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Old 12-27-2017, 08:23 PM   #1
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Replacing the fabric on Girard Slide Out covers

I just replaced the fabric on my Girard slide out covers. The first one was difficult and took a full afternoon, but by the fourth one I could do it in a less than an hour.
I bought new slide covers from Stone Voss. Ingrid is great to work with. They custom make the covers out of the best material and use special thread. The thread is actually what deteriorated on my old covers.
Link to Stone Voss:
RV Awnings & Slide Toppers From Stone Vos

This is a link to the Girard instructions:

My added suggestions:
The Girard instructions say to remove the end caps but do not tell you how. The slide cover awning end caps are plastic and have 4 small protrusions that press into the metal ends caps (first pic). Mine also had white silicone sealer on them from the factory. Gently pry the plastic end caps off with a small screw driver.

You will need to purchase a tensioner tool from Girard. It looks like a 3/8" square drive tool with a slot cut into it for the center spring screw.

You hold the spring with the tool and remove the two spring retaining screws (second pic). Then release the spring tension 1/2 turn at a time using a 3/8" wrench to hold the tool while you reset the ratchet. The instructions say to use a 9/16"wrench, but I used a 3/8" wrench directly on the square drive tool.

This is where things got tough. The spring tension screws on my second awning cover were not stainless steel. They had rusted solid into the spring tensioner block. I used PB Blaster, an impact hammer tool, and finally a small chisel to remove these two screws. This was a tough job! I recommend using only stainless steel screws on your awnings.

After you release the spring tension, I removed the bearing and end plate on the opposite side (third pic). The cover will slide out this end.
On other brand slide out covers you must slide the material off the awning roller tube and the slide out ends simultaneously. Girard slide covers use 3 aluminum articulating links on the slide out end. You can remove 2 small screws in the articulating link and slide the middle articulating link out disconnecting the cover material from the slide out. Then unroll the remaining cover material from the roller tube and slide the old cover out of the groove in the roller tube. It's much easier to work on one side at a time.

Now the fun begins! You must insert a small round nylon cord into each end of your new slide cover material. Your new covers will have labels on the roller tube side. There is a seam sewn into each end and the nylon cord slides into the seam going the full length of the cover material. Stone Voss inserts a string into the seam to help you pull the nylon cord through. I found the string to be more trouble than it was worth. I sprayed silicone lube onto a towel and drew the nylon cord threw it. Then just fed the cord into the cover seam and pushed it until it came out the other side.
It really helps to have a second person to pull the cover material straight when doing this.

Another gotcha is Girard used a smaller diameter nylon cord on the articulating arm side. Use the large diameter nylon cord on the roller tube side and the small diameter black Girard cord on the articulating link side.

First slide the articulating link onto the new cover material (the small nylon cord side) a few inches at a time until it is on all the way.

Then slide your new cover into the awning roller tube. Again, it helps to pre-spray the groove in the roller tube with silicone spray lube. Insert the seam with the large nylon cord into the bearing end of the roller tube and work it through until it runs the full length of the roller tube. This is also a place where it's nice to have a helper pull the cover along while you feed the seam into the groove.

Make sure you trim any of the round nylon cord that protrudes from the seam.
Now spray silicone lube on the articulating links and slide it into place the full length of the cover. After its centered properly you can replace the two screws that hold it into place.

On 3 of my 4 awning covers I removed the bearing end plate to make it easier to access the roller tube. There are 2 screws holding the bearing in and 3 screws holding the plate onto the awning housing. I think with enough practice you can replace the cover material without doing this, but I recommend for your first 1 or 2 you remove the bearing end plate so you can see what you are doing.

I also removed a small screw that went from the bottom of the housing cover up into the end plate to make it easier to access the roller tube. If you remove these, make sure to replace them BEFORE you tension the spring.

If you removed the bearing end plate you can now replace it. Then go to the opposite end and tension the spring. Girard says to use seven full turns. In reality, you will put fourteen 1/2 turns counter clock wise on the spring. Again, use the 3/8" wrench to hold the tensioner tool while you reset the ratchet.

After this you can test the new cover by retracting and extending the slide.
If all is well, you can glue the plastic end caps back on. I used 2 small pieces of Gorilla tape to hold the covers overnight.
Hope this helps!
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Old 12-27-2017, 08:42 PM   #2
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I helped a friend with his but did it differently. He used Stone Vos also. We pinned the rollers with a screwdriver and slid the old fabric out and the new in.
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Old 12-27-2017, 08:43 PM   #3
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If you accidently try to tension your spring in the clockwise direction, you will need to remove the entire spring assembly and put the hook on each end of the spring back into the groove in the plastic ends.
Below is a picture of the spring assembly so you can have some idea what you are working with.
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Old 12-27-2017, 09:02 PM   #4
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GREAT Posting!!!!

Nice job.
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Old 12-27-2017, 09:42 PM   #5
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Excellent! I hope I can find this post when I begin working on mine....
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Old 12-28-2017, 08:03 AM   #6
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Hi Vito.a, I did all 4 slide topper on mine also. Being the dummy I am I ordered the fabric from Girard, $$... Now Girard heat fuses the seams instead of sewing them. Yet to be determined how that works out. I had lots of the old material left over so I took it to a sail maker in Chula Vista CA. and had tire covers made that snap on to the body. Same material as awnings, slide covers and window awnings and it looks awesome now...

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Old 12-28-2017, 09:14 AM   #7
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I hear Stone Voss is working on a new "water-shedding" slide topper. No more water gathering on toppers and weighting them down.
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Old 12-28-2017, 04:28 PM   #8
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I pressure washed my roof yesterday and the water rolled right off the new slide toppers.
Dave, I really like the idea of matching tire covers!

Mr D, I'm not sure you can lock a Girard awning with a screw driver as there is no place to insert it. Also, Girard makes the cover material extra long so there is almost 2' of material wound around the roller. To remove the cover material you have to release the tension and unwind the extra material.
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Old 12-28-2017, 04:46 PM   #9
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Great write-up Vito! I was going to do all of mine (entrance door, main awning, 4 window awnings, and 3 slide toppers, one is a full wall slide). We are FT and DW wasnít going to be any help

I bit the bullet and had CJs RV repair in Yuma do it for me. $2500 out the door for everything.... I guess Iím a happy glamper
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cover, slide, slide out

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