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Old 03-24-2013, 01:21 PM   #1
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Bent awning arm

Anyone have any guesses on how this happened? We discovered it when we got to the campsite Friday. The arm was still locked down too. We hit a bad pothole, and we also got the trailer bouncing as I crossed a road with ruts, but I'm having trouble understanding how those incidents would lead to a bent arm like this without any other damage and with the top of the awning secured. The other thought I had was that something hit the arm while we were on the road.

It's definitely bent to the left 2-3 inches.
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Old 03-24-2013, 02:26 PM   #2
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Anyone have any guesses on how this happened? We discovered it when we got to the campsite Friday. The arm was still locked down too. We hit a bad pothole, and we also got the trailer bouncing as I crossed a road with ruts, but I'm having trouble understanding how those incidents would lead to a bent arm like this without any other damage and with the top of the awning secured. The other thought I had was that something hit the arm while we were on the road.

It's definitely bent to the left 2-3 inches.
Your last thought is most likely what happened.

Those arms can usually be reasonable straightened.

If not, call Zip Dee at 800-338 2378.

Andy
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Old 03-24-2013, 03:13 PM   #3
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I go along with Andy on being hit. Looks to me like there is a place right by the acorn nut that was hit on the right side.
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Old 03-24-2013, 03:17 PM   #4
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If you enlarge the picture, there is a good scrape mark on there. About the height of a mirror on a med. to small car?? Or gate post hinge?

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Old 03-24-2013, 04:06 PM   #5
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I'm pretty sure you can bend it back into position. Take the arm apart and use a vise and a pipe.
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Old 03-24-2013, 04:10 PM   #6
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See if this helps. Straightening a Bent Zip Dee Awning Arm - YouTube

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Old 03-24-2013, 04:14 PM   #7
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If it is the rear arm, isn't that the arm that gets the tension from the spring? Taking it apart may not be so simple.
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Old 03-24-2013, 04:55 PM   #8
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First, thanks everyone!

I should mention we were on the road the entire time, so there was no chance for a parking lot accident or something similar. I'd like to think I would've noticed a car hitting the side of my camper on the road, but anything is possible!

We didn't pass any gates or anything like that. It's possible I caught it on a tree branch sticking out, or something like that. Near the campground, we were on a narrow road with some tight turns, but I'm pretty sure I was taking them wide enough, too, and I don't recall anything specific sticking out.

None of the scratches, marks, etc. look out of place to me - that is, the arm was definitely not in perfect condition prior to this, so I can't definitively say that one scratch or the other is new. For example, the dent mentioned is from the horizontal support not quite being cooperative when I'm rolling up the awning and binding against the other arm. That hasn't happened in a while, so maybe it was the spring binding or something like that.

I already ordered a replacement piece. For $30, it's hard to get too worked up about bending it back into shape, and I'm afraid it'd be weaker (I admit I was also expecting it to be much more expensive). Maybe I'll put the new one on, then bend the old one back into shape and keep it as a spare.

As for the tension, I thought both ends had tension. But I'm no expert on these awnings. I was thinking I'd remove the bolts then be ready for the rest of the arm to snap against the trailer (I haven't yet watched the video).
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Old 03-24-2013, 06:24 PM   #9
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I'm pretty sure you can bend it back into position. Take the arm apart and use a vise and a pipe.
And heat. My mysterious awning arm bend happened when I tried to fit through the toll booth in Saint John. Somebody before me left his air conditioner mounted temporarily to the beam above the toll both. It came down after he backed his trailer out. The toll booth people tried to fix this problem by keeping some poor devil stationed at the approach where he would frantically wave his arms at the RV set and point to the outside lane. This worked some of the time, just not in the dark and the rain and the fog and the sleet, which is most of the time. The toll booths have now been torn down. The awning arm was bent about 30 degrees and with serious heat from a propane blow torch, was brought back to sort of new. The harder part to fix was the torn mounting bracket. Jim
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Old 03-24-2013, 10:36 PM   #10
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Refer to this thread:
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f442...on-100886.html
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Old 03-25-2013, 08:11 AM   #11
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Thanks. Looks like I'll have to talk to Zip Dee!
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Old 03-26-2013, 07:02 AM   #12
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Skater,
I have been reluctant to disconnect the rear arm on my awning which is stuck because I didn't want it flailing around under the tension of the spring beating up my Airstream and possibly breaking my arm.
Then I read this comment on another thread:


"With the awning rolled up and locked in place with the wheel locks, you can remove the lower arms completely and the roller tube springs will not be in play. Take off the arms and the end rafters and see how much you have to play with. Also an opportune time to clean everything and lube with silicone spray."

I'd like to confim this with Zip Dee.


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Old 03-26-2013, 07:32 AM   #13
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"With the awning rolled up and locked in place with the wheel locks, you can remove the lower arms completely and the roller tube springs will not be in play. Take off the arms and the end rafters and see how much you have to play with. Also an opportune time to clean everything and lube with silicone spray."



That's what I was thinking!

I too have a slightly bent back awing arm that happened on the trip that we are currently on.

It isn't quite as severe as the one the OP shows, and is causing no problem, but I would still like to fix it.

I wondered at first if I might get in trouble if I unbolted the arm at the bottom, but thinking about it more, I figured that as lock as I left the safety latch on the awning and the wheel locks in place there should be no problem and it seems you are confirming this.

There is a short video on the Zip Dee website giving tips on straightening the arms, but it doesn't touch on the subject of spring tension.

I'll likely wait until we get home until I attend to this since the awning still works fine - don't want to take a chance on screwing something up!


Just as the OP stated, I too have no idea how this happened on our current trip. We were just on the first day of our trip and had not even been in any campsites. I have a slight scratch on the front awning arm, a minor scrape for a couple of feet on a side panel aft of the door, then another scrape and a bend on the back awning arm.

I can only think that either road debris (piece of tire tread?) or something got kicked up on the interstate and hit the trailer, or maybe someone got too close to the trailer when we stopped overnight at a Flying J - I noticed the damage first thing in the am when we were leaving the FJ. We had been away from teh trailer for an hour or so while eating supper and there was any empty space next to the curb side of our trailer

Disturbing, but what's done is done, and nothing to be gained now by speculating as to how it happened!

I need to learn to just live with these things - not really so important in the grand scheme of things I guess!
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Old 03-26-2013, 07:43 AM   #14
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Skater,
I have been reluctant to disconnect the rear arm on my awning which is stuck because I didn't want it flailing around under the tension of the spring beating up my Airstream and possibly breaking my arm.
Then I read this comment on another thread:


"With the awning rolled up and locked in place with the wheel locks, you can remove the lower arms completely and the roller tube springs will not be in play. Take off the arms and the end rafters and see how much you have to play with. Also an opportune time to clean everything and lube with silicone spray."

I'd like to confim this with Zip Dee.

That's good news if it's true, but I can't see how the tension would be off of it - as far as I'm aware, the lock just prevents the tube from spinning, and I expect the spring would still have at least some tension on it, so that arm is basically always being pushed toward the side of the trailer. I'd be happy to be wrong, though - an easier repair is good.

Are you planning to call them? If so, I'll wait to hear what you find out, rather than bugging them repeatedly with the same question.

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Just as the OP stated, I too have no idea how this happened on our current trip. We were just on the first day of our trip and had not even been in any campsites.
It's an epidemic!

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Disturbing, but what's done is done, and nothing to be gained now by speculating as to how it happened!
True, but I started the thread mainly to see what lesson I could learn about the incident. Unfortunately, since I don't know how it happened, the only lesson I can learn seems to be "don't hit things," which I already knew.
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