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-   -   Zip Dee: Why, oh why, doesn't Airstream upgrade? (https://www.airforums.com/forums/f442/zip-dee-why-oh-why-doesnt-airstream-upgrade-149905.html)

robi 04-26-2016 03:35 PM

Zip Dee: Why, oh why, doesn't Airstream upgrade?
 
I post this with the goal of providing additional useful information to the helpful posts I found here during my latest awning issue; and hoping someone knows why Airstream doesn't enter the current world of technology and select a manufacturer with a safer, more practical product. Great concept at one time, but it's time has passed. During a lengthy stay in Arizona, I again (constant over the six years of owning my 2009 flying cloud) experienced issues with a bent rear main arm on my awning. No, it didn't rain and I didn't leave it up in wind. Every time I have had the ability to leave the awing up over 24 hours due to stable weather conditions; it is a struggle putting the awing back down as the rear bar always bent slightly somehow. When this occurs during solo, remote boon docking, it poses such a problem I stopped using it since help is not around the corner. This time the awning was up for two days. The rear, main bar was not going to retract. As my neighbors tried to help, I commented on how it was always the rear one and that I couldn't understand why it is was always only one. They couldn't understand why there was an issue, period. As previous posts explained, having to disconnect the main bar while the awning is extended is disastrous due to the tension, but when you have to disconnect it to retract it, you have no choice. Despite strapping the awning to prevent injury, the tension still jerked it. Luckily, I ended up with only a bloody and swollen thumb. This would easily kill a person if not restrained somehow. Here is the interesting part. I called zip dee to confirm the approach to resetting the tension after having the bar machined (the professionals who did so also commented on the shoddy material considering the purpose). By the way, don't use a ladder as the manual suggests to support the awning while doing this. As I suspected, as you adjust the tension and it returns, the awning will try to retract and easily pull off the ladder. You need a sturdy person to shoulder and hold the awning. The rep insisted this wasn't the case, but you can't argue with physics. During the discussion, I asked about stainless bars as someone on this site had good results with them in similar circumstances. His response amazed me. He asked me if it was just the rear bar that kept bending, and under what circumstances. He said that an aluminum bar cannot withstand the tension long term of the awning spring as it is all exerted on the rear of the awning, and that Airstream insists they use them instead of stainless on smaller trailers to keep the costs down. This is the second time I have contacted zip dee. The first was for a rafter arm issue, which they again blamed Airstream for, citing a faulty installation and would not follow through on the process to honor a soon to expire warranty. Soooo...long story short, he suggested just replacing the rear bar with stainless since they are expensive. This all made sense since the front bar has always worked without issue, and having experienced that tension first hand, I don't see how one of those flimsy bars could stand up to it for any period. I ordered it today from an extremely brash zip dee rep who I had to ask to tone down her attitude after I stated what I wanted to order. She later insisted this would not solve the problem, yada, yada, yada. What really gets me is watching my neighbors every year across the U.S. with trailers that cost a fraction of mine push a button while finishing their drink and watching their awning extend or retract. They always comment on the Airstream awning and the materials and express surprise regarding the whole thing considering the cost of the trailer. My last comment, I am considering investing in a larger, new Airstream. The thought of spending $80K to fight with an awning every day is not appealing; neither is having to interact with them again when a problem occurs.

AWCHIEF 04-26-2016 04:01 PM

The ZD used by Airstream seems flimsy compared to others I have seen. Funny thing is that not a trip goes by that I do not see a trashed awning because of high winds. Because there are so many SOBs and so few Airstreams it is usually one on those other awning brands.

dkottum 04-26-2016 04:19 PM

The awning bars need frequent lubrication where they slide or they will stick. A good shot of silicon spray will help a lot.

Our method to lower the awning which makes it easy for us.

First, put one hand to support the roller and use the other hand to release the catch and drop to the lowest awning setting.

Then one hand forward on the upper arm and the other to release the lockout catch, pushing outward on the upper arm while releasing the catch to take some tension off.

Then undo the lower arm and stow it, and go to the other side and repeat. The awning will now be free to roll up so keep control of it as you walk to the middle and grab the strap to guide it up.

The only time I've had trouble is when the arms stick from not enough lube, or there's a lot of wind blowing things around. Those two things together can bend an arm, keep in control of it.

Protagonist 04-26-2016 04:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by robi (Post 1782462)
I post this with the goal of providing additional useful information to the helpful posts I found here during my latest awning issue; and hoping someone knows why Airstream doesn't enter the current world of technology and select a manufacturer with a safer, more practical product.

Zip Dee is one of the few awning manufacturers that makes an awning with arms that will fit the curved side of an Airstream trailer. But having helped an elderly couple with their Zip-Dee awning just two weeks ago, I must say it does seem as if the Tinkertoy way of putting together the awning arms and braces is needlessly complex and requires more brute force than some people can muster. The need for even a large, muscular camper (I'm large, but not muscular) to stand on a stepstool to deploy or retract the awning and to secure it once retracted shows that some redesign is needed.

