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Old 08-27-2010, 09:18 PM   #1
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Awning Bracket Pulling Away

Our 1970 Safari has an original Carefree awning. It works perfectly,(trust me ... it survived some hefty wind in Idaho a couple of weeks ago). Other than replacing the awning fabric, we've really not had to refurb it at all.

Our only concern about the awning is that the bracket at the bottom is pulling the trim away. Looks like the PO just filled the gap with vulkem (or something).

While the awning is very stable, I'm more concerned about the gap, water getting in, and future damage to the trim if it keeps pulling.

Any suggestions on how to shore this up?
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Old 08-27-2010, 09:25 PM   #2
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I am sorry to say, that the cause of this is typically an area (does not have to be large) of rotten floor. The bracket is lag bolted into the plywood floor, and when it gets soft or rotten the bolt begins to pull away from the floor, which pulls at the skin and trim.
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Old 08-27-2010, 09:36 PM   #3
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Yikes. We ripped out all the carpet last spring, and replaced with laminate floor. When the floor was bare, it looked clean and dry.
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Old 08-27-2010, 10:16 PM   #4
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Maybe it is time to take another peek? The rotten part holding the lag bolts is most likely under the C channel.
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Old 08-28-2010, 08:02 AM   #5
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Unfortunately this lower bracket carries most of the awning load with some support from the slide locks and the travel hooks.

Floor rot as dragon-wagon indicates is the primary cause. As the wood weakens, the lag screw grip effectiveness diminishes the things begin to droop. Also screwing into the edge plies is not the best way to secure something to plywood.

Improper stowage is also a contributing factor. Not securing the awning roll cap securely into the travel hook on the H bracket, and not having the slide hooks adjusted for firm engagement will allow the awning unit to bounce somewhat during travel with the bottom bracket taking the brunt of the load.

We've got the same situation on ours and I've installed longer lag screws as the short term fix but ultimately some wood replacement will be required. I'm not sure of the design yet as we haven't opened things up yet, but I hope to convert the connection to a through bolt application rather than just a screw.

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Old 08-28-2010, 08:46 AM   #6
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I'm just speculating here but how bout giving the area of the floor in question a good soaking with a penetrating epoxy such as Rot Doctor. Don't know if it would help, but sure couldn't hurt. Significantly rotten wood though has to go.
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Old 08-28-2010, 09:40 AM   #7
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Awning Bracket

Mine has what looks to be larger lag bolts. The lag bolts used in mine are 3 1/2 inches long. I will post the pics as soon as I can. Can you remove one of the bolts to see what size it is? Remember to detatch the awning leg from the bracket before removing the bolt. The leg will just hang there if the awning is in the travel position.
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Old 08-28-2010, 12:27 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the advice. I would have never though rot would be the culprit, but it makes perfect sense (though is very disheartening). After my earlier post, walked out to the trailer and realized the awning connection point is further back under the goucho. We only removed the carpet UP TO the goucho, so I really did not have a peek at the bare wood back that far.... Today I will investigate further, as well as check out the lag bolts (thanks, mopariac). I suspect they are short, considering the head size.

I am so thankful for this forum. It has certainly taken a lot of the guess work out for folks like us. (Hubby and I have learned a lot).

I'll post pictures of my findings. Thanks again.
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Old 08-28-2010, 05:27 PM   #9
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Hmmmm. I investigate inside, and I was wrong earlier. I did remove the carpet and add laminate over the floor area in question. It is actually under where our table hangs. I'm sure if there was significant rot in the floor I would have noticed it when I pulled the carpet. I do remember some mild water stain, but no soft areas.

To further investigate the floor issue, i would need to pull the new floor we just put down. Call me crazy, but I just can't bring myself to undo all that previous work... So I've decided to do the short term fix that was mentioned earlier, remove the bracket and repace the screws with 3.5 inch lag bolts.

When I removed the existing bolts (PO had modified the bracket to put 4 bolts in the front bracket) one the top ones were longer than the bottom ones and did show some rust, which tells me there most likely was water and rotting inside at some point.

It took me all afternoon to clean off all the old vulkem. I though that it might have been holding the trim off the trailer. But when I tried to install the 3.5 lag bolts. I hit resistence after about 3" and could not get the bolts in the last 1/2 inch. What could I be hitting? Any other advise?
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Old 08-29-2010, 10:20 AM   #10
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But when I tried to install the 3.5 lag bolts. I hit resistence after about 3" and could not get the bolts in the last 1/2 inch. What could I be hitting? Any other advise?
I am thinking the bolt you took out was originally longer and the last inch broke from rust when you removed it. That seems like what is blocking the new lag bolt. Remove another and compair sizes and shape. If that is the only one with a problem, I would drill a pilot hole at a slight angle to bypass the old hole with the broken screw end in it.
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