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Old 04-04-2011, 03:55 PM   #1
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1973 27' Overlander
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1970s era Zip Dee (Curved) Awning

After two years I finally learned how to *set* the rafter arm on my awning. I made numerous calls to Zip Dee and watched a few YouTube videos but still couldn't put it together. Finally, I found someone who could show me the trick during the Christmas Bluegrass Festival/Rally (thanks Frank). Since I know of a few other people have had some trouble, figured I'd post what I learned....

Refer to the child-like drawing below for details but, the Ratchet Stud on my Rafter Arm(s) would not lock into place. Zip Dee mentioned to me that the Ratched Stud needed to be positioned with the pin/hole facing down or it would not engage. I turned the Ratchet Stud appropriately. Then Frank showed to stand facing the awing and PULL (in a quick jerk motion) on the Ratchet Arm to engage the Ratchet Stud. That WORKED!

Note: my awning is the curved version but it also has the locking mechanism that is shown (on the Zip Dee website) for the straight awning. Zip Dee said that, in the 70's, some curved versions included this lock. I had been using the lock to keep the awning open but was told that it was not designed for this and, if it broke, my awning would not recoil to the closed position! Yikes. Now that I can secure/set my Rafter Arms, no need to engage the lock! Yippie!!

Here's my funny pic (taken from Awnings By ZipDee): Laura
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:31 PM   #2
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I'm going to have to check my ratchet studs to see if they have a positioning pin as I am having trouble getting the rafter arms to click/lock without the wife pulling on the awning strap for dear life. I don't think they have the pin.
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Old 04-05-2011, 08:42 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dougsale View Post
I'm going to have to check my ratchet studs to see if they have a positioning pin as I am having trouble getting the rafter arms to click/lock without the wife pulling on the awning strap for dear life. I don't think they have the pin.
My pin is gone from one of the Ratchet Studs and is just a hole now. I am not sure of the function of the pin and have no idea if I need to replace it or not. Seems like I could insert a split roll pin into the hole.... but that is way low on the priority list!

Laura
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Old 04-05-2011, 03:39 PM   #4
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When you find the time, call ZipDee. They've been a big help to me. I think you need that spring/ratchet in the long term.

Sounds like you've got it going. After reading dougsale's post, I'd wonder if his awning spring had been wound too tightly; when the awning is fully extended, it should remain so with only a little effort. One hand to hold the roller out while placing the claw on its place on the roller arm. Then grab the claw arm with two hands and PUSH strongly. You should hear a ratchet sound.

Then go do the other side. I have a 31' footer, so I have a center arm as well - place the pin into the hole, two hands grip firmly and PUSH oomph!

Pat
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Old 04-05-2011, 10:03 PM   #5
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Pat,

My awning is original and it will stay extended but I don't like to walk too far away from the roller just in case. In order to get my rafter arm ratchet studs to click, my wife has to pull on the awning strap to extend the awning as far as possible. Then with the quick 2 handed PUSH they will engage. I don't think my hexagon-shaped studs have a positioning pin. The springs work good. I have a newer center rafter support arm that is about 10 years old and it has a larger round knob with a positioning pin.
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Old 04-05-2011, 10:32 PM   #6
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Here's the thing. I've been trailerin' for a long time. My old units (SOBs) all had the other brand awning. VERY easy to deploy, but very susceptible to wind. The Zip- Dee....confusing....but when done right....high and tight in the wind.

1) unfasten the road clips.
2) Grasp the center fabric loop
3) pull to extend and "walk" to the end of the awning.
4) unstow the end rafter arm and just place on the extended hook to the first pulled click.
5) move to the other end and do same.
6) get stool, one step up will do
7)place stool at end of rafter arm. Give one full pull on rafter arm....3 - 4 clicks.
8) repeat other end
9) Lift awning to desired height, end by end.
10) If long awning , place center rafter to awning tube receptacle place stool, and pull to 3 -4 clicks
11) Open folding chair
12) pull tab
13) take breath-
14) drink fully.

It's a lot of steps, but, it will be really tight to the wind and doesn't billow like the others. That being said, still don't leave home without stowing appropriately.... they're expensive!
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Old 04-05-2011, 11:41 PM   #7
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dznf0g,

When you say to "3-4 clicks" are you referring to the rafter arms or the lower arms that raise and lower the awning? My rafter arms only have 1 click. The center rafter arm however has more than one click for maximum tension at various awning heights. The lower arms appear to have 3 clicks for height adjustment. Come to think of it, the rear rafter arm is easier to click in place than the front arm. I will remember to deploy the rear arm first.
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Old 04-06-2011, 12:16 PM   #8
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Maybe that is a change over the years. There are about 6 - 8 notches in the rafter rod which slides into the rafter tube. The pin clicks through these notches as you extend the rafter. Realistically, only about 3 or 4 of these notches are utilized when tensioning. So, yes, I hear/feel 3 - 4 clicks as the spring is compressed at the end of the arm.

My lower arms have 4 holes for height adjustment.
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