As for the rear arm always being the one to cause problems, that's possibly because the rear arm is the one that's always adjusted to slope the awning to drain water, because if you shorten the front one, the door rubs the fabric. Lengthening the rear arm to match the front again before trying to put the awning away might help. Might not. But it's worth a try.

Mrjkq 04-26-2016 04:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dkottum (Post 1782489)
The awning bars need frequent lubrication where they slide or they will stick. A good shot of silicon spray will help a lot.

Our method to lower the awning which makes it easy for us.

First, put one hand to support the roller and use the other hand to release the catch and drop to the lowest awning setting.

Then one hand forward on the upper arm and the other to release the lockout catch, pushing outward on the upper arm while releasing the catch to take some tension off.

Then undo the lower arm and stow it, and go to the other side and repeat. The awning will now be free to roll up so keep control of it as you walk to the middle and grab the strap to guide it up.

The only time I've had trouble is when the arms stick from not enough lube, or there's a lot of wind blowing things around. Those two things together can bend an arm, keep in control of it.


What lub do you use, most like WD40 attract dirt & that creates a hole new problem?

KJRitchie 04-26-2016 04:56 PM

Buy some dry spray on lube. WD has something like that. When I first got my Airstream the awning was a nuisance but I've got it down pat now. However, there is no way my wife could deploy or retract this awning. I guess the only solution is to go SOB with an electric awning.

Kelvin

tsunami 04-26-2016 04:56 PM

I use a very, very light coat of white lithium from spray can.

dkottum 04-26-2016 05:00 PM

Andy from Inland RV has recommended silicon lube for the awnings, locks and sticky window seals. Does not attract dirt but doesn't last forever either. When things seems a little sticky, give it another shot. Keep the entrance door latches and seal lubed as well or they soon close poorly.

AWCHIEF 04-26-2016 05:00 PM

ZD recommends liberal use of silicone liquid spray. I spray the crap out of all the support tubes and braces whenever it starts feeling sticky and gritty. Makes operation much easier.

murreywalker 04-26-2016 05:19 PM

At 5'-7 and shrinking I can't use the method that dkottum the tall one uses.:D

My solution is to use the hand grips Zip Dee sells (J.C. has them also, but their shipping costs are almost as much as the hand grips.

They do the job quickly and as others have said, a can of silicone spray once in a while makes the struts move easily.

SteveSueMac 04-26-2016 05:54 PM

I do what Doug does - exactly (I could have written that same exact reply, Doug!). But I'm 6'1" and that helps a bit. There are a couple good videos on YouTube from ZipDee and others that have some tips I didn't understand until I watched them.

Someone in our unit has the handles mentioned earlier - and those seemed to be helpful for them - maybe for you too.

Sorry it's been problematic. I hope the suggestions help. Happy camping!!

robi 04-26-2016 05:57 PM

Not a lube issue
 
Thanks! That was my first approach six years ago. Zip Dee says not to lube at all. I used high quality silicone. No lube is going to help a bent main bar slide into place. Great insight Antagonist, I agree with you on all counts. The issue only occurs if the awning is up for more than 24 hours, so I am kinda buying into the reps theory. For $85, I am certainly willing to end the hassle and the embarrassment as to why my premium trailer has such a public issue. In this decade, manufacturers with unique products simply issue bid requests from folks and pick a better custom solution. Airstream ought to give up on this as they have other aspects and satisfy their customers. RVing has changed like everything else. I find it interesting the new trailers allow me to speak anywhere into my phone without touching it, but still have "Tinkertoys" for things that are really important. Love my Airstream, and Airstream, have even been to the factory repeatedly. The whole is not more than the sum of the parts.

robi 04-26-2016 06:16 PM

Sorry, it was protagonist. I guess I am feeling a little antagonistic after spending more money and time on my zip dee awning:}

Bruce B 04-26-2016 06:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by robi (Post 1782544)
Thanks! That was my first approach six years ago. Zip Dee says not to lube at all. I used high quality silicone. No lube is going to help a bent main bar slide into place. Great insight Antagonist, I agree with you on all counts. The issue only occurs if the awning is up for more than 24 hours, so I am kinda buying into the reps theory. For $85, I am certainly willing to end the hassle and the embarrassment as to why my premium trailer has such a public issue. In this decade, manufacturers with unique products simply issue bid requests from folks and pick a better custom solution. Airstream ought to give up on this as they have other aspects and satisfy their customers. RVing has changed like everything else. I find it interesting the new trailers allow me to speak anywhere into my phone without touching it, but still have "Tinkertoys" for things that are really important. Love my Airstream, and Airstream, have even been to the factory repeatedly. The whole is not more than the sum of the parts.

