A&E Awning adjustment

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Howard R

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May 3, 2005
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565
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Minnesota
Hi all,

Having a problem with the awning on my 1999 Coachmen Mirada ... it's an A&E by Dometic awning.
Hoping for some suggestions please.

When the awning is retracted the forward arm, the one on the outside shaped like a C channel, does not line up at the top, the top end is forward of the mount and inner arm at the top ... maybe only about 1/8 to 1/4 inch, but enough to prevent it from closing over the inner arm without a fair amount of forcing.

The arm on the rear is this way a little, but not nearly as bad.  We've only had the coach since last fall and probably have only had the awning out 3 or 4 times ... as far as I recall when I was inspecting to purchase it seemed ok.

Now it did open up during high winds on the road one night which might have been my fault ... the previous owner was not very familiar with the awning operation and I >may< have not had the lever in the retract position being less than familiar with the operation myself at the time.

At any rate, talking to the local dealers service shop, the suggestion was to loosen the screws holding the top bracket and slide it forward as the holes are slotted ... well the front one is already full forward or very close to it.  They said they couldn't get me in until July ... a familiar story it seems.

It would seem like the arm could slide on the shaft of the awning where it mounts at the top, but even with a little persuasion doesn't seem to want to move.  There is a bolt there on the outside of the arm, but it doesn't seem to have anything to do with holding the shaft in position.

So I'm hoping someone out there has some experience and knowledge to pass on ... I don't see any obvious solutions at the moment.

thanks,

Howard
1999 Coachmen Mirada 28Q
Westminster, CO.
 

Tom

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Howard, apologies if I'm suggesting something that's "obvious" and that you've already tried. I've occasionally seen an awning that doesn't roll up squarely and the result has been something like you describe. I assume you've tried extending and retracting it a few times?
 

Howard R

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Joined
May 3, 2005
Posts
565
Location
Minnesota
Tom,

No apologies necessary, it's the obvious that usually gets you  :) 

Looking at the end of the roll it does look a little that way ... I'll try that.

thanks,

Howard

Tom said:
Howard, apologies if I'm suggesting something that's "obvious" and that you've already tried. I've occasionally seen an awning that doesn't roll up squarely and the result has been something like you describe. I assume you've tried extending and retracting it a few times?
 

Alaskansnowbirds

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Camp Verde, AZ
Howard Rawley said:
When the awning is retracted the forward arm, the one on the outside shaped like a C channel, does not line up at the top, the top end is forward of the mount and inner arm at the top ... maybe only about 1/8 to 1/4 inch, but enough to prevent it from closing over the inner arm without a fair amount of forcing.

Howard,

Have you checked to see if the awning has moved in the track that attaches it to the MH? Ours did that once and we had symptoms just like yours. After I moved the awning back into postion I put a small sheet metal screw into the track through the material on both ends and haven't had the problem again.

Just another thing to check.
 

Woody

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Mar 10, 2005
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917
Howard,

Niot sure if this is your problem but when I bought my used coach two years ago it had brand new awnings all the way around. After using it the first year it seemed to lose some of its tension. It just wasn't as hard to pull down and I didn't have to hold the strap as tight when it was rolling itself up. I got my owners manual out and adjusted the tension a little tighter and it worked fine. Not sure if this was because the fabric had stretched a little or what.
You might see if that could be your problem since there is less tension when rolled up than when extended and if yours has loosened up it might keep it from coming up snug against the coach.

Woody
 

Tom

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Jan 13, 2005
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48,461
Woody, your message reminds me that the main awning on our old Pace Arrow broke a spring on one end. I called the manufacturer (Carefree) and they shipped me a new spring free of charge, complete with instructions. Of course, the result of the broken spring was much more evident than what Howard is seeing.
 

Howard R

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Joined
May 3, 2005
Posts
565
Location
Minnesota
Alaskansnowbirds said:
Howard,

Have you checked to see if the awning has moved in the track that attaches it to the MH? Ours did that once and we had symptoms just like yours. After I moved the awning back into postion I put a small sheet metal screw into the track through the material on both ends and haven't had the problem again.

Just another thing to check.

Alaskasnowbirds,

Well at least one other person thought of this, I checked and there is a screw in each end.  At least by the time I get this figured out I will know a whole lot more about awnings thanks to you guys!  ;D

Howard
 

John From Detroit

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Apr 12, 2005
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24,520
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Davison Michigan
I am just reading this thread for the first time and have a  question....

