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Old 05-16-2012, 12:04 PM   #1
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1986 32' Excella
Bellaire , Texas
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 9
Zip Dee Awning Frustration

First of all.....many thanks for the help on my last post regarding getting my awning down. Well now it's down...but something else popped up.

It appears that the main arm assembly(the one where the stainless steel extender) slides up and down depending how high you want the awning has a problem. The stainless piece seems to be "seized" inside of the aluminum tubing. Several things I've tried are squirting lubricant between the 2 pieces, and also removing the lower arm assembly from the trailer itself and trying to hammer the aluminum tube to free it. Neither is working. Has anybody had this problem before?

As always....many thanks for your thoughts

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Old 05-16-2012, 12:14 PM   #2
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2006 23' Safari SE
Dallas , Texas
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If you are talking about the straight end that goes into the aluminum tube just below where the bracket curves upwards, i have had the same thing happen on our AS. I used silicone spray lubricant, let it soak for a bit then using a 2x4 piece to protect the arm at the bend hammered enough to loosen it up.

A word of caution when working with awnings that can stick... watch where you put your hands when you are trying to unstick or adjust... nearly lost a good chunk out of my finger last fall when the arm slid back into the tubing and the force of the spring on the awning wouldnt let me pull hard enough to release my trapped finger .... nearly let out a non-family rated expression at the rally we were attending....

hope this helps

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Old 05-16-2012, 12:21 PM   #3
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Not to rub salt in any wounds, but those awnings need excersise, like the rest of us.
"A settled wisdom, plus the itch to be elsewhere"
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Old 05-16-2012, 12:36 PM   #4
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1988 25' Excella
1987 32' Excella
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Be careful with that full length awning on the 32 footer. Thank goodness we learned on a short trailer. The long awning on those year 32's is just too heavy to be fun. You are gonna have to get the 2 tubes sliding again. Taking it off and working on it at a bench with a vise is the best approach. Silicone spray is a good lubricant for that joint. If you can not get it loose, call ZipDee. After you get it loose, keep a spray can of silicone handy and spray everything everytime you use it for a while (That advise came from the ZipDee rep that got ours unstuck at an International rallly.) Buy some handles for the awning. makes it a little easier. lift with your shoulder as much as you can while setting it up.
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Old 05-16-2012, 05:50 PM   #5
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Long Beach , California
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Thanx for asking this question vicn2000! I had a new Zip Dee installed in 1980 and I never could get it to open more than half way. Even at air stream rally's so called experts couldn't get it to open completely. I read the answers to your query and went out and managed to get this awning fully open. I cleaned the sliding parts & generously lubricated them with silicone spray and "wow", it works perfectly!
Thanks guys!
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Old 05-16-2012, 06:05 PM   #6
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To do the penatrating I can only suggest one product that will Creep in there and get the job done. ITS called KROIL by KANO LABORATORIES,NASHVILLE,TENN.This product is EXPENSIVE and can only be order direct from the company. Not bother to look as I did, its not sold in stores. IT comes in two packages usually sold together . An 8oz squirt liquid or an aerosol. Forget WD40 and PB Blaster,these things work but not like this stuff.
You can email them at KANOLABS@AOL.COM.This stuff stinks to high heaven but will creep into spaces as small as 1 millionth of an inch. I use this stuff on my antique tractors. I till not attack the mental. GOOD LUCK
Roger & MaryLou
7.3 liter Power Stroke Diesel
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May your roads be straight and smooth and may you always have a tailwind!
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Old 05-16-2012, 06:17 PM   #7
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One of the car magazines I subscribe to did a test on penetrating oils, using all the common ones. They used a torque wrench to see how hard it was to loosen the bolts after they were tightened into a threaded hole. The one that worked the best by far was a 50 50 mixture of automatic transmission fluid and acetone. It beat out Liquid Wrench, Kroil, PB Blaster, and some others I can't remember.
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Old 05-17-2012, 10:58 PM   #8
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Where can one buy a good awning fora 1968 airstream ? Scared to try to make one myself
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Old 05-18-2012, 06:01 AM   #9
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1974 Argosy 26
Youngsville , North Carolina
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Had this problem also. Caused by 3 problems, first corrosion from interaction of 2 different metals ( SS and Alum). Second slight bend in both tubes inflicted by PO. Third was lack of simple maint ie using a silicone lube on a regular basis. Had to use vice, clamps, 2x4 and a weighted rubber mallet to pound the pieces apart. If you go to the ZipDee website they have a video showing how to straighten tubes and lube. If all else fails order new ones from ZipDee, be sure to know style of tube, they changed in 1989. Best of luck