Actually
The owner of ZipDee gave a talk at Alumopalooza a few years ago and spoke about the importance of lubrocating the sliding parts! He suggested silicone spray but I like wd-40 better myself.
I love our ZipDee awning! Of course at 16' our Airstream's awning is child's play to deal with.
Bruce

AWCHIEF 04-26-2016 06:32 PM

From the ZD web site and manual, page 1 has how to properly maintain your ZD awning. How to clean and lubricate with silicon spray.

https://awningsbyzipdee.com/media//DI...5cffffd502.pdf

dkottum 04-26-2016 06:38 PM

rob, I think this is key . . .

"having to disconnect the main bar while the awning is extended is disastrous due to the tension, but when you have to disconnect it to retract it, you have no choice."

Lower the awning to it's lowest notch so you can reach it. Then do not disconnect the top bar until you relieve tension on it. Grab the outer part of the upper bar and push outward at the same time you release the tension pin. Then disconnect the upper arm, the tension will be gone and you can disconnect and stow it easily.

robi 04-26-2016 06:55 PM

All I can tell you is what the owner's manual says and what I was told by a rep on the phone. No lube. Having dealt with mechanical things on many levels, over the years, I know better, a little quality lube goes a long way. Regardless, if you read the post, this is clearly not the issue.

Protagonist 04-26-2016 07:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by robi (Post 1782550)
Sorry, it was protagonist. I guess I am feeling a little antagonistic after spending more money and time on my zip dee awning:}

Not to worry. I answer to almost anything. As the saying goes, "Call me anything, just don't call me late for dinner.*" No offense taken.

*BTW, according to Airstream Time, if you're right on time, you're already late!

airdreamers 04-26-2016 08:07 PM

I was just at the Florida Rally in the Fl Keys. The Zip Dee rep was there and demonstrated the ins and outs of the maintenance of the Zip Dee Awning. Silicone is the key to lubrication. "If you think you sprayed too much, spray some more". I can't believe someone would say no lubrication. BTW, I ordered the street side and rear window awnings, just delivered, can't wait to install them!

prairieschooner 04-26-2016 08:22 PM

just to state a simple fact...my '82 Newell Coach has 34 year old ZipDee Awnings and they all work better than others we have been neighbors with.
I say you buy one or two of the cheapos and find out why! But no don't waste your money just spend it wisely on something proven and smile when the neighbor come to look at yours.

Lumatic 04-26-2016 08:23 PM

Personally speaking, once I figured out the correct way to open and close the awning it is easy. Several features the Zipdee has over the others is the canvas vs, vinyl canopy and the metal sheath the canopy rolls up into. Also IMHO there is not another awning that matches the iconic styling of Airstream. Another plus is parts are readily available and generally easy to replace.

AWCHIEF 04-26-2016 08:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by airdreamers (Post 1782600)
I was just at the Florida Rally in the Fl Keys. The Zip Dee rep was there and demonstrated the ins and outs of the maintenance of the Zip Dee Awning. Silicone is the key to lubrication. "If you think you sprayed too much, spray some more". I can't believe someone would say no lubrication. BTW, I ordered the street side and rear window awnings, just delivered, can't wait to install them!


That was one of the most informative talks I have attended. He stopped by my trailer and we spent 45 minutes talking about ZD and Fantastic Fan vents.

PaulnGina 04-26-2016 08:36 PM

Zip Dee: Why, oh why, doesn't Airstream upgrade?
 
I think ZD is the best awning you can choose. There's a reason why Airstream and Avion chose them ( until Fleetwood cheaped out and went with another brand as the Avions were going out of production. )

If I had bent parts, I would replace them then find someone who KNOWS how to operate one properly, including proper lubrication with silicone spray. Have them teach you how to open, close, and stow the awning. Practice until you are comfortable doing it. Putting it up or taking it down should NOT be a struggle.


PaulnGina
1987 Avion 34W
1995 Ford F250 7.3L PowerStroke

"I don't mean to sound degrading but with a face like that you got nothing to laugh about" Rod Stewart (Faces)

ROBERT CROSS 04-26-2016 09:10 PM

Easy-Peasy
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLsKflCqhkY

Thank you....;)


Bob
:flowers:

SteveSueMac 04-26-2016 09:30 PM

And instructions on lubricating

https://youtu.be/fMDV3qkgntw

SteveSueMac 04-26-2016 09:32 PM

And on repairing bent arms

https://youtu.be/yzEFViN5ZE4

robi 04-27-2016 08:06 AM

Thanks for all the replies, especially to the folks on the method of releasing the tension prior to dissembling an extended awning, a post I will save for sure. Just to clarify the content of the post and save folks from submitting more info, the issue isn't extending the awning, I tow between 10,000 and 15,000 miles annually and have extended and retracted the awning hundreds of times in the fashion described in the owners manual and the you tube video (there are many of these for multiple issues with the awnings) which I referenced upon using the awning the first time. Lubing the awning is not rocket science. As I stated at the onset of my original post, my main goal was to pass along information that I obtained about the awning from zip dee regarding a significant product issue due to the use of substandard materials in smaller Airstream trailers, and that upgrading a part may solve your awning issues. I had no idea so many folks struggled with figuring out the actual set up of the awning and am surprised folks would be so happy with a product that required seminars and personal instruction to use properly. Happy trails!

