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Old 01-01-2012, 09:24 PM   #1
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Rafter arms too long?

When we bought the Tin Pickle two years ago, I knew that the awning needed attention as the rear main arm tube was corroded shut. Well, yesterday I managed to disassemble the arm, clean the corrosion, reassemble and re-tension the spring. I'm noticing, though, that the rafter arms won't compress enough by a couple of inches to clip onto the shaft on the roller when the awning is at full extension; it's as if either the awning fabric is too short or the arm is too long.

Perhaps the fabric was replaced and made too short? Is there a suggested procedure for setting this stuff up?

- Bart
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Old 01-02-2012, 04:53 AM   #3
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Old 01-02-2012, 07:32 AM   #4
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On the zip dee awnings I have been around, if the rafter will stow in the normal position, it is an easy fit to attach it on the main roller for deployment.

Are you sure the rafters are not extended maybe just one notch as you try to attach them?
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Old 01-02-2012, 08:47 AM   #5
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It's very possible the fabric has shrunk. You also have to give the rafter arms a sharp tug to get them to click into place. That's really the toughest part of using a ZipDee awning.
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:08 AM   #6
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I'm guessing that the awning is not fully opened or the rafter arms are in an extended position.
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Old 01-02-2012, 11:06 AM   #7
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My rafter arms have two locking positions - fully extended, and fully retracted. I'll try to get the arms to lock into position after first engaging them on the roller shaft in the unlocked position.

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Old 01-02-2012, 12:18 PM   #8
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Bart, the rafter arm should have a ratcheting lock and several grooves milled into the two pieces. One piece will have the ratchet, the other will have the slots (grooves) for the ratchet to lock into.
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Old 01-02-2012, 12:45 PM   #9
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Bart, I have to put my arms on before locking them into the locked position. Pull out the fabric to the end. Then unlock the rafter arm put it on the roller tube end. Then while standing outside the awning but facing the trailer pull the rafter arm HARD untill it locks into position. Ours is an old Zip-Dee with no ratchet and grooves just a spring loadded pin with two holes. One for closed and one for open with tension. Good luck
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Old 01-02-2012, 02:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63 View Post
Bart, the rafter arm should have a ratcheting lock and several grooves milled into the two pieces. One piece will have the ratchet, the other will have the slots (grooves) for the ratchet to lock into.
Mine's an older unit - it uses the same locking mechanism as the main arm. The rafter arm just has the two positions.

Attached are two pictures with the awning fully extended and the rafter arms locked in their only extended position.

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Old 01-02-2012, 03:04 PM   #11
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Does your pull strap attach on the top of the fabric? Ours is on the bottom side. Could your fabric be on upside down? I it looks right on the end of the tube. But the strap looks like it is on top?

Also I think our skirt is on the back side of the roller.

It may be just enough difference to get that last 6 inches you need.
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Old 01-02-2012, 03:11 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by memgrove2000 View Post
Does your pull strap attach on the pot of the fabric? Ours is on the bottom side. Could your fabric be on upside down? I it looks right on the end of the tube. But the strap looks like it is on top? It looks like it needs one more roll to get to the right place.
It's quite possible. The previous owners didn't exactly grok much about the Airstream. Whether or not the fabric is upside down or not, the arms still appear short to me; reversing the fabric won't make a lot of difference I think. However, it certainly indicates that the folks who replaced the awning had no idea how it was supposed to work. Perhaps they had someone make a new awning that is too short. How long are they supposed to be, anyway?

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Old 01-02-2012, 03:31 PM   #13
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This will sound wierd but...

Your awning fabric is on upside down.

(by the time I hit post, someone else had noticed and posted too.)

Did you take it off to clean the roller, adjust the springs, etc?

I had to look at the video to spot what was really wrong.

Look at the video from earlier in the thread, now look at your awning. What first tipped me that something was wrong is that the hem at the edge of the fabric is turned OUT - not in. This hem would catch water in the rain. Think of a pair of blue jeans; the hem should be turned under, not facing out.

Next on the video you'll see that fabric rolls over the top, and is sewn with the seam in the back of the roller - The part that hangs down free is behind the roller - on yours it's in front. And that my dear is why you think it's too short!

So take the whole thing down, slide the fabric off, flip it over (putting what is now on the front end of the trailer on the back) and put it back on. Your fabric will be almost a foot longer. In the event that the fabric IS actually still too short, you could take out the seam that creates the pocket for the roller, and move it to the edge of the fabric, eliminating the little skirt at the edge.

And really study that video - your side arms definitely must stretch out just to keep the top of the door from rubbing on the awning fabric and give you walking around room under it.

Best of luck, Paula
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Old 01-02-2012, 03:37 PM   #14
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That video

Is worth it's weight in gold. There are about 2 dozen local airstreams with owners who are newbies - and the awning deployment messes are sometimes epic.

BTW, there is an awning helper, a handle that can be installed on the side arm to help push or pull it out. VERY handy for the vertically challenged and/or female owner. Check ZipDee's website.

PAULA
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