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Old 04-03-2003, 07:50 PM   #1
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Zip Dee awning problem

I cannot get the awning to open on my '96 Excella...it's about 22' long...hasn't been opened for at least 4 years according to the gent who sold it to me. The Z lock pulls back to the unlock position...the clamps I have loosened....and the awning won't budge...I called Zip Dee and Matt in tech service said it sounded like the spring was shot from lack of use, basically. Too many years of not being unfurled. The aluminum case just seems adhered to the top edge of the trailer....he said if I pulled hard and long enough it would eventually come apart...if it needs a spring replacement, no sense making it a more expensive job by busting it.....Thanks for any input! Dave
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Old 04-03-2003, 08:08 PM   #2
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Mystery

Altho I don't know, I sure hope that the "tech" was off base. If Zip Dee is the quality product that they want us to believe they are, then "wore out from lack of use" is preposterous!
And if the awning has been wrapped around the core tube and also tucked under the aluminum eyebrow flap then water should not have entered the tube and corroded the mechanism...right? Especially in Arizona.

Could insects have nested and "glued" the awning tightly shut?
or have you gotten up on a ladder and checked the entire length of awning both along eyebrow and under it? Maybe the PO tied or wired the thing for some unknown reason.

This is the first I have heard of such a problem on all my Airstream readings.
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Old 04-03-2003, 08:41 PM   #3
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I would get a water hose and give all the slats a good soaking. Then invite 2 friends over and put them a ladder on both ends. While you pull the cord have them pull out on the upper most part of the arms. I willing to bet that she'll show her colors.
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Old 04-04-2003, 09:34 AM   #4
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STICKING ZIP DEE

The Zip Dee awning fabric can "stick" to the plasticoat, when not used for an extended period of time. My thought is that there is some type of small chemical reaction between the new awning fabric and the plasticoat paint, that is the basis of the problem, along with "HOT" weather. Using the awning periodically seems to be the cure.

Back then, sometimes, Airstream used a 4 inch wide scotch tape just below the awning rail so that the fabric would not stick.


Follow the instructions Peter outlined along with spraying water where the fabric is touching the trailer.

Be patient, have a six pack handy for your helpers, and it will come loose.


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Old 04-04-2003, 11:13 AM   #5
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Thank you for your suggestions...

Pap, PeterH and Andy.....Where I'm parked, I don't have access to a hose connection, but I think I'll bring a couple of 5 gallon buckets of water mixed with some dish detergent and try to pour it along the back edge of the awning...and the front, which will be a little more difficult....The previous owner mentioned something about the metal case being a special protective cover...I didn't listen too closely....but is there anything I have to do to, or with, the casing, or the eyebrow that was mentioned? My understanding is that just pulling the strap should bring the entire awning, casing and all. And, there is nothing that needs to be done to the arms, adjustment wise, until I get the awning extended a bit...then move the rafter arm into place...Insects or Gecko's are a real possibility, too! Thanks again!!
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Old 04-04-2003, 11:50 AM   #6
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Putting water on the slats or on the top will get you no place.

The problem is the fabric is stuck to the plasticoat. Water under pressure must be applied to that junction. If you don't have any water under pressure then I would suggest that you leave the awning alone until you can get to some water under pressure.

Trying to force the awning loose without the water could generate another problem that you don't need.

Pulling on the strap only will not release the fabric, but would probably tear itself off.


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Old 04-04-2003, 11:59 AM   #7
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Andy, thanks for your follow-up...I understand what you are saying...the front edge of the metal casing might have a fraction of an inch of play in it..such that a stream of water could get under....as for the back side, I havent' gotten a look at it yet (ladder's not large enough), but with an extention ladder I can come up on the roadside to deliver the spray....unless you don't think there's any benefit to working the back side of the casing. Thanks again for your helpful tips!
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Old 04-04-2003, 12:03 PM   #8
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You can put water on the top of the slats until you dry up Lake Michigan, but it won't help.

The slats keep the sun, "AND" water off the fabric.


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Old 04-04-2003, 12:19 PM   #9
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Thanks, Andy...Since I have yet to see any fabric because of the protective casing...I was assuming water sprayed from the front, and water sprayed from the back to the area where the casing meets the trailer roof..would compliment each other in attempting to free the fabric from it's adhesion....I think you're telling me that the primary area I need to concentrate on is under the front edge of the protective casing across the entire length of the awning...to get as much spray force into that area..and have someone on each end carefully trying to move the casing forward, holding onto the arm supports where they connect to the casing.
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Old 04-04-2003, 12:41 PM   #10
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Correct.

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Old 04-04-2003, 07:22 PM   #11
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Just a side note that I'd like to add since I just waxed mine a few weeks ago and noticed this. Airstream seems to have placed a protective clear strip of plastic where the Zip Dee rests in it's closed position on my '03. Not sure when they started doing it, but looking at it, to me it would seem to stop any type of reaction that would make it stick. The plastic strip I am talking about is very similar to what the auto industry uses on SUVs that have a rear wiper. Where the wipers rest, you may see the same plastic protection.

Could be something A/S found and implemented this fix, not sure, just thought I'd offer it as an FYI. Maybe some others could look as well to see what year this plastic appears, but it for sure is on the '03 Bambi and it is the full length of the Zip Dee.

Eric
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Old 04-05-2003, 09:42 PM   #12
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Many thanks to Andy and others who have posted.....a friend and I did as suggested and worked on the casing from each end...the awning did come loose, a combination of AZ dust and heat made for a good temporary seal.....I couldn't get it loose alone, thus I figured the problem must be more complex...Thankfully the spring works fine, the awning looks like new, except in the area where the problem was..which is a little dirtier....cleaning the area under the awning should eliminate future issues. Thanks again for everyone's help!
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Old 04-06-2003, 02:47 PM   #13
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Your welcome.

If your not going to use the awning again for an extended period of time, I would suggest that you install the "scotch tape".

Some dealers like us, keep it on hand.

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