ROBERT CROSS 04-27-2016 08:09 AM

OOP's...discovered so long ago.
 
2 Attachment(s)
I've forgotten more that I'm currently aware of....;)

It wasn't really a ZipDee problem it was how it was installed that made it hard to operate.

The rear arm was out of plumb about 3". Had to remove the lower bracket and re-install so the arm was straight. Replaced phillips with hex and plenty of SikaSeal

Bob
:flowers:

Lumatic 04-27-2016 08:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS (Post 1782627)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLsKflCqhkY

Thank you....;)


Bob
:flowers:

The Zipdee guy makes it look easy. I use a couple of tricks he shows to deploy the awning which may it easy. From my experience where you have to be real careful is in storing the awning placing the rafter arm hook on the storage pins. With all the weight and leverage of the whole awning it is easy to bend the bottom curved end of the main awning arm. As an alternative attach the rafter arm to the storage pin after the awning is rolled up

Arcticfox 04-27-2016 08:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SteveSueMac (Post 1782637)
And instructions on lubricating

https://youtu.be/fMDV3qkgntw

Thanks for the link Steve. I have never lubricated mine at all. So I'm guessing I might be a little over-due!.......:o

Cheers
Doug

airdreamers 04-27-2016 08:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS (Post 1782743)
I've forgotten more that I'm currently aware of....;)

It wasn't really a ZipDee problem it was how it was installed that made it hard to operate.

The rear arm was out of plumb about 3". Had to remove the lower bracket and re-install so the arm was straight. Replaced phillips with hex and plenty of SikaSeal

Bob
:flowers:

Be aware that ZD is replacing the bolt and collar where the hook arm sits. The collar does not seem to be big enough to separate the hook from the other arm. Be aware that the installation could have been made by anyone including the PO.

MelGoddard 04-27-2016 11:22 AM

Funny thing here;
Nobody has mentioned using some sort of ty down straps or lines from the roller to the ground.
These are attached to screw anchors in the ground and adjusted snug to support the awning from windy gusty conditions.
I just use a couple of ratchet straps adjusted snug.
It works!😆

kfrere 04-27-2016 11:28 AM

Concerns about the Zip Dee awning are what caused us to forgo that awning in favor of ordering a custom awning from Vintage Trailer Supply. We chose a scalloped edge in a stripe and colors that complemented our color scheme, and ordered a length that was specific to our needs. Awning, poles, etc. all came to right at $500. Yes, the awning must be slid along a rail, then put up using posts, but we have been able to use it just about every time we wanted to. (Exceptions being no ground or structure - such as a picnic table - to attach it to.) You quickly become proficient at putting it up, and it looks wonderful next to the trailer.

Plan-B 04-27-2016 11:41 AM

I used my ZipDee for 18 years on my first AS. Yep, occasionally had to kind of bend the bars back some. But I have never seen another brand and material out there last effectively this long. When I sold her, the awning was still functionally working as designed and looked good too. I guess some improvements could be made but I know of know other competitor out there with the degree in quality materials used.

SuzyHomemakr 04-27-2016 12:54 PM

Not to engage in any schadenfreude here, but I thought I was such a cheap dummy when I went with a Dometic awning. I managed to bend the arms a few times, and pull the rivets out of the top mount. I used a bunch of Boeshield T-9 dry lube (it's what sailors use on the mast track, to ease the sail going up-and-down) and it seems to be much better.

The Zip Dee looks to require more muscles and operator height than my Dometic. I wound up going with a thick aluminum mounting plate held down with many, many rivets that the actual mounting plate of the arm is fastened to.

ROBERT CROSS 04-27-2016 01:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by airdreamers (Post 1782761)
Be aware that ZD is replacing the bolt and collar where the hook arm sits. The collar does not seem to be big enough to separate the hook from the other arm. Be aware that the installation could have been made by anyone including the PO.


In our case the PO would have been JC, there are still a few things they have a hard time getting rite.....https://i68.tinypic.com/4ij285.jpg

FWIW...the zip tie is to prevent pre-mature arm deployment under adverse road conditions...once was enough.

Bob
:flowers:

Lumatic 04-27-2016 01:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SuzyHomemakr (Post 1782881)
The Zip Dee looks to require more muscles and operator height than my Dometic. I wound up going with a thick aluminum mounting plate held down with many, many rivets that the actual mounting plate of the arm is fastened to.

IMHO height is not an issue to deploy the awning as it is first deployed at it's lowest level. Where muscle is most involved is lifting the awning from the lowest position to it's operating level, but it's not a real strength move.

