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Author Topic: 2003 Minnie Awning Rail Separation  (Read 1345 times)

flydude92

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2003 Minnie Awning Rail Separation
« on: May 10, 2018, 04:29:41 PM »
Last year I purchased a 2003 Winnebago Minnie 329B from my sister. She owned it for four years but I am
not sure how many owners came before her.

Shortly after I purchased it I noticed the awning rail was separating from the RV. It doesn’t look like the rail
has ever been caulked. The driver’s side has been caulked a few times and it isn’t looking to good. Every year
she had an authorized Winnebago service center go over it. They charged a lot of money but I can’t tell what
they did. I repaired a few systems in this RV and all of them except the front brakes were regular
maintenance repairs. Who knows how long the awning has been loose.

Anyway, I researched the separation problem and read about the screws breaking which is my problem. I couldn’t
find anyone who repaired it themselves and showed how they did it. I decided to repair it myself and document
with pictures how hard or easy it is.

This may not be much of an issue anymore since I haven’t read anything in the last couple years were someone had
this problem. Since my RV is a 2003 there may be a couple people that still have this problem. Hopefully there is
still some interest in this repair.

First step was to remove the awning which works out well since it was in incredibly bad shape. I already purchased
a replacement so that will be installed when the time comes. The rail comes in two pieces. The front piece is 16’ long
and the rear one is 8’ long. The back 3’ of the rear rail has separated. The back 3’ and the front 6’ of the front rail
also separated. That left 7’ holding the railing on which holds the awning on.

“cbeierl” included a picture back in 2011 showing the roof lifted without cutting it. I will attempt that by using a
tool I modified that was used to remove siding on a house to hook underneath the fiberglass roof and lift it up.
I tried it a few feet from the front of the RV and it came up pretty easy. Kind of amazing this thing never flew
off since there was no caulking. 

Since I will be repairing this outside I am hoping to repair it in one day but I have a backup plan just in case.
I plan to get started in the next couple weeks as the weather warms up and we have more days in a row of nice
weather.

Winnebago tells me the screws are stainless steel and ¾” long. Some others have said they are 1.5” long. Can anyone
tell me their actual length and size so I can purchase them ahead of time.

If anyone has any suggestions or advice let me know. Even if you want to talk me out of it.   ;D

Thanks,
Brian


edit by staff - changed message icon to topic solved


« Last Edit: May 19, 2018, 07:18:21 AM by John Canfield »
-- Brian --
Waterville, Ohio
2003 Winnebago Minnie WF329B

John Canfield

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Re: 2003 Minnie Awning Rail Separation
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2018, 06:06:40 PM »
3/4" long screws sounds about right for that application. As far as I know, Winnebago never used stainless steel fasteners for any application - too expensive for them  ::) . Whenever I had to fix/replace/install anything on the exterior of our Horizon I used stainless steel fasteners.
--John
2005 Horizon 40AD, 2006 Jeep Rubicon Unlimited
Our Horizon projects
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flydude92

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Re: 2003 Minnie Awning Rail Separation
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2018, 07:16:07 PM »
Using stainless is also my plan on anything on the exterior.

Do you know if the screws are #8 or #10's or some other size?
-- Brian --
Waterville, Ohio
2003 Winnebago Minnie WF329B

John Canfield

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Re: 2003 Minnie Awning Rail Separation
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2018, 07:34:26 AM »
I think #10 for the awning rail extrusion would work fine. When I added solar panels to the Horizon I used #12 by 3/4" for the mounting feet.
--John
2005 Horizon 40AD, 2006 Jeep Rubicon Unlimited
Our Horizon projects
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flydude92

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Re: 2003 Minnie Awning Rail Separation
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2018, 10:03:20 AM »
It seems by brain has been working a little slower than normal. It finally occurred to me to try and measure the broken screws. It was difficult getting a caliper up there but I
my reading slightly smaller than a #8. I probably put the caliper between threads so I figured they are #10.

Thanks for the clarification.

Brian
-- Brian --
Waterville, Ohio
2003 Winnebago Minnie WF329B

flydude92

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Re: 2003 Minnie Awning Rail Separation
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2018, 04:23:20 PM »
I finally got started working on the awning rail. Winnebago told me with my current plan I would not be able to
pull the roof far enough out of the rail on the front or back to get closer than 18” from the end of the rails. I
figured that would be close enough but I also checked to see how hard it would be to remove the front cap.

