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Old 11-10-2008, 03:31 PM   #1
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Zip-Dee installation

Well, I've had the hardware for two years, maybe it's time to install the awning! Wouldn't you know it started snowing today...

I'm doing this a little bit backward, in that I only wanted to install the upper clamp as part of the window removal and patch task on my Overlander. The installation instructions provide a measurement only for the bottom main arm hinge (down 71-1/2"), so you have to put the arm together and mount the hinge in order to see where the clamp falls on the shell.

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When you put the arms together, you suddenly realize there isn't any slop in where the clamp mounts to the shell--it's defined by the length of the awning case in the fore/aft direction and by the arms and lower hinge in the vertical. Without getting the case out of the the shipping tube and mounting it on the arms, there is a risk that the clamps could be installed wrong. For example, if one ordered the case based on the length to the skin edges, rather than the rivet lines, it would be a bad day (and I can't remember how I did it--crap). Ou can see by the green line in the drawing above that the clamps are meant to fall right on the rivet line.

I wanted a strong lower hinge attachment, so I began with two doublers. The casting has a step on its face, to provide for the skin lap joint, so you have to do the same with the doublers. The doublers were installed as two one-piece layers, then one was cut right along the skin line and the pieces reassembled in the right layers to provide a tight fit. Eventually the pop rivets will be replaced with bucked rivets, including some flush rivets under the casting.

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In addition, there will be another doubler inside the shell with nutplates for the screws. This doubler will be installed (actually, it's two doublers, one on either side of the rib flange) when the pop rivets are replaced.

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As soon as I determine the exact case length (that sucker is heavy--not an easy task to move it), I'll know right where to put the upper clamp casting in the fore-aft position. Then I can finally rivet in the window patch with bucked rivets. The window patch is its own doubler, btw, and there will be nutplates on an inside doubler, too. I've seen too many Zip-Dee hinges and clamp castings loose on vintage AS due to deformation of the skin where the screws were installed.

Zep
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Old 11-10-2008, 04:17 PM   #2
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Nice looking work Zep, as per usual. As someone who just recently installed a new patch (exterior doubler in your terminology) where my EZ-Awn upper bracket tore out of the skin, I appreciate your thorough approach.

I'd like to install an interior doubler as you did as well, and especially like the idea of the nut plate, but I'd have to remove the interior endcaps at each end in order to do that.

I suppose that will just have to be a project for another day. Anyway, thanks for sharing!

-Marcus
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Old 11-10-2008, 04:44 PM   #3
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Zep - When I installed my awning I installed the brackets just as the instructions indicated and everything lined up perfectly. The rivet line was used to determine the location of the bracket as well at the measurement from the rail. The only issue I had was the Vista view frame not allowing the front top bracket from sitting smoothly on the skin. You have previously removed that problem.
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Old 11-10-2008, 06:01 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by utee94 View Post
...I'd like to install an interior doubler as you did as well, and especially like the idea of the nut plate, but I'd have to remove the interior endcaps at each end in order to do that.
...-Marcus
You don't have to remove the end caps. All three screw holes for the upper clamp fitting can be reached by peeling back the interior skin forward of the door. Peel it back from the end cap end. You have to remove pop rivets for about 3' of length aft along the skin lower edge (and some on the ribs), and you may have to pull the top edge of the door trim loose, but it's not that big a deal.

Oops. just thinking here. Since I took the window out, I also jettisoned the sliding window cover and the plastic surround for that cover. That makes peeling the skin back possible.

Zep
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Old 11-10-2008, 08:28 PM   #5
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I guess my PO didn't like the way those brkt's could move around...so he found someone with a Heliarc and 'glued' them suckers right to the skin! Might be a little more work if one needed to replace those panels...but I'll take the security factor for now!
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Old 11-11-2008, 08:09 AM   #6
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Mexray, I do not want to rain on your parade but you might have a problem down the road with the skin cracking at the edge of the weld. 2024-T3 is not a weldable alloy, I know that it will weld but but there's no strength in the aluminum at the weld line as the heat destroys the tempering. 7075 aluminum also cannot be welded.
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Old 11-11-2008, 08:29 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeppelinium View Post
You don't have to remove the end caps. All three screw holes for the upper clamp fitting can be reached by peeling back the interior skin forward of the door. Peel it back from the end cap end. You have to remove pop rivets for about 3' of length aft along the skin lower edge (and some on the ribs), and you may have to pull the top edge of the door trim loose, but it's not that big a deal.

Oops. just thinking here. Since I took the window out, I also jettisoned the sliding window cover and the plastic surround for that cover. That makes peeling the skin back possible.

Zep
My upper brackets are fore and aft of the rivet lines between the endcap and the straight panels. I might be able to unrivet the straight panel, peel back the encap a little bit, and slide a nut plate over to the proper place, but I'm not certain. It will definitely be worth checking out when I am in the position to unrivet and peel back those inner straight panels, which for the aft bracket, should be in the next few weeks. If I can slide in an interior doubler at that point, I will be delighted!

