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Author Topic: Awning maintenance cotter pin question  (Read 344 times)

Lonestar Guy

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Awning maintenance cotter pin question
« on: October 10, 2018, 02:42:40 PM »
Howdy... I damaged the left arm/channel on my 9100 Dometic power awning. I have the new assembly to replace the whole thing or preferably just the damaged channel, but the kit did not include a cotter pin for the roller tube (to keep the spring from unwinding). And unfortunately, Dometic doesn't sell the pin separately.
 
I've studied up on what I need to do and have read some posts on the topic. I know that a pin of softer material could potentially be sheared off. So basically, I want to know what kind of pin material is necessary for it to be strong enough. Stainless steel OK? A 'standard' cotter pin? Brass? How about an Allen wrench (just curious)? I saw where someone used a piece of coat hanger! Am I being overly cautious about this?
Gary T
DFW Metroplex, Texas, USA

John From Detroit

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Re: Awning maintenance cotter pin question
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2018, 04:29:06 PM »
Use the proper size allen wrench. Common bendable cotter pins are not nearly strong enough

But an allen wrench (Hex wrench) will do the trick.
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Lonestar Guy

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Re: Awning maintenance cotter pin question
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2018, 05:38:40 PM »
Thanks... Well, I hope the Allen wrench will work fine. If I 'worry' about it, I wonder how strong the Allen wrench is! 5/64"/2mm diameter (correction, not 7/64" as previously stated!) is not very big and I don't know how brittle the wrenches I have are. I'm thinking about buying a high tensile strength pin of some sort (like a punch pin or ejector pin). On the other hand, I don't know why a stainless steel pin wouldn't do as opposed to some of the softer ones commonly used. I know this maintenance is done often across the RV world so it shouldn't probably be as difficult as I'm making it. LOL
« Last Edit: October 10, 2018, 06:09:42 PM by Lonestar Guy »
Gary T
DFW Metroplex, Texas, USA

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Awning maintenance cotter pin question
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2018, 05:50:10 PM »
I've seen a 10 penny finishing nail bent by an awning spring, but I think the Allen wrench or a slim screwdriver blade would work fine. Even the nail didn't bend until a little extra pressure was inadvertently applied, but that can happen easily enough while working on it. Better to have something a bit stronger. 
Gary
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Gary Brinck
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kdbgoat

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Re: Awning maintenance cotter pin question
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2018, 06:25:15 PM »
Would a split pin or dowel pin work?
I know you believe you understand what you think I said,
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Lonestar Guy

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Re: Awning maintenance cotter pin question
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2018, 06:38:51 PM »
Thanks Gary. Any information helps. This is odd... I had misstated the size based on what I thought on the Dometic parts list showing a 7/64" cotter pin (almost 1/8", but I was guessing that was the purpose, to hold the roller tube tension). I can only get a 5/64" or 2mm Allen wrench in there so it's about 1/2 the size of a 10 penny nail. I will have to find something I'm sure is strong enough.
Gary T
DFW Metroplex, Texas, USA

Lonestar Guy

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Re: Awning maintenance cotter pin question
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2018, 06:40:38 PM »
Would a split pin or dowel pin work?

I would guess, as long as either is strong enough.

I'm thinking something like this... https://www.mscdirect.com/product/details/85933380
« Last Edit: October 10, 2018, 06:42:56 PM by Lonestar Guy »
Gary T
DFW Metroplex, Texas, USA

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Awning maintenance cotter pin question
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2018, 06:53:15 PM »
I've never worked on a Dometic 9100, nor am I familiar with any motorized awning that also has a torsion spring.  My Carefree powered awning had no spring at all in the roller tube.

I looked up the 9100 repair instructions and it states a 7/64 x 2-3/4 inch cotter pin in the Left-Hand end. Is that what your instructions show?  If you can't get that size pin in there, maybe you have the wrong hole? Or wrong awning model?

http://www.forestriverforums.com/forums/f228/motor-replacement-instructions-for-a-dometic-9100-awning-146218.html
« Last Edit: October 10, 2018, 06:57:54 PM by Gary RV_Wizard »
Gary
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Gary Brinck
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SpencerPJ

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Re: Awning maintenance cotter pin question
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2018, 07:10:36 AM »
All I have to say is "Be careful working around torsion springs"  They'll bite you in awful ways.  ???

Lonestar Guy

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Re: Awning maintenance cotter pin question
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2018, 10:16:27 AM »
I've never worked on a Dometic 9100, nor am I familiar with any motorized awning that also has a torsion spring.  My Carefree powered awning had no spring at all in the roller tube.

I looked up the 9100 repair instructions and it states a 7/64 x 2-3/4 inch cotter pin in the Left-Hand end. Is that what your instructions show?  If you can't get that size pin in there, maybe you have the wrong hole? Or wrong awning model?

http://www.forestriverforums.com/forums/f228/motor-replacement-instructions-for-a-dometic-9100-awning-146218.html

Thanks for your efforts Gary. Yes, that's exactly what I'm working on. It would have been nice if Dometic had included a service cotter pin the hardware for the arm assy. :-/

1) Not to be argumentative, but there must be a torsion spring, otherwise, why the cotter pin? I suspect the spring is there to assist in returning the awning to closed position.
2) I guess a 7/64" Allen wrench isn't the same as a 7/64" diameter round pin! I was 'sizing' with the Allen wrenches and had to use a smaller one (5/64"). Come to find out, a 7/64" drill bit fit just fine. Therefore, a pin of that diameter is correct. My bad trying to correlate the size of a Allen wrench to that of something ROUND. Never too old to learn.