Antique Pedaler 04-27-2016 02:11 PM

Back to the original comment, I'd never leave our awning out over night, to start. Then it sounds like his spring tension is too tight. On our "10 FC I immediately unwound the spring 4 full thorns so it will not retract by it self. This saves tension on the rear arm as well as keeping the awning from getting away from me. I replaced the awning storage pins with larger diameter ones to keep the arm claw from climbing up on the inner part of the stock pin and breaking. I'd gone through a couple of claws over the years. I also added a second storage hook to the patio side awning as well as the street side one. Finally, I added stock security straps and hooks to the ends of the street side awning because the single one in the center that came with the trailer did nothing to keep the awning from tipping in even a light wind. I've mentioned these additions to Zip Dee and they were not receptive.

Antique Pedaler 04-27-2016 02:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MelGoddard (Post 1782851)
Funny thing here;
Nobody has mentioned using some sort of ty down straps or lines from the roller to the ground.
These are attached to screw anchors in the ground and adjusted snug to support the awning from windy gusty conditions.
I just use a couple of ratchet straps adjusted snug.
It works!😆

We accomplish the same thing with our Zip Dee sun screen accessory. We bungee it to the ground to provide some give to the awning, should a wind slam into it.

Lumatic 04-27-2016 03:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Antique Pedaler (Post 1782905)
Back to the original comment, I'd never leave our awning out over night, to start.

I agree that is a good practice, but sometimes I get a little lazy.

greghoro 04-27-2016 04:01 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS (Post 1782884)

FWIW...the zip tie is to prevent pre-mature arm deployment under adverse road conditions...once was enough.:


For re-usability, try using a Velcro strap. ZipDee reps hands out red ones with their logos. Got mine when they installed optional rear and road side awnings at their factory.

Attachment 261473Attachment 261474

Greg

AWCHIEF 04-27-2016 05:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Antique Pedaler (Post 1782907)
We accomplish the same thing with our Zip Dee sun screen accessory. We bungee it to the ground to provide some give to the awning, should a wind slam into it.

I mentioned that to the ZD rep at the Florida State Rally after he said do not under any circumstances tie the awning down when opened. He rolled his eyes and had nothing else to add, keeping to the party line like a good employee.
I was thanking the same as you. The sun screen room when properly installed seems to really beef up the awning. I have only used my screen room a couple of times because it is such a PITA to put up and take down.

Protagonist 04-27-2016 06:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AWCHIEF (Post 1782971)
I was thanking the same as you. The sun screen room when properly installed seems to really beef up the awning. I have only used my screen room a couple of times because it is such a PITA to put up and take down.

One of the main things a screen room does is it provides a windbreak to reduce uplift forces on the awning fabric. With the screen walls in place, the wind can still suck the fabric up through a venturi effect, but it's harder for wind to get underneath to blow the fabric up directly.

AWCHIEF 04-27-2016 07:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Protagonist (Post 1782982)
One of the main things a screen room does is it provides a windbreak to reduce uplift forces on the awning fabric. With the screen walls in place, the wind can still suck the fabric up through a venturi effect, but it's harder for wind to get underneath to blow the fabric up directly.

Agree, the sun room is designed to add water to the bottoms to hold it down. No idea how much but I would guess a couple of hundred pounds when full.

mccrosti 04-27-2016 07:30 PM

I have the original 1972 awnings on my Overlander. Other than doing something very stupid - like leaving it deployed in the rain, this thing has worked flawlessly. Back to the issue, I bent the main tube and replaced it myself using the ladder method they describe. It's very important not to wind the rear tension arm too tightly. I remember the formula to be length plus seven equals number of turns. Then be very careful as you are now holding a propellor. Either way, it's doable but not very much fun. All three of my zip dees work fine.


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Protagonist 04-27-2016 07:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AWCHIEF (Post 1783015)
Agree, the sun room is designed to add water to the bottoms to hold it down. No idea how much but I would guess a couple of hundred pounds when full.

about 150 pounds for the 8-foot tubes for each end wall, and about 225 pounds for the 12-foot tube for the long front wall, if you fill them as full as possible. In actual practice the fill ports aren't well located, and you'd be lucky to get half of that weight of water in them.

I bought some of those Zip-Dee tubes for my Fiamma Privacy Room for my Interstate, so I could use the Privacy Room without having to drive stakesó it's hard to drive stakes for a screen room when you're parked on pavement. I eventually got rid of the Privacy Room, though. More trouble than it's worth for a solo traveler, especially if you're trying to take it down in order to take in the awning before a storm hits. Can you say "Chinese Fire Drill"?:lol:

AWCHIEF 04-27-2016 07:45 PM

Agree, I actually find it more trouble than it is worth. If the bugs are so bad that bug killer or my electric repellant does not work I go inside. I do have a sun shade that I made and use it all the time. It attaches to the same snaps as the sun room.

CRH 04-27-2016 08:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mccrosti (Post 1783039)
I have the original 1972 awnings on my Overlander. Other than doing something very stupid - like leaving it deployed in the rain,


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You can't use it in the rain?

AWCHIEF 04-27-2016 08:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CRH (Post 1783055)
You can't use it in the rain?


As long as the wind is not blowing too hard I leave mine up in the rain. Love sitting outside when it is raining.

