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Old 08-20-2022, 07:20 PM   #1
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Carefree Summit XL Slide Topper

I wonder if anyone has disassembled the double length topper that are on some full length slides, tossing about 24 feet. These are two rollers mated in the middle, mounted on standoff brackets and deflectors, and 2 covers connected by a center cover mounting plate. The issue right now is that the roller isn't retracting the topper as the slide is moved in. I can't tell if the roller is pinched somewhere and the canvas is rubbing, or maybe a spring or springs have broken, or what. I tried to remove the covers, and ran into two obstacles. One is that the center cover mounting plate is the support for a spring loaded attach pin that mates the left and right covers. I cannot figure out what kind of tool will reach around the back of the covers to try to slide the pin and hold it while I swing the cover downward. And then, I need to do about the same thing at the bottom center of each cover to remove them completely. Can anyone tell me how this is accomplished? Any and all advice is appreciated.

Thanks,
Steve P
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Old 08-21-2022, 04:13 AM   #2
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Steve P-

Attached is the Summit XL installation manual. The "Attaching the Front Cover" section addresses the latch pins.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Installation Manual [SOKIII-XL-with-Hidden-Bracket].pdf (489.3 KB, 5 views)
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Old 08-21-2022, 07:44 AM   #3
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Thanks, I have a hard copy of the same manual for the Summit XL. Assembly is the easy part. Disassembly of crusty spring loaded pins in slots that are almost inaccessible on the backside of the cover is the current challenge. Improvising a tool would seem to be required. A cleverly bent heavy coat hanger, might do, but I don't have that figured out yet. Suggestions from the forum members are always appreciated.

I did discover yesterday that the cotter pin holding the center cover mount in place is missing. This has allowed the roller tube and cover to bow outward. Clearly that could be binding. It remains to be seen whether it has caused any damage to the roller tube (what Carefree calls a "roll bar").
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Old 08-21-2022, 12:13 PM   #4
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My coach had a Carefree SOK, so I'm familiar with how they go together. It seems to me that diassembly for the XL is:

1) Loosen screws on left end cap.
2) Release center latch pin on left cover.
3) Remove screws on left end cap.
4) Remove left cover.
5-8) Repeat above for right cover

None of the above are inaccessible or on the back (coach wall) side, so no special tools should be needed. The two spring-loaded pins on the right cover pass through the center cover mount, and should be exposed once you've removed the left cover.

I could be in error- it would not be the first time!

Some other points:

1) Check the position of the c-shaped roller supports- the ones with the plastic rollers on the top and bottom arms. They hold the weight of the roller between the end caps, and are critical to maintaining clearance between the roller and the inside of the cover. It looks as if there are three on the XL. My coach had one. It had bent downward. I bent mine back up until the roller support arms were about equal distance from the top and bottom of the cover. I would check this each time I had the cover open for cleaning.

This may be the root cause for your problems, rather than the missing cotter pin (which should just affect the fit of the cover).

2) The center latch was a bear to release. Along the way it had gotten bent and a bit corroded. The only way I could reliably release it and get it back in the groove (i.e., to latch the cover closed) was to be on a ladder with the latch within easy sight and reach.

3) My coach came without the rubber bumpers. After I figured this out, I ordered some from Carefree. With the bumpers installed it was a lot easier to see from the ground if the cover was completely closed along its entire length, as the gap was now small and uniform. An uneven gap was a sign I had not properly latched the cover.

4) When I wanted to clean out the cover, I would remove the lower cap screws and loosen the upper ones. Then I would release the center latch (just one on the SOK) and flip the cover open, resting it on the top of the topper. This exposed the entire roller and cover interior for cleaning, either with a leaf blower or damp rag.
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Old 08-21-2022, 02:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by l1v3fr33ord1 View Post
SteveP-

My coach had a Carefree SOK, so I'm familiar with how they go together. It seems to me that diassembly for the XL is:

1) Loosen screws on left end cap.
2) Release center latch pin on left cover.
3) Remove screws on left end cap.
4) Remove left cover.
5-8) Repeat above for right cover

None of the above are inaccessible or on the back (coach wall) side, so no special tools should be needed. The two spring-loaded pins on the right cover pass through the center cover mount, and should be exposed once you've removed the left cover.

I could be in error- it would not be the first time!

Some other points:

1) Check the position of the c-shaped roller supports- the ones with the plastic rollers on the top and bottom arms. They hold the weight of the roller between the end caps, and are critical to maintaining clearance between the roller and the inside of the cover. It looks as if there are three on the XL. My coach had one. It had bent downward. I bent mine back up until the roller support arms were about equal distance from the top and bottom of the cover. I would check this each time I had the cover open for cleaning.

