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Old 06-10-2020, 08:44 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
1977 31' Sovereign
Dorr , Michigan
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 94
Images: 5
Blog Entries: 6
Carefree awning removal and possibly replacing

Currently I am working on rebuilding the windows of my 1977 31' Sovereign before the shell removal planned for mid summer. The first windows I am tackling are the stack windows. In order to get a good angle to drill out the buck rivets for the curb side stack window i partially lowered the carefree awning. Upon doing so I noticed several broken, missing, or otherwise damaged parts and after some research I would have to find these parts salvaged from another carefree awning which may be more trouble than i want just to salvage this awning. there are also some very crude fixes attempted (sheet metal screw for the locking mechanism)

After discussing options with my wife we agree that it might be better to just get a new Zipdee awning system and install it or have the local airstream dealer install it.

So my questions are

1.What all needs to be done to remove the Carefree awning? I know i need to take the spring tension off both ends, but what is the safe process to do so?

2. Should I remove all the brackets and even the channel that holds the awning fabric to the trailer and then cover any hole / fill the fastener holes with rivets?

3. Would it be better to remove the awning before lifting the shell off to remove that uneven weight which should decrease the rolling the shell exhibits in some videos i have seen?
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Old 06-15-2020, 01:44 PM   #2
1 Rivet Member
1969 31' Sovereign
Sammamish , WA
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 7
Blog Entries: 2
Same here... following

I have the exact same questions about mine. Some parts of mine are slightly bent, and what remains of the awning material is actually growing moss. I'm not sure what order to approach the removal, whether to patch the holes or just get a new awning installed, etc.

I'm curious about the possibility of taking it to an airstream dealer to handle the removal and replacement.

I'm eager to hear what the community says on this.
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Old 06-15-2020, 01:49 PM   #3
2 Rivet Member
1973 31' Sovereign
Mantua , Ohio
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 59
My 2 Cents

I've got a '73 that we asked similar questions about regarding our awning. We have some shell damage from where the awning was mounted and we've patched most of it already. I contacted ZipDee and talked with them about what can be done. They said that nothing from the carefree system is compatible and they took the time to explain why. They do offer a complete system that will fit our trailers and they made me measure from rivet line to rivet line and give them that number before I could order the driver side unit. The ZipDee stuff is far far better than the care free. Even though the mounting style of the ZipDee is much better than the carefree one, I decided to beef ours up with a small plate inside and outside. I hope this helps.

Whoops, I missed your other questions. Yes, remove the awning before you take the shell off the frame for sure. I left the drip rail on there but mine needed serviced slightly. From what I remember (My order hasn't gone through yet) the existing awning channel works fine. I do not recommend my method for releasing spring tension... I took the awning off, and bad things happened... but the spring tension was off!
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Old 06-16-2020, 09:35 PM   #4
2 Rivet Member
1977 31' Sovereign
Dorr , Michigan
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 94
Images: 5
Blog Entries: 6
with help from one of my brothers we got the awning roller tube off the trailer this weekend. there was a bolt holding the end of the spring tube assembly in the awning arms which we removed. at that point we pushed the end out of the arm taking care to hold it tightly since it is wound up tightly with tension. we move to the other side and repeated the process there as well. With the tube free we lowered it down the side of the trailer and used a knife to cut the awning fabric about 8" from the channel it is attached to on the top of the trailer. if you are trying to keep the fabric to reuse (mine was in rough shape) you will want to slide it out of the channel.
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