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Old 05-17-2009, 11:39 AM   #1
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1974 31' Sovereign
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Awning separating from camper

I checked the other threads and didn't see this question...I promise I tried to research before bugging you guys!

We just got a 1974 Airstream (31' Sovereign/International) YAY! Annie (named for my grandmother, who started my Airstream obsession) is in great structural shape and I love her.

The awning is basically like new, except the fabric has pulled away from the trailer at the top where it attaches to the track on the AS. Do I need to remove the awning completely and slide it back into the track, or is there an easier way? It's right in the middle, and we tried to push it back in but it only seemed to get worse. Right now it's only about a 6" long gap.

Thanks for your help--I don't have a pic, but if my description isn't coherent let me know and I can take a picture.

Thanks for your help!
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Old 05-17-2009, 11:47 AM   #2
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You could probably shove the spline back into the rail using something flat like a putty knife, then place a piece of wood under that part of the rail, and tap the rail down closer so it will hold the spline again. Are you sure that's the only thing wrong with it? It may be trying to tell you something.
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Old 05-18-2009, 10:21 AM   #3
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I don't mean to sound like a complete idiot, but...what might it be trying to tell me? Totally new to this and really appreciate your help! It does not appear to be rotted...
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Old 05-18-2009, 11:12 AM   #4
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If the fabric is attached to the top....it does not sound like a "ZipDee".
Get a ladder and a camera and snap a couple of photo's.
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Old 05-18-2009, 05:43 PM   #5
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The fabric on a ZIPDEE doesn't go to the trailer rail at the top, there is a sectional alum. cover that the fabric conects to that covers the fabric then the awning is in the up" closed" postion.
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Old 06-05-2009, 02:20 PM   #6
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Thanks, everyone--you're right, the fabric was just separating from the Zipdee aluminum cover.
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Old 06-09-2009, 02:29 PM   #7
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Becky, I have the same problem. If your fabric came out, it's due to the fact that in 1975 or so, the cord in the edge of the fabric was cotton and it has now rotted away. The cord is now polyethylene. I ordered the new poly cord, but it is too big to slide into the edge of the old fabric. I'm going to order some 1/8 and 5/32 tubing and see if I can make that work.

I'll start a thread on how I get the new cord into the fabric and how I put it back in the slat. It may require cutting slits every so often in the edge of the fabric and inserting shorter lengths of cord/tube.

Also, the PO had buggered up the last slat, the one the fabric slides into, so I will either remove the slat and make do with only 4 slats, or will find a a spare. All the slats are the same.

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Old 06-11-2009, 03:32 PM   #8
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Great! I'll keep an eye out for that thread. Your explanation makes sense. Thanks so much!
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Old 07-30-2009, 06:29 PM   #9
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Finally got some time to pay attention to this task.

I ordered two diameters of tubing -- 1/8" and 5/32". The 1/8" slips too easily through the slot in the edge of the awning cover slat, so I elected to use the 5/32", which will barely fit down the sewn tube in the edge of the fabric.

In order to get the nylon tube to fit at all, you have to clean out the edge of the fabric. A straightened out clothes hangar is long enough to reach the length of each of the individual fabric stips (the entire fabric is made from narrow pieces, about 30" wide). I put a small hook on the end of the hangar wire to catch the remants of the old fiber cord in the sewn tube. You have to run the wire through the fabric several times to get everything.

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Steps:
1. Snip the fabric about 1/2" from each major seam. The allows you to slip the wire in one end and all the way through and out the other.
2. Run the hook through the edge several times, until you stop pulling out small pieces of brownish fuzz that looks like old wool.
3. Cut the end of the nylon tube on a 45 degree angle and push it in through the snip. If you can't get the tube through at least half the width, then pull it back out and see if it's got brown fuzz stuffed in it. If so, run the wire through again. I've been unable to get the nylong tube to go the full width, so I insert another length in from the other snip.
4. When the first tube is in as far as I can push it, a little more than half way, I cut it off and then grab it through the fabric and pull it back so that the tube slides into the 1/2" of edge that's towards the seam. I'm thinking that having some tube inside that snip (cut) will help when I'm trying to insert the fabric back into the aluminum roller cover.
5. Insert the tube from the other end, until it meets with the piece that was previously inserted. Then cut it and work it back into the 1/2" piece of the edge. This will leave a small length of edge without any tube in it, right in the middle of the section. You'll also have a gap in the seam area.

Now, the next trick will be to order a new slat from Zip-Dee. If it's longer than 8', it has to be shipped by freight, which costs over $100, more than the slat. So for my 20'-7" roller, I'm going to order 3 slats that are 7' long and cut one of them so that they make a single long slat that is the exact length. I don't think having two slits in the slat will be a problem. The fabric will still be covered from UV and it doesn't mind gettng wet (it's nylon).

Zep
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Old 07-30-2009, 07:31 PM   #10
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I just happened to go to the ZipDee site yesterday and saw that they describe how to fix the problem similar to what Overlander described in post #2.

Zep - what a great post on how to replace the old cotton cord. Hope I'm not headed down the same road when I get around to checking mine out that close. What a job. But thanks for the details!!!

Laura
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Old 08-22-2010, 08:43 PM   #11
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ever seen this happen

I was caught in a unbelievably wind bad storm while traveling i25 in New Mexico a side wind gust came out of nowhere and tossed my Airstream into the next lane! It was all I could do to hold it on the road, I was towing with my 06’ F350 Diesel and was my first real white knuckle experience while towing. I believe if I was towing with a lighter vehicle it would have ended up on its lid! Somehow the gust of wind caught the awning and tore the aluminum portion off the trailer, I still cannot figure out how it happened, the awning its self never came unraveled. So I guess I am going to need a new Zip Dee….
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Old 08-22-2010, 08:59 PM   #12
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That is a pretty scary sight.

Is the travel latch still holding the aluminum? My guess is the front of the awning somehow unrolled enough to catch the wind, but the travel latch held in the back. As the front unwound it became a bigger sail catching more air until the fabric separated from the cover.

I would contact zipdee and send them the picture.
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Old 08-22-2010, 08:59 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nmgt350h View Post
I was caught in a unbelievably wind bad storm while traveling i25 in New Mexico a side wind gust came out of nowhere and tossed my Airstream into the next lane! It was all I could do to hold it on the road, I was towing with my 06’ F350 Diesel and was my first real white knuckle experience while towing. I believe if I was towing with a lighter vehicle it would have ended up on its lid! Somehow the gust of wind caught the awning and tore the aluminum portion off the trailer, I still cannot figure out how it happened, the awning its self never came unraveled. So I guess I am going to need a new Zip Dee….
All you will need is a new roller tube, that has the fabric and metal slats already attached. It's called a CFR, cover, fabric and roller tube.

Measure the distance between the awning arms, for the correct dimensions.

Notify your insurance company that you had a "comprehensive loss".

Andy
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Old 08-22-2010, 09:00 PM   #14
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Ouch!
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