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Old 04-21-2020, 11:05 AM   #21
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2013 30' Classic
wherever I'm parked , All
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Thanks everyone for your valuable insight. I think I am going to settle on a sort of schedule: Have my awning time in the morning, when it is pretty calm here, and just retract the awning in the afternoon when the wind is gusty and unpredictable. That's usually when I go hiking anyway.
I'm 6000 feet up outside Silver City and it is the windiest time of the year here, so every afternoon brings gusts of at least 25 mph (not sure how many knots that is).
I have already broken a support and had to replace it, which was difficult and required the purchase of a power tool I didn't own yet. that was when I was retracting it solo and didn't realize what a firm grip and real upper body strength it took to hang on to the long strip. It jumped away from me and sheared off one of the bolts of a support arm, if that makes any sense. No wind involved.
I'd prefer not to repeat that, so I will be taking the awning in every afternoon instead of waiting for the winds to come and deciding in the moment.
I love this forum, one can learn so much! Stay safe everyone!
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Old 04-21-2020, 11:11 AM   #22
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2019 30' Classic
Brooklyn , New York
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I learned the hard way as a newbie. We went to sleep, and were awaken to the storm from hell. Thunder, lightning, wind, and a heavy downpour. We tried to retract the awning from inside, but something did not sound right on the awning motor. I decided to open the door to see what was wrong. When I went to look, I found everything was wrong. The door would not open. I turned on the exterior lights, and found that the awning was full of water and slumped to the floor. The awning rod was bent in the center and the awning became a swimming pool. We squeezed out the door, and after about an hour of pushing the center of the awning up with a broom to get the water out, I had to drag a picnic table over to push the bent part of the awning up on every half revolution to finally retract it to the home position. This was all done in a storm. $1000 later it was good as new. So, my best advice to you is to always take it in at night. I also take it in when we are not near our AS even though I have an Airstream app to control the awning while away.
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Old 04-21-2020, 11:52 AM   #23
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2012 25' Flying Cloud
2001 19' Bambi
Fresno , California
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Weakest Part

We were camped with two other Airstreamers in a nice park in Paso Robles, CA, we all three had our awnings out and went out for an afternoon of wine-tasting. When we returned in the late afternoon, we all three had the same broken part - the hook thing that hooks over the awning, which is made out of cast aluminum (or pot metal). JC was awesome and sent us a replacement, and none of us experienced any lasting damage, but we all learned to always retract the awning when leaving for the day!
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Old 04-21-2020, 12:39 PM   #24
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2005 30' Safari
London , Ontario
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We are a family of 5 and two dogs. In the beginning of our AS travels, we would find ourselves ready to relax after getting things all set up. It would seem then that the wind and storm god would appear. I am sure we all have that oh please I do not want to get up feeling

At first I went with the tie it down solid like an airplane on a tarmac combined with the drop the corners. Thankfully the wisdom of experienced AS folks informed me that tying the awning down with such a method would make things worse and fight the system. I am glad that I listened. We actually witnessed two awnings rip from the trailer. The one awning actually came to rest extremely hard against another AS. The other blew across the field. So I have decided to forgo reason and just take the awning in. Less headache and back to rest). Stay healthy and we are anxious like many to hit the road….
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Old 04-21-2020, 01:18 PM   #25
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Wallingford , Vermont
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gusts and manual awning

Our awning was WELL-staked and secured in a beach campground on the North Carolina coast. All was calm and sunny as we started a brief walk. All it took was one gust and we were no where near the actual shore. Flinging did some dent damage but structural arms intact.

Anally cautious now but it could have caused a real trip malfunction. We were lucky that a window wasn't struck. Just our two cents.
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Old 04-21-2020, 02:03 PM   #26
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Hahira , Georgia
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Just repeating Zip Dee here. They are rated for 22mph. They also advise to no never tie them down. There is a reason.
From my Pecan Tree
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Old 04-21-2020, 02:09 PM   #27
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1994 28' Excella
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Elgin , Texas
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Manual Awning Care - re: wind effects

Lots of good advice this thread.

The link below takes you to the ZipDee Owners Manual I found on the web that gives operating instructions.

However this manual it really doesn't speak about leaving the main awning out overnight (other than for rain) or when away or when/if it gets too windy. My 25+ year experience with this accessory is the same as others. Put it up in the evening and when you leave your rig. The effective "sail area" can cause fabric tears, bent arms and skin damage to your prized Airstream. Additionally, I've learned that even with careful use...the fabric pulls at the base where it is attached to the roof skin and loosens rivets. Now you've created a leak source. And I don't like it to catch wind and shake the trailer when I'm sleeping.

