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Old 07-24-2006, 12:06 PM   #1
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Zip Dee modification

I'm finally getting around to the awning on my new to me Sovereign. I unlocked the upper hold-downs on both ends, but I can't budge it. There is no tab visible at the center of the awning, so I was tugging on the arms up near the roll.

Except for the missing "pull tab" and a modification that I'll discuss below, the installation looks totally normal.

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However, if you look at the aluminum cover (the tube), it has an awning rail rivetted along its entire length 180 degrees away from the shell. At first I thought the rail had been pulled out of the shell, but as far as I can tell, the Sovereign still has the rail firmly attached and the awning edge is inserted into the rail on the shell.

All I can guess is that the PO installed a new piece of fabric and used this awning rail as a strongback to allow him to rivet the fabric to the tube housing in a non-standard place. I won't be able to tell until I can get it partially unrolled. Any suggestions?

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I surveyed a couple other Airstreams in the same lot (to see if there was any apparent difference in installation--I couldn't see any) and was surprised to find a past president of WBCCI is parked there--David Dunn! (the photo is crunched--no need to upload the blank part of the window!)

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Old 07-24-2006, 12:18 PM   #2
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I'm sure you've pulled the little lever on the right side of the awning up that unlocks it?
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Old 07-24-2006, 12:34 PM   #3
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He's talking about the Z-lock on the front of the roller. Open is AWAY from the roller. When the fabric tab is not exposed, the best thing to do is to get two ladders and two souls willing to stand on them and grasp the upper arms. Then it may need a slight lift over the stove vent (and that's when a "What's this tool?" step doohickie comes in handy), but a gentle, simultaneous tug will get the awning unfurling. After a short time, the tab should be exposed and you can grab it.

Something does look a bit odd on top of it, but it appears that Craftsman's right - you need to pull the Z-lock.

Lamar
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Old 07-24-2006, 12:47 PM   #4
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Zep,
Here is another senerio of what may have happened. The awning had a major malfuntion and the roller is frozen. The PO at that point had options.
1. Replace the roller (expensive)
2. Remove the awning (fill holes and reduce the resale value)
3. Jury-rig an awning to the existing one. The piece that the extra rail is mounted to could be removed with the awning rolled up. The fabric could then be unrolled from the roller (can you see the fabric on the roller?). Slide the fabric onto the new rail, add a few poles and some rope, waja new awning.

This is just a theory. If you can not unroll the awning by hand you may want to try and remove the section that the new rail is mounted on. Remove the screws at the ends and slide that piece out. You should be able to rotate the arms and roller to the ground at that point. Be careful, it is not a job for one person!
It will then look like this:
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Old 07-24-2006, 01:08 PM   #5
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The pull tab on our awning rotted out. The rest of the fabric is fine just where it was exposed to the weather is gone. What I'm able to do fairly easily is unfurl the aluminum cover fairly easily by hand a few inches at which point I can grab the remaining strap. On the "to do" list is stich on a piece of a heavy nylon belt so that it can be reached with the pull hook instead of standing on thetool box. Have to drag out the tool box anyway though to unlock the ends so no big deal. Also invariably have to slide the whole thing forward or back a little to get it to align right before locking it back down.

-Bernie
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Old 07-24-2006, 02:06 PM   #6
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Bernie,
I am not familar with the zip dee...yet However on the other brands the strap slips into the awning track and a replacement strap is about $12. I don't think you are going to want a big chunk of nylon strap hanging down and beating the trailer to death while you are running down the road. They make a heavy wire extension handle that you can use to pull the strap with.

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Old 07-24-2006, 02:21 PM   #7
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Mmm, hadn't thought about contacting ZipDee and just replacing the whole strap. My thought with the nylon was to leave just the nib with the loop sticking out. It's stiff enough that it wouldn't flail around in the wind like the Sunbrella. I figure it would be stronger and hold up to the elements and the pull hook better.