(Actually, since there is already an exterior doubler on each bracket, wouldn't the proposed interior backing plates actually be "triplers?" )

The fore bracket will have to wait until NEXT year when I pull apart the front half of the trailer. For now, the exterior doubler I put on there should hold it well. I used some .050 2024 T3 for that and riveted and vulkemed the heck out of it, and it seems very solid now.

Thanks again for all of your ideas, comments, and suggestions. I really enjoy looking at your work!

-Marcus
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Old 11-12-2008, 02:28 PM   #8
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Aerowood....I took those photos the other night...I'd always assumed that those lower support brackets were 'welded' to the skin....

I took another closer look today, and found that the 'bead' is actually some silver colored silicone, and looks just like a good heliarc bead!

Sure fooled me! Looks kinda' cool, though!

Thanks for the note...
Ray
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Old 08-29-2009, 07:17 AM   #9
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Zip Dee installation instructions

Lost mine, they were nice enough to send this PDF. It's better than having a paper copy.

Zep
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Old 08-29-2009, 07:26 AM   #10
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Zip Dee length

The awning is finally installed on the Overlander. Despite VERY CAREFUL MEASURING, the roller bar is about 1/2" too long. This means that the rotary clamp wheel arms are slanted a little, which is exactly what I was trying to avoid. CRAP! But I've seen many installations that have this "deficiency" and it doesn't seem to be more than a cosmetic issue.

Luke and I discussed this and his conclusion is that this has two causes:
1. The instructions say to measure the length at the skin seams a foot or so above the banana skin. He has found that the length there can be off from length measured where the rotary clamps are installed, which is 71" higher up on the seams.
2. Zip Dee insists on calculating the length of the roller bar in a way that essentially ensures that it will be a little bit long. He says he has decided to calculate it himself and order it that way. Anyone who is concerned about this should give him a call and order you awning through him.

Zep
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Old 11-03-2009, 10:08 PM   #11
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Warm days, makin' hay

Maybe the last warm days for awhile, so I decided to try and finish the awning installation. It has done fine with the upper hold-down fitting attached with just sheet metal screws, but from all the tear-out kind of damage I've seen on vintage Zip-Dee installations, I wanted something a little more robust. I can't get at the inside of the shell at the aft attachment, but here's the nutplate installation on the front:

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As you can see, I've given up on making the shims pretty and perfect. Just stick some scrap in the gaps and rivet! The only precision piece is the patch holding the nutplates--getting it to fit close to the bend of the rib, etc.

The three dome rivets on the outside weren't really necessary, but because of a small goof, they became "necessary." And they'll add some strength to the installation.

I really don't expect to remove the awning hold-down, like ever. The nutplates are there for the increased load they can take without deforming the shell skin. I mean, I really hate the idea of a sheet metal screw holding something in the skin of the shell...hate it.

One thing I will say, it's really a boon to be able to install flush rivets. All it takes is a microstop countersink (about $25) and a flush rivet set ($6).

Zep

PS--remember, the vista view was removed and skinned over. Putting a nutplate patch in the small space between the vista view and the rib would have been a bit more difficult.
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Old 11-04-2009, 08:17 AM   #12
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Zipdee length on 71 Tradewind

I chopped my Roller and Canopy for the second time If I used the whole length of the awning rail the rear bottom bracket end up smack dab in the middle of the battery compartment access door. If I moved 1 rib to the front the bracket ends up in an awkward position on the frame of the compartment. So I moved it up 2 ribs for a length of 12 and a half feet.

Also the front top bracket ends up straddling the vista view window frame to get the correct mounting over the rib, so I had to make a shim. I saw someone else with this delema ground down the base of the bracket.

Incidentally the awning itself was from a ZipDee on a Beaver with Z locks.
I learned to repsect those springs (see my thread Airstream Owies). Most of the rest was from a 75 roll over. which taught me the angles of the arm bends are critical to correct position.
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Old 08-08-2012, 02:11 PM   #13
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Upper Awning Mount

Both my front and rear upper awning mounts were showing signs it was time to find a way to tighten them up. Mainly a big gap between the mount and the skin. I really liked the work Zep did with the doubler plate but decided to use some PlusNuts to beef up mounting bracket. Here are photos of the job.
1. Mount pulling away from skin
2. Removed mount exposing the thin skin and the elongated holes from the original metal screws.
3. PlusNut and mounting tool
4. PlusNuts installed in skin
5. Countersink back of awning mount so the mount will sit flush on skin.
6. Finished product.
7. Front mount missing screw when factory installed the awning. Oh well!
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Old 08-08-2012, 02:40 PM   #14
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Well done. Did your awning get damaged to pull away so much, or do you just use it alot? Rig is pretty new for that.
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