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Old 08-08-2015, 06:47 PM   #1
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2012 25' FB Eddie Bauer
2009 19' International
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Eddie Bauer 24' rear hatch screen won't retract

I've got a 2012 Eddie Bauer with a rear hatch door that has a screen that pulls down from the top and normally retracts into it's roll-up housing. It has ceased to roll up into the housing when I try to do so. Has anybody had this problem? If so, what is the remedy?


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Old 08-09-2015, 03:41 PM   #2
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2012 25' FB Eddie Bauer
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Trouble shooting the Eddie Bauer rear hatch screen

Since nobody jumped in to tell me how to fix this, I took the dangerous step of trying to fix the thing myself.

The screenworks consist of a housing that the screen rolls into, the screen itself, and a bar at the bottom of the screen that has magnets to hold the bar to the bottom of the door frame when the screen is extended. The bar fits into channels on either side of the rear hatch and slides up and down in those channels along with the screen.

First, I removed the screen housing. There are two screws that hold the housing to the frame of the rear door. These two long Phillips head screws are cunningly concealed behind plastic plugs in the plastic end-caps oon the edges facing into the room. One plug came out easily, the other I had to poke with an awl. I removed both those screws and two others, one on each side, that hold the lower edge of the end caps to the screen tracks on either side of the door. The housing pulled away easily. I then had to carefully move the screen bottom bar up through the channels (if you get them out-of-line the bar sticks), and out over the top of the channels in the space formerly occupied by the housing.

Once I had the housing on a work table I removed the right side plastic end cap by removing two short Phillips screws. Naturally, this isn't the business end of the housing, so I put the end cap back on.

The left side of the housing contains the end of the roller bar/spring mechanism. There is a small plastic fitting into which the flat metal end of the spring/tensioner fits. That fitting fits into a fitting in the end cap. When the spring is under tension, those two fittings keep the metal end of the tensioner from running free.

All I know about the spring tensioner mechanism I learned in a YouTube video that assumes much and explains little. Apparently one must wind the spring up to a certain tension, then insert the flat metal end of the spring/tensioner without the whole thing unwinding Three Stooges style. This is the stage of a project where I usually go free-form and--because I'm not a mechanical guy--fatally wreck something.

My next step is to try to get a local blind company to look at it. I'm guessing there is a trick to both winding the spring adequately, and putting the mechanism back together so that it doesn't unroll in the process. I'll happily pay for someone to work that trick. I find that tricks like these resemble magic, and I love magic and magicians, though clowns scare me.

I'd love to have the thing repaired because while I haven't had a chance to find out what a replacement mechanism would cost, the number that pops into my head is $900. But since this is an Airstream, the real number could easily be twice or half that. As you all know, it's never half.

Stay tuned for more exciting developments.
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Old 08-10-2015, 01:15 AM   #3
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I have a 2015 EB. But I have no issues with the rear screen.

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Old 08-11-2015, 10:47 PM   #4
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2012 25' FB Eddie Bauer
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A form member who had the same problem and solved it himself sent me a private message and gave me the courage to go on. A guy at a local window covering and blind shop wouldn't try to repair it himself ("Ive seen these RV screens before," he said. "The end caps are made of such cheap plastic that I'm afraid it'll break on me and then you'll think it's my fault".), but he gave me a golden tip on how to manage the fix.

The roller mechanism (they're called "continuous tension rollers" I've discovered) consists of a housing and a bar around which the screen is wound. Inside the bar is a spring and insde the spring is an axel with a round, free running end, and a flat end on the other side that fits into a flimsy plastic catchment inside the end cap. I removed the entire roller assembly from the housing, then carefully rewrapped the screen around it. I then reinserted it into the housing, and fit the round end into it's fitting on it's end cap and screwed that end cap back onto the housing.

Now here is the genius tip the window blind tech gave me: I got a cheap, thin, metal fork and hammered it flat. Then I stuck the flat end of the spring axel in between two tines and wound up the spring about 10 times. I had a passing stranger hold the fork in place while I positioned the end cap so the flimsy plastic fitting fit onto the flat spring axel, then loosely screwed the end cap on. At that point I had the stranger pull the fork away and screwed the end cap on tightly. But not too tightly because the screws are self tapping and the plastic of the end cap is indeed cheap and tightening it too much would result in stripping, which would result in the hole project going to hell.

Success! The roller mechanism is reloaded and the screen now retracts under spring power.

Now I carefully rethreaded the screen bottom bar into it's channel on the hatch-surround and screwed in one and then the other of the two screws that hold the mechanism to the hatch door frame. Which is when I discovered the probable cause for the failure of the mechanism in the first place. The two long screws that hold the mechanism onto the aluminum hatch frame are self tapping. One of them had stripped, leaving the mechanism just loose enough that under vibration it would torque the end cap and make it possible for that flat axel end to lose it:s grip on the end cap and unwind.