I couldn’t find any pictures of the front cap removed so I wasn’t sure how well it is sealed and since I’m working
outside that is an important detail. As I researched how to remove it, it looks like you have to remove a bunch of
screws from the inside. I have the entertainment center so I would need to remove enough of it to allow me to climb
in there. I really don’t want to go that far into this repair if it is not necessary so I put that plan on hold.

I couldn’t find any information, pictures or procedures on removing the rear cap. I am having trouble with the
camera and I wanted to remove the cap to check the wiring so I decided to take a chance and remove it.

I was able to remove it and was surprised there is no sign of water damage or any leaks. Removing the caulk was
difficult at first until I got a plan worked out. It took about 3 hours. Both corners were not sealed completely but
the rest was ok. After removing the cap I was able to remove the excess caulk extremely easily using one of the
vibrating type scrapper tools. I did find a loose connection inside the rear cap to the camera.

I included pictures in case someone else wants to know what to expect. After removing the caulk I resealed it using
metallic tape from the HVAC industry. It’s amazing how well it sticks and it is very thin.

We were expecting rain for the weekend so I covered it with my old awning cloth just in case I missed something.
When the weather clears up I will pull the fiberglass roof from the railing and see how close I can get to the end of
the front railing.
-- Brian --
Waterville, Ohio
2003 Winnebago Minnie WF329B

John Canfield

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Re: 2003 Minnie Awning Rail Separation
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2018, 07:17:33 AM »
Good job! Thanks for the pictures and notes. On my website's RV page I have a document detailing how to remove a rear cap on a pusher, might not apply to gas rigs though.
--John
2005 Horizon 40AD, 2006 Jeep Rubicon Unlimited
Our Horizon projects
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cbeierl

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Re: 2003 Minnie Awning Rail Separation
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2018, 12:56:44 AM »
The rear cap on our 2005 Vectra is the entire back end of the coach, not just a piece across the top!
Chris Beierl
2005 Winnebago Vectra 36RD

flydude92

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Re: 2003 Minnie Awning Rail Separation
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2018, 10:11:54 PM »
On my website's RV page I have a document detailing how to remove a rear cap on a pusher, might not apply to gas rigs though.

Your rear cap is definitely bigger than mine!  :)

Wow, there is a lot of helpful information there. I plan to look thru it to see what I can learn.
-- Brian --
Waterville, Ohio
2003 Winnebago Minnie WF329B

flydude92

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Re: 2003 Minnie Awning Rail Separation
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2018, 11:57:19 AM »
            There was rain expected late yesterday but I decided to see how far I could get. First step was lifting the
fiberglass roof out of the awning rail. That turned out to be extremely easy especially with the rear cap removed.
The roof is very flexible and it only took a few seconds to pull it out. I was able to get 2.5” from the front rail
without trying very hard. If you use two tools you can pull the roof out of the rail from the center and still have
access to the screws near the end without removing either cap.
   
            The front rail is 16’ long with 17 screws and 12 of them were broken. The rear rail is 8’ long with 9 screws
and 5 were broken. It’s amazing the awning didn’t fall off. The screws are ¾” x #10 self-tapping.
   
            I removed both rails and there was absolutely no sign of side wall delamination and no sign of caulk on anything.
I was able to remove a few broken screws in both rails but ended up drilling and tapping 14 new screw holes. I
cleaned up the rails and fiberglass. It was going to rain soon so I put it back together and will remove it in a couple
days then clean and lightly sand the rail and fiberglass roof to prepare for caulk.
   
            On the passenger side there is some delamination of the sidewall that started at the top and worked its way
down. There is a crack in the fiberglass roof on the bend just above the delamination. There is also a lot of badly
installed caulk along the rail on this side which I believe is contributing to the delamination. Interesting that the side
with no caulk has no leaking problems and the side with caulk does.
   
            While I have the rear cap off it will be easier to repair the passenger side so I am going to
remove both slide toppers, (they both need to be replaced anyway) remove and clean the awning rails, attempt
to repair the delamination and repair the crack in the fiberglass roof from underneath.
   
