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Old 01-12-2015, 03:26 PM   #1
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AWNINGS... Zippity doo Dah GREAT

Diane on a Fresh Water Thread collected fresh rain water while sailing salt water using tarps. Handy if you are surrounded by SALT water... just not potable. This has not been covered on Boondocking, as far as I know.

WE LOVE OUR ZIP DEE AWNING. When we have the chance, we also want one on the opposite side of the trailer. A wise investment!

When off or even on the grid, the awning is effective providing shade, water collection during a rain shower and hanging wet towels on the bars to dry after showering, swimming.

During the evenings, other than during rain or drizzle, roll the awning UP. A rogue wind can ruin your awning's supports. NEVER keep the awning up during snow or an ice storm... never.

HEATING the Trailer on cool weather camping. Orientate the door side of the trailer directly into the sunrise. As soon as the sun rises above the horizon... you will hear the aluminum absorbing the solar heat. Open the shades/curtains to let the sunlight into the trailer. No need for the furnace... just be a bit patient. I will even open the door, with the screen closed, and it will warm the interior faster.

COOLING the trailer during hot weather camping. Orientate the trailer so that the end is towards sunrise. You have the smallest exposure to the sun.

KEEPING COOL during the hot weather camping. Extent your awning out as soon as possible at sun rise. Especially if your door side is catching direct sunlight in the morning, or afternoon. Sometimes you can use the shade of trees away from the campsite to shield yourself on sunrise or sunset heating. (Do the reverse when you WANT to be warmed up.)

In any event, when leaving your trailer... lower the awning to the lowest position. It is less likely that a gust of wind will catch the awning and damage the aluminum rod supports. If you leave your awning higher, you can secure a bucket of rock and attach the corners to the bucket to assist no damage from an unexpected gust of wind. It works. We avoid extending the awning to the maximum. Yes, the door will rub the awning... you can push the awning up to clear, or after seeing some roller you can attach to the door to keep the door/awning rub... I am looking into that.

How do you use your awning(s)? Have you added a full length on the "non door" side of the trailer. The mounting bracket is there... so the hard part has been already done.

Occasionally you will have the "ratchet and spring" not clicking into the rod. I take a file and sharpen the edge of the part that engages. It is also a good idea to have a spare "claw" and a spare spring attachment component. (I did not dig out my Zip Dee parts guide from the trailer... but they are worth having.) If you never need them... GREAT. But when you do, they are well worth the small investment.

In sheltered areas among tree with impending RAIN. Put your awning up, peg the corners to keep them secure AND take tarps and tie them to the ends of the awning framing. It secures the ends from exposure. We also have floor mats that we unroll four of them to keep the traffic area from getting muddy. Lots at Costco in grey/black. After the rain, toss the floor mats onto a bush, tree branch to dry them out.

I could go on, but I am old and need to save some time to doing something constructive before departing on our next adventure... coming soon.
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Old 01-12-2015, 03:46 PM   #2
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I hate my Zip Dee awning. I have to review the online videos every spring to refresh my memory on how to deploy and retract it safely. I have one that has the center support. One of my first trips out I deployed the center support then decided I needed to raise the awning a bit more and the center support came out of the awning and slammed into the side of my Airstream. It looked like the previous owner had done the same as there were older scratches. I have to carry a small step stool to lock the center support when the awning is up high enough to clear opening the entry door.

When leaving the campground, unless I'm 100% sure there is no wind I'll roll it up. I got lucky leaving it deployed at Fort Wilderness in Disneyworld and heavy rain came in. When I got back to the campsite the awning looked OK I had left one end lower but there was still water accumulating by the roller that I had to push up to get rid of it on one end even when lowering that end more.

I've lubricated the rods with silicon spray and yet the next month the rods are sticky again. I'll have to try something else.

My wife has no clue how to retract the awning so if I have to leave her at the campsite I'll retract it. She wouldn't have the strength to do it even if she had the knowledge.

The only nice thing I have to say about it is the fabric. It stays looking clean and nice looking unlike the SOB vinyl coated awnings but when I see them deploy and retract their electric awnings I'm envious.

I do like the street side and rear window awnings though. Easy up and down. I had to put Locktite on the screws holding the travel hooks to prevent loosing them. If I tighten the screw on the street awning too much I can't engage the loop screwed onto the side of the AS. Bad install job by the factory.

Kelvin
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Old 01-12-2015, 03:57 PM   #3
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Dear Kelvin, buy a set of Zipdee awning helper bars. They're not cheap, but believe me I wouldn't deploy my awning by myself without them.

I've seen 95 lb. women set up and take down their own awnings. Your wife can do it with the handles to help, and you won't mind the "no hernia" zone either.

Paula

here's what they look like:

Lift Handle
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Old 01-12-2015, 03:59 PM   #4
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Hm. Need to get a set of those...


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Old 01-12-2015, 04:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foiled Again View Post
Dear Kelvin, buy a set of Zipdee awning helper bars. They're not cheap, but believe me I wouldn't deploy my awning by myself without them.

I've seen 95 lb. women set up and take down their own awnings. Your wife can do it with the handles to help, and you won't mind the "no hernia" zone either.

Paula

here's what they look like:

Lift Handle
Thanks. I'll look into getting a set. Should be standard equipment.

Kelvin
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Old 01-12-2015, 04:15 PM   #6
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Kelvin... great addition. The fabric on our 2006 to 2014 was like new after many years of providing shade and repelling water. When the water "puddles" lower the opposite end a bit more.

Try not to leave with the awning wet and then roll it up. Try to dry it first. Midew will eat about anything man made... probably the awning as well. I have a five gallon bucket, I flip over, stand on it and can slap the awning to shake water into going somewhere... else. If you are afraid of heights... use a step stool. I am a "professional bucket operator" and also use the five gallon bucket to hold the awning while rolling it up and securing all of the locking hardware.

