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Old 08-10-2012, 07:14 PM   #1
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Ripped Awning

The bad news: at the Vintage Rally last night as we were putting out our vintage Carefree awning, it ripped right at the top slide rail, just as we were putting on the -- what, stanchion?

The pictures are after the emergency repair just to get through the evening.

The good news? We're at the Vintage Airstream Rally in Wenatchee, Washington, so have plenty of new friends... (although most have Zipdee awnings!) and there is a canvas repair place within sight - of the campground. And, he can do the work today. How great is that?
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Old 08-10-2012, 07:29 PM   #2
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While you've got that roller down with no fabric, check for missing rivets. I found 5 punched holes on mine that never had rivets under the awning roller at top position, just below the top rail.
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Old 08-11-2012, 12:19 AM   #3
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Thanks, Splitrock - we were able to ascertain that everything was pretty much in order. Only a missing washer on one of the screws holding the awning on the main tube.

Here is more of the story. First, what a great time to have a bad experience.

I spoke to the person who owns the canvas repair - Rod Smith Canvas Co. who is across the highway from the rally site. He actually came down and looked at the rip, told me how to take the awning off the arms/tubes, etc. I did so, with some help from very knowledgeable folks here, and took it to his place around mid-morning. At 2:30 I got a call, "Your awning's finished."

An hour later, and a very, very reasonable repair bill, and here is a picture with some of the locals looking it over. The new part is the gray part at the right - which covers the awning when rolled up. The only difference, is it is a darker color grey, but heavier duty.

If you are in this area, Rod's the go-to guy. He not only knew about Carefree, and how to deal with the springs, but has dealt with Zipdee, A&E (?) and the others as well. I'm still amazed, that this happened at a rally, with knowledgeable people, with a repair facility so close.

Does this happen to all who own AS's???
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Old 08-11-2012, 12:28 AM   #4
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I'll go through the pictures and post more details on how this was done tomorrow. Hopefully, this can help someone who is faced with this problem in the future. We got lots of pictures and I'll try to do it step-by-step.
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Old 08-11-2012, 10:15 AM   #5
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Needs: two step ladders, light tools, small sockets, etc. Friends, new or old. Beer (for AFTER the work is done!)

To replace the awning on my particular CAREFREE model, the first thing we did was clean the tube so it would slide in easier (Krudkutter worked okay). Then, we positioned the top edge with the original "bead" strip to pull through the top rail. Note we had plenty of help which makes a big difference. The biggest issue is for the people at the back, feeding the awning, to work with the person pulling so that the awning is absolutely in line with the rail. When it would get off to one side or the other, it would bind.
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Old 08-11-2012, 01:23 PM   #6
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(When we removed it from the arms and end-caps, the spring, sprung. It is a surprise, to say the least. We were told that if we removed only the front end cap and left the rear attached (with the arm as well) that the spring would retain tension. But, we removed the rear cap, first: BANG!. All-in-all, it worked out well.)

Next step was to re-insert the long aluminum tube that contains the spring.

The tube went in easily about half way, then we had to spray the tube with silicone spray to get it the rest of the way. Observe the holes for the screws (8) that keep the awning in place. In my case, these were sheet-metal screws with a washer. If it was ever riveted (as noted by Splitrock, above) the rivets were replaced with screws. Lining the tube up with the holes in the tube in line with the holes in the fabric will make finding said holes and re-inserting the screws an easier task.
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Old 08-11-2012, 01:34 PM   #7
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Team work!

Finishing up the reinsertion and replacing screws to hold awning on the tube. (The silicone spray helped because my fabric is the old, "oil-cloth" style. With the newer "sunbrella" type of fabric I don't think silicone spray would be helpful - but I'm just guessing.)
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Old 08-11-2012, 02:05 PM   #8
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Finishing up...

After attaching the awning we then hand-wound the awning and tube, as tight as possible, to the top rail. The spring is not under tension, but it is important to get the awning fabric tight against the tube. We tied a piece of parachute cord to the normal fabric pull handle to insure we could pull it out. At the top, we reattached both end arms, then slowly (and carefully!) un-wound the awning, as you would normally. Then, several of us held the awning tightly while we removed the forward (toward the TV) end cap, then hand wound the awning about 12-18 inches. This adds additional tension to help start the normal rewind process.
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Old 08-11-2012, 02:36 PM   #9
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And... voilà!

The best part of this experience was that it was, literally, about 26 hours from the rip, to the fix. The last closeup is of the new, impregnated vinyl that is stronger than what was on before. This is what covers and protects the awning in lieu of an aluminum cover. Thanks to all those Vintage Airstreamers - we all learned something!

And, the gallery approves!



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Old 08-11-2012, 03:05 PM   #10
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Wow! Talk about being in the right place at the right time! looking good!
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Old 08-11-2012, 09:00 PM   #11
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That turned out nice! Good job!
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Click on the link to see a picture of the Sioux River falls near my home.
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Eastern South Dakota is very pretty with hills, rivers, and trees.
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Old 08-22-2012, 03:37 PM   #12
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Wow, Dave, you are indeed fortunate and walk in His shadow.
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Old 08-23-2012, 08:34 AM   #13
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Jerry, Someone was watching over us! You'll have to come on this rally next year - great experience, great people. See you soon (we're traveling this week and next, not with the AS unfortunately! Work...)

Dave
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