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Old 06-24-2008, 06:32 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
1979 31' Sovereign
Barren Springs , Virginia
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 27
DIY Main Awning Arm Repair

Below is how I fixed my main arms on my awning. It's not as fancy as the manufacturer but it works. It was repaired for around $50.00 in parts.

I emailed a AS dealer to get the price on 2 new main arms for my ZipDee awning. The dealer never did get back with me on a price. The arms were stuck solid and would not extend. No amount of heat from a torch nor any lubricants would free them. I decided to replace the aluminum tubing myself. If you do this please be careful. If you are not experienced with power tools hire someone who is. Wear Safety Glasses!

I purchased new 1"x1"x1/8 wall high strength square alum tubing from in 6ft pieces for $28.00 for both plus shipping. The seller was "Small Parts" and shipped them super fast.

1. Lock your awning in place with the screw locks. Remove the main arms ONE AT A TIME only and measure and cut to exact length. Mine was 46 inches long. Yours may differ. Remove the spring loaded snap lock. Mark all holes exactly as the old tubing. You will drill these holes 5/16.

2. Set up a skill saw with a cheapo carbide blade at a cutting depth of 1/8 of an inch. Saw down each side of the old tubing as shown as close to the edge as you can. Do not cut deep enough to saw into the stainless inside. Pry off sawn piece and remove the stainless arm.

Notice the powerery residue on both pieces. This is a chemical reaction caused by two pieces of different metals touching over a long period of time. My AS was in storage for 20 years. Clean the stainless steel arm with a wire brush on a disk grinder. Clean all the residue off and spray with silicon spray. Straighten the stainless arm if it is bent.

Below is the Aluminum tubing after sawing and removing the stainless arm.

Drill through the existing holes in the stainless arm 5/16 for a 1/4 inch locking pin. This pin will fit through the new square tubing holes and line up with the holes in the stainless arm.

Below is the pin shown through both arms. I found a shorter locking pin that looks a lot less noticable. You will use this pin instead of the previous snap pin that was on the old arm. I had an older camper with an awning that was set up this way.

Below is the lower part of the arm. The spring loaded end will fit nicely on a 1/4 inch carriage bolt drilled straight through instead of the previous angled pin that was in it.

I hope this idea helps get your awning working again. It works perfectly on mine but it operates just a little differently than the original.

Spray silicon spray on your awning arms as needed. Do not put wd40 or kroil or any other lubricant on the sliding arms. It will cause dirt etc to stick on them and cause them to bind.

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Old 06-24-2008, 08:04 PM   #2
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1991 34' Excella
1963 26' Overlander
Central , Mississippi
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Great post! The idea of using through pins in place of the spring loaded stuff is a super idea.

Hi Ho Silver RV! Vernon, Sarah, Mac the Border Collie -
A honkin' long 34' named AlumaTherapy
and a 26' '63 Overlander, Dolly
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Old 09-11-2008, 02:32 PM   #3
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1970 25' Caravanner
Grand Junction , Colorado
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 13
i have been unable to locate a top mounting bracket for my dometic awning from around 1984. can you weld aluminum brackets?????
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Old 09-11-2008, 03:33 PM   #4
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1991 34' Excella
Princeton , New Jersey
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Yes a good shop can weld aluminum.
2004 Excursion 4x4
1991 34 ft. Excella +220,000 miles, new laminated flooring, new upholstery, new 3200 lbs axles

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Old 09-11-2008, 06:02 PM   #5
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1967 26' Overlander
1968 30' Sovereign
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Mosheim , Tennessee
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I thought the hardware arms, etc, on the Zip Dee were made of stainless steel?
Kevin with Baity the Lab/Pointer
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visit my restoration blog at:
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Old 09-12-2008, 07:39 AM   #6
1 Rivet Member
1970 25' Caravanner
Grand Junction , Colorado
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 13
welding aluminum

Originally Posted by HowieE View Post
Yes a good shop can weld aluminum.
thank you for re-inforcing my husband's first thought...we do have a great shop here...

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