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Old 07-11-2019, 08:08 AM   #1
4 Rivet Member
2015 Interstate Grand Tour
Lake Oswego , Oregon
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 407
Switching To Carefree Awning - Any Issues ??

Interstate Owners: My second Fiamma motorized F65 Eagle is failing just like jgeurin has experienced... a skipping gear and it won't stop trying to seat the awning so I pulled the fuse and I will next cut some wires so I can get back use of my sliding step.

I'm done. Switching to Carefree. Questions for you Interstate owners with Carefree motorized awnings:
1) Any issues or mishaps with the Carefree motorized version?
2) Do you strap yours closed for travel? If so, is it because you know it's a danger not to, or are you paranoid after hearing of my horror story and others who have written here?
3) Anybody with an Interstate have a Manual model? If so, any issues with wind gusts, tying it down, etc. ?
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Old 07-11-2019, 08:26 AM   #2
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2007 Interstate
League City , Texas
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 5,610
We have an older Carefree manual awning (Freedom III) and I have been totally pleased with it. It is now 13 years old, and still operates perfectly (knock wood). I do not strap it for travel - its aluminum clamshell has always done the job of containing it well.

Note however that it's a side-mounted awning, not a roof mount. I don't know if this kind of model could be used on an NCV3.

Gear failures in older Carefree awnings are reported, but we have a DIY parts replacement guide from an Interstate owner who took the trouble to photograph and PDF the whole procedure, which is fairly easy. This pushes it closer toward the "bulletproof" category, as van gear goes.

Here are the features of the Freedom III that I like best:

(1) Those support legs that anchor it to the van. Extra security. No way for the thing to flip up over the roof in a sudden gust.

(2) I can manually extend it out a short distance, so that if there is light wind, I can still use it, just partially extended. In fact, I almost never extend it fully, and on those rare occasions when I do, I never leave it unattended.

(3) I can manually jack up one support leg higher than the other, tilt the awning and allow rain water to drain off it quickly. The manufacturer does not warranty it for use in the rain, but with LIGHT rain and PARTIAL extension and ONE leg jacked up for drainage, I have used it this way without damage or other issue.

(4) The manual awning general arrangement allows for the use of a bug screen the way that a legless retracting awning cannot.

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Old 07-11-2019, 09:23 AM   #3
4 Rivet Member
2015 Interstate Grand Tour
Lake Oswego , Oregon
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 407
Thanks, IB.
Oh, and one other thing... are the LED lights in the lead rail on a CF awning worth the $200ish to add?

The ones on my Fiamma are a complete joke... they mount them inside the lead rail and they illuminate straight back to the van and spill no light onto the camping area below. At night, you don't know if you are eating food with bugs on it or not. Worthless. Honey, is that you?
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Old 07-11-2019, 03:29 PM   #4
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2018 Interstate Lounge Ext
High Desert , Las Vegas , Nevada
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 2,460
MARK - Very sorry to hear this. Does not sound right for their new replacement to fail prematurely. I have the motorized Carefree. I have personally not put many "awning miles" on it (extend/retract). Because of our usage of AI (we leave campground during the day to explore local area), we keep it retracted for fast departures. To your questions:

1. I have personally seen mine extend on it's own when water gets in the poorly protected wiring connections. Luckily found it out while washing AI. Easily fixed by re-doing the electrical tape waterproofing method and using heat shrinking, but annoying shoddy work from AS.
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2. Yes, I strap mine. Just using velcro temporarily for now. Have a permanent idea to implement when I get time, using bike rack parts, but it's not any more effective than plain velcro. Yes, your first Fiamma self deployment thread convinced me that regardless of make & age, it is a good idea to aleays strap.

3. Our led's are also mounted inside of lead rail. I feel it is bright enough, in fact at times way too bright, even when barely extended 3" (combined with underchassis led's). Not sure it is worth $200 i.e. if I am installing the awning myself, I can easily put my own led lights. However, if someone else is installing the awning, another $200 for me to not have to lift a finger is worth it.
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Old 07-11-2019, 04:46 PM   #5
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2012 Avenue Coach
Corpus Christi , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 1,598
Originally Posted by InterBlog View Post

Thanks for posting the partial retraction suggestion. My motorized carefree also attaches to the side of the van but doesn't feel secure (especially with side-to-side winds). So much so that I even considered fabricating some angle braces for support. We never use it (like Alex) but it always surprised me since a similar awing on my parents 1980's Xplorer was very stable.

I will test it with the 18" retraction so see if it solves the problem. Might want to use it some day.
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