Paramount Awning Not Shedding Water
Anyone out there with the new Paramount awnings on a Tiffin Bus or Zephyr? We bought our 2013 Bus with two Paramount awnings as we use it in Alaska where we fish in rainy areas. This summer we found that when our awnings on our Bus were extended water would pool on the slide out cover area (horizontal) and cause the awning fabric to form large pouches between the support arms. This meant that when we tried to retract the awnings the fabric would ball up on the roller and stall the motor, preventing retraction. We could not use a broom to push up on the water pockets as they were located above the slide outs. Essentially, I had some $15,000 worth of awnings that would not shed water.
As a temporary solution, I found that by tying rope to the ends of the support arms and pulling them down about 10" I could get the awning positioned so water did not pool in the upper areas. I then tied the ropes to 5 gallon buckets full of water. This worked OK, but I also had to turn power off to the awnings and disable the auto-retract function. Definitely not good. It appeared that if the entire awning assembly could be tipped slightly, water would not pool up top.
This October I took a trip to Red Bay and asked the service department to correct this problem so I could use the awnings in the rain and still have the high wind protection operate. Both Tiffin and Paramount refused to accept any responsibility for this problem at first. Based on my work around fix I used in Alaska, I calculated that there needed to be wedges put under the hardware that attaches the awnings to the roof. My calculation indicated that the wedges needed to be 5/8" high on the edge toward the center of the coach, and taper down to 0" height on the outer edge.
Tiffin said that if they used any sort of wedges under the awning mounts, Carefree would void the warranty remaining on the awnings. The warranty is only for 1 year and I had only 2 months remaining on it, so I told them it was not an issue for me. They insisted on me signing a waiver of the remaining part of the warranty before they would do any work on the coach awnings.
Tiffin fabricated 4 wedges for each awning out of black plastic. The wedges were 22" x 8" x 5/8" thick on one long edge and zero thick on the other long edge. Because of the weight and length of the awnings they needed to put the coach into one of the catwalk bays, the same one they use for side rail repairs. The work took about 2 1/2 man days (one day in the bay) but that did not count the time it took them to taper the wedges out of 22 x 8 x 5/8 plastic.
Once the wedges were on, the mount plate area well caulked, and the awnings reinstalled, I took the rig to our camping spot and ran a test with a hose. The fix worked perfectly. Despite my best efforts, I could not get any water to pool in the area where it formerly lay. After I got home I had 2 days of rain on the rig with the awnings fully extended and no rain pooled on top.
The only issues which I was afraid I might have caused with this fix was that the awnings might not fit smoothly with the fiberglass farings of the front and rear caps due to the wedges. In fact, they actually fit better. I think this was more an issue of exactly where the rig builders placed the awnings. The wedge didn't cause any additional fitting problems. The second issue was that the outer rail of the awning might be too low for practical use. On my rig, with the coach dead level, the awning lead rail is about 6'4" above level ground with the wedges under the mounts. If that gets too low due to raising ground levels in that area, I can retract the awning a bit to be sure the rail doesn't become a head knocker. The awning arms have no problem clearing the slide outs when extending or retracting the awnings.
I'm pleased with the fix and how it works. From what I understand this is a "one of" repair until Wade Humphries and company can decide what they are going to do. The work was done under warranty as the coach is less than a year old, but if I had had to pay for it, the cost for time and materials would have been in the area of $ 2200. If Tiffin was not going to do anything to solve the problem, I fully intended to do the job myself. We have an equipment shed where we keep the rig that has trusses I could use to support the awnings when I picked them up, and a location where I can get the plastic to make the wedges out of.
If anyone is interested in the fix, I can email them a few pictures I took while the Tiffin folks were doing the work. Send me your email address in a PM.
2013 Tiffin Allegro Bus 43QGP
2011 Chevy Silverado 1500 Toad