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Old 08-21-2009, 09:30 AM   #1
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Can anyone figure out what happened here?

We can't figure out how the rear awning pole bracket along with the pole ended up like this--sheared in two. We thought both bracket and pole were intact when we left home, but when we got to the campground, this is what we found. We assume that the hook at the bottom of the pole was not secure and the pole whipped around in the wind. Surprisingly, there is no damage to the awning or to the skin of the Airstream.

Not that it matters now--the damage is done--but I would be interested if any of you have ideas about what could have happened.

Caryl
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Old 08-21-2009, 09:37 AM   #2
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My guess is that it may have been a poorly cast piece of aluminum and fatigue eventually found the weak spot. Just a guess.
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Old 08-21-2009, 09:40 AM   #3
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I have never seen that one before. You sure are lucky that the loose pole didn't beat the crap out of the back of the trailer.

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Old 08-21-2009, 09:50 AM   #4
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could a low hanging branch got caught in the hardware and yanked it?

one other thought would be a sign on a post came out and grabed it snapping the bracket.
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Old 08-21-2009, 11:39 AM   #5
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Did you loose the rafter arm as well?
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Old 08-21-2009, 12:29 PM   #6
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Contact ZipDee

Ours broke also and when we called ZipDee to order a replacement they indicated that the piece had broken on other Airstreams as well. Our awning was relatively new at the time, and the part was replaced free of charge. ZipDee is a great company to deal with, and their awning is also first rate.
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Old 08-21-2009, 01:28 PM   #7
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Yes, we did lose the awning pole. Since we live in the Chicago area, I did take the Airstream over to Zip Dee in Elk Grove Village. And, yes, they are super to deal with. Although they didn't mention any weakness in the metal or mention that they had seen this break before, they did not charge labor to replace the part. They are definitely into great service.
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Old 08-21-2009, 05:40 PM   #8
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Looks like due to the pressure of the support arm on the locking/travel catch caused the pot metal piece that broke--this ie due to Chicago area bad roads ----
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Old 08-21-2009, 06:30 PM   #9
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That's a weird one...glad there was not more damage.

Just for the heck of it, we lash the two arms of the Zip Dee together when we travel...using a velcro cord wrap... we put one at the upper end at the narrowest point and one at the lower end at the narrowest point...don't know if it would help if something actually broke, but it does stabilize the poles some so they don't vibrate as much.
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Old 08-31-2009, 02:16 PM   #10
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Hi Caryl -

Not sure if there's a cause and effect associated but...

During our current trip i was closing the awning during a wind and noticed that the nut holding the rear rafter arm was missing. The bolt had worked it's way about halfway out and was torqued (seemingly from stress during travel). I can imagine that at speed, and not properly secure, the our bracket could've sheared in similar fashion.

Upon further inspection - i found that the corresponding nut/bolt on the forward rafter arm was also very loose...

Would be very interested to see if others are finding the same issues at the connection points.

All the best -
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Old 10-20-2009, 08:13 PM   #11
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Yeah it looks like poor casting defect to me too, what else is there that it could be?
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Old 10-21-2009, 10:33 AM   #12
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Smile Broken rear awning pole - speculation

My totally speculative response is that the pole popped off its pin at the bottom, and moved away from your trailer, and hooked on some nearby (relatively stationary?) object. The leverage of the bottom section of the pole is about 4:1, given the relative lengths. so it might not take much to snap the bracket. I think you may have lucked out in that it was probably not a vehicle or person that was the stationary object, and of course, did no significant damage to your trailer.

My poles rattle a lot due to age, so I use a couple of velcro straps around each pair to prevent noise and movement while travelling. Hope that helps avoid any future problem.

Mark
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Old 10-21-2009, 10:37 AM   #13
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Count yourself lucky, we came south on 95 out of Las Vegas the other day in a windstorm;
saw three coaches on the side of the road with blown-out awnings.
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Old 10-21-2009, 02:09 PM   #14
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We, too, have been using velcro straps on both awning poles to reduce vibration as several suggested on this thread. When we have the repair work done at Zip Dee, the technicians also tightened and adjusted all three awnings. We have noticed that they are all tighter and snugger than before the accident. We are happy campers now and feel like we missed a bullet in this incident.
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Old 10-21-2009, 02:58 PM   #15
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In your picture it appears that there is a rivet head under the bracket, and it appears that your bracket broke where a screw goes through it. I would guess that when the screw was tightened down it may have cracked the bottom of the bracket as the rivet head was keeping the bracket from seating properly. It could also be that the screw hole makes the bracket more prone to cracking at that point.

Just my 2 cents

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Old 10-21-2009, 05:37 PM   #16
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When I install a new Zip-Dee, I take a wood chisel and lop off the heads of the bucked rivets that will be under that bracket. Those 3 rivets missing their heads are less of a concern than breaking the bracket.
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Old 10-22-2009, 07:28 AM   #17
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Awning Bracket

My awning got caught in a wind storm at a campground a couple of year ago and that same bracket was broken (as well as other parts bent up).
The replacment I noticed didn't sit flat on the skin of the trailer because of some rivet heads. Having an aviation background, I knew that because it was not flat the casting would have pressure points on it. Castings, even aluminum castings are brittle.
I then took a black marksalot (Sharpe) and made the contact side of the bracket blacket.
I put the screws in the bracket and started them in the skin of the trailer finger tight.
I pressed the bracket onto the side of the trailer and wiggled it. This scratched the black magic marker off the bracket where it was touching.
I removed the bracket from the trailer.
I took a Dremel tool with a ball shaped burr and removed metal from where the rivets had scratched the black magic marker off the bracket and re-blackened the bracket.
I inserted the screws into the bracket and started then in the trailer skin...
Be very careful not to remove any more metal than you absolutely have to.
Any good machinist knows what i did. The magic marker was handy, I had no Dykem or Prussian Blue handy.
I repeated this cycle until each rivet has it own little divet into the bracket and the bracket sat flush on the skin.
I applied the recommended gray sealer (I am having a senior moment and cannot remember the name of the recommended stuff) on the entire bottom, installed the screws and tightened the bracket down. I
I then reworked the other bracket.
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