We might even get a chance to use it this year.  ;D
-- Brian --
Waterville, Ohio
2003 Winnebago Minnie WF329B

John Canfield

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Re: 2003 Minnie Awning Rail Separation
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2018, 12:25:10 PM »
Good job Brian, thanks for the pictures. That roof to sidewall joint is really critical to the overall integrity of the roof, the sealant needs to be inspected at the very least annually.
--John
2005 Horizon 40AD, 2006 Jeep Rubicon Unlimited
Our Horizon projects
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flydude92

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Re: 2003 Minnie Awning Rail Separation
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2018, 09:49:39 AM »
          It seems I can’t always tell the difference between the passenger and driver’s side of the RV.   :-\
The passenger’s side is the side I have been working on all along. The driver’s side has the crack in the roof
and delamination of the sidewall due to the crack in the roof. I mixed them up on my last post.
I will try to remember that the driver’s side of the RV has the steering wheel.

          On the passenger side I finished installing the awning rail and caulked it. I will put the new awning on later.
This side wasn’t too hard to repair but it looked pretty bad.

          I started on the driver’s side today and this side looked pretty good. The rails were tight against the wall.
After taking it apart I had found out this is the difficult side.

          If I haven’t lost your interest in this repair read on. I would suggest getting a beer or another beverage,
and maybe some popcorn, prop your feet up and be glad you’re not me.   ;)

          It was a little more difficult removing the roof from the rail. I cut most of the caulk but it turns out there was
two repairs on the roof from underneath and some of the glue was holding the roof in the rail. When I got the
roof out of the rail there were many surprises waiting for me.

          I would hope these repairs were not done by an authorized Winnebago repair facility. This kind of crap is why
I do most of the repairs myself.

1)   Two repairs to the roof were done from underneath with some type of patch that was really thick.
   (picture attached) One patch is messy with glue were it doesn’t belong. A couple layers of fiberglass
   would have been more than enough.

2)   The front rail is 16’ long. Even though it was tight against the RV it had 9 broken screws out of
   17. The rear rail is 8’ long but had been repaired. It looks like the rail may have come off or was
        coming off since of the original 9 screws 6 were missing and 31 screws were added.
   Yep, some idiot added 31 regular 1” self-tapping screws to this rail. (none of them were stainless)
   No repairs were performed on the front rail with the 9 broken screws.

3)   The patch on the crack near the middle of the roof did not cover the part that fits into the rail and
   a piece of the roof that fits into the rail was missing. (picture attached) This is why I have wall delamination.

4)   Above the rail there are 29 screws that hold more of the RV together. (picture attached) All of them
        were loose and quite a few were almost completely backed out. I noticed this on the other side but
        didn’t think to much of it at the time and just tightened them.

5)   Regarding the delamination. (picture attached) The wood feels solid behind the delaminated section
   so I am using a company’s epoxy resin kit to repair it

This will be interesting.
-- Brian --
Waterville, Ohio
2003 Winnebago Minnie WF329B

John Canfield

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Re: 2003 Minnie Awning Rail Separation
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2018, 07:31:49 AM »
.... I would hope these repairs were not done by an authorized Winnebago repair facility. This kind of crap is why I do most of the repairs myself.....
Yeppers, that's just how I feel. I don't want any significant work done on the house part of our Horizon by anybody other than Winnebago factory service, and as good as they are once in a while they don't get it right (but very unusual.)

Good plan to inject epoxy into the delam, maybe you can park the rig next to a building and use a piece of plywood and some wood struts to put pressure on the skin.

Thanks for the detailed write-up and pictures, keep us posted on the repair progress.
--John
2005 Horizon 40AD, 2006 Jeep Rubicon Unlimited
Our Horizon projects
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flydude92

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Re: 2003 Minnie Awning Rail Separation
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2018, 08:25:38 AM »
And the fun continues:

          As I mentioned in my last post I wasn’t very impressed with the previous repair. I mentioned two real thick
patches. One in the center above the wall delamination and one at the rear partially under the cap. I decided to check
out the patches. The rear patch felt solid although most of the patch wasn’t under the damaged area. I pulled lightly
on the center patch and it fell off.
It gets better…………………………………………………

          The patch was a 4.5” x 4.5” x 1/16” piece of galvanized steel bent to conform to the roof curvature. Over time it
rusted and caused the glue to let go. Since I saw how well this patch worked I decided to remove the other patch.
It too was a piece of galvanized steel.
         
          After preparing the damaged area in the center of the roof I applied 2 - (8” x 10”) layers of fiberglass under the
roof and sandwiched them between two pieces of wood. After they hardened I found out they were not as flexible as I
expected so I ended up bending it with a heat gun and fitting it into the rail.

          On the damaged area in the rear it was easier to access it from the end so I formed two sheets of aluminum with
the proper curve, applied two layers of fiberglass and used cargo straps to hold it down until it hardened. The top of
the patch looks bad but both sections are flush and will be easy to fill in later.

