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Old 08-09-2020, 08:57 AM   #21
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2017 26' Flying Cloud
Tampa , Florida
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I had the exact same problem and I was 600 miles from home.
Looks like you're past the danger, the spring unwinding and whacking you with the broken end. I wasn't so lucky (at 4:30 am.)
Here's what I did, and since you broke the upper arm bar, you have enough of a lever to wind the spring.
The first challenge is to get the arm bar back in the arm tube (the square part).
Remove the small bolt from the head casting and pull out the bar. (Only if the spring is unwound!!) Now you need to cut away the bent part or bend it enough to get it back in the tube. I had to buy a hacksaw. Remember, when stored only the top hole is needed, so cutting the arm bar is okay. Bend, lever, hammer, cajole, and otherwise get the arm bar back into the tube.
Winding the spring: Danger. Don't stand anywhere where a slip will result in the spring flinging the arm at you. Have someone hold the roller off the ground. Wind clockwise. The rule of thumb is one turn per foot of awning + 7 turns. The seven turns allows for the awning extending from the trailer. You can do less but the goal is to get the fabric rolled back up. Put the broken arm back in the head casting and turn. Mine was 23 turns. At first it's easy then gets harder as you go. Do not ever let go of the arm!
Finally, reinsert the arm in the tube to the top hole and the awning looks normal! Allow it to roll up to the roof, and secure as normal.
Zip Dee will be glad to sell you another upper arm bar for about $45. +shipping.
At home, repeat the process in reverse, replace the arm, and wind it again.
Nothing is hard, just be careful!

If your cut arm is too short to wind, get a piece of pipe and secure it to the arm using large cable ties or hose clamps, or wrap in rope. After it's stowed, remove the pipe.
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Old 08-09-2020, 09:18 AM   #22
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I would have removed the broken section from the rafter arm. Straighten out the other half of the broken arm and insert into the crafter arm
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Old 08-09-2020, 09:41 AM   #23
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Thanks everyone. Put a bunch of zip tir, was able to secure the hook and tightened the wheels down hard. Will keep you all posted. Have a great (and better than my) Sunday!

Take care
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Old 08-09-2020, 09:48 AM   #24
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be happy

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Originally Posted by overlander63 View Post
My comment was so you could get home. I would be careful if you decide to DIY, you'll need to retension the rear arm. It really really hurts when you lose your grip on the end cap when it's almost fully tensioned. Don't ask me how I know this...
I agree with this. Its not difficult to do but anything with springs can hurt.

Be happy that it didn't fail while you were driving. I had this happen and it made a mess of the bracket and sheetmetal on the coach when the arm flopped on the road and then caught on something before I could get stopped. Best inspect the other one while you're at it.
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Old 08-09-2020, 09:56 AM   #25
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failures

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Also as an FYI - Iíve had the trailer for almost 6 years and went on a bunch of trips. Sloped the way I always do. Not sure what happened.
I spent a career doing forensics on stuff like this in a different industry. The story is usually like yours where it failed under relatively minor circumstances. The reality is usually that that a crack was initiated under some more difficult stress but didn't cause it to break fully. The crack becomes (in engineering parlance) a "stress riser" which propagates under much less cyclic loadings and finally fails under a relatively minor load.

That's why I suggested you check the other one.
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Old 08-09-2020, 10:25 AM   #26
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2020 23' Flying Cloud
San Antonio , Texas
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Originally Posted by overlander63 View Post
My comment was so you could get home. I would be careful if you decide to DIY, you'll need to retension the rear arm. It really really hurts when you lose your grip on the end cap when it's almost fully tensioned. Don't ask me how I know this...
Let the professionals do it, I just about lost a hand when my awning broke and didn't know about the tension spring. The spring is let a garage door torsion spring. Save you hand and pay AS to do it. Good luck.
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Old 08-09-2020, 11:15 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by newbiewander View Post
Ok thanks. I assume this can be fixed as a diy project or should I use the dealer?
I recently ordered the stainless bar you broke and the aluminum tube from ZipDee. Call them up, give them the model Airstream and that it is the rear stainless bar that you need. Use the rest of your parts to complete your repair. You should be able to lock the awning with the locking wheel but I would use bunji cords to secure it further.
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Old 08-09-2020, 12:11 PM   #28
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We had similar happen to Lucy last summer on the way back from Alaska. We were camped and lock it in place near Cody, Wyoming when an unexpected thunderstorm blew up from out of nowhere. It threw Lucy awning up over her roof and bent that upper bar. We were able to remove the upper bar, roll up her awning, and lock it in place.

