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Old 06-24-2012, 11:24 AM   #43
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Old 06-24-2012, 11:29 AM   #44
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I think they are all that way except the window awnings. They have no lever. FMAC says the window awnings don't usually need a lock because they have a smaller area for the wind to catch. Lots of good awning info here.

Wind forces and your awning

Just a WAG, but I'm wondering if some people that have awnings that unfurl think they are locking the roller by flipping the lever after it is rolled up, when actually, they are unlocking it.

You may be right Dunner. However, my older model Carefree was fully stowed and LOCKED. This model uses an internal roller lock that prevents the roller from turning. In my case, the gust that caught it was apparently strong enough that it pulled right through the locking mechanism and unfurled. All of the internals in the roller are broken (springs, lock, ratchet assembly). The roller will now free spin either direction regardless of the lock position.

As for the slide awning, it uses a different method. They call it an "anti sail" devise. If the wind starts to lift the awning, it forces an arm to contact a gear mounted on the end of the roller, thereby preventing it from unfurling. Again in my case, the gusts were so strong that the arm dropped and actually cut right through the gears, fully half way around the roller. At that point it was so damaged that it quit even trying to work. Luckily I was already on the roof when it popped free and I was able to save that one. However, Carefree doesn't make that model anymore, so no parts are available to fix the anti sail devise...so it may be a full replacement also.

After the insurance adjuster approves the repairs, I'll definitely be looking for a more positive locking system to go along with the factories.
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Old 06-24-2012, 11:37 AM   #45
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You may be right Dunner. However, my older model Carefree was fully stowed and LOCKED. This model uses an internal roller lock that prevents the roller from turning. In my case, the gust that caught it was apparently strong enough that it pulled right through the locking mechanism and unfurled. All of the internals in the roller are broken (springs, lock, ratchet assembly). The roller will now free spin either direction regardless of the lock position.

As for the slide awning, it uses a different method. They call it an "anti sail" devise. If the wind starts to lift the awning, it forces an arm to contact a gear mounted on the end of the roller, thereby preventing it from unfurling. Again in my case, the gusts were so strong that the arm dropped and actually cut right through the gears, fully half way around the roller. At that point it was so damaged that it quit even trying to work. Luckily I was already on the roof when it popped free and I was able to save that one. However, Carefree doesn't make that model anymore, so no parts are available to fix the anti sail devise...so it may be a full replacement also.

After the insurance adjuster approves the repairs, I'll definitely be looking for a more positive locking system to go along with the factories.
I understand what you are saying. The FMCA article I posted explains the wind effect quite well. If you haven't read it, it's a good read.

I take it your awning is useless now? Can't lock it open or closed?
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Old 06-24-2012, 11:42 AM   #46
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Yes, the main awning is done. I had to cut the fabric away the save the rig. Roller assembly is shot and a little damage to one arm...Full replacement is what I'm thinking.

The slide awning seems to work fine with the exception of the anti-sail device.

Going to read that article now
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Old 06-24-2012, 11:50 AM   #47
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This sounds interesting, has anyone tried it? I'm thinking that this little extra bit of tension may be worth the effort.

From Dunner's link:

Here's a little trick to fitting the awning tightly against the motorhome. This will work on any awning that has a ratchet-type lock and can be put in a patio position. With the awning rolled up in the travel position, unlatch the right awning main arm from the lower mounting bracket. Be prepared to support the weight of the awning for a few moments. Pull the bottom of the awning arm away from the coach approximately one foot or until the ratchet lock clicks. Then put the awning arm back into the lower mounting bracket. As you do this, the roller tube is fixed to the arm and will rotate slightly with the arm as you move the arm back to the coach. This tightens the fabric and roller tube against the side of the coach. The next time you pull the awning out, the lock will be rather firm. If it is very stubborn, reverse the process to get the lock to release.
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Old 06-24-2012, 11:59 AM   #48
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I just took my cam assembly apart as a memory refresh (the one I replaced with the worm gear setup). It IS a double acting cam (should be able to lock the roller in either direction depending on how it's set), but it's a really poor design. There's no teeth in the in the ID of the drum it engages for starters. Never was. Second, the the cam itself has a design issue as well. It IS about wear, mostly on the ID of the end cap.

The mechanism is almost identical to a 1/4, 3/8 or 1/2" ratchet - without the teeth on the ID. This design depend on the cam's teeth engaging the ID of the end cap, working only because of the softness alum. material it's made from, but with no durability built in whatsoever.

Though mine appears to be in very good condition, it is capable of unrolling in the locked position due to that wear and that crappy cam design.

Regarding "locked"? I think there's a lot of confusion regarding the "locked" position in our conversation here. There's shouldn't be one. There should be a "roll up" and a "roll down" position. If it will roll out or unroll in the roll up position - that should be your big red flag. You are now a candidate for unfurling going down the road.

I do not remember the early A&E being a double action, no clue when or if that's changed, or if my memory of that mechanism has faded.

I've got to some stuff that needs to be done, will post some pics later on that might illustrate what's going on more clearly than I'm able to write out.... -Al
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Old 06-24-2012, 12:07 PM   #49
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Old 06-24-2012, 12:24 PM   #50
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Have a good trip Judy. Be safe.


