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Old 09-10-2010, 06:46 PM   #1
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1971 25' Tradewind
Grottoes , Virginia
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Awning Help

1971 Tradewind, 25'

I ordered and received a new ZipDee awning this week. However, in the process of installing it I've run into some confusion.

When I ordered the awning, the vendor claimed all he needed was the Airstream VIN and he could get all the information he needed from that to order the correct awning. Easy.

But now that I'm installing the awning, I think the vendor may have made a mistake and I have received the wrong size awning...??? I have tried to call both ZipDee and the vendor I ordered from, but both appear to be closed for the weekend. Wonderful.

The problem I'm running into is that the rear support arm appears to be too far back towards the rear of the trailer. In the ZipDee directions it says to measure down 71.5" from the awning rail, and this is the location to mount the hinges for the awning supports. But if I follow these direction the hinge would be mounted directly in the center of the access door on the trailer. I might be a little slow sometimes, but I don't think this is correct.

I've looked at some pictures online and it appears the hinge is to be mounted in front of that access door. But if I were to mount it this way, the awning would be hanging too far off the front of the trailer.

Here is a picture of the awning with the support arms lifted up to show the overall length of the awning on the trailer. Please tell me I'm missing something here. Shipping this thing back is going to be more of a pain than it's worth.
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Old 09-10-2010, 06:56 PM   #2
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1960 24' Tradewind
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Because of the rear compartment Zip Dee/Airstream wants the awning to be mounted on the vertical row of rivets directly in front of the compartment, later years the door was moved forward or deleted. To maximize the awning length and provide a good sturdy mount, attaching to the rear and front bows is the best bet. The rear attachment can be accomplished by shotening the lower portion of the awning arm enough to have the foot right above the compartment door frame.
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Old 09-10-2010, 06:58 PM   #3
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The 69 and 70 TWs I have seen take a shorter roller and the rear mount would be on the rib in front of the door. Later models had a smaller box and the mount was above it.

Contact your dealer and they should make it right.
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Old 09-10-2010, 07:02 PM   #4
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Yes. I mounted mine with a shorter awning (about 12') with the hinge attached to the rib in front of the compartment. I goofed it too and had to shorten the roller and had an upholstery guy shorten the fabric. I can send dimensions if you want.
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Old 09-10-2010, 07:16 PM   #5
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Either your vendor or Zip Dee sent you the wrong size. Zip Dee is very good about fixing a mistake they may have made. I ordered new awnings for my 65 Safari direct from Zip Dee. When they arrived they sent the wrong arms. They sent me the right ones 2 day UPS no charge. If your vendor made the mistake make them deal with it. I know this doesn't help you much this weekend....Tim
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Old 09-10-2010, 07:26 PM   #6
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ZoomZoom,
If I shortened the rear arm so it would fit over the top of the access door, wouldn't that make the arm too short to fully open the awning? Or is there enough adjustment in the arm to make it right?

To do this I would need to trim 12 to 14" off the arm. I feel comfortable doing this if it would help the situation. However I think it's a bit shady...
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Old 09-10-2010, 07:44 PM   #7
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I think this would cause more problems. First you would have to cut both arms to make it even. I think you would have issues with door clearance because of the smaller radius of the arm.
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Old 09-10-2010, 08:00 PM   #8
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Hank,

I have a similar situation with my Safari, the water heater is in the place of your access compartment. The rear support was placed in front of the water heater.

Personally, I would not make any modifications to the awning until you have spoken with the vendor. Then I would request an awning which will fit correctly, return the existing awning and receive a new, correct size awning. All at no additional cost to you. In fact, perhaps a credit since a shorter awning should cost less.

Bill
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Old 09-10-2010, 08:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azflycaster View Post
I think this would cause more problems. First you would have to cut both arms to make it even. I think you would have issues with door clearance because of the smaller radius of the arm.
Shortening the rear arm would cause one side of the awning to extend differently from the front. Shortening both arms would significantly change the geometry weakening the strength of the triangular support, putting more force on the hinge and trailer rib, and I would guess making wind damage more likely.

Here is a not too good shot of Stella
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Old 09-10-2010, 10:32 PM   #10
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Zip Dee

Shortening one arm, when done correctly, does not in any way cause the awning to be tilted when fully extended.

We have done that many times in our shop, with "ZERO" negative effects.

Separate and aside, all awnings should be tilted when extended, to minimize the effect of excessive water collecting on them during a sudden rain storm.

Additionally, all Zip Dee awnings, 12 feet or longer, should also have a "center support" installed. That further reduces the negative effects of a sudden down pour.

Andy
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Old 09-11-2010, 07:43 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
Shortening one arm, when done correctly, does not in any way cause the awning to be tilted when fully extended.

We have done that many times in our shop, with "ZERO" negative effects.

Andy
I confess my above comment was based on a less than a mechanical engineering perspective on physics. Once again experience may trump theory. Now I wonder if I should kick my self in the butt, perhaps having shortened my awning for nada.
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Old 09-11-2010, 10:13 AM   #12
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I confess my above comment was based on a less than a mechanical engineering perspective on physics. Once again experience may trump theory. Now I wonder if I should kick my self in the butt, perhaps having shortened my awning for nada.
Nah, don't kick.

Maybe you made the cut before the Forums existed.

I'm sure that 1hank1, David will post how easy it is once we tell him how, Monday.

Andy
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Old 09-14-2010, 08:43 AM   #13
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Update:

I was able to cut the rear arms so that it would mount above the rear compartment door. Basically, I cut 10" off the outer aluminum sleeve, 6" off the aluminum hinge bar, and 4" off the stainless steel support arm. This allowed me to move the assembly up 10" to 61.5" from the awning rail. Thanks to Greg at Inland RV for sharing his experience.

It's bitter sweet, though. I did mess up a bit.

This Airstream was an impulse buy by my girlfriend. Prior to this I have never seen another Airstream up close, and certainly never paid attention to the awnings. The ZipDee instructions are pretty crude but I was able to follow them pretty good. However, the instructions do not say a thing about the rafter arms. Common sense told me where the rafter arms mounted, but at this stage in the installation I had not opened the awning and did not fully understand how the rafter arms worked.

With the awning still closed, I could tell the rafter claw attached to the pin mounted to the main arm tube. On the front of the coach this mounted right up with no problems. But since everything was trimmed down in the rear, the rafter arm was obviously too long to connect to the pin. So, I started trimming.... I have access to a machine shop, so this made everything easy since there was some drilling/tapping and re-cutting the ratcheting portion of the rafter arm. It was beautiful and worked perfect.....until I opened the awning for the first time and saw what the rafter arms were for.

So now I have a rafter arm that's too short and will need a new one. That's the only drawback I've found with cutting the arms down. The rear rafter arm will need to be secured with a velcro strap or something when traveling. I'm not real fond of this, but I guess that's how it has to be.

Here is a cell phone pic with the awning mounted.
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