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Old 07-26-2010, 09:20 PM   #1
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Carefree Awning Problem

Hello, We were camping this weekend,opened the side awning (manual type) on fri. morn. no problem. We were getting ready to leave on sun.aft.,I had trouble with the lever to release the awning so it would roll it self up, the lever would not move. I tried to roll the tube open more to release the pressure on the spring and try to move the lever it would start to roll up a half turn or so then lock up, I noticed that the lever was coming off of the shaft and the end cap was coming off some,still no luck, so I got a pair of pliers and tried to twist the release lever shaft and move the tube at the same time,the spring unwound.so I rolled the awning up by hand and secured the latches and off we went. How much of a problem is it to fix,can I do it,and where can I get a parts drawing. Also I noticed where the awning is attached to R/V at the rear the fabric is starting to tear.(14 years old). And has anybody have pros/cons on the Carefree Pioneer model,that uses a crank. Thanks Rick & Robin

PS:Can the awning be lowered since the spring are released and rolled up by hand again,we are going away on aug.6th.weekend,i don't think i'll have it fixed by then.
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Old 07-26-2010, 10:10 PM   #2
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Since the awning spring has been released then roll out the awning and support the roller. Drill out the rivets on the end cap and the entire spring assy will slide out of the tube. I don't believe that you can purchase individal parts but may be able to repair the latching pawl if not worn out or broken. otherwise you will need to purchase a new assy. Reverse removal procedure and using a vise grip or a special tool. I welded a socket and modified it, Tighten spring to same tension as opposite end around 16 turns. USE EXTREMME CAUTION DURING THIS PROCEDURE otherwise you will have plenty of excitment and possible medical bills
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Old 07-27-2010, 08:28 PM   #3
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Hello RVhauler You said you welded a socket? Isn't the end of the shaft round? Which way do you wind spring? We (my nephew&I) are going to work on it this Sat, Thanks Rick & Robin
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Old 07-27-2010, 09:19 PM   #4
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You can use a pair of vicegrips but they provide a lot of excitement if they slip out of your hand . I will have to look at the socket but welded a bolt on the side of it. I will look tomorrow at what I done and will post. It is a whole lot safer/easier using a socket on a breaker bar. I believe that the lock end spring is wound counter clock wise as you are facing the end of the roller tube. You will be able to determine correct rotation when it is removed. To really get even tension on both ends you should unwind the opposite end also and do both ends the same amount of turns however depending on various factors it may be vary as to the amount of turns necessary.However thru trail/error just the one end can be adjusted. End cap of tube is pop riveted and caution should be used in drilling rivets out so not to enlarge rivets holes so orginal holes may be reused if possible.
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Old 07-27-2010, 10:04 PM   #5
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To get the "roll up - roll down lever to release if that ever happens again...
Simply release the bottom of the arm from the side of the coach and pull it out a few feet... then try the lever... it WILL be free

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Old 07-28-2010, 10:46 PM   #6
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To fabricate tool for winding/unwinding awning springs, I used a half inch drive socket (IMO the half inch drive allows the use of a longer breaker bar for better control). Place a 5/16" X at aprx 3" bolt with hex head in the socket (I used a slightly longer bolt and cut the threaded end off). Check for fit prior to welding by sliding bolt into slot of awning arm end mounted on roller tube spring assy. When fit is satisfactory then weld bolt into socket. (I cut the threads off the bolt)
Using a 2nd like sized bolt placed in parallel to welded bolt with the hex head pointed away from socket weld to outside of socket after checking fit on arm end.
Roll awning out and support roller tube. Place socket into slot on awning end cap using a breaker bar. If spring is under tension apply slight pressure and hold while removing the quarter inch bolt holding end cap to awning arm. If still tension on spring then unwind spring counting number of turns. Remove end cap rivets and slid spring assy out. If lock arm base and lock cam is worn replace or repair. New grooves can be filed into base with so so results. Reverse procedure to install and rerivet end cap on to roller tube. Rewind spring counted number of turns and rebolt arm end cap to awning arm. Remember tension to the spring is applied by turning the awning end cap. USE CAUTION and do not let go of breaker bar while aplying or loosening spring tension.
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Old 07-28-2010, 11:23 PM   #7
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Lightbulb Dump your springs. Get the crank.

I had a broken spring in my Carefree for years and was always rolling the awning up by hand. It's a PIA because you have to use a ladder. I bought a Carefree of Colorado Pioneer upgrade kit from RVupgrades.com and I like the crank method it uses even better than the original spring method. Here's the link to it.

RVUpgradeStore - Carefree of Colorado Pioneer Upgrade Kit

The operation is quick, smooth and I don't have to remember to slide that pull strap into the slot any more before rolling up the awning. Plus, the awning is a bit lighter now because I removed both the springs. There's no more release lever to get stuck either as you simply turn the crank one way or the other.

If you go to the link above, you can download the instructions so you can review them and determine whether this is something that might be beyond your capabilities. The hardest part for me during the installation was finding something to support the awning tube while you perform the upgrade. I would also recommend that you have a "helper".
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Old 08-01-2010, 06:03 AM   #8
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When my spring broke i replaced it.To wind up put all togather and use awing arm to wind up.You have to remove bottom section of arm for clearence.Works good an safe.
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Old 08-01-2010, 09:07 AM   #9
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Unless you have a positive locking mechanism, I'd be real leary about driving the rig around with the spring and latch fubared.

I had an awning get sucked off the side of the rig once while travelling, not a pleasant experience.
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Old 08-01-2010, 10:11 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimM68 View Post
Unless you have a positive locking mechanism, I'd be real leary about driving the rig around with the spring and latch fubared..
The original locking mechanism that was on the the spring drive is unnecessary when the upgrade is installed because the crank system is worm drive and the awning will not move unless you crank it. Plus, you still have the original plastic clamps on the support arms to lock for extra protection.

With the upgrade, I can wind my awning up so tight now that it will actually lift above the automatic awning support and I have to relax it a bit so it sits in the cradle.

As fas as I'm concerned, the spring method was a piece of junk. I don't think mine lasted more than 5 or 6 years before the spring on the right side broke. Also, the springs tend to rust, thus weakening them and reducing their life span.
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Old 10-03-2010, 07:50 AM   #11
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rv hauler i need to tighten my spring too could you plse either post a pic of the tool you made also ive been trying to get my end caps of to tighten no luck yet mainly ive been worried they say use visegrips to hold it well it has to be a big pair then imo also when removing the front cap did you have to disconnect the locking mechanism ? carefree says no ! but i know the girls im talikng to have never doe the job before either !
also did you take the ends off when it was rolled in or out ? i have the sprit model !thanks
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