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Old 04-25-2017, 08:11 AM   #1
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Center rafter for Zip Dee

Just bit the bullet and purchased a Zip Dee patio awning for my 67 Overlander. Best price was through Inland and they had it drop shipped here for a reasonable price. Awning rail is 16 feet long. Zip Dee included a "center rafter" in the package. Most folks I talked to said these are not necessary for awnings shorter than 20 feet. I did not install it, in part because I did not want more holes in my trailer. Anyone have a similar awning with or without center rafter? Assuming I do not use it, what is it worth to someone else?
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Old 04-25-2017, 09:45 AM   #2
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I've never seen the center rail used on an Airstream trailer that was under 30 feet in length. Our 27 FB has what I believe to be a 18 or 20 foot awning and no center rail and never felt the need for it. I'd skip it on a 16 foot awning for sure.
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Old 04-25-2017, 09:49 AM   #3
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Thanks

Your advice is line with others. Wish they would have deleted the part and reduced the exorbitant price accordingly:-).
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Old 04-25-2017, 10:44 AM   #4
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I'm drowning in renovation invoices over here, but I'm interested. Our door drags the awning on the our 30' Safari. I'll look closer and PM you.

Dave
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Old 04-25-2017, 10:46 AM   #5
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Ok

Are you attending the Texas Vintage Rally this weekend?
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Old 04-25-2017, 10:56 AM   #6
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My 25 ft trailer with an 18 ft awning has a center rafter. It works great to push the awning taut.... I honesty didn't realize most other trailers don't have one until I read this thread and looked at some pics.
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Old 04-25-2017, 11:17 AM   #7
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I had the center arm installed on my 25' FC for added strength and support.

When it rains for any length of time, the awning will tend to retain water and bow to a certain degree, especially when the fabric gets damp. When the center rafter is employed, the awning's center is supported and the rain water drains quickly.

FWIW
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Old 04-25-2017, 11:25 AM   #8
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I was told by Zip Dee it is only used for to keep the door from rubbing on the awning . Not for support when it is raining take the awning down . I have one on ours and never use it .
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Old 04-25-2017, 11:29 AM   #9
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Ughhh.. I'm not attending the Texas Vintage Rally. Our bunkhouse is still at Bob Jones RV...you know, dropped it off on January 11th--the day we all met up for lunch downtown. That's a story for another time, though. Awesome bunch of people who do great work, but I was totally unprepared for a 5-month stint in the shop.

I should've asked-- is yours the curved awning rail style or angular? Not sure if the center bracket is different.

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Old 04-25-2017, 11:49 AM   #10
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Bummer

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveMc View Post
Ughhh.. I'm not attending the Texas Vintage Rally. Our bunkhouse is still at Bob Jones RV...you know, dropped it off on January 11th--the day we all met up for lunch downtown. That's a story for another time, though. Awesome bunch of people who do great work, but I was totally unprepared for a 5-month stint in the shop.

I should've asked-- is yours the curved awning rail style or angular? Not sure if the center bracket is different.

Dave
Wow. I thought having mine at PPL for three weeks was irritating. My awning has curved rails. Not sure it affects center rafter though...
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Old 04-25-2017, 05:45 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveMc View Post
I'm drowning in renovation invoices over here, but I'm interested. Our door drags the awning on the our 30' Safari. I'll look closer and PM you.

Dave
If your door drags the awning, ZIP-DEE has a little wheel arrangement that screws onto the door to let the awning ride over it. It works pretty well.
Just make sure that the wheel does turn, by spreading the mounting arms out a little.
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Old 04-25-2017, 05:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daboose View Post
I had the center arm installed on my 25' FC for added strength and support.

When it rains for any length of time, the awning will tend to retain water and bow to a certain degree, especially when the fabric gets damp. When the center rafter is employed, the awning's center is supported and the rain water drains quickly.

FWIW
Your Awning".....retains water and bows...."?
It's ancient practice to have one end of the awning, (usually the aft end) lower than the other side to allow water to drain away, and prevent bowing and stretching of the fabric. (For boon dockers, this is a good way to collect rain water.)
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Old 04-26-2017, 02:09 AM   #13
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"Your Awning".....retains water and bows...."?"



Yes it does and it's like I said, "to a certain degree."

Yep, I use the "ancient practice" with & without the center rafter and still find the rafter to be supportive. Glad you brought that up.

Thanks.
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Old 04-26-2017, 05:39 AM   #14
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I have the center rafter and don't find it useful on my Classic 25fb. When deployed it has a nasty habit of coming out if I extend either end one more hole and slams back on the side of the trailer. There are a couple of dings there. If you install it put a section of pool noodle on the rafter where it can hit the side of the trailer.

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Old 04-26-2017, 07:12 AM   #15
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My '89 25ft Excella had a center rafter...My '96 25 Excella does not. As KJRitchie says it had a nasty habit of dropping out if not tightly extended int the roller
And yes if the slope from end to end isn't quite sufficient there is "some" pooling. It gets worse as the stitching shrinks and tightens the seams.
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Old 04-26-2017, 07:46 AM   #16
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I have one on my 30' Classic and use it. The key is to be sure the center arm is the last arm to be extended and the first to be retracted. If you don't do it this way on extending the awing, the center arm will fall out as the side arms are extended. That falling arm is really a hazard with it's spike end. I sliced my wife's canvas chair as that arm fell out of the roller. If I raise the awning higher than it's original set position, I'll get my two step ladder out and snug it up just to make sure it is tight in the roller. Raising the awing higher after deployment tends to increase the distance between the arm and roller thus causing it to fall out in some cases.

If the side arms are retracted first, the center arm will continue to hold the awning out and cause its own level of grief.

It is however, an important part of the big awning support and takes some pressure off those outer arms when the wind blows. It's there for a reason.

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Old 04-26-2017, 10:59 AM   #17
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I'm going to hold off on the center arm support. Did the math last night on my reno costs and I'm down to essentials only. Hope you find someone at the vintage rally who needs one!!!

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