CRH 04-27-2016 08:25 PM

I also leave mine open during showers so I can sit outside. I thought maybe I was doing it wrong....lol

SteveSueMac 04-27-2016 08:39 PM

I love watching a rain storm under the awning. Just gotta remember to angle the awning so rain doesn't puddle up and of course, if it's windy, roll it up and hop in the trailer!

DavidsonOverlander 04-27-2016 08:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lumatic (Post 1782748)
From my experience where you have to be real careful is in storing the awning placing the rafter arm hook on the storage pins. With all the weight and leverage of the whole awning it is easy to bend the bottom curved end of the main awning arm. As an alternative attach the rafter arm to the storage pin after the awning is rolled up

Thanks for mentioning this! I'll try putting the arms on the pins after the awning is retracted. The last time we used our awning we bent that bottom curved piece on the rear arm. The awning is 40 years old and we've used it a number of times in the 7 years we've had the trailer with no problems prior to this. I'm not sure what we did different this time. I made a new piece and bent it to match the front one. $3 in materials and an excuse to use my milling machine. ;) Not knowing what caused this one to bend, I was worried that if I bought a new one I'd bend that one too.

1Boyscout 04-27-2016 09:36 PM

Zipdee
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by robi (Post 1782550)
Sorry, it was protagonist. I guess I am feeling a little antagonistic after spending more money and time on my zip dee awning:}

I concur with Robi. WATCHED the video 6-7 x. OPENS OK. Closing is a disgusting hassle every time. The back brace is the culprit each time. Tried silicone, I guess
I should have used a lot more.

You would expect a better product considering how much an AS COSTS, ,3 to 4 times more than a JC Eagle.

Have not used it the last 6 weeks on our last trip. Quality is missing!
One of the hooks on the front brace broke at our orientation at the dealer.
I love towing my 2015, handling and gas saving is great.

The Carefree awning on my 2012 SOB, electric, was a pleasure to use with 1 finger.

mccrosti 04-28-2016 03:34 AM

CRH - I don't leave it deployed when it's raining - I am perhaps a tad cautious. Once bitten, etc.


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khollister 04-28-2016 10:16 AM

I have been using Zipdee awnings on 2 different Airstreams over the past 12 years. I'm rather amazed at the intensity of the complaints in this thread - I have had zero issues operating both awnings. It's hard to imagine having so much trouble after watching the various instruction videos.

I have no magic suggestions, I'm just baffled.


Keith
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Protagonist 04-28-2016 10:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by khollister (Post 1783293)
It's hard to imagine having so much trouble after watching the various instruction videos.

I'm sure not everyone has seen those instructional videos. The elderly folks I assisted with their Zip-Dee a couple of weeks ago certainly hadn'tó and neither had I, until later on this very thread. They've had their Airstream since 2005 when it was brand new, and in all that time, apparently no one ever showed them the right way to do it. They did it the way they figured out for themselves, and that's how they directed me when I helped. It required a stepstool and brute force and was done in the wrong sequence. And they didn't use that rod shown on the videos, though I think they had one and just didn't know what it was for. Or maybe they knew how to use the rod but their hands shook too much to use it effectively.

AWCHIEF 04-28-2016 10:45 AM

I operated my ZD the hard way for the first 6 months I had the trailer. Someone here graciously posted a link to Colonial Patrick's videos. What was pretty much a PITA became very easy and quick operation. Learned a few more tips and tricks from the ZD rep at the Florida State Rally. Biggest, lubricate, lubricate and keep lubricated.

Caroyl 04-28-2016 10:53 AM

Can someone post the link to this helpful instructional video? 😃


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Hiho Silver 04-28-2016 11:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Caroyl (Post 1783308)
Can someone post the link to this helpful instructional video? 😃


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https://www.airstream.com/setup-take-awning/
Here is a different video, which also shows the caravan position for the awning.


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pmclemore 04-28-2016 12:22 PM

Ditto what AWCHIEF said - especially about lubricate. If the parts don't slide, then the spring is strong enough to bend the arm.

Once I realized that (and re-bent the arm to match the front arm angle) I reinstalled and now clean and lubricate with spray silicone regularly.

Pat

Caroyl 04-28-2016 12:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hiho Silver (Post 1783332)
https://www.airstream.com/setup-take-awning/
Here is a different video, which also shows the caravan position for the awning.


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Very helpful video. Thanks!


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Antique Pedaler 04-28-2016 12:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hiho Silver (Post 1783332)
https://www.airstream.com/setup-take-awning/
Here is a different video, which also shows the caravan position for the awning.


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This Video is a lot better than the one by Zip Dee. It includes using the awning half way out, (caravan position) which I often do when raining to keep the doorway dry. I actually had to show a Zip Dee dealer how to do this. I call it the storm mode.

I would like to see a remake of this video done during a steady 20 mph wind.:brows:

RonH 04-28-2016 12:51 PM

Been using ZD awnings for over 20 years without any problems. Following advice from factory reps as several rallys I clean and lubricate the moving parts with silicone spray every now and then. If it appears that the wind will be strong enough to need tie-downs I just roll the awning up.

