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Old 03-02-2015, 01:32 AM   #1
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Photo request - tool for securing wheel clamps

Hiya!

My '72 Ambassador has a Zip Dee awning on it, and after watching a few videos on how to take out and put away the awning, I realized I do not have that handy tool for securing the wheel clamps. Anyone mind posting a couple of photos of what they look like? I've got some scrap rebar sitting around, figure I'll make one up for myself.

Thanks!
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Old 03-02-2015, 03:54 AM   #2
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You may be able to make one from some aluminum rod stock available perhaps from Lowes, HD, or Fastenal .

I have one but don't use it, prefer a small aluminum 2- step ladder to stand on so I can tighten down the wheel clamps much tighter. I also use the ladder to grab the awning strap to pull it out. Then the ladder becomes a cocktail table, or extra seat.

Even with the wheel locks tightened down, I still wrap a small bungee around the front and rear awning arms for traveling.

John
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Old 03-02-2015, 06:16 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandlapper View Post
You may be able to make one from some aluminum rod stock available perhaps from Lowes, HD, or Fastenal .

I have one but don't use it, prefer a small aluminum 2- step ladder to stand on so I can tighten down the wheel clamps much tighter. I also use the ladder to grab the awning strap to pull it out. Then the ladder becomes a cocktail table, or extra seat.

Even with the wheel locks tightened down, I still wrap a small bungee around the front and rear awning arms for traveling.

John
I agree with John as far as the use of the two step ladder that I bought form Home Depot. Makes a great holder for my coffee and an additional seat for outside company. I'm unfamiliar with the use of the bungees.

>>ron<<
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Old 03-02-2015, 06:43 AM   #4
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Ha, I agree with both John and Ron. Trying to use the "tool" that comes with the AS is like juggling in outer space for me. Fit the little knob in the little holes, twirl it around until it unlocks and vice versa until it locks, then clamp on the travel hook. I use a portable very light three step little giant ladder and within a minute all are latched and ready to go or unlatched and open. The hooker stays in the storage compartment.

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Old 03-02-2015, 07:04 AM   #5
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Use a ladder also then Velcro straps around arms two places high and low.
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Old 03-02-2015, 11:00 AM   #6
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I thought the "tool" was the hook at the end of the awning rod-
After I get the wheel snug, I insert the hook in a hole in the wheel and pull down with all my body weight. I'm 200#, so I'm sure that little wheel is tight. I have to work a little to loosen the wheel next time-
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Old 03-02-2015, 01:04 PM   #7
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We do use the tool, but have recently discovered that I can reach the tightening wheel of the forward main awning arm standing on the door step--that's much more positive and way easier. So I'm with everybody else that recommends a small ladder--if you have room to store it. We'll often stand on our cooler for the rear awning arm--that works, too.

The tool itself consists of a three foot length of aluminum rod with a right angle bend leaving about 3/4" of rod sticking out to the side of the main shaft. The other end is bent into a curved handle. But it takes a lot of concentration to get that into the wheel hole without missing and scratching the beautiful surface of your coach. If you have room for the ladder, or can reach the wheel from your font steps and use a ladder or cooler for the other, it;s the better way to go.

One trick--when tightening the wheel with one hand, it's great to use the other to firmly align the two parts of the folding arms together. This allows you to get the wheel just a bit tighter, and then you know that they don't have enough play when going down the road for the whole thing to possibly loosen up. We don't use bungies, but rather rely on the hook on the awning cover in addition to the wheel tightening to prevent the awning unrolling whilst going down the road.
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Old 03-02-2015, 01:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gecko View Post
We do use the tool, but have recently discovered that I can reach the tightening wheel of the forward main awning arm standing on the door step--that's much more positive and way easier. So I'm with everybody else that recommends a small ladder--if you have room to store it. We'll often stand on our cooler for the rear awning arm--that works, too.

The tool itself consists of a three foot length of aluminum rod with a right angle bend leaving about 3/4" of rod sticking out to the side of the main shaft. The other end is bent into a curved handle. But it takes a lot of concentration to get that into the wheel hole without missing and scratching the beautiful surface of your coach. If you have room for the ladder, or can reach the wheel from your font steps and use a ladder or cooler for the other, it;s the better way to go.

One trick--when tightening the wheel with one hand, it's great to use the other to firmly align the two parts of the folding arms together. This allows you to get the wheel just a bit tighter, and then you know that they don't have enough play when going down the road for the whole thing to possibly loosen up. We don't use bungies, but rather rely on the hook on the awning cover in addition to the wheel tightening to prevent the awning unrolling whilst going down the road.

Thanks for the info on the tool's layout, sounds simple enough. And the warning about potentially damaging the trailer's exterior is well noted. I'll probably put a rubber cap / sleeve around the end of the thing to avoid that. I'm 6'4" and am *just* able to reach the handle standing on the ground, and did exactly what you described with standing on the door for the front one.

The awning wasn't secured properly at all when I brought the trailer home from the tow yard, both the horizontal bars were just loosely pinned down under the main arms. I think the only reason this didn't damage the skin was because all the screws for where the horizontal bars are mounted were loose (or missing). I actually found the rear wheel clamp stuffed in a corner inside the trailer when I was cleaning it out this weekend (one less part to buy).

Amazingly, for the abuse the trailer's clearly taken, the awning's in excellent shape. There's one small ~1/2" square hole in it that I will look into patching, but otherwise it held up fine (and dry on the underside) when I left it open in the rain this weekend.
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Old 03-02-2015, 01:14 PM   #9
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Ditto on the step ladder. Using the special tool is not worth the effort involved to me.
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Old 03-02-2015, 05:35 PM   #10
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It is awkward but gets better/easier with practice-
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Old 03-02-2015, 05:41 PM   #11
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It is the hook at the end of the Awning pull down rod. Fits the holes in the wheel and then tighten a few turns. No ladder needed to take up room. Works as intended.
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Old 03-02-2015, 05:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m.hony View Post
It is awkward but gets better/easier with practice-
Yup, this vid was great for understanding how it's supposed to work, and for the tips on making it easier to do (and for realizing I was missing that tool).

http://youtu.be/fLsKflCqhkY

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Old 03-02-2015, 10:48 PM   #13
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I have the 'tool', which is a round aluminum rod, with a 90 degree bend on one end and a 'hook' on the other end for 'hanging' the tool somewhere, I suppose.

Yes, having the foldable step which becomes a table is excellent... if you are tall enough to reach the 'wheel'. My wife cannot reach that wheel when standing on the 'step' as suggested... Your Height May Vary.. ... =)
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Old 03-02-2015, 11:15 PM   #14
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We use the small bungees, 2 on the front arms and 2 on the back. PO had an incident with the awning deploying while traveling. I roll up the awning and then secure the hook to the AS. Then I use the aluminum 'stick' on the rear wheel and then the front. Afterward I put the bungees on and I'm done. I too pull down pretty good after I get it snug. We've traveled 900 miles twice this year and not had anything come loose.

The 'stick', 'rod' or whatever comes with a soft, flexible plastic cap on the end. This prevents scratching if it happens to come out of the hole. I have 2 sticks, stored in the bumper, but only 1 has the red plastic cap. I don't use the other one for fear of scratching. I'm 5' 7" and I need the stick, don't really have room for a ladder. I have a small plastic ladder I guess might work but once you get used to the stick it's a non-issue.

You might check with Zip-Dee and see if you can buy another one. They have quite a few distributors, maybe one near you.
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