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Old 11-26-2012, 05:00 PM   #1
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1964 26' Overlander
1964 19' Globetrotter
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Awning replacement: A&E to ZipDee ?

We are close to polishing our Overlander project and I'm looking for some sage advice about awnings before we commence...

This Overlander has an A and E Awning. I'm not sure when it was added but it's functional (and paid for). The fabric will need to be replaced soon-ish as well.

1. Is it better to remove the awning prior to polishing?

2. Should we consider replacing it with a ZipDee?

3. Has anyone every taken one of these off? Any tips?

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Old 11-26-2012, 05:21 PM   #2
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If you like the way the A & E functions, it would be a lot cheaper to keep it & get new fabric. My daughter had an Argosy with an A & E. She didn't like the way it operated, since she was used to my Zip Dee, which was easier to operate (in her opinion). We took off the A & E and had a Zip Dee put on her Argosy. It was about $1800 for a little 16' awning. She was very happy with it, though! I have a Bambi II that I took the A & E off of as well. I don't know if I'll put an awning on it, but if I do, it will be a Zip Dee.

The thing you're pointing to is a foot, if you release it, you can put the leg straight down & use a stake to keep it attached to the ground.
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:36 PM   #3
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I Like A&E Better

The A&E, Carefree Awning is a great awning and in some ways better than ZipDee.
That said, I always stick with what is on the Airstream and rebuild what's there. I have never replaced a ZipDee with a Carefree even though I like them better.
Now, why do I like them better, let me count the ways:
1. Substantially Stronger frame. Properly installed Carefree awnings can handle higher winds than ZipDee.
2. Detachable support arms. As beckybillrae stated, that device you asked about allows you to detach the awning arms from the Airstream and stake them into the ground with tent pins. This is a great feature and something you can't do with a ZipDee (Although ZipDee does sell a conversion kit. But the ZipDee support arms are just too light weight to make this option feasible.)
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:37 PM   #4
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I had the exact situation you have. I decided to stay with the A&E, even though I perfer the ZipDee. I pulled the awning off before polishing...it makes it much easier...and when you redo the awning you have to anyway. I went to a local canvas shop and they made the awning up with the Sunbrella I bought cheap off Ebay. The A&E awning manuals are here somewhere...if you need them let me know. H had to buy a new lock end spring internals because of excessive wear.
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:50 PM   #5
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Awning replacement: A&E to ZipDee ?

Greetings Janet!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Janet View Post
We are close to polishing our Overlander project and I'm looking for some sage advice about awnings before we commence...

This Overlander has an A and E Awning. I'm not sure when it was added but it's functional (and paid for). The fabric will need to be replaced soon-ish as well.
The A & E Awning may be nearly as old as your 1964 Overlander. My '64 Overlander had an A & E Travel Awn 5000 when I acquired it in 1995, and at the time a manufacturer's representative advised me that it was likely installed around the time that the trailer was purchased new. I remember it having an awning when it was new, but as a five year old, I don't remember any specific details. What I learned then was that the only part that was then being supported by the parent company (Dometic) was the roller tube and fabric. When I put the awning into regular use, it seemed like there were two or three parts broken each season that had to be sourced from a salvage yard . . . after five years of headaches, I gave up and had ZipDee awnings installed on my Overlander . . . about $2,500 for the curbside awning and two window awnings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Janet View Post
1. Is it better to remove the awning prior to polishing?
I didn't polish my own Overlander, but when P and S Trailer Service polished and Plasticoated my Overlander, their recommendation was complete removal of the awning for the best results from the polish/Plasticoat operation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Janet View Post
2. Should we consider replacing it with a ZipDee?
This would certainly be my suggestion. Unless things have changed at A & E/Dometic, I would not expect to be able to source any replacement parts, and the A & E product is much more difficult to operate (particularly without a helper) than the ZipDee. The fabric utilized by ZipDee also results in less of a temperature increase under the awning than the Vinyl-coated fabric utilized by A & E.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Janet View Post
3. Has anyone every taken one of these off? Any tips?
I reached my wits end while at an International Rally with my A & E awning when its tension springs failed for the fourth time in four years. A couple of friends from the club helped to cut the awning material against the awning rail . . . then removed the arms and dropped the tube to the ground. This left only the attaching hardware on the coach that P and S Trailer Service removed when they polished and Plasticoated the coach.

The holes that you question in the "foot-bases" on your awning arms are an alternate means of deploying the awning. Those legs/arms can be detached from the side of the coach and anchor lags can be used in those holes to firmly anchor the legs in the soil. This was a good idea on coaches with straight sides and straight awning arms, but is a rather awkward setup with the Airstream's curved awning arms.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:01 PM   #6
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We started with a mix of Zip Dee on the main awning and Carefree awnings on the road side and rear when we bought our 1972, in 1996. We replaced the main awning in 2001 in El Paso and they did a great job using Sunbrella Pacific Blue for about $650. It is still in great shape. We lost the Carefree side awnings in Texas due to high winds which also took off the mounting brackets. So we filled in those holes with a few rivets and filler until we recently replaced all the roadside and rear with Zip Dee in which we love. One of the things that was accomplished during the replacement was the use of aluminum as a mounting bracket scab that allows the new awnings to mount evenly. If you look under the bottom bracket of the roadside, you'll see where ODM built this up. It is hard to see as they did a great job in cutting both sides identical for each awning.

We bought them over three seasons. We just replaced the original spring on the main awning last month as it finally gave out after all these years. They are all good. I like Zip Dee as they retract the quickest and go out the quickest based on our style. They can also be tipped during downpours for a good run off. I've seen many folks not know how to adjust their awnings during stressful times. Some have even commented to me as to why I didn't help and my only comment was you bought it, you should know how to use it, as I would be totally clueless.

I'd recommend doing them one at a time, over time as they can get expensive. Side ones were about $450 apiece and an hour and a half of labor. The rear was about $535. We went with the two on the road side as if we were to lose the awnings again and gone the full length of the two windows, for about $1065.00, it would be cheaper to replace them one at a time, than one big one.

Hope it helps, but do what works for you.

SL4BLLT
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:17 PM   #7
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Our '83 Excella has a Zip Dee, our '65 Caravel has an A&E, both came new with the trailers. Neither had the removable supports to allow putting the arms out away from the trailer when camped. I made the necessary plates and replaced the bolts with pins to allow this type of setup. It's very nice, especially on the shorter trailer, to have the arms out and away from the coach. It makes the camp area much easier to navigate.

The frame on the A&E seems much more substantial than the Zip Dee.

Of the two, I prefer the A&E.
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Old 11-27-2012, 12:59 PM   #8
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1964 26' Overlander
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Thanks for your various thoughts on this... it's always interesting to see the diversity of experience here
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:43 PM   #9
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Arms of the Zip Dee can be made to stand horizontally

We met someone at a recent rally who had purchased two more lower brackets from Zip Dee and mounted them on aluminum plates that allows you to relocate the arms straight down when camping.....so you can do that to the Zip Dee. That works if you are camping where you can put stakes into the ground to hold the plate securely. If you are camping on concrete you just leave the arms the regular way unless you can figure out how to tie the plates down to make them secure.

That said....I don't think the Zip Dee is an easy awning to put down or take up. It is the most complicated thing we have on our trailer......paula
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