Since they said to loosen the screw and move it forward a bit due to it being slotted..... And you can't cuse it's already moved all the way

How about the other end... Is it possible to move the other (back) end BACK a bit? (Might need to move both top and bottom at the rear)

You may need to slide the awning a bit in the roller as well,,, My #1 guess is awning "slipped" a bit in the roller in that high wind causing the roller to be offset... Moving the awning a bit in the roller grove shold fix it, to do this open the awning fully and use a tool to keep the roller from re-winding,,, Slightly lift the outer end and have someone pull the fabrig forward a bit, gently of course
 

Howard R

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Joined
May 3, 2005
Posts
565
Location
Minnesota
Woody said:
Howard,

Niot sure if this is your problem but when I bought my used coach two years ago it had brand new awnings all the way around. After using it the first year it seemed to lose some of its tension. It just wasn't as hard to pull down and I didn't have to hold the strap as tight when it was rolling itself up. I got my owners manual out and adjusted the tension a little tighter and it worked fine. Not sure if this was because the fabric had stretched a little or what.
You might see if that could be your problem since there is less tension when rolled up than when extended and if yours has loosened up it might keep it from coming up snug against the coach.

Woody

Woody,

Mine still has good tension, I have to hang on pretty tight both extending and retracting ... think it would snap shut if I let it go on retract.  Of course I have nothing to compare it to as this is our first unit with this type awning, but I don't think it should be any tighter.  It does have some wrinkles on the forward half when it is rolled up ... not sure what that means if anything, but doesn't seem like it would be normal.  :-\

Tomorrow I'll have some help and can look a little closer and try several extensions/retracts as Tom suggested.  It's in the garage right now and there isn't really room to do a whole lot, will get it outside tomorrow.

thanks for your experience,

Howard
 

Howard R

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Joined
May 3, 2005
Posts
565
Location
Minnesota
John In Detroit said:
You may need to slide the awning a bit in the roller as well,,, My #1 guess is awning "slipped" a bit in the roller in that high wind causing the roller to be offset... Moving the awning a bit in the roller grove shold fix it, to do this open the awning fully and use a tool to keep the roller from re-winding,,, Slightly lift the outer end and have someone pull the fabrig forward a bit, gently of course

John,

First off sorry for the delay in answering, we are travelling.?

Secondly it does appear as if the awning is more towards the rear on the spool, but a preliminary tug found it tight.? Is there any trick to moving the end of the awning in the groove?? Maybe a solution of soapy water to loosen it in the groove?

Under the "you ain't gonna believe this "? ? :eek:? ... within 20 miles of the same spot on the same highway (I-76 just south of Julesberg, CO) at almost the same time of night (11 pm) with the same type wind ... yup, the awning came out again !!!? This time I can say for sure the lever was in the retract position, but the latches on the side of the arms about halfway up were open (now duct taped)?... I will say my reaction time is getting much better? ;D

Also John I may yet try moving the bracket on the other end, but something has changed and the awning slipping looks like a good bet at the moment.

Anyhow, thanks everyone for the suggestions, I'll keep you updated on the progress on this.

thanks,

Howard
 

Howard R

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Joined
May 3, 2005
Posts
565
Location
Minnesota
First of all, thanks all of you for your suggestions ... turns out you had me on the right track, I just didn't get far enough.  :)

As we have been travelling quite a bit, I was making do and decided to put it on hold until we got to the FMCA rally in Minot.  Had Dometic take a look at it and John and Don you were right, the awning had moved in the track, probably because of the two unwanted extensions we had. 

Also before we got there I found some troubleshooting information and was pretty sure the ratchet device with the lever was bad.  Sure enough they replaced the right hand torsion  mechanism (with the retract/extend lever) for the unwanted extensions. 

And as Tom suggested, it was crooked ... they slid the awning forward on the reel and also removed the screws from the coach side and slid the coach side of the awning a little in the track, then replaced the screws.  I think they may have been able to cure the alignment problem with a little more adjustment of the awning at the reel end, but the end result was good ... retracts and extends as designed now.  And you can hear a definite ratcheting sound now as it extends or retracts, and it will stay in position.

Oh, and I do have to replace the locks on the arms as they are sprung, they didn't have any on the truck at the time.  That I can do.

Thanks again for all the help, you had me going in the right direction. 

Howard
 

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