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Old 03-16-2010, 07:49 PM   #1
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1978 28' Ambassador
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Zip Dee support arm stuck

Unrolled awning after removing duct tape from arms. Pulled the pin to extend arms/raise awning and arms are stuck in the tube. The support arms extended freely. Having already broken some things by using force, decided to come here for advice. Am I missing something other than pulling the locking pins? Used slight pressure to pull, but neither side would budge. Good news is is that fabric looks great with only mild mildew after being rolled up for eight years. Any help appreciated. Thanks. Jack
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Old 03-16-2010, 08:06 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skamper1 View Post
Unrolled awning after removing duct tape from arms. Pulled the pin to extend arms/raise awning and arms are stuck in the tube. The support arms extended freely. Having already broken some things by using force, decided to come here for advice. Am I missing something other than pulling the locking pins? Used slight pressure to pull, but neither side would budge. Good news is is that fabric looks great with only mild mildew after being rolled up for eight years. Any help appreciated. Thanks. Jack

When I was at the Sarasota Rally I watched the Zip Dee mechanic use silicone spray. He made sure the AS owner knew he was to use pure silicone, no additives. I would spray it and leave it to work then try to move it. If no go contact Zip Dee, they seem to have good service ethics.

I hope this is of some help.
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Old 03-16-2010, 08:15 PM   #3
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Good advice airdreamers, we had our awnings installed at Zip Dee and that is what they told us. to use silicone once each month on all moving parts.

Marvin
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Old 03-16-2010, 08:48 PM   #4
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I agree...give the silicone spray a try before more drastic measures...we lubricate our ZipDee arms regularly because they do get "sticky" over time...it really works!
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Old 03-17-2010, 09:20 AM   #5
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Is it wrong to go out in the dark to work on your Airstream? Sprayed silicone down each arm. More silicone came out than went down the tube. They are a tight fit. Resprayed this morning and still very little is actually going down the arm. Will probably call Zip Dee. Will let you all know what happens. Thanks. Jack
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Old 03-17-2010, 10:10 AM   #6
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My arm is stuck too, and still can not seem to free it!I used wd40, should I just buy a new arm or is there a hope it will come free?
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Old 03-17-2010, 10:35 AM   #7
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If the Zip Dee arms are "stuck" it usually means corrosion, which would be rare, or. bent arms.

If the arms are bent, they can, within reason, be straightened.

If the straigtening routine doesn't correct the problem, then the only recourse, is replacing the arm.

Andy
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Old 03-17-2010, 11:11 AM   #8
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My Zip Dee arms were hard to adjust as well ... however, I found these videos on You Tube and just doing what was shown fixed the problem completely. That is if you have a bent arm. There are several videos out there. A must watch for Airstream owners with Zip Dee awnings.

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Old 03-17-2010, 12:56 PM   #9
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Spoke with Zip Dee. First try to spray with silicone. WD40 attracts grease/dirt. If that fails, then he suggested to remove arm from awning where more "force" can be used to try and separate the arms. The power of the spring is in the left (rear) arm. The uncoil action can cause some serious harm to person and camper. Will have to think about this one and get some more advice. Will update with more. Did give the arm a gentle whack with a rubber hammer to see if that could loosen up the corrosion.
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Old 03-17-2010, 01:30 PM   #10
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We have used aerosol Teflon mold release for lubricating some items that you don't want oil residue on. This might work, as it is a dry coating.

If you can't find it at a hardware store, check hobby shops. It is also used as a candle mold release agent.

Hmmmm, wonder if this would work on the toilet flap...
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Old 03-17-2010, 03:48 PM   #11
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I have to slightly push the arm away to extend mine. There is an angle issue which jams the mechanism. Don't see why but there is with mine.
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Old 03-18-2010, 05:06 AM   #12
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WARNING...DANGER....DANGER! Even though I knew to unwind the left arm to take tension on the spring before removal I did NOT unwind it enough. The result was not pretty. Do not have to worry about "new car's first dent". The spinning end of the awning flew to the ground after putting a nasty gash on my left wrist and then placed three dents along the bottom of the camper. Thought the spinning and bumping and crying would never stop! And I knew better. At least I got one support arm working. More on this later. Stupid Jack
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Old 03-18-2010, 07:33 AM   #13
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Thumbs up Arm helpers....

Ran into the sticking problem several Seasons ago, learned the lesson...
Keep 'em lubed!!!

Got a pair of these from the AS Store, they help a lot, easier up and down action and prevent those NASTY skin pinches which can ruin your day!!!
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Old 03-18-2010, 08:31 AM   #14
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Holy cow, Jack - what a rude awakening. I think we are all feeling your pain.

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Old 03-18-2010, 09:05 AM   #15
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Our ZipDee arms were stuck also when we purchased out AS. I used PB Blaster first and sprayed it in the top till it came out the bottom.They loosened up in a few days. Then I used the Silicon Spray. I spray em a couple of times a yr.No problems since.
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Old 03-18-2010, 09:37 AM   #16
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I will have alot of pictures. The solid aluminum arm was bent near the top. A good 1/2 inch bend. I now know how to straighten the bend...I hope. This bend caused it to be wedged into the receiver arm. Eight years of dried white lithium grease, sand, dirt and corrosion welded them together. Took them off the AS and forced them apart using a piece of rebar and a hammer. Slow going, but eventually worked them free. The crud and corrosion are now history. Will bend it back and silicone it throughly. Had left PB on it for two days. The crud did not allow it to pass to the blockage. Thanks. Jack
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Old 03-18-2010, 05:21 PM   #17
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OK, need some more help. Tried to bend arms back straight like in the Zip Dee video. Succeeded in putting a bigger bend in the hollow tube. My thinking is to go to a metal work shop that has a large vise to see if they can straighten the bends in it and the solid aluminum arm. Any other suggestions? Thanks. Jack
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Old 03-19-2010, 06:00 AM   #18
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Skamper,
I had a bend in one of my tubes. I simply put it in a shop vise on my work bench and used a helper bar (hollow fence post to slide over the tube and give you leverage that can be applied gently). The trick is to do it slowly and in small increments until you have it straight. Taking it out of the vise after each adjustment and laying it on the flat floor to see where your bow is helps to see how close you are to straight. When it lays flat on all 4 sides it should slide easily.
I had seen the video and didn't think much of the 'whacking it on the ground' adjustment plan.
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Old 03-19-2010, 08:10 AM   #19
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If the bend is too great, you need to replace the arm.
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Old 03-19-2010, 10:53 AM   #20
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Just left metal work shop with large vises. Still could not get the solid bar to straighten. May have another go at it, but right now am contacting Zip Dee to see how much to replace. Can see where bends in both arms were probably due to leaving the awning up in high winds. Will let you all know. Thanks. Jack
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