Then again I sometimes swim up-stream. I put paper down the toilet and shut off the propane when travelling. I have never seen a paper-plugged toilet, or spoiled food after a days travel. But I have seen destroyed awnings still attached to the tie-downs. I guess in the final analysis ya gotta do what feels good for ya.

AWCHIEF 04-28-2016 01:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Caroyl (Post 1783308)
Can someone post the link to this helpful instructional video? 😃


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I think they have been posted, but if still in need go to YouTube and type in "ZipDee Awnings".

Caroyl 04-28-2016 07:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AWCHIEF (Post 1783363)
I think they have been posted, but if still in need go to YouTube and type in "ZipDee Awnings".


Got it Chief, thanks!


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Ray Eklund 04-30-2016 11:13 AM

Discovering WHY varies from one person to the next
 
I have never needed to lubricate the inner rod. I will pull the loose sliding inner rod out of its sleeve and wipe it down with a clean rag. Aluminum as it wears will produce 'back residue' which combined with dust can create friction and the inner rod does not slide easily.

You can also SEE if there is a bend in the inner rod as it wears differently... Make sure you slide it back the same as it came out.

Add some lubricants and they are dirt and dust magnets. Also messy to deal with.

After some years or awning use, the ratchet process to lock the movable arm gets worn. I have filed the front edge down when it becomes dull and rounded.

The complaint of the rear awning support bending needs some understanding. Both ends support an equal share of weight distribution. So why the rear inner slide bending and creating problems? Maybe it is that most people start with the front side first and then to the rear?

The ZD Video sure makes using the extension pole to detach the awning to set up... look easy. Both my 23 and 25 foot round wheels had one side that was off a 1/4" or more. The awning appears to be off just a little when installed. The round wheel over the door I stand on the door entry and tightened that one. The other I am on a five gallon bucket to get the rear wheel tightened. Although with the 2006 23 footer it was not as high as my current 2014 25 footer. The 'crab claw' screw becomes loose on the 2014 and I need to tighten it from time to time so it does not fall off in transit. Takes some imagination to tighten the philips screw for access.

I tired some years ago to move the center pull down strap back and forth... and it ended up wrapped within the roll of awning. Now I lead it up manually, stand on the five gallon bucket and release a foot or more from fully rolled. It snaps shut and never has left any ridge from the pull down strap keeping it wrapping over itself and not moving it back and forth.

There must be reasons why some owners have difficulty and others do not. It will be something I will watch for this year. Much like lug nuts torque on trailer wheels... some having lug nuts loose on a trip and others not.

One thing I learned about mechanical things that are designed by those who are handy. When in the control of those who are not handy and never were... things can go wrong... a lot. Once the individual is eliminated as the source of the problem(s)... only then can the fix be discovered.

My first awning issue was when purchasing NEW, rear awning inner shaft was bent and the RV dealer said to 'lubricate'. It would 'loosen up'. Wrong. It was bent and I, the individual, did not know. I eventually pulled the inner rod out, laid it flat upon the floor, inside the trailer to see the arc of the bend. The arc of the bend was almost centered in the middle of the rod. I used a rubber mallet, a 2"x4"x10" stud, (outside the trailer) put it onto a thick piece of 2" x 12" x 24" lumber and literally 'beat' the bend as level as possible. It was not a 100% fix, but worked and I eventually needed to replace the inner rod.

The replacement rod worked perfectly for seven years, until I purchased the 2014. Never another issue.

My step by step inquiry would include:

- Is the Individual doing something I would not?
- Is the awning being set up differently?
- Is the awning left at the fourth notch 24 hours a day?
- Is there anything that is being done differently?
- Is there one person on each end, or all done by the same individual?

We all learn from our own mistakes. Or the mistakes of... others. Admitted or not. Otherwise nobody would know how to fix a problem, as the problem would never exist or occur. Sometimes you have to disassemble the inner system, move one to the other side and... test it out.

Elimination by trial and error is the proper way to find the problem.

Again... even a ZD video does not contain all of the answers. I will GUARANTEE YOU... that the video awning is CENTERED perfectly and set up to look easy with the pole in use. Had they tried to do this on my 2006 or 2014... there would be some red faces. It is not as easy as it looked on the video.

pmclemore 05-01-2016 12:53 PM

In my case, I was breaking camp early in the morning and there had been a heavy dew. Water is not a good lubricant in a tight space, such as on the inner sleeve. The inner and outer parts bound up on me and I was slow to recognize why the awning failed to settle in properly. That is when I probably bent the arm - when I was trying to get the danged thing up.

So I clean and use a little silicone applied with a rag and wipe clean.

Pat

Life is a Highway 02-14-2019 10:57 PM

New Mistake-Awning oops!
 