OK, well, thanks everyone who responded. Unless someone can tell me exactly what type of material the cotter pin needs to be made from to be strong enough, I will either use a good Craftsman drill bit or go find a hard stainless steel cotter pin and just go for it.
Gary T
DFW Metroplex, Texas, USA

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Awning maintenance cotter pin question
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2018, 11:03:05 AM »
Quote
1) Not to be argumentative, but there must be a torsion spring, otherwise, why the cotter pin? I suspect the spring is there to assist in returning the awning to closed position.
I'm not suggesting there isn't one - the Dometic (A&E) instructions are clear about that   I merely stated I have not worked on one like that and that the Carefree Eclipse powered awnings to not use a torsion spring on awnings under 20 ft in length.  Carefree uses a pneumatic cylinder in the arm to deploy the awning and the motor provides the retraction force by overcoming the pneumatics. Just a different design.

I have, however, replaced or repaired a couple manual Dometic/A&E awnings with torsion springs and am quite familiar with them. The 9100 doesn't look much different.  There was never a cotter pin in the repair kit - I guess they consider that a locally available hardware item.  They didn't provide rivets or screw to reattach the hub either.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2018, 11:11:17 AM by Gary RV_Wizard »
Gary
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John From Detroit

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Re: Awning maintenance cotter pin question
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2018, 05:45:36 PM »
There IS a spring. trust me on that there is a Spring.. As I said above an allen wrench is harder steel than a cotter pin and they come in assortment of sizes. use the largest one that fits. if you need to "Secure it" Tape works.
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

Lonestar Guy

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Re: Awning maintenance cotter pin question
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2018, 08:45:25 PM »
There IS a spring. trust me on that there is a Spring.. As I said above an allen wrench is harder steel than a cotter pin and they come in assortment of sizes. use the largest one that fits. if you need to "Secure it" Tape works.

Thanks John. I thought about adding some tape as well, as an extra measure. I won't be getting to the job for a couple weeks due to other travel, so the excitement will be mounting. I think it will be fine though.
Gary T
DFW Metroplex, Texas, USA

Utclmjmpr

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Re: Awning maintenance cotter pin question
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2018, 02:25:06 PM »
 Just remember,,the harder it is to shear,, the more damage it will do before shearing.>>>Dan
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John From Detroit

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Re: Awning maintenance cotter pin question
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2018, 05:19:50 PM »
The pin he is speaking of is only used when working on the awning. you remove it before you do anything like rolling it up or out.  IN fact it is only used when you are working on the SPRING end of the awning if it is an electric.
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

Lonestar Guy

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Re: Awning maintenance cotter pin question
« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2018, 12:22:11 PM »
Just a follow-up on my issue... in the process of trying to do it myself, I was very close to giving up, but since I wasn't pressed for time, I just took my time and worked through the replacement of the left channel. I purchased the new OEM Dometic part myself a good price. I chose to only replace the outer channel and upper brace as those were the only parts showing any hint of damage and I didn't want to get into replacing the mounting track/bracket that attaches to the RV.
After talking the 'tech support' fellow from the RV company I purchased from (smart, smart guy), he suggested it's possible to replace only the parts I wanted to and that I should fully extend the awning to pin the roller instead of just a foot or so, as is done for some maintenance.The reason became obvious, as the gas piston is very strong and wants to extend. I actually tried taping it first with several pieces of duct tape (as there are not holes to tie wrap it) it just busted all the tape.
So, fully extend it, I did. I pinned the hole with a good quality Craftsman 7/32" drill bit, making sure to get the solid part of the bit at the critical pressure point. I taped the area as well just as a precaution. I supported the roller with a contraption I made from a 2x4 and two pieces of wood creating a 'cradle' for the roller.
After disassembling the parts from the new unit I purchased, I carefully began popping off the lock washers and pulling the 4 pins that held the parts together. The gas piston did open a bit more but it wasn't a problem. I did have to enlist my wife to help hold the roller up while I disconnected the top of the channel from the roller (again, I did not replace the piston since my rig is just a few months old). It went fairly well with some assistance holding things here and there. Odd thing is, once I got to the point of removing the 'pin' (drill bit) from the roller, I found it broken! Thankfully, along with the tape it held and didn't unwind. I guess there is quite a bit more tension when it is rolled all the way out. I'm not sure what kind of pin would work well. (Earlier, I used some SS rod I purchased when I was trying to do the work without extending the awning and it even put a bend in that rod and made it a bit hard to pull out. I wonder how well the recommended cotter pin would work. Seems like it would be weaker than SS.)
All in all, it was a bit of an exercise but I'm used to doing things myself and I'm sure I save a couple hundred dollars from having someone come and do it for me.


Gary T
DFW Metroplex, Texas, USA