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Old 08-31-2009, 10:25 AM   #1
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1976 31' Sovereign
Moncks Corner , South Carolina
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Posts: 35
Question Need help removing fabric from zip dee

I am a new owner of a 1976 Airstream. It has started to cost more then I have to get her in good using condition. I have a Zip Dee awning that I have removed from the camper. The stitching has dry rooted but the fabric is in good shape. It would really help if I could get a couple more years out of it. My uncle can put new stitching on it if I can get it off without ripping it and that is where my problem starts. The fabric is crimped at the top of the awning and I can not seen to get the fabric off the crimped area without ripping the fabric. Is there away to remove the fabric without ripping it and if so what is the best way?

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Old 08-31-2009, 10:53 AM   #2
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1960 24' Tradewind
Riverside , United States
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If you have an end cutter it works great opening the slat at the crimp, insert one cutter edge under the lip on top of the fabric the other cutter edge at the back of the roll and gently pull back, this will open the crimp up.

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Old 09-01-2009, 10:18 AM   #3
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What is an end cutter? I am attempting the smae repair.
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Old 09-01-2009, 12:26 PM   #4
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1975 Argosy 24
Malakoff , Texas
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An end cutter is a metal cuting set uf pliers.

To get the fabric is necessary to open
the crimped portion of the alum. How you do that
is variable....but it must be opened out...or cut off.
After you have the crimp open.....remember how a
mechanic will tap a wrench with a hammer...I had to get
a grip with Visegrips(padding added to avoid a tear)
and tap the visegrips until it moves. Simply pulling on the thing
didn't work for me. The tap is mightier than the tug.
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Old 09-01-2009, 12:51 PM   #5
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1972 25' Tradewind
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McHenry County , Illinois
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I had a similar issue with the Globetrotter. The rail on the trailer was crimped every 6 or 8 inches.
I tried tapping, tugging, swearing and attemting to expand the rail without any success. There was too much friction from the disintegrating fabric and dirt to even move it an inch.
I ended up cutting through the plastic spline at the center of the rail with a hooked ex-acto knife blade. I thought that by taking it out in sections might be easier.
To my surprise the plastic spline easily slipped right out of the rolled fabric seam. Now without any tension on the awning it slid out of the rail in one piece.
Since it appears you're going to be re-doing the seam this might be an option for you.

Good luck,
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Old 09-02-2009, 07:41 AM   #6
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1976 31' Sovereign
Moncks Corner , South Carolina
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Good feed back from everyone, thanks for the replys. Got an end cutter this morning. Im going to try to get the fabric off today using everyones input. I will let you know how it worked for me. (nd48463) if you do an google or ebay search for end cutter tool it will pop up (this is how I found out what a end cutter was).
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Old 09-02-2009, 08:23 PM   #7
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1976 31' Sovereign
Moncks Corner , South Carolina
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Used the end cutter today and it work great. It did not tear the fabic or anything. This job took about 30 minutes. Once again thanks for the replys.
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Old 09-04-2009, 02:55 PM   #8
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1979 31' Sovereign
1950 22' Liner
Powhatan , Virginia
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Nice. We had the same issue. When we put our streetside back together, I used a tough, plastic clothsline as the insert and it went half way into the aluminum rail quickly, the second half took me and my wife, pulling and caoxing it back in. Once it was in, I don't think I will worry about it riding out... You may want to use some sort of lubricant that is ok with fabrics to help get it back in. We put some soap on it and it seemed to help. I figured it works with putting screws into pre-drilled holes in wood...
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Old 09-08-2009, 10:36 AM   #9
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1976 31' Sovereign
Moncks Corner , South Carolina
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Thanks for the heads up. I will be putting it back together this weekend.

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