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Old 02-07-2003, 01:09 PM   #1
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1955 30' Liner Commodore Vanderbilt
Wayne County , Michigan
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Zip Dee, Why?

I'm shopping for an awning for our unit. What makes a Zip Dee the preferred awning? What should I expect to pay for a 20 foot awning? Just curious as they seem to be double the $ of any other roll outs I've priced so far. I know some will say you get what you pay for, what AM I paying for?

Jason & Veronica J.
S.E. Michigan
1955 Commodore Vanderbilt 30'
TAC Member MI-6
2008 Chevy Silverado Ext. Z71 w3.73
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Old 02-07-2003, 02:04 PM   #2
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2001 30' Excella
Bedford , New Hampshire
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Zip Dee,

I'm sure others will jump into this forum with their own opinions. However, we used to have SOB Trailer with an A&E awning. At first, I thought the A&E was a very nice awning because it was completely waterproof with a coated material. Over time, this material held moisture and dirt. After eight years and repeated cleanings, the awning just wasn't able to be kept clean.

The fabric used by ZipDee seems to be able to dry more completely and dirt and debris just seems to clean off better.

I've seen the installation SOB awnings on Airstreams and they're just not up to the quality from Zip Dee. Zip Dee seem to wrap the awning around the airstream very well. The awning is very easy to set up and take down.

If it's worth twice SOB, I can't answer that, only your pocket will know for sure.

We do like ours

-Life is a journey, not a destination.
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Old 02-07-2003, 02:10 PM   #3
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I believe(I may be miss taking) only Zip Dee and one other manufacture make the awning arms to match the curvature of the A/S body.

Most SOB are square boxes and there's a number of manufactures(more competition) so the lower the resale.

And as Mark said, the fabric quality is much better with the Zip Dee and when you think of the surface area of an awning, there's alot of material.

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Old 02-07-2003, 02:26 PM   #4
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Also when rolling up a Zip Dee, the last 6" to 12" is aluminium, not rubber. In other words, when the awning is up, it's encased in a roll of aluminium.
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Old 02-07-2003, 03:21 PM   #5
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it is strong!

back in my first days with my trailer, before i learned to leave one end lower during rain my zip dee filled with water like a giant bathtub.

i think the hundreds of pounds of water would have collapsed a lesser awning.

maybe i was just lucky!

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Old 02-07-2003, 04:01 PM   #6
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Zip Dee, Why?

Greetings Jason!

When I replaced my A & E Travel Awn 5000 in 2001 after the roller tube failed for the third time in five years, I went with Zip Dee. One thing that helped to convince me was talking to two long-time Airstream owners, one with a '64 Sovereign that was purchased new by them, who related the tradition of exceptional customer support available from Zip Dee - - when I had contacted A & E regarding parts for my previous awning the response was basically that the only part still supported was the roller tube - - the arms and related parts were no longer available in part or whole. Another thing that influenced my decision was that Zip Dee was the only manufacturer who offered the side arms with proper curvature for my '64 Overlander at that time. The quality difference is absolutely amazing. The Zip Dee is far easier to setup - - it was a struggle for a Free Wheeler to setup the Travel Awn if the ground was the least bit uneven - - the Zip Dee, however, it a joy to setup. One last thing that greatly impressed me was how Zip Dee's factory walked my dealer's representative through the precise method for measuring my coach for its new awnings (I splurged for curbside and two window awnings) - - my dealer wanted to be sure that the fit was correct and since they didn't sell Airstreams in '64 they contacted the factory for precise instructions.

The Zip Dee has far sleeker hardware than A & E and some of the other manufacturers who once made awnings for Airstreams - - the tubes on the Zip Dee arms are more nearly square in comparison to the rectangular arms on the A & E that I had previously (Carefree of Colorado arms were also similar to the A & E arms). In addition, at least in comparison to my A & E, the Zip Dee stores much more securely against the side of the coach for traveling - - there are two latches in addtion to the arm latches that securely attach the awning to the side of the trailer for travel - - on three seperate ocassions, my A & E awning broke loose while underway and began flapping in the breeze (very unpleasant situations when traveling on the interstate {on the way to Boise, ID in 1998; on the way to Bismarck, ND in 2000; and on the way to Sioux Falls, SD in 2001}). Last year while traveling on the same strech of Interstate Highway in similar wind consitions, the Zip Dee wasn't in any way disturbed.

I have also found the Zip Dee awning fabric far easier to keep clean. I believe that this stems in part from the aluminum protector cover that automatically covers the awning as it rolls up. I was a bit skeptical of fabric rather than vinyl at first, but I am now a firm believer in the quality and durability of the fabric that Zip Dee uses in their awnings. There is also remarkably little drumming and flapping from a properly setup Zip Dee Awning - - my old A & E tended to make a terrible drumming noise whenever even a modest breeze was present - - it takes an aggressive wind before the Zip Dee drumms or flaps and that is a pretty good indicator that it is time to retract the awning.

Good luck with your decision!

Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 02-07-2003, 04:12 PM   #7
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My 74 Overlander has the original awning and material. That should tell you how well they hold up. When shopping for this one and my last A/S I made sure they had the Zip Dees on them because if I had to buy one outright, I would probably have been asking the same questions as you. There are definitely higher repair and replacement costs associated with owning an A/S if you want to keep it genuine but I feel it is worth it, especially with the relative low costs of getting into a classy vintage unit as compared to buying a new one. I don't mind having an oldie but goodie, just like most all of the vehicles I have had, a 450SL Mercedes, 420SEL Mercedes, Lexus LS400 and a BMW 850. Try buying parts for an 850 coupe, it would probably make most people run out and buy a Kia !!

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Old 02-07-2003, 05:35 PM   #8
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I purchased 15' Zip Dee for my 1972 25' two months ago..cost $1204.00 plus shipping..$100.00 Chicago to Alabama. About half the cost of my unit is in the awning.

Me and a friend (six favorite beverages) installed in three hours. My unit had awning rail in place. Everything fit out of the box.

ZipDee was a pleasure to deal with and installation looks great. I went with the maroon color. With that said, it is a large decision.

George Jr.
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