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Old 07-16-2003, 07:09 AM   #1
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Question Replacing Awning Arms

I'm looking for anyone out there who may have replaced the awning arms on their A/S. We currently have a Carefree Awning.

It appears that the rear arm is not quite in the right spot. The brackets have both pulled out of the trailer and there does not seem to be anything of substance in there to reattach them. (The arm torqued in a wind storm with the previous owner) As we have not ventured any farther than multiple week stays at Hammonasset - a state beach campground - we jury rig the awning with tie down straps to keep it stable during our stays. Now that we are considering travels to other venues I would like to be able to use the awning in the manner in which it was intended which means a new awning ( or at least arms). I have contacted both ZipDee and Carefree and they both said that two people together could install an awning - especially since there has already been one on the trailer.
This is what I'm concerned about and would appreciate feed back on...

1. Two normal people or two superhumans?

2. Is relocating the brackets a big deal? I'm really afraid to be making holes in the skin.

3. What do you do to seal the old holes if you make new ones?

I'd like to hear of anyone's experience - good or bad.


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Old 07-16-2003, 07:53 AM   #2
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While I have never installed a new awning on my tt, I have had the old one off for repair. Two normal...or at least close to normal people can handle it with no problem.

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Old 07-16-2003, 08:35 AM   #3
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Replacing Awning Arms

Greetings Michelle!

While I am not as familiar with Carefree of Colorado awnings as with the A & E Travel Awn 5000s like the one that my Overlander had when I purchased the trailer in 1995, there is one down-side to trying to restore anything other than a ZipDee. According to my research, ZipDee is the only manufacturer who still maintains the capability to produce arms with the correct curvature for the sides of Vintage Airstreams. I tried for nearly five years to restore the A & E Travel Awn 5000 on my Overlander only to give up and have ZipDees installed after spending more than 50% of the cost of a new awning on repairs to the A & E.

It sounds like your Carefree may have a similar problem to my A & E Travel Awn - - an arm that was twisted in a storm and no longer properly aligns with a structural rib so its mount refuses to remain attached to the coach (or it is also possible that the awning may not have been properly sized and the arm(s) never aligned with structural ribs for attachment). The previous owner on my coach had shortened the arm and installed a plate on the interior of the coach through which the arm was attached - - and it still would pull away at least once a year. A & E (Dometic) at that pont told me that the only solution was a new arm, and that part had been obsolete for more than a decade.

I will say this much for the ZipDee as it relates to my experience with the A & E. The ZipDee is much easier for one person to operate, and it has a more pleasing appearance asthetically (IMHO).

Good luck with your awning dilemma!

Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 07-16-2003, 03:22 PM   #4
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Michelle , I just got finished restoring my carefree awning , It really wasnt all that bad of a job. I had a 16 y/o kid help me and we had no problems at all. I removed all the hardware cleaned it and clear coated them, then replaced all the screws with stainless steel screws. I did all this with no manuals or instructions.I also put a new carefree acrylic awing on it. I am very pleased with the out come,total out of pocket was $ 410 dollars, about 4 or 5 hours of labor. As far as the holes go there are a few ways of repairing them. Mine had also been damaged at some point. One way of fixing it is to put some dicor in the old holes ,drill new holes in the brackets that do not line up with the old holes.Or make a patch to cover the old holes "make sure it is substantial enough to take the weight ofo the awning" then install the arms on the the patches. No matter what type of awning you put on it has to be lined up on the ribs of the trailer.Good luck with what ever you decide to do ! Btw any of these repairs can be done in such a way that nobody would be able to tell u did anything.
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Old 07-17-2003, 07:20 AM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback. I believe that I need new adjustable top brackets because they look a bit compromised from the torqueing. Where did you get your new hardware?

I am trying really hard to keep what I have because I have a coordinating skirt that snaps along the bottom of the trailer. The trailer did have a screen room but it was beyond a salvage state due to mouse damage when I bought the trailer. I resewed the awning on an industrial machine last year to get to the stage where we could get it to function using tie dwon straps. The threads used to sew in the cording that slides in the rail had given up from rot. The vinyl was in perfect shape. It's amazing what gets preserved when a trailer sits unused for years.

PS. I know the name of the brackets because I have the original installation instructions.
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Old 07-17-2003, 07:39 AM   #6
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The brackets should be available as long as they do not have a bend in the original shape.

Try for the parts. He sells A&E awnings and parts and can get you an exploded parts book if need be.
Brett G
WBCCI #5501 AIR # 49
1978 Argosy 28 foot Motorhome

Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something. -- Plato

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Old 07-17-2003, 10:37 AM   #7
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Our Carefree Awning Canvas was damaged recently in a storm. I contacted them direct via the toll-free number listed on their website The awning was damaged on a Sunday night and we were leaving for vacation on Friday (isn't that always the way it happens!). I was able to order the parts I needed. They shipped them overnight. It did take three of us to insert the new awning canvas into the tracks to insure we didn't damage the new canvas. Once we figured out what we were doing, it wasn't so bad!

Good luck!
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Old 10-05-2004, 01:28 PM   #8
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I'm having the same problem my RV dealer dosn't seem to know where the support beam is to secure the arms to. Does anyone know I have a 1977 argosy 24 ft. Just about lost the awning this summer.

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