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Old 05-18-2012, 07:01 AM   #10
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Vicn2000, you have a lot of good advice here. Silicon spray, take it off and work on a bench, and a recent post mentioned a possible bend. That is what got me. Wind caught it one day and I could never quite get it straight. All it takes is a slight bend to get it locked in there. Zip dee sells replacements and they are not that expensive. Once I did that it works like a charm.
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Old 05-23-2012, 01:49 PM   #11
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Nepean , Ontario
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Originally Posted by Tesslove View Post
Where can one buy a good awning fora 1968 airstream ? Scared to try to make one myself
Call Randy at ZipDee (Sunbrella)
He'll tell you what needs to be measured and will price it for you. You can also go to Zip Dee for installation - they are in Elk Grove Villiage, IL, just south of Chicago.

One thing you should know is that the Sunbrella fabric will not rot, so it lasts quite a long time (mine is 25 years old).
AIR 12148
1987 Excella 32-foot
1999 Dodge Ram 2500HD Diesel
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Old 06-13-2012, 12:55 PM   #12
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Jumping in...

Hope you don't mind me jumping in on this thread with a question since it seems to be an active thread at the moment.

My awning is too low and my door rubs on the awning. I have installed a wheel now on the door so that it is not wearing the fabric - however I leave my door open most of the time - and now my screen door still rubs.


All I need is an inch or two more I have the play in the awning cover on the roof end. The only way I figure I can raise it with the least amount of effort is the lower arms that raise the awning to 3 different notches - what I want to know is can I drill another hole in the inner tube 1-2 inches below the last hole when it is fully extended and how do I go about doing that?

I am not sure how much tube there is inside - but when I pull it out the extra 1-2 inches I need there is tube there - just not sure how much more there is and don't want that to become a weakened area.

Can anyone help?

It is the 22' CCD tandem and the awning is a 12' wide one - small but too low.

I was thinking of a centre arm - but there is nowhere to instal that on the side of the trailer because of the window and door opening to window location.

Thanks for any assistance...

Everything will be alright in the end. If it is not alright now, then it is not the end.
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Old 06-13-2012, 01:09 PM   #13
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With your awning rolled up and locked in place with the wheel locks, you can remove the lower arms completely and the roller tube springs will not be in play. Take off the arms and the end rafters and see how much you have to play with. Also an opportune time to clean everything and lube with silicone spray.

"If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy." - Red Green
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Old 06-13-2012, 02:08 PM   #14
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Now I am just ticked off.... Have had this trailer for four years now. And the person I bought it off is the same height as me - I have only ever seen the awning on the third hole.

So I was about to take it down and take the arm off - and thought to push it out further to see how far it would go - then poof it snapped into ANOTHER DANG HOLE!!!

So all this time it did not have to rub on the awning after all and I DID NOT HAVE TO PUT A DANG STUPID WHEEL ON MY BEAUTIFUL DOOR!!!

The problem is - I am parked now with a deck in front of the trailer - it gives me 8 inches off the ground level with my step when it is out.

All this other time I have been at ground level and could not obviously raise it high enough for it to snap in the next hole - I used to try and just thought there was NO MORE HOLES. But POOF there are...that should be noted in their dang instructions or at least a diagram. Two holes at top 5 inches apart and 2 holes holes at bottom 5 inches apart.

OH PS - my screen door no longer rubs on the awning - solution found - and neither does the DOOR!

Everything will be alright in the end. If it is not alright now, then it is not the end.
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