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Old 09-16-2006, 10:45 AM   #1
Rivet Master
 
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1984 31' Airstream310
Dunsmuir , California
Join Date: May 2004
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Classic Motorhome Window Awnings

I had a minute and thought I would document some experiences with awnings for our 1984 310 Limited MH. Last summer at the FMCA rally in Minot, ND we bought street side window awnings for our motorhome (the Silver Slug) from the Zip Dee folks. After the rally, we decided to drive to the factory and pick the awnings up. The folks at Zip Dee were great and even bumped our order ahead so that we could pick them up when we wanted to. They provided a list of local installers and we made an appointment and had the awnings installed. A few issues came up.

First, I told Zip Dee I wanted driver side window awnings for a 1984 31 foot motorhome and they recommended two awnings, one long one that extends from the front 'living room' widow back to the bathroom window, and a short one which just covers the bedroom window. This seems to be the standard configuration I have seen on other classic Motorhomes. After using the awnings for a year, I wish I had ordered a single long window awning to extend from the front living room window all the way back to the bedroom. The reason for this is that when the sun strikes the motorhome obliquely, the rear awning for the bedroom often doesn't completely shade the window. If I had the long awning this wouldn't happen when the sun is coming from the front and side, only when it comes from the rear and side.

Second, the kitchen exhaust vent cover made it impossible to install the long awning exactly where the instructions said to. I called Zip Dee and they said to get it as close as possible, we did that and it seems to function just fine but the configuration we ended up with didn't allow installation of the latches (which don't really seem vital since the spring in the awning sure isn't going to let the awning come open while under way).

Third, while drilling for the front most rivet to mount the awning rail, the installer hit a wire and got sparks. He had to take things apart inside and repair the wire.

Earlier this year we ordered a rear window awning from Forum member Lewster. It arrived and I expected to install it prior to departing on our current trip. Alas, some other project ran long and I never found time, so we arranged to meet Lewster in Hood River, Or. Where he installed it for us. When the awning rail was installed as specified in the instructions, the bracket for the arms needed to be placed on the top rub rail. This didn't seem ideal so Lew call Zip Dee to discuss options. They said to go ahead and install the brackets on the rub rail but to use screws rather that rivets for attachment. Lew did and the awning works great.

So that's the story of window awnings for our 1984 310 Limited Classic motorhome. They look nice and provide a great deal of protection form the sun, making it cooler inside as well as protecting occupants from direct sunlight in the eyes.

It was a pleasure to meet Forum member Lewster. He is a very personable fellow and extremely competent and well equipped. I only wish he plied his trade closer to where we live. He would be the first resource I would turn to for jobs I didn't want to tackle. The discount he offers to forum members on the products he is a dealer for is nice too.

Guy
Curently in Dickinson, ND - heading for New Brunswick.
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1984 310 Limited Motorhome
Courtesy Parking (W/S/E/Wi-Fi) on I-5 in Northern California, 70 miles from Oregon border
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Old 09-23-2006, 11:34 AM   #2
Jamie
 
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1984 31' Limited
1983 31' Airstream310
Oriental , North Carolina
Join Date: May 2004
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Hi, Guy - We have the "standard configuration" you speak of, and the same oblique sun problem. Our biggest problem is the installer bent the "long" driver side awning when he put it on, and it rolls up as an eccentric. The latch is DEFINITELY necessary in some of the high crosswind areas we have been in. I suggest you re-think that issue.
Jamie
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Old 09-27-2006, 08:15 PM   #3
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1984 31' Airstream310
Dunsmuir , California
Join Date: May 2004
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Jamie,
You are definitely correct about the latch, after we left Dickinson heading for the Peace Garden we got into some big winds on I-94. I heard some mighty thumps on the side of the MH and looking in the mirror I could see the window awning unfurl in the wind and thump closed. Pull over and bungeed the awning down. Still haven't' determined a final solution.
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1984 310 Limited Motorhome
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