Use your awning / enjoy your awning...but take care with wind effects.

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Old 04-22-2020, 07:43 AM   #28
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BTW- several youtubes on this.. The one below is pretty good also. Even though we have owned 4 AS's in past 15 years, we always learn a little each trip! Recent Alumalina gettogether in NC, they put on an Awning "how to" session...with do's and don'ts...always interesting to hear of "adventures" caused by the awnings...remember, the spring on these is pretty tightly wound so if yours comes off or you decide to take it off, you need to really be careful...but the wind can cause problems for sure...
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Old 04-22-2020, 07:58 AM   #29
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1992 29' Excella
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We learned our lesson a few years ago when we left the trailer unattended and experienced an unexpected rain storm. Our arms were okay but the roller bent. We were able to get it staightened for the most part but it still has a bit of a wobble. Since that event I've trained myself to deploy and store the awning each day or as needed.

Originally Posted by drbrick View Post
We also use shock cords to assist the apparently very fragile ZIP DEE awning support system on our multi thousand dollar trailers
I too wondered why Airstream uses this product when there seems to be better solutions. Even though Zip Dee has tailored their product to fit the curvature of the Airstream shell I suspect other manufacturers could do the same.

Have you ever noticed that some $1,000,000+ Prevost motorhomes use Zip Dee awnings and chairs? Some brands have manually operated awnings similar to ours only with straight arms. Price of the rig seems to make no difference.
Lucius and Danielle
1992 29' Excella Classic / 2010 Interstate
2005 Chevrolet Suburban K2500 8.1L
2018 GMC Sierra K1500 SLT, 6.2L, Max Trailering
Got a cooped-up feeling, gotta get out of town, got those Airstream campin' blues...
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Old 04-22-2020, 08:36 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by gypsydad View Post
...always interesting to hear of "adventures" caused by the awnings...remember, the spring on these is pretty tightly wound so if yours comes off or you decide to take it off, you need to really be careful..
My adventure that almost ended with a trip to the emergency room started innocently enough. First, you should know I don't use the awning much. But I was at Alumalina and everyone had their's out and it looked so good deployed.
I went to bed and stupidly left both arms extended. It rained during the night. At midnight I was awakened by a crash so violent I thought someone had rammed the Airstream with their truck, but looking out I saw nothing. Then it hit me. The fabric was hanging in front of the door. It didn't take a mechanic to tell me the rear upper support arm had snapped in two.
Well, I thought, "At least I can get the roller off the wet ground and set it on a chair, deal with it tomorrow." I picked it up and the spring unwound, spinning the broken piece into my lower leg about five times before I dropped it. Thankfully the spring wound that direction and it didn't bash me in the face. But my calf as on fire. I went back to bed. The next day I got a bag of frozen peas to help with the pain, it was black and blue. (Two years later, I can still see a discolored area)
Not only was I injured, but I was 700 miles from home with an awning on the ground. I did some Rube Goldberg /MacGyver repairs to the arm with a hacksaw, big cable ties, and a 3' piece of pipe, and friendly neighbors to assist in winding the spring back enough to stow the roller. (Thanks, Jeff)
After driving home, Zip Dee was happy to sell me a new upper bar, and it was as good as new. (which isn't saying much)

I have since unwound it and wound it many times trying to make it perfect, but now always with a helper, and never letting go of the upper arm. It will try to kill you.
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Old 04-22-2020, 10:28 AM   #31
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Was at a camp out [rally] that I was at several yrs. ago when storm came across lake destroying many easy ups a few awning on sob & damage to 1 airstream awning, in process of returning to stored position wife got hit in head w/arm when spring unwound. I won't say any thing further and there wasn't any derogatory comments made by me or any others that were there, only about concerns for wellness. She is on this forum and maybe she will chime in about this, also many other AS owners at this outing, also on this forum.
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Old 04-26-2020, 09:33 AM   #32
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Sioux Falls , South Dakota
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Originally Posted by out of sight View Post
Damaged upper struts. The awning itself was OK.
I had this same damage from a all of sudden strong wind gust. Couldn't get out quick enough and probably couldn't have rolled it up anyway due to billowing. Tried to hold down with all my weight but on one end the upper support bent like yours. It also broke in half the upper bracket it was attached to pulling it out of body and enlarging hole that the screw was in.
Did your bracket come out of body? If so have you got it repaired? Air Stream factory said they would have to see it to figure out a repair. I still have not repaired mine. I was thinking about finding a metal fabrication shop that could bend a 1/8" piece of aluminum stock that could be put under new bracket to have a thicker piece of metal for the bracket screws to go in to.