I found two more places where the roof fit into the rail that had damage to the fiberglass that was about 1” long
so I repaired those.

I reinstalled both rails with stainless screws and added screws to the front rail.

I believe the rear rail came off when the mounting screws broke and tore the roof on both sides. You can see in the
pictures that both damaged areas are at the end of the rear rail.

I temporarily installed the roof into the rails until I decide on the best procedure to repair the wall delamination
not to mention the 3 days of rain forecast.

I plan to fix all patches on top of the roof after the rail and roof are permanently re-installed.


-- Brian --
Waterville, Ohio
2003 Winnebago Minnie WF329B

John Canfield

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Re: 2003 Minnie Awning Rail Separation
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2018, 06:18:16 PM »
I'm enjoying following along with your repair. Years ago (maybe still?) some boat decks would delaminate from their core substrate and one solution was to drill hundreds (maybe thousands) of holes and inject epoxy. That would work I think for your sidewall delamination but the major issue is how to press the skin into the core until the epoxy cures.
--John
2005 Horizon 40AD, 2006 Jeep Rubicon Unlimited
Our Horizon projects
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flydude92

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Re: 2003 Minnie Awning Rail Separation
« Reply #15 on: May 31, 2018, 12:52:01 PM »
That would leave me a hundred holes to fill and the need to repaint the panel to hide the filled holes.  ;D

I have been working with Andy at delamrepair.com . He has been extremely helpful in giving me ideas
and suggestions. He told me to call him any time I have questions. I like that type of support.

I have access thru the top of the wall by removing the rail and the opening is about 3/8” deep at the top.
In my case I am going to repair the delamination blind meaning I can’t see behind the wall to see if there
is moisture present. Also, since the delamination hasn’t worked its way to the bottom of the wall I can’t
be sure if the epoxy flows all the way down.

I may have to calculate the amount of epoxy needed and pour it in thru the top and hope it flows to the
bottom. I am told this epoxy will flow about 5’-6’ before it begins to harden.

I will try to find a way to open up the bottom of the delaminated area thru an opening or something.
If I can I will get some airflow thru the wall to insure it is dry.

The best way to hold the skin against the wall is using a board or boards as needed the size of the
delaminated area, park next to a building and use jacks to hold the board(s) against the wall.
People have come up with other good ways to do this so I will have to pick one or come up with
something on my own.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2018, 12:53:41 PM by flydude92 »
-- Brian --
Waterville, Ohio
2003 Winnebago Minnie WF329B

John Canfield

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Re: 2003 Minnie Awning Rail Separation
« Reply #16 on: May 31, 2018, 02:37:00 PM »
Just thought of another option, you can slit the delam area, roll them back and brush WEST System epoxy on the flaps. There would be one long seam to fill with a fairing compound (WEST Epoxy and micro balloons.)
--John
2005 Horizon 40AD, 2006 Jeep Rubicon Unlimited
Our Horizon projects
Our weather

flydude92

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Re: 2003 Minnie Awning Rail Separation
« Reply #17 on: May 31, 2018, 10:03:55 PM »

What fairing compound are you referring to?



-- Brian --
Waterville, Ohio
2003 Winnebago Minnie WF329B

John Canfield

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Re: 2003 Minnie Awning Rail Separation
« Reply #18 on: June 01, 2018, 07:28:35 AM »
--John
2005 Horizon 40AD, 2006 Jeep Rubicon Unlimited
Our Horizon projects
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flydude92

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Re: 2003 Minnie Awning Rail Separation
« Reply #19 on: June 01, 2018, 11:30:36 AM »
I never heard that procedure referred to as fairing before.

Thanks
-- Brian --
Waterville, Ohio
2003 Winnebago Minnie WF329B

Alfa38User

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Re: 2003 Minnie Awning Rail Separation
« Reply #20 on: June 01, 2018, 12:04:16 PM »
I never heard that procedure referred to as fairing before.

Thanks

Very commonly used on the underwater side of sailboats, especially racing sailboats!!!
Stu
Montréal, Canada 🍁
Snowbird, Naples Florida
Alfa Gold 38 (2000) 5ver (parked!)

"Of course I talk to myself, sometimes I need expert advise!!!"

