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Old 04-23-2021, 09:35 PM   #1
3 Rivet Member

2017 25' International
West Lake Hills , Texas
Join Date: Dec 2020
Posts: 142
Broken rear head casting

My Zip Dee Relax awning was damaged before I acquired the AS. The plastic at the rear head casting that holds the screw to the casting has broken away, leaving barely anything for the screw to grip. Iíve extended and retracted the awning a few times without incident, but this cannot continue without disaster striking at a most unfortunate time.

I own the kit that includes the winding bolt; however, the bolt cannot be screwed through the casting to hold tension on the [dangerous] spring because the casting is at an angle. I bought a replacement casting.

1. Is the tension in the spring greatest when retracted or extended?
2. Is the tension inside the rod or does the rod turn with the tension?
3. What would happen if I released the slight grip of the existing screw and allowed the spring to violently unwind then rewind it later? Should I wear chainmail and full face armor for personal protection?

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Old 04-24-2021, 12:49 AM   #2
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2014 20' Flying Cloud
Long Island , New York
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 16,438
Sorry no experience with this . . . have you looked on YouTube?

Here is an Airstream:

The awning removal action starts around 16:30 . . . other videos are on the right edge of the page.

Also it might be worth checking the other recent threads in this Awning forum:

Good luck.

Let the music lift you up . . .
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Old 04-26-2021, 09:06 AM   #3
1 Rivet Member
Elk Grove Village , Illinois
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 9
Hey Donald, Zip Dee Here!
I have some information for you that I hope I can convey over the forum here.
To start, if I'm being honest, I'm not sure which piece you are referring to that is plastic. We only use plastic for plugs and covers on our awnings. The entire head casting and everything that it comes into contact with will be made of aluminum or steel.

To answer your questions:
1) The spring tension is the greatest when the awning is open.
2) I believe the answer to this is that it turns with tension. When the head casting is attached, the shaft coming out the end of the tube stays stationary and the twisting force is held by the bolt that you have partially in place.
3)In order to remove the tension you must first remove the gas rafter with a 1/2" wrench. This is what is forcing the arm out on the angle that won't allow your tool to thread into place. After you remove the rafter arm, you want to take the turns off the spring in a controlled manner with a 1/2" socket wrench with the longest handle you can find. If all else fails and you need to break it loose, be as careful as possible as it WILL break loose violently.

Please understand that all of this is fairly hard to convey through an internet chat. It would make me feel a lot better if you called our customer service and have them walk you through the process. I know for certain that Randy is already bored on this Monday morning and could use someone to talk to! Please call 847-437-0980 and ask for him.

I hope your repair goes well and please do not hesitate to reach out to us!
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Old 04-26-2021, 11:41 AM   #4
3 Rivet Member

2017 25' International
West Lake Hills , Texas
Join Date: Dec 2020
Posts: 142
Thanks for the reply.

Oops. It is not plastic. The area I referred to is at the bolt that holds the casting to the rod. I attached a photo.

I'll call Randy at customer service.
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Old Yesterday, 06:01 PM   #5
3 Rivet Member

2017 25' International
West Lake Hills , Texas
Join Date: Dec 2020
Posts: 142

Randy from Zip Dee was a big help.

We discussed the usual scenarios. I had already tried them so we quickly moved on based on photographic evidence he asked for. My situation was odd enough that he sought advice from the installers. Basic problem was that the winding tool couldn't get a grip on the threads of the spring rod. The angle was bad, and I think the threads had been damaged by the previous owner in a failed attempt at repair. Randy came back on the phone and offered two possible solutions:

First option...Disconnect the forward head casting from the arm to try to get a better angle for the winding tool. Turns out there is so much tension in the roller that you can't control it.

On to the second option...

Loosen the through-bolt of the rear head casting, Disconnect the rafter. Place a ladder under the roller to catch it, and get ready to catch the roller, too, as it bounces off the ladder. Find a big stick to leverage the head casting off...dramatically. This is not recommended by Zip Dee except as a last resort. I don't recommend it unless you have no other options. We took precautions to stay out of the way and under the awning. Three or four hard pulls on a three-foot lever, then a lot of noise as the spring unwinds in less than one second, and the roller bounces off the ladder. I catch it. Randy says, "I heard that. Sounds like something happened."

Then it's just a matter of putting it all back together according to the installation instructions...with a helper.

Turns out that the rear rafter had been bent in whatever event caused the damage to the head casting. I'll order that after our upcoming trip.

Randy stayed on the phone with me as I gathered extra tools when needed and two more step ladders. I really appreciated his expertise, his concern for safety, and his patience. After the head casting came off, Randy went through the procedure for putting it on. The call lasted 52 minutes.
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Old Yesterday, 06:11 PM   #6
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Warren , Manitoba
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Zip Dee is a FiRST CLASS company. Hav talked to Randy and he is always a great help.
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