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Old 05-16-2012, 12:04 PM   #1
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1986 32' Excella
Bellaire , Texas
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 9
Zip Dee Awning Frustration

First of all.....many thanks for the help on my last post regarding getting my awning down. Well now it's down...but something else popped up.

It appears that the main arm assembly(the one where the stainless steel extender) slides up and down depending how high you want the awning has a problem. The stainless piece seems to be "seized" inside of the aluminum tubing. Several things I've tried are squirting lubricant between the 2 pieces, and also removing the lower arm assembly from the trailer itself and trying to hammer the aluminum tube to free it. Neither is working. Has anybody had this problem before?

As always....many thanks for your thoughts
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Old 05-16-2012, 12:14 PM   #2
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Holly Lake Ranch , Texas
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If you are talking about the straight end that goes into the aluminum tube just below where the bracket curves upwards, i have had the same thing happen on our AS. I used silicone spray lubricant, let it soak for a bit then using a 2x4 piece to protect the arm at the bend hammered enough to loosen it up.

A word of caution when working with awnings that can stick... watch where you put your hands when you are trying to unstick or adjust... nearly lost a good chunk out of my finger last fall when the arm slid back into the tubing and the force of the spring on the awning wouldnt let me pull hard enough to release my trapped finger .... nearly let out a non-family rated expression at the rally we were attending....

hope this helps
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Old 05-16-2012, 12:21 PM   #3
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Not to rub salt in any wounds, but those awnings need excersise, like the rest of us.
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Old 05-16-2012, 12:36 PM   #4
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Be careful with that full length awning on the 32 footer. Thank goodness we learned on a short trailer. The long awning on those year 32's is just too heavy to be fun. You are gonna have to get the 2 tubes sliding again. Taking it off and working on it at a bench with a vise is the best approach. Silicone spray is a good lubricant for that joint. If you can not get it loose, call ZipDee. After you get it loose, keep a spray can of silicone handy and spray everything everytime you use it for a while (That advise came from the ZipDee rep that got ours unstuck at an International rallly.) Buy some handles for the awning. makes it a little easier. lift with your shoulder as much as you can while setting it up.
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Old 05-16-2012, 05:50 PM   #5
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Long Beach , California
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Thanx for asking this question vicn2000! I had a new Zip Dee installed in 1980 and I never could get it to open more than half way. Even at air stream rally's so called experts couldn't get it to open completely. I read the answers to your query and went out and managed to get this awning fully open. I cleaned the sliding parts & generously lubricated them with silicone spray and "wow", it works perfectly!
Thanks guys!
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Old 05-16-2012, 06:05 PM   #6
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To do the penatrating I can only suggest one product that will Creep in there and get the job done. ITS called KROIL by KANO LABORATORIES,NASHVILLE,TENN.This product is EXPENSIVE and can only be order direct from the company. Not bother to look as I did, its not sold in stores. IT comes in two packages usually sold together . An 8oz squirt liquid or an aerosol. Forget WD40 and PB Blaster,these things work but not like this stuff.
You can email them at KANOLABS@AOL.COM.This stuff stinks to high heaven but will creep into spaces as small as 1 millionth of an inch. I use this stuff on my antique tractors. I till not attack the mental. GOOD LUCK
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Old 05-16-2012, 06:17 PM   #7
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One of the car magazines I subscribe to did a test on penetrating oils, using all the common ones. They used a torque wrench to see how hard it was to loosen the bolts after they were tightened into a threaded hole. The one that worked the best by far was a 50 50 mixture of automatic transmission fluid and acetone. It beat out Liquid Wrench, Kroil, PB Blaster, and some others I can't remember.
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Old 05-17-2012, 10:58 PM   #8
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Where can one buy a good awning fora 1968 airstream ? Scared to try to make one myself
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Old 05-18-2012, 06:01 AM   #9
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Had this problem also. Caused by 3 problems, first corrosion from interaction of 2 different metals ( SS and Alum). Second slight bend in both tubes inflicted by PO. Third was lack of simple maint ie using a silicone lube on a regular basis. Had to use vice, clamps, 2x4 and a weighted rubber mallet to pound the pieces apart. If you go to the ZipDee website they have a video showing how to straighten tubes and lube. If all else fails order new ones from ZipDee, be sure to know style of tube, they changed in 1989. Best of luck

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Old 05-18-2012, 07:01 AM   #10
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Vicn2000, you have a lot of good advice here. Silicon spray, take it off and work on a bench, and a recent post mentioned a possible bend. That is what got me. Wind caught it one day and I could never quite get it straight. All it takes is a slight bend to get it locked in there. Zip dee sells replacements and they are not that expensive. Once I did that it works like a charm.
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Old 05-23-2012, 01:49 PM   #11
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Nepean , Ontario
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Originally Posted by Tesslove View Post
Where can one buy a good awning fora 1968 airstream ? Scared to try to make one myself
Call Randy at ZipDee (Sunbrella)
He'll tell you what needs to be measured and will price it for you. You can also go to Zip Dee for installation - they are in Elk Grove Villiage, IL, just south of Chicago.

