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Old 05-05-2019, 03:41 PM   #1
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Oh, what an adventure!!!

The trip was planned from Minneapolis, MN to Phoenix, AZ and back: approximately 4,750 miles. Leaving Easter weekend and returning after for the first of May so that we would not need to winterize until fall. Good plan, right?

On day one about 65 miles north of Des Moines, IA and driving at 65 mph, I look out my right rearview mirror and in a flash (and I mean a blink of an eye) my power awning rips off my camper. Luckily we were on the right side lane of Interstate 35 and the awning landed in the ditch. Mind you I had tested the awning the day before; I also checked the awning at a rest area about 25 miles previous; and all was good. Sitting at the side of the interstate highway with my awning arms dangling off my trailer was scary in the least. We walked back and collected the awning about 100 yards behind us and determined that the only way to proceed was to remove the arms and cut off the remaining metal lattes that were dangling from the camper. Turns out the awning is installed on the camper via a canvas section that is easy to cut with a scissor. About the time we are trying to decide what to do with all the parts, 2 of Iowa’s finest (Highway Patrol) officers pulled in behind us. Nicest fellows you would ever want to meet. The awning was unsalvageable and the officers said the we could leave it at the side of the road and they would call DOT to pick it up. Yea! The next morning I called Jackson Center. By sending them pictures, it was determined that all I needed to replace was the complete awning. Unbelievably the camper was not damaged. Now the estimated bill is $10,000.00 but it could have been so much worse. Hope to be in Jackson Center soon to get my new awning installed WITH a power disconnect switch to shut off power to the awning’s logic board.

After buying some electricians tape and silicone to seal the popped mounting screws and braces, we decided to continue our trip. We are glad we did. The trip was wonderful! From temperatures of 106 in Gila Bend, AZ to 30 degrees in Denver, CO; a beautiful day trip to the Grand Canyon; and delightful visits with friends and relatives. It was all worth it.

A word to the wise: travel with tools, a ladder; a mindset to be a handyman; and the internet so you can look up discussions on Air Forums (this site saved my butt!).The awning misadventure was our biggest but not our only trial this trip. Driving to Amarillo, TX I look back and one of my rock guards was flapping in the breeze. Turns out that one of the mounting bolts loosened and wore a hole big enough so that the bracket would not hold the bolt. A run to the hardware store and with some washers and patience all was good. Relaxing in Flagstaff, AZ I look at my tank monitor and my House DC voltage shows 12.1 volts (not the usual 13.6) on shore power. Aw, man! We lost our converter. After two trips to an auto parts store for fuses and a battery charger, we were able to keep our 12 volt system from dying. Turns out since returning home that a solder joint on the converter’s board failed. I had a Boondocker 4-stage sitting here at home and installed that yesterday. Works like a charm!

Point of the story. We didn’t let the misadventures ruin our trip. We had a terrific time. Be ready for anything!! I told my wife with all the challenges this trip we have definitely earned our stripes. She was a god send who never complained and was always there to help.

Thanks for reading my long story and be safe out there!!!
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Old 05-05-2019, 03:47 PM   #2
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Oh man! Glad you were able to keep up your spirits and have a good adventure. Another reason to be glad to have a manual awning? It only takes a couples minutes to set up or take down.
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Old 05-05-2019, 04:07 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeaLevel View Post
Oh man! Glad you were able to keep up your spirits and have a good adventure. Another reason to be glad to have a manual awning? It only takes a couples minutes to set up or take down.
Thanks! A manual awning was discussed with Jackson Center. Unfortunately the mounting brackets are on a different place on the camper and they would have to "patch" where the old brackets are mounted . That didn't sound good to me.
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Old 05-05-2019, 04:43 PM   #4
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Yes, you earned your stripes. And, hopefully you have used up most of your bad luck, at least for a while. It's got to be smoooooth sailing for the next several trips.
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Old 05-05-2019, 05:06 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by A W Warn View Post
Yes, you earned your stripes. And, hopefully you have used up most of your bad luck, at least for a while. It's got to be smoooooth sailing for the next several trips.
LOL! Agreed! I certainly hope so!!
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Old 05-05-2019, 05:24 PM   #6
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You have some great stories to share around a campfire.

All part of the privilege of travel.

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Old 05-05-2019, 05:25 PM   #7
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You persevered! That's the main thing. But a $10,000 awning . . . ouch!

I had water pump, a/c, and maxxfan gearset go out on our first trip, so I can second your need to travel with tools. After that, the subsequent two trips were uneventful. Here's to hoping you can say the same.

I also agree this forum is a wealth of information, which has saved me a ton of money.

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Old 05-05-2019, 05:58 PM   #8
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A one-ton dually utility body is the preferred tow vehicle to hold all the tools needed while Airstreaming! Its the journey not the destination. But sometimes the journey can be quite eventful. I'm glad you enjoyed your trip.
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Old 05-06-2019, 06:46 AM   #9
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Nice story, what year is your Classic?
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Old 05-06-2019, 07:46 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Airhead2018 View Post
Nice story, what year is your Classic?
"Elsa" is a 2017 30' Classic. I have attached photos that I sent to JC for repair estimate. Like I said I can't believe there wasn't more damage to the skin. Artie from JC said that they can install a securing plate behind the brackets for support.

