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Old 06-08-2009, 11:48 AM   #1
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Awning failure

I pulled my 5th wheel out yesterday from where I was camping and drove home. It's no more then an hour drive. I arrived home and was parking the 5er. I couldn't believe my eyes. The awning which had been fine when I left apparently unrolled during the 1 hour drive, unfurled and had gotten caught by the wind in transit. It's totally shredded and completely destroyed. I only climbed up top to look at it. It is still connected to the spring mechanism and to the trailer and the mechanism looks fine and all arms are intact but the fabric is all ripped and needs total replacement. I do not know if the mechanism is still working or not. I assume there is a ratchet system employed and a long spiral spring inside but have never actually worked on one. What is customarily done in a problem like this? Is the unrolling mechanism replaced and a new fabric awning installed? Or is a new fabric awning just replaced and the mechanism repaired if possible?

I have been pulling a 5er for 2 decades and never had this happen before. What could have gone wrong? I'm guessing a faulty ratchet in the mechanism causing it to unwind but I do not know for sure.
Paul R. Haller
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Old 06-08-2009, 12:43 PM   #2
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If the roller tube and arms are not damaged. all that needs to replaced is the canopy. You will need to check the torsion springs to be sre they are not damaged.

This can be done by you if you know how to handle the torsion springs when you rewind them, but you need to be very careful. The torsion springs have a lot of energy and can really hurt a person.

Ken
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Old 06-15-2009, 09:05 PM   #3
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When you replace the fabric, you will probably have to replace the pawl that controls the awning. Found on my old one that the gear track was worn just about smooth. New one has a different design.

Bill
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Old 06-15-2009, 09:20 PM   #4
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If you are interested in repairing it yourself, you'll find instructions here: http://www.aero-rv.com/ownManual.php
Select your awning brand, then click to download the pdf document.

The usual cause if this is, somehow the racheting lever got moved to the extend position after the awning was retracted. This allows the awning material to unwind from the roller tube even though the arms are secured in the travel position.
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Old 08-10-2009, 07:02 AM   #5
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Awning

You might be interested in my safety solution to preventing the accidental unrolling of your awning while in transit. See attached pictures. I use the awning rod as a brake by inserting the end of the rod in the hole located on the awning roller end opposite of the up/down lever end. The roller can not rotate with the rod inserted. I use Velcro and bungee to secure the rod to the awning arm. Since I made these pictures I added another Velcro strap above the first one.
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Old 08-10-2009, 08:32 AM   #6
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Long shot here, but call your insurance agent. Comprehensive might cover it minus your deductible, which on some policies is minimal or 0 for the comp section.
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Old 08-14-2009, 03:25 PM   #7
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Great Idea Ray!! It s been added to my 2-do list.
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Old 08-16-2009, 07:54 AM   #8
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If you decide to DIY, be advised_ it's easy to get a broken wrist when working with the spring if you vary from the instructions.
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Old 08-17-2009, 09:50 PM   #9
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Thumbs up

I like your solution, Ray. I have a Carefree of Colorado and the plastic locking mechanism has been coming loose on both arms for years. I asked the RV technician about this last week when I had the TT in for service and he said most folks wrap the arms with a short bungee cord. However, I like your method a whole lot better. Thanks for posting it!
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Old 08-18-2009, 06:04 AM   #10
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I am glad to post it...hope it saves a lot awning grief for folks.
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