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Old 05-14-2005, 07:05 AM   #1
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Just finish a two week trip from Seattle area to Rapid City, SD. and back.

Somewhere in the middle of Montana, and in the middle of nowhere, my awing decided to unroll all by it's self. It is a 20' by A&E. I kept hearing what sounded like something rattleing in one of the compartments for about a 50 mile stretch, finally decided to stop and see what it was. When I opened the door, it hit the awning! About 4-5 feet was hanging down. That portion now looks like a lace curtain, damaged beyond repair.

I had a similar incident in 1990 on another MH, but it only unrolled very little. It seems the release latch vibrates down to the open pos., then starts to unroll.

I was able to get the awing to retract and roll up, but I was about to climb on the roof and start cutting the whole thing off!

What is the matter with A&E, they have had the same design for years, and this seems to happen quite often. Puttung a bunge cord around awning is not the solution. Can't they design a fool-proof lock-up system? Now I am out a $2,000 awing because of their ignorance! I never use the **** thing anyway, every time I try to use it, the wind kicks up, you come back to the campsite to find it all tangled up or ripped up from the wind, and you have to stabilize it with anchor ropes. Still pulls up!

I challange anyone from A&E to explain why they still incorporate this type of locking system into their product?

Mike T.
2002 Gulfstream Sun Voyager Trio, W22 WH.
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Old 05-14-2005, 07:05 AM   #2
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Just finish a two week trip from Seattle area to Rapid City, SD. and back.

Somewhere in the middle of Montana, and in the middle of nowhere, my awing decided to unroll all by it's self. It is a 20' by A&E. I kept hearing what sounded like something rattleing in one of the compartments for about a 50 mile stretch, finally decided to stop and see what it was. When I opened the door, it hit the awning! About 4-5 feet was hanging down. That portion now looks like a lace curtain, damaged beyond repair.

I had a similar incident in 1990 on another MH, but it only unrolled very little. It seems the release latch vibrates down to the open pos., then starts to unroll.

I was able to get the awing to retract and roll up, but I was about to climb on the roof and start cutting the whole thing off!

What is the matter with A&E, they have had the same design for years, and this seems to happen quite often. Puttung a bunge cord around awning is not the solution. Can't they design a fool-proof lock-up system? Now I am out a $2,000 awing because of their ignorance! I never use the **** thing anyway, every time I try to use it, the wind kicks up, you come back to the campsite to find it all tangled up or ripped up from the wind, and you have to stabilize it with anchor ropes. Still pulls up!

I challange anyone from A&E to explain why they still incorporate this type of locking system into their product?

Mike T.
2002 Gulfstream Sun Voyager Trio, W22 WH.
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Old 05-14-2005, 08:12 AM   #3
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We had the same thing happen w/ our Sunseeker. I really don't know what make awning, but as you suggested, bad road north of Detroit and jiggled the release loose. Didn't open all the way as we were able to stop and latch it again.

Very poor locking system on these awnings.
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Old 05-14-2005, 05:20 PM   #4
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I know what you are talking about; the vinyl awnings without the meatl wrapper (alumiguard) they tended to slip. The newer design has a better locking ratchet design and the Acrylic awning with metal wrapper is the way to go. I have never had mine unroll. One this is that I have the main Springs wound good & tight and the wrapper keeps the wind out pretty well..
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Old 05-14-2005, 09:40 PM   #5
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On the way home to Texas after the FMCA Rally in Perry, GA., I was driving in about a 35 MPH right quartering head wind, gusting much higher when I heard what sounded like a tire exploding. A quick glance in the right mirror revealed the awning unwound and flapping at 65 MPH + headwind.

Got stopped safely, but took over 20 minutes to get it re-wound and re-latched. Several times my 115 lb wife was lifted off the ground as we tried to get it under control. She was not amused. I thought we would end up on top of coach a few times.

I now have machined positive latches which lock the arms to the side of the coach. If the arms can't move, not much chance of the awning un-rolling.

Glad to see that I am not the only one with this problem.
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Old 05-15-2005, 04:59 AM   #6
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The position of the arms has no bearing on the awning unrolling, both times, mine were locked up in place.

First time it happened, I owned a new 1989 Mallard 32' class A. The awning had the metal wrapping on it, it still came unrolled. My '02 Gulfstream does not have the metal shield, again, it came unrolled.

The problem lies with the locking system vibrating loose, there is no safety feature after all these years which I find amazing since there has been so many reports of A&E awnings unrolling. You just have to check the latch periodically to make sure it is in the fully locked position. Wrapping the tube in a bungee will not do any good.