Padawan
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Old 05-06-2019, 08:46 AM   #11
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Zip tie the Zip-Dee

I read your horror story and feel for you.

I don't have the powered awning. I have the manual one. I have no desire to open it.

However, on one occasion I found the center latch undone. I have attached a red zip-tie.

After reading your story, I checked the round latch nobs and found one loose. I have attached white zip-ties to both. Better safe than sorry.

After all, isn't it a Zip-Dee?
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Old 05-06-2019, 09:02 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZOZ View Post
I read your horror story and feel for you.

I don't have the powered awning. I have the manual one. I have no desire to open it.

However, on one occasion I found the center latch undone. I have attached a red zip-tie.

After reading your story, I checked the round latch nobs and found one loose. I have attached white zip-ties to both. Better safe than sorry.

After all, isn't it a Zip-Dee?
Yes, it is a Zip-Dee. Good idea on the zip-ties for the manual. Preliminary theory on what happened is that the circuit board failed and the awning started to extend. I asked about a latch but I believe that may burn out the motors. Artie at JC has suggested a power disconnect switch to shut off power to the awning's circuit board and that is what we are going to do.

To any late model power awning owners reading this post: you may want to consider this awning power disconnect switch. Not sure how difficult or costly, I will let you know after my repairs. But it may save you a minimum $10,000 repair bill. Hopefully I am unique and no one else has had this experience.

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Old 05-06-2019, 09:04 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Padawan View Post
"Elsa" is a 2017 30' Classic. I have attached photos that I sent to JC for repair estimate. Like I said I can't believe there wasn't more damage to the skin. Artie from JC said that they can install a securing plate behind the brackets for support.

Padawan
Looking at your photo, the gutter/channel on your trailer, where the awning attaches, is in the exact location as both of my trailers' patio awning. Unless the metal channel has a different profile, I see no reason why you could not install a manual awning. (I have no experience with electrically power awnings)
That canvas piece that you cut with scissors, mentioned in a prior post, is called the "Wide Flex Key". If that flexible canvas key fits the groove of the gutter/channel, then a manual awning will work.
You can see the assembly details here>
http://nebula.wsimg.com/86b8ddb41bf5...&alloworigin=1
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Old 05-06-2019, 09:17 AM   #14
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WOW!! - have not had any problems as yet, but this is one scary story am sure going to watch this closely before we journey!
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Old 05-06-2019, 09:34 AM   #15
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Broken awning and insurance

The cost for a new awning may be lessened through your insurance. Don’t ask me how I know this.
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Old 05-06-2019, 10:22 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A W Warn View Post
Looking at your photo, the gutter/channel on your trailer, where the awning attaches, is in the exact location as both of my trailers' patio awning. Unless the metal channel has a different profile, I see no reason why you could not install a manual awning. (I have no experience with electrically power awnings)
That canvas piece that you cut with scissors, mentioned in a prior post, is called the "Wide Flex Key". If that flexible canvas key fits the groove of the gutter/channel, then a manual awning will work.
You can see the assembly details here>
http://nebula.wsimg.com/86b8ddb41bf5...&alloworigin=1
Thanks, A W. That thought had occurred to me too. However Artie at JC said that the lower mounting brackets do not match between a powered and manual awning. So we would have to "patch" where the powered awning brackets now reside. In other words I would have two square skin plates where the brackets are removed. Ummmm I really didn't like that option.

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Old 05-06-2019, 10:28 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by JFRINALDI View Post
The cost for a new awning may be lessened through your insurance. Don’t ask me how I know this.
Oh, yes! That is true. However we have such low rates with our insurance company that I fear a claim would double or triple our premiums. If the awning had damaged the skin then I would have made a claim. Right now the cost/benefit looks like it is better to bite the bullet and pay for the new awning. Kind of a 6 of one/half dozen scenario.

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Old 05-06-2019, 10:57 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Padawan View Post
Artie at JC has suggested a power disconnect switch to shut off power to the awning's circuit board and that is what we are going to do.

To any late model power awning owners reading this post: you may want to consider this awning power disconnect switch. Not sure how difficult or costly, I will let you know after my repairs. But it may save you a minimum $10,000 repair bill. Hopefully I am unique and no one else has had this experience.

Padawan
Your attitude and the way you handled this mishap are to be commended. I am sure that there are quite a few of us who can't wait to find out how the "power disconnect switch" solution is going to be implemented. I imagine you can always use a stepladder to disconnect the wire that feeds into the awning roller, but that is not a viable solution. It has to be as simple as turning off the water pump when you are on the road.

If you have pictures that would be fabulous (whether it's a DIY or dealer install). Thanks!!
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Old 05-06-2019, 10:57 AM   #19
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Why would insurance cover that type of failure? It was not a “collision “. It just fell apart.
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Old 05-06-2019, 11:05 AM   #20
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Why would insurance cover that type of failure? It was not a “collision “. It just fell apart.
Good question and I am not sure. I have not contacted my insurance company for reasons explained above. But Artie at JC mentioned insurance too and I'm wondering if it might be covered under comprehensive since we have full coverage: like wind damage or a tree falling on your AS. Just guessing since I did not give my insurance company the chance to approve or deny.

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