This may be the root cause for your problems, rather than the missing cotter pin (which should just affect the fit of the cover).

2) The center latch was a bear to release. Along the way it had gotten bent and a bit corroded. The only way I could reliably release it and get it back in the groove (i.e., to latch the cover closed) was to be on a ladder with the latch within easy sight and reach.

3) My coach came without the rubber bumpers. After I figured this out, I ordered some from Carefree. With the bumpers installed it was a lot easier to see from the ground if the cover was completely closed along its entire length, as the gap was now small and uniform. An uneven gap was a sign I had not properly latched the cover.

4) When I wanted to clean out the cover, I would remove the lower cap screws and loosen the upper ones. Then I would release the center latch (just one on the SOK) and flip the cover open, resting it on the top of the topper. This exposed the entire roller and cover interior for cleaning, either with a leaf blower or damp rag.
Mark,

Your notes are a huge help! Thank you! I have a few comments and questions:

Re #1 - I suspect at least one of the rollers is bent, and as you say, the root cause of the problem.

Re #2 - it's the center latch that is preventing me from cleaning everything and addressing #1. How did you get to this latch? From below? How did you get it to slide? (Clearly, one can't spray it with a lubricant or something like liquid wrench without messing up the topper.) Push in on the left end according to the manual... but with what in such a tight space? Maybe a fork? Only half kidding!

Re #3 - I wouldn't have thought of bumpers as other than noise reducers... are there meant to be 4 of them, one on each end of both covers? Hopefully, I can still get them from Carefree.

Re #4 - cleaning out leaves and sticks was my first concern when I started trying to tackle opening the covers. It will be great to get the topper retracting correctly and have the side benefit of cleaning.

Another question: the manual makes no mention of a spring or springs, nor of tensioning it properly. Just a casual instruction to remove the "spring locking pin". What's the deal with that, and could I have a bad spring? Springs aren't on the parts list, just the entire roll bar assembly. Could be some more fun...

Thanks,
Steve P
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Old 08-21-2022, 04:55 PM   #6
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Re: The latches. On page 5 of the manual (which is page 7 of the PDF document) there's a "Detail B" that shows a latch. There are a couple of things that might not be obvious.

1) The latch has a tongue that protrudes outside the cover. You are supposed to push on that tongue in a direction away from the pin end to release the latch pin from where it goes into...
2) ... a hole in the bottom of the roller support arm! Yup, the latch pin- when it's aligned correctly, slides into a hole in the arm.

Now, there are some problems with this. First off, things get corroded. Second, it's pretty easy to jam the pin between the roller support arm and the stationary part of the cover (Carefree calls this the "deflector assembly."), instead of the hole. Third, the tongue of the latch can get bent, and it only sticks out about an eighth-inch. Fourth, you are working against a spring to open the latch. It's a fairly weak spring, but there's the corrosion and bending and all...

As I said in my last post, the only way I found to safely and easily move the latch was to be on a ladder such that the latch was within sight and reach. I tried-unsuccessfully- to reach and release the latch from the top of the coach. You really need to get your eyes and fingers on them. Even at that, I had to gently use a screwdriver to release it- pushing against the edge of the tongue and trying hard not to have the screwdriver slip and scratch the paint on the cover.

If there's positive news from all this, it's that once you have the cover open, and the roller support arms in their proper places (which, besides supporting the roller better places the latch pin holes where they need to be), and you've used some silicone lubricant on the spring, tongue and pin, the latches will operate better next time.

Re: The spring. As far as I know, the Summit SOK II (including the XL) has a single rotary spring on the right-hand end. You can see it as part #11 on the parts diagram at Carefree (link here). These springs can weaken or break. At the risk of accelerating a spring's demise, it's possible to increase its tension. It's not a difficult process, although with your long roller I'd recommend at least two people be involved. Re-tensioning the spring will cause the topper to be more taut. People re-tension when they see a topper pooling more water than it did, or flapping more than they prefer. Three points here, too:

1) Carefree recommends a certain number of turns for each topper or awning design.
2) Anytime you increase the spring tension you cause the topper to pull harder on the component that attaches the topper to the coach- say, an awning rail. My coach had a weak spot there, so I left things a bit slack.
3) In a similar way, a tight topper puts more stress on the fabric, especially at the corners. You need to keep an eye on that.

