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Old 04-12-2012, 10:59 AM   #1
Alumnati
 
1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Fredericksburg , Texas
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Awning rafter mount issue

I just replaced the patio awning on our 1987 345. The old awning was broken in several places, the fabric was shot and several of the original mounting points were damaged. I assume that high winds had torn out some of the mounts and larger screws had been put in. I minimized the damage to the skin as best I could, installing the new hardware, using some over-sized screws where needed. All worked out well except for the rear rafter mount, the one with the small threaded wheel to lock the awning in place for travel. It had been torn up so badly that all the screw holes were enlarged to the point that the new screws would just barely hold and after a few light breezes the screws began to pull out. I've seen on other trailers that this has been repaired by riveting on a piece of aluminum over the damaged area and re-mounting the hardware on the new piece.

The problem is this; the original mount went through the skin and into a rib, giving a nice hunk of solid metal for the screws to bight into. Zip Dee says to mount this particular bracket with screws, not rivets, but the inner rib is so damaged that there is nothing there for the screws to take hold of, leaving just the new patch as the attach point. I just don't think that is enough material to provide the strength needed. I am leery of rivnuts or nutserts, a threaded insert much like a pop rivet. Can anyone tell me the correct way to do this repair?
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Old 04-12-2012, 11:34 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by vonprum View Post
I just replaced the patio awning on our 1987 345. The old awning was broken in several places, the fabric was shot and several of the original mounting points were damaged. I assume that high winds had torn out some of the mounts and larger screws had been put in. I minimized the damage to the skin as best I could, installing the new hardware, using some over-sized screws where needed. All worked out well except for the rear rafter mount, the one with the small threaded wheel to lock the awning in place for travel. It had been torn up so badly that all the screw holes were enlarged to the point that the new screws would just barely hold and after a few light breezes the screws began to pull out. I've seen on other trailers that this has been repaired by riveting on a piece of aluminum over the damaged area and re-mounting the hardware on the new piece.

The problem is this; the original mount went through the skin and into a rib, giving a nice hunk of solid metal for the screws to bight into. Zip Dee says to mount this particular bracket with screws, not rivets, but the inner rib is so damaged that there is nothing there for the screws to take hold of, leaving just the new patch as the attach point. I just don't think that is enough material to provide the strength needed. I am leery of rivnuts or nutserts, a threaded insert much like a pop rivet. Can anyone tell me the correct way to do this repair?
The only reasonable fix, is to add a plate about 1/8 inch in thickness to the exterior, and then mount the awning bracket.

Make sure you attach the plate to the main bow as well as the sheet metal.

Also make sure it's proper sealed.

Andy
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Old 04-13-2012, 09:07 PM   #3
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1982 31' Airstream 310
Columbia , Tennessee
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I used Rivnuts to fix my problems with the top mounting screws striped out.
Used in aircraft and many other places higher strength is needed.
Custom Rivnuts Fasteners and Plusnuts - Rivnut Blind Fasteners at Cardinal Components
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Old 04-13-2012, 09:37 PM   #4
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Here are the ones that I used. Just about a flush mount. Over 5 years, much wind and rain, no problem!
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Old 04-14-2012, 11:58 AM   #5
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i had the exact problem and repaired just as Andy said. just be sure to use plenty of Vulkem in the inside and arround new bolts, and rib. be sure to check if there are minor dents or broken seals between the surrounding skin layers....i had a tiny leak that now needs partial floor replacement because of (invisible) damage caused by that awning.
and you can only get to it by removing interior panels...yea!
i'll post a pic of the plate we added to reinforce later.
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Old 04-14-2012, 03:22 PM   #6
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Wondering...if you have to put in a plate, can't you reinforce the rib while you have the skin off?
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Old 04-14-2012, 09:08 PM   #7
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Wondering...if you have to put in a plate, can't you reinforce the rib while you have the skin off?
The plate mentioned, would be installed on the outside of the sheet metal.

No need to remove any metal.

Andy
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