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Old 01-11-2012, 11:18 PM   #1
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Awning Loss

DH and I went to look at a MH this afternoon and on our way home on the interstate we saw a dodge truck pulling a fifth-wheel lose their awning. The wind was blowing like heck and he hit a cross wind after coming through an underpass. He almost lost the whole rig right in front of us.

DH said in the rear view mirror, he saw him swing it over to the shoulder and the whole awning roller completely pulled off the side of the fifth-wheel and one end of it was stuck down into the pavement or ground. We sure felt bad for the driver but there was no way we could stop in time or do anything because we had to dodge his rig and get in the far left lane. DH is also on oxygen and is unable to tolerate the cold air or strenous activity.

Luckily, DH said someone behind us looked like they pulled over to assist the poor guy.

Shelle
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Old 01-12-2012, 08:48 AM   #2
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I've read a couple of posts recently about losing an awning due to high wind while on the road and even while parked. Even though I've been through some pretty bad winds, both while on the road and parked with it rolled up and have never had a problem , but I'd like to know if there's any way easily lock down an awning under these conditions.
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Old 01-12-2012, 08:58 AM   #3
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If the roller direction lever is in the retract position, how does the awning unroll? Spring tension keeps the awning material tight against both the roller and the RV. It appears to me that this direction-control lever would have to fail for the awning to unroll.
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Old 01-12-2012, 09:03 AM   #4
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The previous owner of my coach installed some locking straps on the awning that makes it absolutely impossible for it to unroll. I've seen em at CW, not expensive insurance against the loss of an awning and the damage an awning and its hardware flapping in 60mph wind against the side of the coach.
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Old 01-12-2012, 09:12 AM   #5
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If conditions are just right and the wind hits your awning from underneath, the awning material will unroll with the arms upright and locked. I've watched it happen to our own awning. The straps do NOT help in this scenario.

The roller itself is NOT locked, even when the arms are up. To lock the roller, you need something like this.

In a classic case of locking the barn door, we purchased one for our awning and certainly wish we had done it a year ago. Our hardware wasn't ruined but the awning material was ripped right off the roof.
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Old 01-12-2012, 09:15 AM   #6
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Yes, that to me would be the only way a awning should open up while on the road if that lever was set to the "un-roll" position. Ours has two screw knobs you also tighten down on the awning arms once it is against the trailer wall.
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Old 01-12-2012, 09:25 AM   #7
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I've read about a lot of these too. Guess I'm just wondering if it's "operator error" or a design malfunction. Betting on the error, but that may just be my nature....
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Old 01-12-2012, 09:27 AM   #8
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It is not IF your awning will unroll BUT when.

Tying the arms with anything, awning set to the "un-roll" position or have the screw knobs tight doesn't stop it to unroll.

Roller must be tied or locked with a after marker device.

Been there done that.
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Old 01-12-2012, 02:01 PM   #9
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Good advice, you need an after market device to lock the roller for your awning. The internal locking device cannot keep the roller locked under certain very windy conditions, and allows the awning to billow into the wind. There are several locks on the market, I can vouch for the device referenced by Super Chief in post #5 above.

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Old 01-12-2012, 03:23 PM   #10
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What happens when I forget to pull the locking device out of my electric awning? (You know it's going to happen. It has to. It's the law.)
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Old 01-13-2012, 07:56 PM   #11
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Has anyone manually unrolled their awning when the directional lever is in the retract/close position. Difficult? I maintain it is impossible without breaking the pawl inside the mechanism. I don't know about others, but my awning is pulled tight against the RV wall when retracted.
There may/will be the day I forget and unintentionally move the lever to the extend position when stored, and have it unroll on a windy day, but that's my fault not the awning mfgr.
I agree with ahicks. It's pilot/operator error.
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Old 01-13-2012, 09:15 PM   #12
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Operator error is always possible yet the design of the awnings will catch the wind occasionally no matter what you do unless you add an aftermarket lock!
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Old 01-13-2012, 10:46 PM   #13
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I was hit with a heavy cross wind in Nevada and it unraveld my awning. The mechanism had been compromised when the awning slipped once while I was rolling it up and it snapped into position.

While we were struggling with the awning in a heavy wind a guy walked up behind me and began helping. I noticed his MH parked right behind me on this two lane road. If I ever see another person loose an awning I am going to stop and help if I can.

I have two, not one, but two safty features holding the awning on when I travel now. No matter the reason--I am not going to lose another.

One device I purchased, it clamps around the awning and is tightend or loosened using the awning return wire pole to turn a screw winding it tight or backing it off to loosen.

The other device is basicaly just some velcro strips wrapped around each end. I applied one of the layers in one direction then I put the other velcro strip over the gap in the first strip---works great and I feal very secure that my awning is sticking with me.
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Old 01-14-2012, 06:58 AM   #14
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Also check any awnings you have that cover your slide outs.

Mine have a 'tooth' that prevents the awning from unrolling when the slide is up tight against the body of the coach.

Once while in Kansas on I-70, a 50 mph cross wind cracked the tooth off the the awning cylinder and it unrolled while we were driving. Son # 3 and I had to climb up on the roof and manually roll the awning back up and put duct tape on it.
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