I guess what it comes down to is what's going to be easier; attach the nylon web to the existing strap or R&R the whole thing. I haven't looked at where the strap attaches by the roller. I guess one could also just cut and do a double hem type splice. If I spliced far enough out enough would be hanging down to use a machine for the stiching. The nylon is thick enough I'd have to use a carpet needle and do it by hand.

Thanks for the info, looks like I can procrasticate a little longer while doing some research

-Bernie
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Old 07-24-2006, 08:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craftsman
I'm sure you've pulled the little lever on the right side of the awning up that unlocks it?
Well, no. When I read your post I gave myself a dope slap, then today went back to the storage yard to take another look. No lever. Here's a photo of a nearby AS with the lever on the forward end of the cyclinder.

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I even climbed up on mine to make sure I wasn't overlooking something. There isn't any evidence of the gray locking cylinder, either. So it's not like the handle is missing--the whole thing is missing. I checked both ends.
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Old 07-24-2006, 08:56 PM   #9
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I would say if the PO went through that much trouble to rivet on the rail to secure the fabric....maybe the gears were stripped in the Z-lock so he/she eliminated it in some way. I wish you had a close up of the right side. The left side looks right. The spring attaches from the left side so it does not hook up to the Z-lock. Are you sure the little arm for the Z-lock isn't snapped off?? It's made out of aluminum also and could have easily broken off. This would be preventing it from opening if it were still in the closed position. It's real easy to put on and can be easily replaced if need be by Zip-Dee. It's held on by one bolt and locking nut into the end cap and on the end about 5 rivets in the tube. If the dark grey piece that makes up the Z-lock isn't there I am puzzled as to what and how it is being held in place. Need pics..and your good at that!!!
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Old 07-24-2006, 10:55 PM   #10
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I installed a new ZipDee patio awning on my trailer this year and it did not have a Z-Lock. It has a travel latch which locks the roll to the frame. The documentation at the ZipDee web site is mixed with z-lock and travel lock information. I am not sure when ZipDee made the switch.
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Old 07-24-2006, 11:12 PM   #11
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This is very interesting. I am still leaning away from the new rail securing the fabric for several reasons.
1. If you needed to add support to the outside of the curved piece, why use an awning rail? A flat piece of aluminum would be much less noticeable.
2. If you did use a rail, wouldn't you cut it down to the same size as the roller?
3. If you reattached the fabric at the point in question, it would be several inches too short. The rafter arms would never fit when the awning was extended.
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Old 07-25-2006, 07:58 AM   #12
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hmmmm....After AZ's post I'm starting to think if you have his style maybe you just need another person on the other side to apply a little brute force with you to get that rolling and extended. Who knows how long it's been sitting there in that closed positition. Those springs can be wound pretty tight (also may be rusted?) resulting in a lot of muscle needed to get it going.
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Old 07-25-2006, 08:38 AM   #13
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Enduroryda,

Turns out brute force did the trick. How the heck does one person unroll one of these if you can't get at the center strap? I unlocked the arm holddowns, used the vista view for leverage with one hand, and applied lots of torque to the cover, which finally moved. I could not get it to move by pulling mightily on the arm (up close to the roll, of course). I did get both ends to move a little.

Here's the photos of the fwd end--you can see there isn't room for the locking collar.

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I'm going to have to get a bud to come down with another step ladder and see if we can unroll it and inspect the fabric. I still can't imagine what that extra awning rail is for, unless the PO had a smaller vintage-type awning that he used instead of the Zip Dee. But then, why is the Zip Dee still installed? He could have used the awning rail on the shell. PO was deceased, so I've not been able to get an answer.
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Old 07-25-2006, 09:09 AM   #14
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J.C. Whit-Dee?

Hey Zep:

Are you sure you don't have the J.C. Whit-Dee fake aluminum awning on your Sovereign? You know, the look-alike dummy that just sits there to make other less observant individuals envious? It goes with the mag wheel covers, non-op teardrop spotlights and similar accessories that dress up your vehicle while providing no actual function -- and requiring no maintenance except an occasional spit and shine. So just polish 'er up and tell people the helitrope in you prefers sunshine to shade.

The Ever Helpful ....
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