The reason the manual doesn't mention the spring is because it's an installation manual. The service manual does. Carefree's Web site seems to have some dead links for the SOK III manuals (at the moment). I have copies of the SOK III manuals. If you send me a private message with your e-mail address I'll send copies to you by e-mail.

I hope this helps. It took me a couple seasons to get everything working smoothly with the toppers and covers.
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Old 08-28-2022, 05:58 PM   #7
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I found the first problem. The cotter pin that secures the left and right upper slide covers to the center latch mount and the lower halves of the cover was missing (I think the RV place in Auburn that redid the top seal on the slideout didn't put it back in, but I'll never know). Fixing that didn't solve my problem. The roller assembly still won't retract the topper as the slide moves in. It doesn't seem to have any tension, even when the slideout is al the way out. So I suspect that the spring is bad. I really would like a way to confirm this before I contact Carefree and try to purchase either a spring or a full left and right roller assembly and dismantle the whole thing.

The left and right halves of the roller cover and roller assembly were bowing outward 2-3" because of the missing cotter pin. I am wondering if that could have released the spring. I have watched a couple of YT videos about securing the spring with a pin, and flopping the roller and fabric up on the roof. But I don't really know how to try to rewind / tighten the spring, and Mark and I have discussed whether it may be too fragile due to age (if it's not broken). I am reading and re-reading the service manual section on tensioning the spring and on the number of turns for different applications (Summit XL in my case).

Again any thoughts on how to go about the confirmation that it's the spring and how to replace it are appreciated. It could be a 3 man job to remove and replace the roller assembly, because of the length. In fact, the service manual specifically states that. I normally don't mind repairs, but this one has me wrung out... Heat and humidity in NE Georgia aren't helping, but I'm going to re-tension the spring first. And go from there. I've got 3 repairs going at once !! It's a little crazy at the moment!!!
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Old 08-28-2022, 07:39 PM   #8
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I believe there's a simple way to know if the spring is working at all. That is: With the cover open, rotate the roller by hand in the direction of the topper. This unrolls the topper from the roller, putting some slack in the topper. It should take some force to unroll. Unroll it about a half of a turn or a little more. Then, gently release the roller. If the spring is working, it should rotate and take up the slack. If the spring is not working, the slack will remain.

The above test depends on the roller not being prevented from turning by any parts, that is, no binding that would keep the roller from rotating freely.
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Old 08-29-2022, 06:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by l1v3fr33ord1 View Post
SteveP-

I believe there's a simple way to know if the spring is working at all. That is: With the cover open, rotate the roller by hand in the direction of the topper. This unrolls the topper from the roller, putting some slack in the topper. It should take some force to unroll. Unroll it about a half of a turn or a little more. Then, gently release the roller. If the spring is working, it should rotate and take up the slack. If the spring is not working, the slack will remain.

The above test depends on the roller not being prevented from turning by any parts, that is, no binding that would keep the roller from rotating freely.
I did exactly that and the roller/spring takes up no slack at all. The spring is apparently toast... so the fun begins. Calling Carefree tomorrow and I'm starting a search for YouTube videos tonight. If any are helpful, I will post links in this thread.
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Old 09-12-2022, 09:40 PM   #10
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I did exactly that and the roller/spring takes up no slack at all. The spring is apparently toast... so the fun begins. Calling Carefree tomorrow and I'm starting a search for YouTube videos tonight. If any are helpful, I will post links in this thread.
The spring came in today. It's about 3-4 feet long. I haven't found any helpful videos yet on how to replace it. I'm going to give it a try, take lots of pics, and write up something for the next guy who unwittingly joins the RV repair club. Here's what it looks like:

Haven't figured out what the plastic part is for yet. Click image for larger version

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Views:	12
Size:	75.6 KB
ID:	376250Click image for larger version

Name:	JPEG_20220912_223838_5636290892123448732.jpg
Views:	11
Size:	66.2 KB
ID:	376251
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Old 09-13-2022, 05:00 AM   #11
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It's not a video, but here's the service manual for the SOKIII and Summit XL. Spring replacement instructions start at page 9 (which is page 11 of the PDF document).
Attached Files
File Type: pdf SOKIII-and-Summit-Service-Manual.pdf (1.88 MB, 9 views)
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Old 09-24-2022, 05:15 PM   #12
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Documents from CarefreeSOK III-Summit spring tension-change.pdfClick image for larger version

Name:	Vise grips to add tension to the SOKIII 002.jpg
Views:	7
Size:	58.0 KB
ID:	377266Gmail - adding tension to SOKIII spring.PDF
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