to even roll the thing down, It doesn't want to mate up the coach at the last second when closing down(have to push the leg over a little so it straddles the verticle bracket on the coach.

I have adjusted the fabric from one side to the other several times...but after the last flopping episode it properly straddles the verticle coach side bracket on one side or the other when trying to close it ...but not both.

The real issues ...seem to be on the lower brackets/braces to me...they are flimsy. The very top strut on both sides seems ridgid....much like a manual awning.

Part of my issue is that we are not always on level gground...so with blocks and after leveling...you could add another foot to that awning extended height... A manual awning can be lowered almost to your knees...not that you would want to....but it seems to me 71/2 foot is worthless when the sun starts going down from 3PM on. Especially if it's summertime....it's hot in Texas and I don't want to spend all day under the A/C when I'm at the lake.

Sounds like the height isn't going to suit me even if the flopping issue could be fixed..

Can these awnings be converted to manual ...or do have you have to buy a new one?

Thanks..Stan..
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Old 11-15-2010, 07:27 AM   #5
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Stan,

Sounds like something is awry. Mine only moves in a stiff breeze. It buckles a bit to let accumulated water off, too. Yours sounds like it's not quite in balance, or perhaps a bit short on fabric, not allowing the full weight to come to bear. That would also explain the lack of shade. I don't really have that problem, either. Fully out, I'd guess it's 7.5' off the ground, with jacks mostly extended (anyhow, I can touch the roller, standing flat footed, at 5' 11")

Of course, maybe in Texas, a "mild breeze" is actually a Category 4! LOL!

I have to admit most west Texans thinks a 25/30 mph wind is stll ok to shoot skeet and trap on. Other wise you wouldn't shoot much..

Stan..
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Old 11-15-2010, 07:47 AM   #6
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I have a friend parked behind me who has a Carefree awning. His hardware seems to be a lot more beefy than my A & E. He also has an adjustment on the arm that can change the angle of the awning to a degree. It still isn't like what you can do with the manual awnings. His awning is a lot more stable in the wind too. Of course the big feature of the electric awnings is that you can roll them in or out in 30 seconds which means that you are a lot more apt to pull them in when you leave camp. I have seen LOTS of manual awnings that got left out and a wind came up and damaged them while the owner was away.
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Old 11-15-2010, 07:57 AM   #7
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I have a friend parked behind me who has a Carefree awning. His hardware seems to be a lot more beefy than my A & E. He also has an adjustment on the arm that can change the angle of the awning to a degree. It still isn't like what you can do with the manual awnings. His awning is a lot more stable in the wind too. Of course the big feature of the electric awnings is that you can roll them in or out in 30 seconds which means that you are a lot more apt to pull them in when you leave camp. I have seen LOTS of manual awnings that got left out and a wind came up and damaged them while the owner was away.

I thought the in out in a hurry would be really good. Mine is a little off so even that isn't very easy.

You are right ...leaving any awning out when you are gone is a bad idea. Unless you heve a recent weather report and know a few tricks on how to secure them.


Pull any awning out and leave it out without any securement...you better get ready to buy a new awning.

Stan..
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Old 11-15-2010, 09:53 AM   #8
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For future reference... Dometic only makes one tube ..it can be used . The rest of the hardware has to be replaced completely. Theydo not make a kitwhere youcan just replace teh power awnings.

At least that's what the Dometic tech woman said...

She wasn't very helpful, seemed unsure and i wouldn't be surprised if teh info is wrong. But wahat do you do...take it a t face value and hope I guess.

The canvas may be a different length ..she didn't know.

Stan...
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Old 11-15-2010, 11:05 PM   #9
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Stan:

The lady is right. However, you still have a couple options.

Mine came with a panel that slides onto the tube that hangs a few feet further down. It isn't anchored, but does provide more shade. You may have it, but didn't know what it was.

There are a few companies out there that make add ons, but the panel is easily made with a cord sewn into the rolled over end on a piece of fabric. An upholstery sewing machine or shop can make one up quickly. You could even attach a bungee at two corners and anchor it down, as you described.

The height of the awning is enough to protect the windows on the coach, but a low or setting sun still gets under it.

Your issue with the non-alignment is the coach's level. It has happened to me, too. Later, I level the coach and run it in and out several times before all is well.