John Canfield

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Re: 2003 Minnie Awning Rail Separation
« Reply #21 on: June 01, 2018, 12:34:37 PM »
Very common term when repairing fiberglass or new construction with fiberglass. Right you are Stu - we use to race sailboats as crew and our own boat.
--John
2005 Horizon 40AD, 2006 Jeep Rubicon Unlimited
Our Horizon projects
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Alfa38User

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Re: 2003 Minnie Awning Rail Separation
« Reply #22 on: June 01, 2018, 12:41:30 PM »
Gotta get that extra .2 knots eh??  (Mostly as crew in my case!!)
Stu
Montréal, Canada 🍁
Snowbird, Naples Florida
Alfa Gold 38 (2000) 5ver (parked!)

"Of course I talk to myself, sometimes I need expert advise!!!"

flydude92

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Re: 2003 Minnie Awning Rail Separation
« Reply #23 on: June 01, 2018, 02:07:35 PM »
Does this mean I'm qualified to fix boats now?

I can tow it with the RV. 

-- Brian --
Waterville, Ohio
2003 Winnebago Minnie WF329B

John Canfield

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Re: 2003 Minnie Awning Rail Separation
« Reply #24 on: June 02, 2018, 07:24:16 AM »
Does this mean I'm qualified to fix boats now?

I can tow it with the RV.
There you go! We have seen power boats towed by motorhomes,
--John
2005 Horizon 40AD, 2006 Jeep Rubicon Unlimited
Our Horizon projects
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flydude92

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Re: 2003 Minnie Awning Rail Separation
« Reply #25 on: June 20, 2018, 10:08:43 PM »

I had to take a break from the repairs due to family obligations (kids and their activities), computer
monitor problems and of course weather related delays.

        I needed to find a way to hold a flat piece of wood against the RV to keep the side wall flat until the epoxy
hardened. I searched online and found many ways to do it but I wasn’t too comfortable with them. The best way
is to do it against a building wall but I don’t have any buildings that I can use so I decided to build my own ‘wall’
using material I had lying around which consisted of 4x4’s & 2x4’s and I purchased two 4x8x3/4 sheets of plywood.
I started building the ‘all’ by bolting a couple 4x4’s to the tree stump and working up.

I included a picture of the RV with the plywood fitted to it and positioned in front of the ‘wall’.

I also included a picture of the galvanized plate used for one of the repairs that caused the leak and
ultimately the wall delamination.

-- Brian --
Waterville, Ohio
2003 Winnebago Minnie WF329B

John Canfield

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Re: 2003 Minnie Awning Rail Separation
« Reply #26 on: June 21, 2018, 07:44:50 AM »
Great idea you have there - very creative  :))

Consider extending the bottom rails a few more feet out for more resistance to lateral movement when you apply force to the plywood. Maybe add a couple more lag screws in the rails at the tree trunk. That will be the pivot point of the assembly.

Are you going to use a few scissor jacks when you press the sidewall in? Too bad there's no way to vacuum bag that part of the sidewall.
--John
2005 Horizon 40AD, 2006 Jeep Rubicon Unlimited
Our Horizon projects
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flydude92

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Re: 2003 Minnie Awning Rail Separation
« Reply #27 on: June 21, 2018, 08:25:45 PM »

Great idea you have there - very creative  :))

Thanks, I have my moments  :)

I didn't think lateral movement would be a concern but I installed a brace and you are right it helps a lot. Thanks

I cut some 2 x 2's to length that I had and used them for a test run and they worked out very well. I included a picture of the test run.

I left it out all night and they stayed were I put them. I will probably add a few more but this looks like it will work to hold the plywood against the RV.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2018, 08:27:56 PM by flydude92 »
-- Brian --
Waterville, Ohio
2003 Winnebago Minnie WF329B

John Canfield

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Re: 2003 Minnie Awning Rail Separation
« Reply #28 on: June 22, 2018, 07:38:21 AM »
That looks really great, I like the 2x4s pressing against the sidewall idea  :)). Consider a plywood pad (maybe 8"x8"?) under the sidewall end of the 2x4s to evenly distribute the force.
--John
2005 Horizon 40AD, 2006 Jeep Rubicon Unlimited
Our Horizon projects
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flydude92

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Re: 2003 Minnie Awning Rail Separation
« Reply #29 on: June 22, 2018, 03:06:19 PM »
I went with 3/4" sheets of plywood to avoid using pads mostly to make it easier and quicker to put the 2x2's up.

I was able to find very straight/flat sheets at Home Depot.

When you have about 30 minutes before the epoxy starts to harden every minute counts.
-- Brian --
Waterville, Ohio
2003 Winnebago Minnie WF329B