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Old 07-22-2021, 01:45 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Moline, IL
Posts: 644
I just replaced my slide topper awning...myself

It's been over a year since the slide room awning on my Sunstar got destroyed in high crosswinds on I40.

(NOTE to everyone with these. Add to your daily checklist to check the anti-billow arm on each slide awning. I apparently lost mine at some point, leading to the almost-tragic loss of the fabric.)

I ordered a new awning fabric from Stone Vos, a new anti-billow arm, and a second arm for the spares bin.

After downloading the Dometic instructions, and looking at a couple of YouTube videos, and studying the installation a lot, I decided I could find a one-person process that didn't require any disassembly save removing the remnants of the last awning.

I did it all with the slide room extended. First I had to rewind the tension spring roller since all of the magic spin had gotten let out of it, and pinned it in place with a piece of coat hanger wire.

Stone Vos ships the replacement without the plastic cords installed in the pockets, so I had to pull those in.

I did use 2 ladders. One to get the coach side started in the channel (the channel runs the full length of the Sunstar wall), and the other to slide the roller side into the channel. Copious amounts of silicone lube helped on both sides.

Oh, I put a couple of extra turns on the roller to allow for the fact that I had to install the fabric loose.

After about 4 feet, I saw why they say it takes 2 people. But, all I had was me and the dog, and he doesn't have thumbs.

So, I wandered around and looked at things for a while until the plan came to me. I got a Harbor Freight bar clamp, a hank of rope, a 5 gallon bucket, and a 40 lb rock. Tied the rope to the clamp, squeezed the clamp down on the rear edge of the fabric, hung the rope over the end of the slide room, put the rock in the bucket, and tied the rope to the bucket handle as high up the side of the room as I could lift it. I called it my "village idiot" helper. Dumber than a bucket of rocks...

Anyway, it all worked. It probably took me 90 minutes or so to get the awning installed. Then I taped the roller tube side in one place to keep it from sliding, draped the excess fabric neatly over the top of the roller, grabbed the roller firmly, and pulled the wire out that was holding the tension. It took a couple-three rolls and unrolls to get the wrinkles out. Then, I ran the room in and out a few times to make sure everything was OK.

One hitch. Because of the way the roller is mounted, and the gutter on the coach, the anti-billow arm can't be installed per directions. It hits the gutter instead of the stop on the wall. It must have been that way from the factory, because I can see wear on the gutter where it hits.

Oh, well, at least I got it done, just me and my village idiot...
2014 Itasca Sunstar 31KE
1988 Itasca Suncruiser 31RQ
1968 Travco 21'
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Old 07-22-2021, 01:58 PM   #2
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Location: Central, Arkansas
Posts: 8,790
I did it myself also. It requires some ingenuity but is doable. It would have easily taken half the time with two people. Good Job!
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Old 07-23-2021, 08:34 AM   #3
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Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: payson, az
Posts: 880
well i can't say we replaced ours by myself. i did have a helper but she doesn't do ladders. so i made a tool that she could use to hold up the free end of the roller while i was up on the ladder and pulled the fabric into the channel. i used a 10 foot section of pvc pipe, a tee fitting, and a couple of 90 degree fittings. i cut off four4 inch sections of the pvc pipe. put the remaining long piece of in the middle of t fitting. then put the 4 inch section in the ends of the t and then put the 90 degree fittings on. finally put the other 4 inch pieces in the 90 degree fittings and orient them so you have a two pronged cradle on the end of the long piece of pvc. your assistant can stay on the ground and hold the roller up for you using the pvc cradle.
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Old 07-25-2021, 06:56 AM   #4
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Posts: 1,340
I removed and replaced ours without removing the rollers. One difference is that I put the slide out about 8 inches rather than all the way. That makes it easy to reach both the track on the coach and the awning tube at the same time. You can also do it from the roof and not need to climb up and down ladders to work each end.
TeamFoxy ~ Traveling North America
2011 Coachmen Mirada 32DS
2017 Chevy Equinox in tow.
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ace, awning, replace, slide

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