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Old 04-13-2003, 05:29 PM   #1
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1992 29' Excella
madison , Wisconsin
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Zip Dee maintenance

hey gang,

i was doing my spring check out of my trailer today and noticed my awning was very difficult to deploy.

after spraying silicone into all of the tubes with no improvement, i noticed the awning was hanging up after it had unrolled about 4 inches.

then i figured out that the spring knobs on the stiffener arms were hanging up.

i put a tiny amount of wheel bearing grease in the detent and it worked like a charm!

good as new!

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Old 04-13-2003, 07:13 PM   #2
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Thanks for the tip.

We never had a working awning in our 2 previous AS. Now, our 1990 has awnings all around. We may even use them one day. I'm sure your tip will be useful then.


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Old 04-13-2003, 08:16 PM   #3
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I had the sorta same problem on mine just on the other arms. One arm did not want to extend. Soaked it down with WD-40 and took a good mallet to it and finally got it to extend. Everyone around me at the KOA probably thought I had lost it, just beating away!! Never knew stainless steel could corrode, finally got it apart and sanded the inner tubes down real smooth and wiped them down with more WD. It was one of those trips, water leak, blown fuse, broken 12v. T.V. connection, (maybe related) water heater hard to lite, fridge pilot blew out!! What the heck, still had a good time!

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Old 04-14-2003, 07:24 AM   #4
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Old 04-30-2003, 03:37 PM   #5
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Well, I just had to laugh . . . but I'm glad to know we aren't the only ones beating the awning out in the middle of the campground. Will have to try the grease idea. WD 40 and silicone just haven't done it for the old girl yet. And, I don't want any hernias -- which is just putting the awning out is leading now. I also have pull repair to do. Has anyone found a strong enough thread to use to stitch the awning pull back together? Jules
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Old 05-01-2003, 04:22 AM   #6
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I had a zip dee maintenance day this weekend as well. I got on the zip dee web site and read their recommended maintenance. I took all the tubes apart and cleaned them with soap and water. The tubes had really collected dirt from where I sprayed them last year with WD-40. Zip Dee doesn't advise you to use WD-40 for that reason -it collects dirt. I sanded the poles and put them back together-works great now. Use silicone on all areas that your can't take apart and wipe down.
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Old 12-13-2006, 08:17 AM   #7
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More awning maintenance issues.

Yesterday I completed the last task in my routine of testing all the trailer services and doing a shake-down trip before setting out for two months camping. The last task was to extend the awning, clean out any dirt and critturs, put a couple of drops of oil on each end of the tube axles, and re-secure the awning. The awning has worked perfectly for the past 7 years we have owned the trailer. It has been stored under a pole barn for 8 months, out of the rain and sun, but untouched. The rear hold-down securing wheel would not release. I tried WD40, and eventually resorted to a Stilson type wrench. Nothing would move the wheel. I turned it so hard that I sheared the stainless steel pin at the base of the wheel threaded axle. I took the assembly to a workshop, tightened a tooth-faced vice with all my strength on the axle, and used the Stilson wrench on the wheel circumference. It would not budge, and the soft stainless axle just rotated through the teeth of the vice. This was well and truly chemically seized from electrolytic corrosion between the stainless steel axle and the alloy wheel. I have ordered a replacement bracket and wheel from Zip Dee. I decided to pull the awning out to give better access to the bracket. As I did so, the front end of the awning tube fell out of its bracket. The effect and noise was dramatic, but there was fortunately no damage. There is a stainless steel securing setscrew through the central spindle at each end of the awning. This is one and a half inches long, size 10. It should be fitted with a washer and a nylon insert shakeproof nut. The nut and washer had disappeared, and the setscrew had fallen out. I thought I was particular about maintenance, but I'm obviously not particular enough. I have therefore added to my annual maintenance tasks:

1. Grease the threads of the hold-down wheel axles.
2. Check the tightness of the two spindle securing bolts.

I'd like to think that this might help others avoid these problems.
Nick Crowhurst, Excella 25 1988, Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins Diesel. England in summer, USA in winter.
"The price of freedom is eternal maintenance."
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Old 12-13-2006, 08:23 AM   #8
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Thanx for the tips guys. Mine is fairly new, and with these tips, I can prevent future awning problems.
SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
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Old 12-13-2006, 08:57 AM   #9
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Good day Nick-

Great post! Thank you for sharing your experience with us all. Just a quick question, did you register your ZipDee? I does come with a lifetime warranty on the hardware and you should have received the new parts covered.
J. Rick Cipot
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Old 12-15-2006, 07:57 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by rickandsandi
did you register your ZipDee? I does come with a lifetime warranty on the hardware and you should have received the new parts covered.
Rick, good morning. The awning was on the trailer when I bought it seven years ago, and the trailer is nearly 20 years old. I didn't know about any warranty, but perhaps that is only for the original purchaser. The helpful Zip-Dee parts lady made no mention of any warranty. It would certainly be a useful warranty, as there is potential for problems with the main spring, for example.
Nick Crowhurst, Excella 25 1988, Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins Diesel. England in summer, USA in winter.
"The price of freedom is eternal maintenance."
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Old 12-15-2006, 09:51 AM   #11
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During the first trip out of the camping season, I could not deploy the ZipDee by pulling on the fabric loop. It took two of us to pull down on the arms - it seemed like it was locked. After unrolling, the tube fell out (same as above, size #10 screw fell out - glad to have the exploded view diagram with us to determine the needed replacement parts). Took both of us to roll the awning up by hand. called ZipDee when I got home and they surmized the spring was broken, but advised to investigate before ordering a replacement. I removed the spring, and it was essentially a rusted, frozen coil. I dowsed it with WD-40 many times and cleaned the spring inside and out. Reinstalled and works better than ever. Follow the instructions carefully for tensioning the spring.
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Old 12-15-2006, 10:37 AM   #12
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Additional info

We've recently discussed oil-free lubes in this thread; post 10 contains a link to ZipDee's maintenance pages.

5 meter Langford Nahanni

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Old 12-15-2006, 10:52 AM   #13
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I've been pretty happy with our Zip Dees. I've heard the company is just a good to customers as Fantastic Vent. I bought some ZipDee awning cleaner for when the time comes, but will keep an eye out for the lube points next season.
Computers manufactured by companies such as IBM, Compaq and millions of others are by far the most popular with about 70 million machines in use worldwide. Macintosh fans note that cockroaches are far more numerous than humans and that numbers alone do not denote a higher life form. -NY Times 11/91
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Old 12-15-2006, 11:10 AM   #14
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Thanks to all of you for the valuable information! I never even thought of servicing the awnings.

Ron and Debbie Lawrence
1985 345 Motorhome...... delightfully tacky......yet unrefined
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