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Old 01-18-2017, 04:14 PM   #21
4 Rivet Member
2015 30' International
FREDERICK , Maryland
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 416
My first Airstream had a manual awning, that was to deploy after some practice. My 2nd Airstream came with the Power awning (wasn't looking for one but it was on the lot). It failed twice under warranty, eventually having the circuit board and motor replaced. I hope it never fails in the deployed position as I understand it is not easy to retract manually and it is out of warranty at this point. I say go Manual if you have the choice.
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Old 01-18-2017, 04:20 PM   #22
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2015 30' Classic
Hayward , Wisconsin
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 19
Ours has been flawless for 2 seasons, although I did install a switch to be able to disable it for travel. It is extremely convenient compared to the manual awning on our previous SOB. Having said that, I'm psychologically preparing myself for the day when there will be a problem.
'15 Classic 30 Twin/'11 CC Silverado 2500HD Duramax
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Old 01-18-2017, 06:33 PM   #23
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2017 26' Flying Cloud
Granbury , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 412
We have had both...

Electric failed on an extended trip and almost ripped our roof off! the tilt mechanism went haywire and started extending the arms after closing. It did rip the awning material out of it's track several feet.

Called Airstream...nothing they will do except give you Dee Zee phone number.

Called Dee Zee...confirmed we had a problem. Had me find contol mounted inside cabinets and confirm lights on control. Nothing worked.

Had me extend arms again and physically pull them in and tie them up to get home to dealer.

This happened at the beginning of our trip so we went on without our nice expensive awning working the rest of our trip and sat in the sun. Not at all happy and wished for the days of my manual one.

Got home and dealer ordered new arms and motors. Awning was working when we sold the Airstream.

Our new 2017 26U twin has the old reliable manual awning and we are happy.

I would never order the electric again. Too expensive for something so fragile and not necessary. Once out of warranty and your on your own with repair cost the expense will just keep going. electric for us ever again.
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Old 01-18-2017, 06:47 PM   #24
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2014 31' Classic
2015 23' International
2013 25' FB International
Apache Junction , Arizona
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When we ordered the 2014 Classic, I made a point of NOT ordering the problematic electric awning option or the lousy excuse for a solar system or the joke of a 1,000 watt inverter. They did manage to fail to implement the authorized change order for a different trim line stock flooring and an aluminum backsplash behind the bathroom sink. The partially installed interior had to come out to change the flooring and install the backsplash.

After seven years from the date of manufacture, the manufacturers are no longer required to have parts availability. That will be really interesting for the computer controlled Classics and the power awning folks.....
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TV - 2012 Dodge 2500 4x4 Cummins HO, automatic, Centramatics, Kelderman level ride airbag suspension, bed shell

2014 31' Classic model 30 twin beds, 50 amp service, 900 watt solar system, Centramatics, Tuson TPMS, disc brakes, 16" tires & wheels
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Old 01-19-2017, 06:05 AM   #25
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2007 Interstate
League City , Texas
Join Date: Oct 2014
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This recent Air Forums thread might be of interest - it's a similar debate within the context of the Interstate rather than trailers.

Note response #17 which speculates that the well-known problems with the electric awnings might be due to improper installation by Airstream (the poster provides a technical explanation for this theory). I don't know if the same issue might be the case with trailers.
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Old 01-19-2017, 06:19 AM   #26
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2020 28' Flying Cloud
Upper St Clair , Pennsylvania
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We have had three AS with manual, now a 2017 Classic with auto awning. We have also had an auto awning on a large motorhome.

The autos are nice, however, I prefer simple, easy to maintain and fix and IF something goes array with the auto we have I will replace with a manual.

I can, by myself, open and or close the manual on our previous 30' faster than our auto can open or close on the 30' Classic we have.

As to the previous posted issues:

There is a kill switch on our Classic, it's automatic as well. One has to turn the panel switch to on in order to open the awning. I was told this is to correct the opening while traveling scenarios which occurred on previous models. And they have revised the control panel from previous models, or so we were told.


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Old 01-19-2017, 06:46 AM   #27
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2014 31' Classic
2015 23' International
2013 25' FB International
Apache Junction , Arizona
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Actually, a candid conversation with a chap at ZipDee did cover the topic of Airstream's deviation from the installation instructions provided with each awning kit. There is a dumpster out back at the Airstream factory filled with the wheel that comes with each trailer awning installation kit for the top of the main door to keep it from tearing the main awning.
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Old 01-19-2017, 06:50 AM   #28
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2007 30' Classic
Oswego , Illinois
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Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
We have had the manual awning for years, use it regularly in some 1400 days camping. It is really easy to use.

Only thing I noticed was the heavier look of the struts that hold the power awning up. The manual awning struts are rather flimsy, haven't had any trouble with them but I wonder if the power awning assembly is stronger?
Perhaps they are stronger, but.....when I pull a bonehead move, like swearing I had the awning tilted as I lay in bed in the sure was nice to have a $20 part fail and let the water drain, than having the fabric tear or pull away from the skin.

"If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy." - Red Green
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Old 01-19-2017, 07:02 AM   #29
1990 34' Excella
Zephyrhills , Florida
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 102
Just a follow up on the power awnings. Does anybody know of a brand besides AS that can be attached to an AS? I have a 34' & the awning is so big, it takes two people to open it. I would like to replace it with an electric model for ease of use, but I'm not sure if a residential awning (Sun Setter) would properly attach to the body.
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Old 01-19-2017, 06:27 PM   #30
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2015 30' Classic
2012 28' International
Greensboro , North Carolina
Join Date: Aug 2011
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The SunSetter would be virtually impossible to install on an Airstream (I have one -- and love it -- got it through Costco). It's electric and easy to install on a house. WAY too heavy for an Airstream. My '15 Classic has the RELAX awning. There were fairly significant issues with the early ZipDee versions. As I understand it, the first version had a 12V motor that would burnout if there was an undervolt situation. Other issues had to do with the way Airstream was installing the awning. (I heard this from ZipDee, not Airstream.) ZipDee also replaced the motherboard on all of the early versions (this was a free swap-out thing). Then there was the poor folks whose awning deployed while they were in motion. Apparently, ZipDee had recommended that Airstream install a "kill" switch in the awning circuit so when you were traveling you'd put the switch in the "off" position and obviate a deployment. Airstream didn't do this at first. (Most of us with the RELAX awning have done this ourselves.) BOTTOM LINE: the awning IS complex -- three motors, sensors, lots of wiring. It requires 12V to operate....and full batteries are a good idea. As with all heavy electric consumers, a good ground is also essential. It IS possible to manually retract the awning, but it is very time consuming and you would NOT want to do this in a storm. BUT, I really, really like the convenience of pushing a button to open it, pushing a button to tilt it -- and then pushing a button to have it roll up and stow. I HATED breaking the claw foot (3 times) on the manual Zip Dee on my 28' Intl CCD...and the time it took to set the thing up. I think the early adopters paid a price with the RELAX awning, but from what I hear, it's working fine now.
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