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Old 05-17-2017, 08:08 AM   #1
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2003 28' Classic
Rural Hall , North Carolina
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Zip Dee Awning Arm Frozen

Hello,
First timer so hopefully I am succinct. My 2003 Zip Dee awning arm (door side) is frozen and I cannot extend the awning up. The right was also but I loosened it up with WD 40 Corrosion Inhibitor and was able to extend it out and clean off the "gunk" with engine degreaser and re-lube with Dry 3-M Silicone spray. But I cannot get the door side to budge. The knob is not engaged into the hole (release knob that snaps into hole and you have to pull out to extend) making me think it could be jammed instead of frozen. Would pouring boiling water (not much room) down the arm help? I tried walking around the Airstream 7 times and blowing a horn but that didn't work either! I'm on vacation (of course) at the beach and would like to use the awning (can get it out , just cannot raise it up to open the door). Any suggestions most appreciated. Thanks, Jim
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Old 05-17-2017, 08:12 AM   #2
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Try putting a lot of silicone down the arm that is stuck and see if you can work it loose. If that does not work then you may very well have a jammed arm which will require disassembly and perhaps even a new arm assembly. Obviously those latter remedies are hard to do in "the field." Best of luck and if necessary, find a shade tree!
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Old 05-17-2017, 08:23 AM   #3
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Sounds like the arm is bent.
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Old 05-17-2017, 08:59 AM   #4
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I'd feel like a solvent is in order.
Soak it in brake cleaner and wait a while, repeat.
Is it something you use a lot? Is it a mystery why it jammed now?
Or has it been sitting for years unused....like mine?

If awnings were options, I'd never have one. More trouble than they're worth.
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Old 05-17-2017, 11:12 AM   #5
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I would suggest you spray a good quality silicone spray down at each corner
There should be a wee bit of room
Try that for a few days
Then try undoing the arm at the bottom and gently tap the outer arm while someone keeps pressure on the inner arm
It is worth a shot
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Old 05-17-2017, 11:25 AM   #6
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If you feel that the retaining pin is bound in place in the arm you can use a wrench to remove the entire assembly (it just screws in). I had the flat pull piece fall of one of mine and Zip Dee sent me a new one in the mail - no questions asked. The assembly includes the pin, a spring, and the washer/pull tab so be careful removing it or your might end up springless. The Zip Dee number is 800.338.2378 if you want to get a professional opinion. Good luck!
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Old 05-17-2017, 12:24 PM   #7
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Ditto on the bent arm. You may have to remove the arm. When it is unloaded you may get it to budge. You could also insert a rod into the open end long enough to hit with a hammer to dislodge the solid piece. It does not take much of a bend to get stuck. With patience and a big hammer you should be able to straighten it.
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Old 05-17-2017, 12:27 PM   #8
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I had the same issue with mine, turned out the awning tube was bowed down from rain puddling up and general gravity. Once I got it straight again the arms worked fine.
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Old 05-17-2017, 01:50 PM   #9
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Stuck awning arm

Most likely the problem is caused by the reaction of the two different metals used to make he arm. It creates a scale buildup on the two different metals. I used pb blaster and lots of tapping on the arm to get it loose. Used steel wool to clean everything up.
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Old 05-17-2017, 04:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bikerjames View Post
Hello,
First timer so hopefully I am succinct. My 2003 Zip Dee awning arm (door side) is frozen and I cannot extend the awning up. The right was also but I loosened it up with WD 40 Corrosion Inhibitor and was able to extend it out and clean off the "gunk" with engine degreaser and re-lube with Dry 3-M Silicone spray. But I cannot get the door side to budge. The knob is not engaged into the hole (release knob that snaps into hole and you have to pull out to extend) making me think it could be jammed instead of frozen. Would pouring boiling water (not much room) down the arm help? I tried walking around the Airstream 7 times and blowing a horn but that didn't work either! I'm on vacation (of course) at the beach and would like to use the awning (can get it out , just cannot raise it up to open the door). Any suggestions most appreciated. Thanks, Jim
I'm surprised that walking around your Airstream 7 times while blowing a horn didn't work. Try sitting in a comfortable chair on the shady side of your Airstream with a cold beverage of your choice. That always works for me.��
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Old 05-17-2017, 06:03 PM   #11
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If the issue is not a bent arm. I suggest soaking the tube with (liquid wrench) not WD-40. Let it sit for 1 hr before attempting to work it free. Wrap tape around a suitable clamping location on the arm apply vice grips careful not to crush the tube then start tapping on the vice grips.
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Old 05-18-2017, 07:38 AM   #12
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Frozen Zip Dee Awning Arm