One thing you should know is that the Sunbrella fabric will not rot, so it lasts quite a long time (mine is 25 years old).
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Old 06-13-2012, 12:55 PM   #12
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Jumping in...

Hope you don't mind me jumping in on this thread with a question since it seems to be an active thread at the moment.

My awning is too low and my door rubs on the awning. I have installed a wheel now on the door so that it is not wearing the fabric - however I leave my door open most of the time - and now my screen door still rubs.


All I need is an inch or two more I have the play in the awning cover on the roof end. The only way I figure I can raise it with the least amount of effort is the lower arms that raise the awning to 3 different notches - what I want to know is can I drill another hole in the inner tube 1-2 inches below the last hole when it is fully extended and how do I go about doing that?

I am not sure how much tube there is inside - but when I pull it out the extra 1-2 inches I need there is tube there - just not sure how much more there is and don't want that to become a weakened area.

Can anyone help?

It is the 22' CCD tandem and the awning is a 12' wide one - small but too low.

I was thinking of a centre arm - but there is nowhere to instal that on the side of the trailer because of the window and door opening to window location.

Thanks for any assistance...

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Old 06-13-2012, 01:09 PM   #13
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With your awning rolled up and locked in place with the wheel locks, you can remove the lower arms completely and the roller tube springs will not be in play. Take off the arms and the end rafters and see how much you have to play with. Also an opportune time to clean everything and lube with silicone spray.

"If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy." - Red Green
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Old 06-13-2012, 02:08 PM   #14
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Now I am just ticked off.... Have had this trailer for four years now. And the person I bought it off is the same height as me - I have only ever seen the awning on the third hole.

So I was about to take it down and take the arm off - and thought to push it out further to see how far it would go - then poof it snapped into ANOTHER DANG HOLE!!!

So all this time it did not have to rub on the awning after all and I DID NOT HAVE TO PUT A DANG STUPID WHEEL ON MY BEAUTIFUL DOOR!!!

The problem is - I am parked now with a deck in front of the trailer - it gives me 8 inches off the ground level with my step when it is out.

All this other time I have been at ground level and could not obviously raise it high enough for it to snap in the next hole - I used to try and just thought there was NO MORE HOLES. But POOF there are...that should be noted in their dang instructions or at least a diagram. Two holes at top 5 inches apart and 2 holes holes at bottom 5 inches apart.

OH PS - my screen door no longer rubs on the awning - solution found - and neither does the DOOR!
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Old 06-13-2012, 04:24 PM   #15
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GT: When I saw your original post just now, I was gonna say that unless your awning is different than ours (which I doubt), there are 4 holes... but you figured that out on your own. We always use the awning all the way up (4th hole) unless there is a little rain, then we lower the rear arm to 3 holes to create a run-off angle to the rear so water doesn't pool. (This is especially important with longer awnings.)
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Old 06-13-2012, 04:40 PM   #16
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Ha live an learn I guess and I am sure learning these days living in the AS full time LOL
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Old 06-13-2012, 04:41 PM   #17
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The first time we extended our awning I got extremely frustrated and just walked away. When I came back my wife had it extended and everything looked good. She has much more patience than me.

The arm/extention is as awkward as anything I've ever seen. Be careful of getting the web between your thumb and fingers pinched. Thats where it bit me. I suppose with practice and patience it will become an easy task. However, It should be easier than it is. The silicone lube spray burned like crazy when I pinched my hand.

Hope is not a plan.
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Old 06-13-2012, 04:51 PM   #18
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If there is anything I don't like about our Airstream I would have to say its the Zip De
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Old 06-13-2012, 04:58 PM   #19
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Grand Junction , Colorado
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We had the same problems with extending the awning and it took my wife looking at the video several times to figure it out. The written instructions are not easy to understand.

I noticed the Airstream store has some handles for too much money that may make it easier to pull out the awning to avoid rubbing the door.

We don't use it much, so we forget how to open it by the time we use it. Nice awning, hard to open unless you do it a lot. The awning material probably needs to be stretched periodically to work better.

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Old 06-13-2012, 05:13 PM   #20
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I was going to say mine has 4 holes, but I was afraid yours would be different and you'd pull the rod out of the tube and everything would crash down and tear up a whole panel. I figgered it would be safer to tell you to take it apart and then discover the 4th hole! All is good, don't kick yourself. Take the wheel of, fill the holes with a couple of olymp[ic rivets and it'll be a mystery forever to come, except to you.

"If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy." - Red Green
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