We towed her this way back home to Florida (2,000+ miles) without any problem whatsoever. After we got Lucy home, we bought a new upper bar and installed it ourselves.

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Old 08-09-2020, 01:34 PM   #29
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2005 25' Safari
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I bent the same bar. Ordered a new one for about $80 and installed it myself. Pretty straightforward if you read and follow the directions and warnings.
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Old 08-09-2020, 01:36 PM   #30
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My concern is the OP has some fabric looped out of the cover.
I'd worry that at best the fabric would beat on the trailer for six hours and wear a spot, or worst case allow wind to get in and push the cover up.

Your rear arm bar is not stainless, it's aluminum. You can get polished or matte. You have the same as me, matte. The only difference between the front and rear is which side the holes are drilled on.
Here's the parts list from Zip Dee.
http://nebula.wsimg.com/36853a1e4185...&alloworigin=1

I'd still prefer the manual awning over the electric. I understand the manual one. (even though we're not always friends)
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Old 08-09-2020, 01:56 PM   #31
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Good morning,

So our 2013 airstream FC suffered its first major issue - last night in light rain the LOWER arm broke. We have to check out today and no clue what to do.

Can someone give me some advice what to do so I can safely go home.

Thanks in advance for the Help.

Dan
Oh boy 🙄, been there, done that. With help, we carefully rolled the awning back in place (3) people, one to hold the arms from crashing into the side of the Airstream. Once in place, we tied the arms with clothesline to keep them secured together, loose parts were put in tow vehicle.
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Old 08-09-2020, 08:10 PM   #32
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Ok update. Texted the dealer and dropped it off tonight and dealer will take a look at it. Made it 5+ hours to dealer driving very slow and stopped about 5-6 times to “tuck in” slack from awning so it didn’t flap around. Doesn’t appear to be any additional damage beyond what I managed to do this am. Off to clinic tomorrow to see what a happened me. That torsion spring is a beast. Thanks everyone.
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Old 08-09-2020, 08:46 PM   #33
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Ok update.... Off to clinic tomorrow to see what a happened me. That torsion spring is a beast. Thanks everyone.
Please don't forget to update us on your condition, too. Hope your damage is slight. Must not be too bad if you drove all that time...

Vivian
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Old 08-09-2020, 09:30 PM   #34
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Please don't forget to update us on your condition, too. Hope your damage is slight. Must not be too bad if you drove all that time...

Vivian
Absolutely agree with Vivian. Good luck and let us know how you're doing.
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Old 08-15-2020, 11:34 AM   #35
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Just a quick update. Still awaiting estimate for trailer damage - hopefully not too expensive but not sure. Hopefully get trailer back week of sept.

As for me, apparently I should have got stitches but too late to do that. Did x rays and no breaks which surprised the doctor I guess. So that’s a relief.

Live to tell another story!
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Old 08-15-2020, 12:11 PM   #36
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Sorry for your luck! Glad you are ok!

Same thing happened to us last week. It's about $40 for the aluminum bar, a little over $100 for the stainless. Ask about shipping, however. They charged me another $40 in shipping! Didn't realize it until I got the invoice in... No reason it should cost that much...

I spoke with a ZipDee tech last week who said this is really common. He strongly advised against leaving the awnings out in the rain regardless of what level you leave it on. Weak points on the bar is where it was drilled for the extension lock. Thats where ours broke.

To reinstall, you will probably want some help opening up the awning. Safely getting it back open is the hardest part. Once it was open, I let the main awning tube rest on my left shoulder to hold it up. If there is any spring tension in the arm, slowly unwind it. It's much easier/safer to replace the lower bar without battling tension. Replace the bar with the new one (its just one bolt) then wind the spring back up. Help holding the awning down is good here as well since as you wind, it will want to climb back up toward the AS. Once it is wound, insert it into the lower section and you are all set!

Note - All zipdee awnings apply spring tension to the left arm as you face the trailer, so the driver side awnings will have spring tension on the forward arms.
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Old 08-17-2020, 07:17 PM   #37
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As for me, apparently I should have got stitches but too late to do that. Did x rays and no breaks which surprised the doctor I guess. So thatís a relief.

Live to tell another story!
So glad you are OK and nothing broken. You must have good, strong bone! Best wishes going forward.

Vivian
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Old 08-17-2020, 10:27 PM   #38
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Thank you!
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Old 08-18-2020, 08:09 AM   #39
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Mine broke last year on our 2008 Safari. I called the manufacture and they sent me a new one free of charge. Nice people.
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