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Old 03-27-2010, 11:21 PM   #1
"Formerly Diplomat Don"
 
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Carefree Slide Topper Repair/Replace

I've been waiting for an opportunity to either repair or replace my slide topper material on all three slides. The toppers are tearing, at both edges, where they come out from under the cover when the slides are in.

I priced them in Quartzsite and the cost for three fabric toppers was $780.00 plus $300.00 for installation. I thought this was a little steep. Since the only portion that was going bad was the part exposed to the sun, I thought I could remove the material, cut off 6" and restitch the bead back in.

I decided to take off the material on the left rear slide because it was the smallest. Here's what I did......I removed the aluminum cover, 2 phillips head screws on the underside at both ends. It won't fall off when the screws are removed. Just lift it up and off. The two end caps are both held on with phillips head screws. Remove them and set them aside.

I extended the slide which left 2-3 turns of material still on the roller tube. I turned the roller tube by hand until the end of the material was visible. I continued to unroll the tube until the slot with the end of the material was at the top of the roller. Once you have it in that position, you can stick a medium size phillips screwdriver (fits the hole well) into the hole I'm pointing at in the picture. This will lock the roller in position. There are two screws in the motor home awning rail, at both ends, that need to be removed to allow the removal of the material.



The roller tube is bolted to an arm at both ends with a 7/16" bolt. As you face the awning, the left side is always the side that has the tensioner in it. As I did the left rear first, the tensioner was at the front of the awning and the opening in the motor home awning rail was at the rear. This allowed me to remove the rear bolt (no impact on the spring or tensioner) lowered the arm an inch and pulled the material straight out. The problem with doing it this way is that when you do the left front or right side of the coach the tensioner is at the end where you need to slide the material off. This means you have to remove the entire roller tube to get the material out, which was still easy.

I removed the material from both rear slides, ran it over to an upholstery shop and for $60.00 (which I thought was a little high) they cut off 6" and restitched the end. I brought them home and reinstalled both.

Now here's a simpler method that dawned on me when I thought about having to remove the largest roller on my main slide. The tenisoner is at the front and the material has to come forward which would require removing the roller. Instead, I'm going to take a dremel and cut a slice between the top of the arm (in photo above) and the hole at the 12 o'clock postion. All I'll have to do is turn the arm until the material end is at the top of the roller and slide it straight out. This can be done on any of the awnings with no detrimental affect to the arm.

This is a job I've been putting off because I didn't know how hard it would be. Using the dremel will allow me to take the material off on any of the slides in a matter of minutes.

I expect this entire repair will cost me about $120.00. My awning toppers lasted about 45 months. I figure I'll get another 3-4 years out of this repair.

Hope this helps someone who wants to save a little money.
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Old 03-28-2010, 01:23 AM   #2
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Great post don jim
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Old 03-28-2010, 08:17 AM   #3
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Thanks for the info Don. I am about to order new fabric for one of my slides. I have an older carefree Omega topper/awning. I was able to remove the cover and follow your directions. On my awning system I was able to remove the fabric without drilling a channel. The topper actually extends over the side to become a awning. One of the issues I had was that the fabric, a previous owner, installed was too short and the pull down strap didn't reach the side wall hook. So I need new fabric, but I will order it longer which will allow me to do the same as you the next time. Diesels do last forever right?
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Old 03-28-2010, 02:36 PM   #4
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Thanks for the great information and post. I just paid well north of $500 to have the living room slide topper replaced after a Las Cruces, NM breeze ripped it apart.
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Old 03-28-2010, 03:31 PM   #5
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Good idea on the slot in the end bracket....just have to pin the roller and slide off the fabric. I just did the same as you for a tear right at the roof seam from high winds. When I pulled the fabric off, I discovered about 2 wraps still on the roller. Took it to an upholstery shop where he cut it off at the tear, and sewed in a new pocket for the tube. 50 bucks and I'm back in business.
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Old 03-28-2010, 05:39 PM   #6
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I took a photo of the living room slide topper. You can see where I used a Dremel to cut a notch down to the upper hole. The topper slid right out, I had it restitched and it slid right back in. That's the end fo a Phillips screwdriver at the bottom. It's holding the roller in place.




Even though this topper hadn't torn yet, the thread that runs the length of the coach near the awning rail had rotted away. When I removed the slide topper, the stitched in loop that holds the nylon bead that inserts into the awning rail fell apart. The The nylon bead fell to the ground. The only thing holding the topper to the awning rail was friction.
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Old 03-28-2010, 05:49 PM   #7
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Thanks for the pic! Again: excellent idea. Makes the job a 1-person instead of a two person.
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Old 03-29-2010, 07:29 AM   #8
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OR, just remove the material in the manner described and reverse it putting the "bad" area on the roller (never to be seen again). The material is thin enough so that we stiched back and forth on the torn area with a home sewing machine as a repair.
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Old 03-29-2010, 07:30 AM   #9
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Thanks Don, great post and pics.
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Old 03-29-2010, 11:54 AM   #10
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H. Miller...My original plan was to just reverse mine like you said, but on my model the bead on the awning rail and the bead on awning roller are two different sizes. I also had mine sewn with nylon thread to slow down the rotting effect.

Carefree must have used cotton or polyester thread on the original work....built in obsolescence.
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Old 03-29-2010, 03:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diplomat Don View Post
H. Miller...My original plan was to just reverse mine like you said, but on my model the bead on the awning rail and the bead on awning roller are two different sizes. I also had mine sewn with nylon thread to slow down the rotting effect.

Carefree must have used cotton or polyester thread on the original work....built in obsolescence.
Thankfully our thread was the "new improved" version and yes the bead is two different sizes which is why we switched them (the two sleeves were the same size)
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Old 03-30-2010, 01:44 PM   #12
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I had a bit of an "incident" yesterday and now need to re-mount a slide topper

Mine are not carefree. but I suspect your post will be very, very, helpfull

Thanks
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Old 03-30-2010, 06:43 PM   #13
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Don, Sorry you are not close to my location in Davenport Fl. I carry a industrial portable Consew walking foot sewing machine with me in my coach. Weighs about 60 pounds. I would have helped for a six-pack. I am helping a friend this Saturday to repair 3 topper awnings that have come loose where the welt slides into the top channel. Your pictures and instructions will help greatly in aiding me to complete this project.
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Old 04-10-2010, 10:37 PM   #14
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While on the subject, is there a way to tighten up the awning material without removing the tube from the coach? The high winds have stretched the material on two of mine to where it sags when the slide is out.
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