Al, my A&E 8500/9000, has a distinct ratchet click going out or in. Are you saying there are no teeth in yours or all of them?

I'm still saying lock out or lock in. Or unlocked when it can be extended and locked when rolled up against the MH and can't be un-rolled, unless it is broke or worn out.
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Old 06-24-2012, 12:30 PM   #51
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Haven't tried the leg thing on the FMCA link, but it sound promising.

The plastic tubing and rubber tape are temporary.
I repeat the plastic tubing and rubber tape are temporary.


I install my lock from ground level and didn't get the tape straight. It was the last of the rubber tape I had. I'll get some clear tubing and more rubber tape at HD. Not bad for about an hours work. I used a salvaged CB antenna arm that was 5/16" OD and fit the hole perfectly. I had the tape, hose clamp and hose. Cost = $0.00, not counting my time. I can un-lock it with a screwdriver and the use of my awning rod. Does this look like it will work? If the awning does start to un-roll, the bend in the arm will hit the center shaft and stop it. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. BTW, I rarely use my awning. I almost alway park with the sun on the driver's side.



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Old 06-24-2012, 01:49 PM   #52
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A year or two ago I saw some pics of an awning blown out and the mess it caused. Scared the crap outta me and I bought this:
http://awninglock.com/index.shtml
Now I read this thread and I dono... is it gonna work or not?
If it will,... I'll go ahead and install it.

Ya, I know, you don't hafta tell me... I'm a little slow.
I'm whatcha call,... a procrastinator. And NO, that doesn't mean I'll go blind or grow hair on my hand,... you dumb hillbilly!
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Old 06-24-2012, 02:05 PM   #53
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If it is true that the wind strips gears, I don't know if I would trust that little 1/8" pin and the little self tapping screws. Seems like the mounting bracket could bend.
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Old 06-24-2012, 08:44 PM   #54
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Dunner, been doing some checking and there is a new style spring setup for the A&E. It's a total redesign and doesn't resemble the old one I'm familiar with at all. It will click like yours does, betting that's why you can't duplicate what I'm talking about? Yours appears to have a decent lock to prevent it from unfurling built in. Assuming it doesn't strip/break another lock on yours would be unnecessary really.

The older ones (not sure when they switched, 2000 or so?) are the ones I'm familiar with.

Have to apologize in advance for the pics. I don't know if they're blurred because I'm shaking or if I'm holding the camera too close trying to capture detail. They are what they are...

The one that looks like a brake drum is the awning end cap. You can see the area the pawl engages (closest to you), and the part that's never been touched. I'm guessing there's about .005 wear showing there - not exactly what I would call heavy wear. There's no trace of any teeth that might have been there at one time either.

Second pic shows the pawl trying to engage that drum, but the oversize tooth at the end of the pawl is holding the smaller ones (that have a much better chance of getting a solid grip) off the surface of the drum. If that last tooth wasn't there (or was smaller?), or the ID of the drum were smaller, this mechanism might have a chance to work as designed? As it is, well the answer to that is obvious. At best you have that one tooth holding, better chance of it not holding anything at all...

No regrets going the route I took with the Pioneer Upgrade Kit on my Carefree. BTW, found the mention of that kit being installed on an A&E 9000 here:

Carefree Pioneer Lite Crank Awning - PPL Motor Homes

It involves replacing the arms as well, so it's quite a bit more expensive route to take. The various home brew locks start looking pretty good at that point. -Al
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Old 06-24-2012, 09:07 PM   #55
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I can see where that wouldn't ratchet or keep it from unfurling. So, what keeps it from rolling back up when you extend the awning all the way? I'm thinking there is something missing. A gear or something else. That end tooth is probably a stop to keep what should be there from coming off the end of the toothed area. Maybe something like a small gear that steps up and locks it in one direction, then releases when the lever is reversed.

I still think it is human nature to roll up the awning and think the lever has to be flipped to lock it. Maybe not, but it's possible. Mine didn't come with instructions. In fact, neither did my 5er, and I bought it new. I'm going to leave my lock on it.
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Old 06-25-2012, 07:33 AM   #56
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Last thoughts -
I think this Carefree design was a mickey mouse attempt at copying A&E's design - that had this unfurling problem built into it. Whatever, BOTH companies have now scraped this design entirely. That fact should speak a very clear message to anyone listening.

It's a junk design, and I would suggest you not trust it. People are learning this unfurling lesson the hard way one at a time on the sides of roads constantly. I think this may be happening far more frequently as time goes on and these things wear more and more.

Bottom line, when you get right down to this, if you have this thing flailing around beating the side of your coach up it makes no difference if it's operator error or equipment failure. It's an issue when it comes to these older awnings that use this style lock mechanism. Deal with it before that guy on the side of the road becomes YOU!

Carefree people can update to this newer worm drive setup fairly inexpensively, and it's easy to install. No more messing with that strap, and no further concern about springs or this latch assembly. It appears to be a fairly sturdy design and it's easily operated. A&E people should seriously consider a road lock of some type if your awning doesn't make a ratcheting sound as it's extended. -Al
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