Don't overlook the advantage of heat. All of the previous replies are 100% spot-on and should be tried prior to the application of heat. Once a possibility of a bent arm is eliminated, and the application of solvents and chemicals isn't effective ~ try heat.

REMEMBER, aluminum has a low melting point (roughly 1,220 degrees F) so don't apply the flame of a torch directly to the aluminum. Using a propane torch set to a medium flame, slowly run the torch up and down the frame in an effort to evenly heat the outer tube. As the tube heats up it will expand and break the corrosive bond it has created to the inner tube. Do your best to not heat the inner tube on the ends (You want the outer tube to expand, not the inner tube). Throughout the heating process try to separate the tubes and stop immediately once you get movement.

When you achieve separation, allow both pieces to cool naturally before you start the process of cleaning the corrosion and shining the surfaces. Be sure to lubricate the sliding areas during reassembly.

Let us know if/when you are successful.
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Old 05-18-2017, 07:31 PM   #13
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2003 28' Classic
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Thank you all for your help. There is a little truth in all your suggestions. Here is what happened. We secured the awning as if traveling. The problem arm is on the front/door side so the spring is on the rear (good news) . I then removed the nuts and bolts from bottom up taking the top bolt out of the Zip Dee fitting that is secured to the awning roll (this done after 2 days of soaking with solvents). The top arm was removed out of the Zip Dee fitting with some care and wiggling. I removed the tube (aluminum) and inner arm (stainless steel) and bottom arm from the trailer. The bottom arm came out easily. Two of us pulled and nothing happened with the main arm and tube. So (the bolt has to removed that stops the inner top arm at the bottom 1/3 of the tube) then we reinserted the bottom arm and started tapping with a rubber mallet. This eventually (with patience and it was not easy) led to the inner upper arm coming out. Nothing was bent but it appears that the metals were having a catalytic reaction. There was a lot of "gunk" on the metal. Alll this was washed with Dawn dish detergent and scrubbed with fine steel wool to a shiny surface and reinserted. Maybe wrong but white lithium grease was then applied (I promise only to use dry silicone 3 m spray in the future.)
I have cleaned the awning arms at least 2-3 times a year but the last 12 months we have not use our camper which is stored outside so this may have contributed to the problem.
Not a bad idea to open the awning on a warm winter day and clean and lube in the future!
Everything was put back together , this time top to bottom. Whew! I want to thank you all for great comments and help.
James
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Old 05-18-2017, 07:46 PM   #14
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Although I was of no assistance in this, good to hear you got the issue resolved Jim.
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Old 06-18-2017, 09:29 PM   #15
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Michigan City , Indiana
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I am responding to help those out with a similar problem. My rear arm was totally frozen. I tried soaking in liquid wrench with no luck. When I changed to PB Blaster I had it freed up after about 30 minutes of spraying PB in each end.

The lower arm came out of the middle section without an issue. The lower piece is solid square aluminum and the middle tube is also aluminum. After 30 Minutes of spraying PB in the bottom, open end and as much as I could get in where the top, stainless arm goes into the middle tube, I pounded the open end on a block of wood. This broke loose the corrosion bond between the top and middle section sections. I then drove the solid, lower section into the tube with a nylon mallet to keep from damaging anything. This drop the top piece out. Once the bend in the lower arm reached the tube, I pulled it back out then started pounding on the top of the thicker side of the middle section while holding onto the top, stainless section. After about 10-15 good whacks with the nylon hammer, the two sections were separated. The corrosion is quite visible on the top tube. I am now soaking them in PB Blaster overnight and will shine them up with steel wool then and reassemble.
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