Thanks for any information

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Old 04-26-2020, 09:44 AM   #33
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I learned early on that if you leave your awning out overnight, the wind will pick up and you'll have to get out of bed to stow it.

If you stow the awning before going to bed, the wind will remain calm.

And we never leave it out and unattended.
2014 25' Flying Cloud Rear Twin
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Old 04-26-2020, 11:47 AM   #34
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2016 25' Flying Cloud
Friday Harbor , Washington
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My awning is up 24/7 shortened to about 4 feet with at least three Bungy cords on arms. After seeing the advice I worry now, over time, about loose rivets.
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Old 04-26-2020, 12:14 PM   #35
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2017 16' Sport
Adirondacks , New York
Join Date: Apr 2017
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The Sport 16 has a smallish Awning and this set-up works for us if we are around / awake and the awning can be closed-up if necessary - on a rainy summer day with some wind this allows the door to remain open, Home made brackets, adjustable poles, guy lines, stakes. One side of awning and pole lower than other - so rain does not puddle - so awning sheds water
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Old 04-26-2020, 12:19 PM   #36
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California , Maryland
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Manual Zip-Dee awning

My 30’ Bunky has the manual awning. I got some advise from a AS mechanic during the purchase day inspection that I strictly live by. “ Never leave your awning deployed overnight or when you step away from your trailer even for 3-5 minutes. The repair costs to replace the exterior skin damage will be astronomical.” He then showed me pictures of a AS that he had recently repaired and mentioned that the bill was approx $15k. I know it seems like a PITA to secure it when leaving your site, but you don’t have to completely lock it down. Just roll it up. The whole process to secure and re-deploy is 4-5 minutes tops. Well worth the $15k or more.
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Old 04-26-2020, 03:37 PM   #37
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1993 34' Excella
Barry's Bay , ON
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Camco may not fit

The camco devices to prevent excessive flapping in the awning didn’t fit on our 34’ Excella 1993. There wasn’t enough space between the canvas and the arm for it to be pulled taught.

That said, we always have the awning arms tied down to buckets filled with rocks when it’s out and furl it up when a storm is brewing. The wind is relatively calm in Ontario so we’re safe leaving it out at night if they’re tied down
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Old 04-26-2020, 04:20 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by brick1 View Post
I prefer to put the awning in than lose it to a wind gust or rain storm
After a very strong wind came out of nowhere and I had to get up, buck nekkid' and roll them up, I raise them now before bedtime. Remember the great, true saying: "Unless you have a 'awning story', you've not had the coach long enough!"
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Old 04-26-2020, 04:54 PM   #39
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2018 23' Flying Cloud
Peru , Illinois
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Posts: 76
Same Issue

Originally Posted by trikdacy View Post
...the storm from hell (showed up). Thunder, lightning, wind, and a heavy downpour. ...(what happened was) that the awning was full of water and slumped to the floor. The awning rod was bent in the center and the awning became a swimming pool.... and after about an hour of pushing the center of the awning up with a broom to get the water out, I had to drag a picnic table over to push the bent part of the awning up on every half revolution to finally retract it to the home position....(and) ... $1000 later it was good as new....
This is exactly what happened to my friend and his SOB when he didn't listen to his wife who, prior to the storm said, "Don't you think we should put up the awning?" Three times! I helped him get it retracted to the top of the trailer and we zip tied it in place for the long drive home.

Here's what I did. After reading posts like this one and others where the automatic awnings self-deployed while on the road, I zip tied my Zip Dee permanantly in the up position and have no desire to use it. The end.

Cindy & Randy
2018 AS Flying Cloud 23FB
2018 GMC Sierra Denali 4x4 6.2L
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Old 04-26-2020, 06:11 PM   #40
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2018 16' Sport
Vacaville , California
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I often take an umbrella and stand for shade when I camp, which is usually at the coast. I don’t want to keep fighting the wind or unpredictable breezes. It’s a lot easier to deal with than repairing damage to your trailer. You can use the awning when you are in a more weather-stable part of the country.
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