And then there is the new owner. Who practiced several times opening and closing the awning with no difficulty. Until! We get cocky setting up the trailer late at night in the dark. And one maybe gets in a hurry and one maybe puts the storage rod in the wrong place and one pulls the support bar out to lock and one maybe bends the heck our of the tube and upper rear curved bar.

Then there is a very real world mad wife standing on a picnic table supporting the awning while Mr Dumb Ass has to remove the arms and practice bending them so that they can at least retract, Thank god I felt the tension on that Spring Arm and let it wind back down slowly. If that had let go it could have been very painful.

Called my dealer next day they had no clue to the parts, Airstream helped with that but they do not sell to the customer. The kind lady at Zip Dee got me replacement parts shipped out to the house. She was extremely helpful.

Not looking forward to removing that rear arm again to replace parts. I hope as per Zip Dee I can support it with a strong ladder. What a learning curve this was. I still feel very stupid! But I hope it helps someone else not make this mistake.

rowiebowie 02-14-2019 11:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Life is a Highway (Post 2209958)
And then there is the new owner. Who practiced several times opening and closing the awning with no difficulty. Until! We get cocky setting up the trailer late at night in the dark. And one maybe gets in a hurry and one maybe puts the storage rod in the wrong place and one pulls the support bar out to lock and one maybe bends the heck our of the tube and upper rear curved bar.

Then there is a very real world mad wife standing on a picnic table supporting the awning while Mr Dumb Ass has to remove the arms and practice bending them so that they can at least retract, Thank god I felt the tension on that Spring Arm and let it wind back down slowly. If that had let go it could have been very painful.

Called my dealer next day they had no clue to the parts, Airstream helped with that but they do not sell to the customer. The kind lady at Zip Dee got me replacement parts shipped out to the house. She was extremely helpful.

Not looking forward to removing that rear arm again to replace parts. I hope as per Zip Dee I can support it with a strong ladder. What a learning curve this was. I still feel very stupid! But I hope it helps someone else not make this mistake.

I had no idea that you were talking about yourself until the end.:rolleyes:

There's two kinds of campers. Those who have messed up at least once, and those who have never . . . . wait, we've all done it. So I guess there is only one type of camper.:D
.

Tater 02-15-2019 11:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Life is a Highway (Post 2209958)
And then there is the new owner. Who practiced several times opening and closing the awning with no difficulty. Until! We get cocky setting up the trailer late at night in the dark. And one maybe gets in a hurry and one maybe puts the storage rod in the wrong place and one pulls the support bar out to lock and one maybe bends the heck our of the tube and upper rear curved bar.

Then there is a very real world mad wife standing on a picnic table supporting the awning while Mr Dumb Ass has to remove the arms and practice bending them so that they can at least retract, Thank god I felt the tension on that Spring Arm and let it wind back down slowly. If that had let go it could have been very painful.

Called my dealer next day they had no clue to the parts, Airstream helped with that but they do not sell to the customer. The kind lady at Zip Dee got me replacement parts shipped out to the house. She was extremely helpful.

Not looking forward to removing that rear arm again to replace parts. I hope as per Zip Dee I can support it with a strong ladder. What a learning curve this was. I still feel very stupid! But I hope it helps someone else not make this mistake.

Did that on our first AS. Only I didn't get the spring loaded part and beat the crap out of my hand. Then door self locked with no key in pocket. 3 hour trip home to get spare and return next day to try to straighten bent rod using picnic table. New rods from ZipDee and spare keys were standard after that. I felt like a real dumb @$$ and my hand ached. But three AS later there are new opportunities and You Tube.

SeaLevel 02-15-2019 12:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Life is a Highway (Post 2209958)
Until! We get cocky setting up the trailer late at night in the dark.

We've likely all done something we regret when setting up or tearing down camp. As a side note, there's really no reason I've found to setup my awnings at night. Especially the large one. If a storm comes up overnight it could destroy the awning and possibly cause other damage.

Life is a Highway 02-15-2019 11:08 PM

Thanks
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by SeaLevel (Post 2210102)
We've likely all done something we regret when setting up or tearing down camp. As a side note, there's really no reason I've found to setup my awnings at night. Especially the large one. If a storm comes up overnight it could destroy the awning and possibly cause other damage.

Thanks for the advice. You're right there is no wind sensor only our being pro-active. I will remember this. Today I called Airstream because I read on the Zip Dee site there is now a kit to turn the awning into a power awning with wind sensor.

OUCH!! like only $7200.00. Best to learn how to put it up right! LOL

perri 03-20-2019 12:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by robi (Post 1782462)
...I ordered it today from an extremely brash zip dee rep who I had to ask to tone down her attitude after I stated what I wanted to order. She later insisted this would not solve the problem, yada, yada, yada.



Ha. I spoke to her twice. At least a year elapsed between calls. I was looking at new awning options for my vintage AS. It was no coincidence that, both times, she was so abrasive I was relieved to end the call. In sales, whatís the opposite of a closer? Thatís her. My spouse has received excellent help from the service/repair side of zip dee, tho.


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