Overall, I like it MUCH better than the manual one on my old coach, and use it much more often. Also given the issues people have with the self-retracting, I prefer mine. I have seen the ads for the Carefree and like the adjustability, but it also looks massive.
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Old 11-16-2010, 07:34 AM   #10
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takepride:

My awning has a skirt about a foot long that hangs down...I thought they all had that? Are you saying they make one even longer?

Mine also has a metal aluminum shield that mounts between a canvas and the coach...are you talking about an extension other than that?


Mine does not alve the auto retract...maybe that came along later than 2001, however I'm glad I don't have it, as it would be retracted all the time if I did.

Regarding coach level...it has been level every time I have unfurled the awning.

After my awning flopped.. as per someone elses post, I learned that you had to unroll the awning all the way...get on a ladder, and pull the canvas toward the end of tube one way or the other, so when it winds up it will land where you want it. May take two or three trys ...but at least it will close...nearly!

...that works good...if every thing else is kosher.

I need to look in the piston issue....I hate to spend money replacing the awning. If I can stiffen it up some maybe we will get used to it...?

Stan..
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Old 11-16-2010, 08:33 AM   #11
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Stan,

I have the exact same problem with the arms not lining up properly on my A & E power awning. I can adjust the position of the fabric left to right and get it to line up, then the next time I try it, the arms dont lineup. I tried contacting A & E about it and they were not helpful at all. Because it is such a pain, I rarely use the awning, so I am not sure about how well it shades the coach or not. If you come up with a solution, I would certainly be interested.

Jeff
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Old 11-16-2010, 06:50 PM   #12
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Stan,

I have the exact same problem with the arms not lining up properly on my A & E power awning. I can adjust the position of the fabric left to right and get it to line up, then the next time I try it, the arms dont lineup. I tried contacting A & E about it and they were not helpful at all. Because it is such a pain, I rarely use the awning, so I am not sure about how well it shades the coach or not. If you come up with a solution, I would certainly be interested.

Jeff

I'm still working on it Jeff..

I think I could fix it...but I'm not a big fan of fixing something that has so many short commings even when they work as designed.

So far I'm with you...I would never use it the way it is.

I've got a couple of other things that are a higher priority, so I may pull off the awning repair for a while. (now that it will at least lock down). I want to take a little break in cruise...soon.

I'll get back on it when I return..and keep you posted.

Stan..
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Old 11-16-2010, 07:54 PM   #13
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I need to check my gas struts (A&E) because mine sure flops around in the breeze more than I would think necessary. Mine also doesn't provide as much shade as I would like and I'm jealous when I see folk sitting out under the shade provided by their manually operated, tied down awnings.

But, if I'm not mistaken, most all of those are either mounted on the paitio side slide or they are on an RV with no slide on that side of the coach. At least on mine, the awning is mounted to the coach but has to stretch all the way over a big slide before it provides any shade at all. I've had some success with tying mine down (after turning off the manual retract) and buying a "Pati O Shade" or something similar is in my future. I think that is what the earlier reference was to. You can make them yourself or purchase the ready made product but it provides a lot more shade than my standard awning.

Good luck and keep us posted.

Rick
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Old 11-16-2010, 09:10 PM   #14
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I need to check my gas struts (A&E) because mine sure flops around in the breeze more than I would think necessary. Mine also doesn't provide as much shade as I would like and I'm jealous when I see folk sitting out under the shade provided by their manually operated, tied down awnings.

But, if I'm not mistaken, most all of those are either mounted on the paitio side slide or they are on an RV with no slide on that side of the coach. At least on mine, the awning is mounted to the coach but has to stretch all the way over a big slide before it provides any shade at all. I've had some success with tying mine down (after turning off the manual retract) and buying a "Pati O Shade" or something similar is in my future. I think that is what the earlier reference was to. You can make them yourself or purchase the ready made product but it provides a lot more shade than my standard awning.

Good luck and keep us posted.

Rick
Rick:

My last Fleetwood gas rig was 37' with no slide and a 20' manual awning on the curb side..

It was great..lots of shade all day long....plus it never pooled water!

My Alpine awning is on the curb side too...with no slide on that side, just like my old Fleetwood. Only difference is the awning doesn't lower much even without a slide in the way.

Sounds like a "Pati O Shade" may be your only shade option since the awning is over a slide...

Stan...
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