The hardware screwed to the Airstream skin cannot catch only the frame member, so one or more are into the thin skin. Eventually you will find them loosen up. I use the bigger hammer or larger diameter screw technique to secure. Did not have mounting hardware screw trouble, but it can easily happen if the awning is catching too much wind.

If the Airstream was not round... the door would not "drag" under it. Probably, the most important defect is having a round trailer with a rectangular awning. Maybe a square Airstream would take care of this problem, but then the awning would be designed for a round Airstream...

I will pull the interior rod from the left and right sides... they interchange too. Cannot confuse the interior rods. But... clean the grit out of them. If you use WD 40 it will leave a film to attach MORE dust. Soap and water works best.

IF you leave your awning up during a big wind, it can bend the interior rod... or if the kids are hanging on them for entertainment. You will have to take the rod out... if possible... find a flat surface and gently... hammer it straight. My 2006 came with the interior rod BENT from the dealer. He said it would loosen up in time... well... someone believed the other, which I discovered I had been trusting a sales person. Zip Dee sent me a straight rod for no charge. I did not have to mention the salesman's name to protect "her", the only female salesman/woman/person at the RV office.

Used properly and keeping the interior rod clean from road crud... you will have few troubles.

DANGER: Those of you who cannot see well or are use to walking into low hanging signs, poles, wires, doorways, chigger infested clothing... you can get some real "shiners" walking into the support hardware. It was not ME... but someone who travels WITH ME that taught me to be careful. This person connected with the round, serrated edge, knob you pull to collapse the rod supports.
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Old 01-12-2015, 04:19 PM   #7
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"I've seen 95 lb. women set up and take down their own awnings. Your wife can do it with the handles to help, and you won't mind the "no hernia" zone either.
Paula"
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I hope you have the video.

One step stool or a five gallon bucket and two Blue Heelers can get a Zip Dee awning down. Of course, they give me the instructions to refresh my memory on how to do it, while the wife is trapped inside the trailer in the process.
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Old 01-13-2015, 11:33 AM   #8
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"Hey! Don't come out of the trailer for a minute! I'm putting the awning out!"
"I told you not to come out until I was done!"
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Old 01-13-2015, 11:38 AM   #9
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You guys are giving me Zip Dee envy! I got talked into a Dometic, and have had lots of trouble with it. I had to mount reinforcement plates on the Airstream, have had the installer guy out a few times, and replaced parts that broke right away. The sliders are cheap pot metal.

For those that have problems remembering how to deploy/retract the awning, I would suggest making a copy of the instruction sheet, and laminating it. Maybe stick it to the inside of a cabinet door? Definitely somewhere excessively handy, not filed away.
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Old 01-13-2015, 12:04 PM   #10
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The last time I retracted my Zip Dee it wouldn't line up so the wheel wouldn't engage. I had to pull it out and change the rods. Right now I can't remember if you let it past the last hole or engage the last hole before letting it roll up. Gotta go to youTube now. Darn memory of mine. I don't think to to check when deploying because I'm thinking how to lock the support bar.

Looked at the video and looks like you lock it in the last hole.

When I pull my AS out of storage this spring I'll practice a few times.

Kelvin
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Old 01-13-2015, 12:13 PM   #11
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Zip Dee has the strap to hang on to when pulling the awning out, or rewinding it.

If you go by their advice by rolling the strap back and forth... it is too short and ends up within the roll. I always retract the awning and walk it back to the trailer, stand on the "five gallon bucket" and let is SNAP into place with about a several inches of strap left exposed to pull it out next time. Then latch the hook.

Last steps are to catch the ends and tighten them up. Over time the awning must shift, as the ends are at a slight angle. Just tighten them snug. They might loosen up on a long trip, but they would have to back out a lot before releasing. The "claw" three feet from the left side does a fine job securing the awning as well.

Overall I would buy another Zip Dee awning for the quality and product being supported well by the company. I hope to have one installed on the opposite side of the trailer in the future.
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Old 01-13-2015, 06:41 PM   #12
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We carry a few extra gallon jugs of drinking water in case we run our tank dry and there's no good water to refill it. The jugs double as weights for the ends of the awning.

I agree the manual Zipdee is a bit of a pain to set up. But I wouldn't want the electric model, with the big, unsightly, unwieldy square base tubes.

We don't have the road side and rear awnings. Yet. Need to get prices on those puppies.

btw, make the upside-down pickle bucket a last choice for a stepstool, OK? My wife broke her arm last summer when she fell off one...
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Old 01-13-2015, 07:09 PM   #13
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Quote from my AS dealer for rear and street side Zipdee awnings added to my 2011 FC20: $1,500.00


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Old 01-13-2015, 10:41 PM   #14
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our AS has ZD's all around.. we like them. Deploying the first few times was .... interesting... then I got a pattern and it just goes up easy now...

Yes, I am 6'2" tall when I am not mad...but, I do have back issues which I have to be very careful about or I will not enjoy the rest of the campout....

'lubricating' the 'awning' arms... I found hey also bound up with 'WD40'.. so, I removed and cleaned really really well. Now, I just put a little shot of the 'silicone' on the knobs/spring loaded adjusters. This works really well for us... yes, Texas is pretty dusty.. and, yes, towing in rainy messy weather does deposit a lot of road grime all over the place.. and the slides will pick up a lot of it. So, if you have WD40 and similar it will collect and hold the grit making deployment very difficult.

Of course this is only a problem on the Curb side... the other awnings are a snap.. just roll out and hook them in place!.. Less than 10 seconds each!!
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