My solution, as almost all good solutions do, required a trip to the hardware store. There I purchased some stainless steel 8/32 3" machine nuts and bolts (and a cool LED flashlight that almost blinded me, some 16' pressure treated 2x4s with random twists that only cost $1,00 each, and an on sale 48 gallon plastic tub that I might need some time) used those nuts and bolts to affix the mechanism to the frame. I purchased more than I needed because this is sure to happen again. I am also putting the hammered fork into my traveling tool kit for the same reason. Plus, you never know when an extra fork will come in handy.
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Old 08-11-2015, 11:32 PM   #5
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We have not had any problems yet, but subscribing to this thread. You never know when you may need the info.
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Old 02-23-2016, 07:41 PM   #6
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2012 25' FB Eddie Bauer
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My fix failed, so I fixed harder

If you read my previous description about fixing the retractable bug screen at the rear hatch of my Eddie Bauer, you will find a good example of hubris. My fix failed. But I think I've got it licked now.

Airstream put me in touch with the manufacturer of the retractable screen, Stoett Industries of Hicksville, Ohio. I talked to a customer service rep there, then sent a picture of the part that had failed--a little white plastic piece that is supposed to prevent the retractable screen assembly's center axle from turning. I don't think they needed the picture, because they knew exactly what I was talking about and immediately sent me an entire end cap assembly that contains a beefed up version of that little part. They also suggested that I call when the part arrived to get a pep talk from a tech about how to install the new piece and fire the thing up.

If you've never encountered a retractable screen or blind, know that the screen is wrapped around a tube that contains a spring which is attached to a center axle running the entire width of the retractor assembly. One end of the axle is round, the other is formed into a rectangle that fits into the little white part.

The tech told me to snugly wind the screen onto the tube so that there were no bags or slack. I did. Then he told me to fit the rectangular axle end into the little white part, and to turn the entire end cap assembly 18 to 20 times, to power up the spring tensioner. I klutzed out a couple of times and the end cap assembly came off the axle so that the whole thing spun backward like in a cartoon. Then I remembered the suggestion someone from this forum had made in a private message. I got out a fork, slipped the axle end between two tines, then cranked it around 18 times. At that point I slipped the end cap onto the axle end, pulled out the fork and screwed down the end cap assembly to the retractor assembly. Success!

So there you go. Should you ever have this problem, call the nice folks at Stoett industries. You probably won't, though, because they use the same end cap on a wide variety of RV screens--especially the big ones at the end of toy-hauler rv's. As I've said, they've redesigned the end cap to prevent the problem I had and the EB you've got probably has that better end cap installed already.
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Old 06-14-2017, 01:48 PM   #7
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I have the EB and having issues with the screen. I sent email and left voicemail to get info from Airstream of user/ install manual late last week. Not heard back yer thanks for providing supplier details.
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Old 06-14-2017, 02:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brad1 View Post
If you read my previous description about fixing the retractable bug screen at the rear hatch of my Eddie Bauer, you will find a good example of hubris. My fix failed. But I think I've got it licked now.

Airstream put me in touch with the manufacturer of the retractable screen, Stoett Industries of Hicksville, Ohio. I talked to a customer service rep there, then sent a picture of the part that had failed--a little white plastic piece that is supposed to prevent the retractable screen assembly's center axle from turning. I don't think they needed the picture, because they knew exactly what I was talking about and immediately sent me an entire end cap assembly that contains a beefed up version of that little part. They also suggested that I call when the part arrived to get a pep talk from a tech about how to install the new piece and fire the thing up.

If you've never encountered a retractable screen or blind, know that the screen is wrapped around a tube that contains a spring which is attached to a center axle running the entire width of the retractor assembly. One end of the axle is round, the other is formed into a rectangle that fits into the little white part.

The tech told me to snugly wind the screen onto the tube so that there were no bags or slack. I did. Then he told me to fit the rectangular axle end into the little white part, and to turn the entire end cap assembly 18 to 20 times, to power up the spring tensioner. I klutzed out a couple of times and the end cap assembly came off the axle so that the whole thing spun backward like in a cartoon. Then I remembered the suggestion someone from this forum had made in a private message. I got out a fork, slipped the axle end between two tines, then cranked it around 18 times. At that point I slipped the end cap onto the axle end, pulled out the fork and screwed down the end cap assembly to the retractor assembly. Success!

So there you go. Should you ever have this problem, call the nice folks at Stoett industries. You probably won't, though, because they use the same end cap on a wide variety of RV screens--especially the big ones at the end of toy-hauler rv's. As I've said, they've redesigned the end cap to prevent the problem I had and the EB you've got probably has that better end cap installed already.


Thanks for the thread...we have a 2014., no issues yet but will seek this thread out when the do arise.
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