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Old 10-04-2012, 08:26 PM   #1
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Exploding Awning Springs

Camping this weekend. Pulled the streetside awning out. It appears to be the newest of the three.

About an hour after pulling in I'm in the trailer setting up, hear a loud boom and the camper shook. It's a little windy and the door wasn't set so I blamed it on that slamming open. Cussed myself and went on.

Just went around the back to find the awning strap hanging free. Clearly the spring broke. I'm two hours from anywhere with a 20 foot awning that won't close on it's own. I can roll it up by hand but it won't stay fully closed. Afraid it will open on the way home and rip the brackets out of the side of the trailer.

Any suggestions - I don't see anything to strap it off to..
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Old 10-04-2012, 08:59 PM   #2
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Zip ties? They have saved me a few times. Can't really say too much without seeing it. Good luck.
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:12 PM   #3
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It's a Zip Dee so it has the aluminum housing that folds around it. No way to get a zip tie or strap around the body of the awning.
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:12 PM   #4
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Go find some rachet straps. Get some rope and use the rope with a loupe in each end to go around the entire trailer and use the rachet straps to tighten down the whole thing, pinning the awning to the side of the trailer.
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:41 PM   #5
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Good idea, vent port. Or have zipped rush a spring to where ou are. We replaced ours, it took about 45 minutes including reading and rereading the directions and luring the arms etc.
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:42 PM   #6
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Sorry, autocorrect! Zipdee, not zipped, and lubing the arms, not luring. Sheez!
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:44 PM   #7
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How far are you from Jackson center? Maybe you can o pick a spring up. Or have one delivered from there.
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:03 PM   #8
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It'd take about 4 hours to Jackson Center from here. What the heck do you do to replace a spring? Drill the rivets out of one end and pull the spring/core out? Then put the new one in, wind it and reset the arm bolts.
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Old 10-05-2012, 04:26 AM   #9
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.... What the heck do you do to replace a spring? ...
My Overlander's Carefree awning has two springs - one at either side of the barrel. To get at either, the end cap, as you guessed, would have to be removed. That would be tough with the awning installed.

I'd call Jackson Center first to see if they stock new springs for Zip-Dee; my bet is "no".

A spring breaking on my Carefree of Colorado awning would NOT prevent the awning from latching into place once rolled up. Rolling up would be accomplished by hand by standing on a picnic table. Are you sure you are truly hosed without a new spring?

Good luck,
Tom
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Old 10-05-2012, 05:11 AM   #10
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did you try rewinding the spring? I would probably try that before ordering a new one....it's at least worth a shot. I think you wind 7 times plus one time for each foot of your awning (I did mine this summer) It takes two people....one holding the awning while you have the arm off & wind.
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Old 10-05-2012, 05:19 AM   #11
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My awning has a locking mechanism so once it is rolled up it can't unroll till you move the little lever out. It also has locking clamps that hold it in position. DO you have either of these locking mechanisms?

Perry
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Old 10-05-2012, 06:48 AM   #12
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I have 3 awnings. The main awning has locks - rear wondow and streetside awnings are held in place only by the coil strength of the springs. The one that broke extends about 30 inches and the pull strap attaches to a hook on the side of the trailer.
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Old 10-05-2012, 07:16 AM   #13
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My awning has a locking mechanism so once it is rolled up it can't unroll till you move the little lever out. It also has locking clamps that hold it in position. DO you have either of these locking mechanisms?

Perry
They are called Z Locks. I think they are only available for the main awning. I use em. Good just in case.
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Old 10-05-2012, 07:51 AM   #14
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Airstream has no springs. Zip Dee says dealers have no springs since they ""stiffen" if they sit around. They recommended trying to rewind it as Becky mentioned. It takes two people but they said try it with 3 or 4 turns by myself and that will tell me if it's going to wind. If it does hopefully a helpful camper will "volunteer". If no takers, and it will wind, I'll try it by staking it out with the strap.

All I wanted to do is veg out from work this weekend - oh well...
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Old 10-05-2012, 07:52 AM   #15
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Had that problem. Not as dramatic since I think the spring was already broken when I bought the trailer. The awning did flop open when we first tried to tow it. Only the spring tension holds it closed. I did something with ropes and managed to keep it closed for the 500 miles home. Then I took the awning off of the trailer. If you are not comfortable pulling it now it is not too hard to disconnect the arms, take out 1 stop screw, and slide the metal parts apart at the top end of the awning. You will need 1 or 2 ladders and a helper. Not too hard to change the spring. You do need a drill and pop riveter and the parts from ZipDee. I took the whole main tube out of the canvas. Not sure you have to. Put the new spring in. Be careful winding it up. This is a sorta dangerous operation on even the little awnings if it hits you in the face. I also had a little problem in that part of the new assembly ZipDee sent me was defective. One of the bearing surfaces galled and stuck. (maybe that is what they mean by "stiffening" sitting around?) I had to use part of the old spring system on one of my awnings. Long trailer with 2 awnings on the roadside. Both bad. The big main awning is fine. I would guess the spring is broken. Iron spring in very rusty conditions. I had 2 broken.
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Old 10-05-2012, 08:10 AM   #16
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To avoid the possibility of a major blow, be careful if you take the spring end apart it is completely unwound.
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Old 10-05-2012, 09:00 AM   #17
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It's broken. Uncoupled the arm that Zip Dee said and gave it a few winds - no pressure at all.

Off to find the nearest hardware store.
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Old 10-06-2012, 06:55 PM   #18
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If you ever find yourself in this situation. I used plastic coated steel cable. Rolled the awning up and wrapped it around one head then used a small cable clamp on it. Extended the cable up over and ran it the length of the gutter. Pulled it tight and cable clamped it to the other head.

I pulled out early due to the neighbors that moved in late last night. Got her home with no problems. Thanks for the suggestions...!!
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