Mike T.
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Old 05-15-2005, 08:57 AM   #7
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In January of this year we were heading south on I-5. Just north of Santa Nella village we were hit by a tremendous wind gust that lifted the entire right hand side of our 35' motorhome and opened up our A&E 9000 awning.

The front section of the awning where the roller locking mechanism is located stayed locked but the rear section unwound and the entire unit torqued itself around the front arm. The wind gusts continued to make the released part of the awning and the metal weather guard flop around violently. The net result of all this was that the vent for our refrigerator was cracked since it took the brunt of the hits. Luckily we had no other damage to the motorhome. This happened at 2:00 pm and it was not until 7:00pm that our emergency road service (Coach-Net) could get to us.

The first time at about 3:00pm he had assessed what was wrong and what he would need to remove the awning completely. The second time two people showed up with a flat bed truck, manoeuvered alongside the motorhome and proceeded to remove the awning. Since it was now dark I stood there holding a flashlight so that they could see.

During the 5hr. we were stranded on I-5 with traffic whizzing by at 60-70 mph not one CHP stopped, nor any other good samaritan. If we did not have a cell phone and Coach Net to help us we might have been stuck there a lot longer than we were.
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Old 05-15-2005, 10:22 AM   #8
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As others have said, securing the arms does nothing for the unrolling action. I just keeps the arms from swinging out.

My solution is to add a latch to each end of the metal tube. I got the idea from the <span class="ev_code_BLUE">Discovery Owners </span> site. You can order the latches (pn 299120) from Zip Dee at 1-800-338-2378, you will need 2. The latches cost $21 (2x$10.50) and s/h is $12. I had to fabricate a spacer to mount them. I used a 1" sq piece of aluminum tubing with the ends cut at a 45 degree angle. Once installed you use you awning hook to open and close then.

Lastly you may want to add a center brach as a 20' metal clad awning has a tendecy to sag.

I have posted pictures on the IRV2 photo page in the MH Mods section.

Here is one photo.

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Old 05-15-2005, 11:16 AM   #9
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As I can see by the posts, this is not an uncommon problem with A&E awnings. Why should we have to build our own "safety" measures into a product that has been on the market for years, and is well aware there is a problem with there design?.

If you bought a new car and the hood kept coming open in the wind, is it incumbant upon us to design a new latch so that this doesn't happen again? I think not.

I am going to contact A&E after I have anyalized more reports of this condition, so keep the comments coming!

Mike T.
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Old 05-15-2005, 05:24 PM   #10
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Unfortunately, there have been several posts in the past regarding this problem. A&E did update their locking mechanism a few years ago but I am still not sure if that is all that is needed. So I went to www.rvupgrade.com and got one of these

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Old 05-15-2005, 07:23 PM   #11
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What Mike got from RV Upgrades will absolutely do the trick. However, I use the Zip Dees as Dale described and I use them on ALL awnings as the smaller ones over your bedroom or living room can also unfurl and billow with a gusting side wind. Again, you need to lock the tubes and no amount of locking on the arms will help you given the right wind conditions. As Dale said there is agreat description with photos on the tips and tricks part of the Discovery site. Ken, '04 DSDP...
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Old 05-17-2005, 03:32 AM   #12
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For what it is worth, we had a problem crossing the Kansas turnpike with the awning unfurling. The arms were secured and we even bungied them to assure they stayed locked. However the awning unfurled several times. Putting it back in position each time was an adventure with my wife on one end flying and me holding on waiting for wind gusts to die. We finally had to climb the roof and bungie the ends of the awning roller to the end brackets. I then quickly found a campground and stayed the night to let the winds die down.

Thanks for the pictures of some methods to prevent the problem since A&E doesn't seem to care. Has anyone had the problem with Carefree?
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Old 05-17-2005, 05:08 AM   #13
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Our main awning came unraveled recently as well. We were fortunate to notice it before it caused any real damage. It was quite windy outside at the time. We have a 16ft awning on a 2004 Scottsdale MH. The awning has the metal wraper as well.
Thanks to those who have posted their fixes to this problem, we will be looking into doing something to prevent this from happening in the future.
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Old 05-17-2005, 08:08 AM   #14
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Same thing with me, 60 MPH with 40-50 MPH wind in Wyoming. Had no shoulder on side of road so parked in right lane and with wife got it to roll up untill we got to town. It broke the locking mech. and spring. I ordered an "awning saver device" and no more problems with even stronger winds. I also have the metal hood, but did not seem to do be any help. It is also an A&E.
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