Awning Rail Pulling Away from Roof - Revisited

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MichiganView

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  • We ended our initial 12 months of WGO ownership this past week, but before that warranty ran out I took the coach back to the GRV dealership to have a few items checked out and recorded for possible future warranty help. My main concern was while washing the coach I noticed the rear 4' of the awning rail was pulled away from the coach wall enough to get your small finger under it? I took the 150 mile round trip to the dealer with an appoint scheduled for a whole day so I could wait while they did repairs, which I had explained to them in detail beforehand. Well, after waiting 5.5 hours, the service manager tells me they emailed photos to WGO and just heard back - they think they know what is wrong and how to fix it, but I need to make another appointment in a couple weeks so they can have a whole day to repair it. Hmmm - that's what I had prearranged for today!!!

    I was told they need to remove the awning and the rear 'top cap' in order to have full access to the area under the roof fiberglass which 'locks' into the awning rail 'J'. - - That was last Friday - today I found previous posts on this site regarding the same issue that WGO has been 'covering up' for of several years! When I asked what caused my issue - the service manager simply shrugged his shoulders. I followed up with shouldn't there be screws or rivets holding the rail securely in place? - he 'thought so'. I then asked, "it is possible that the factory left out screws". "We won't know until we take it apart", he responded. They didn't have the integrity to tell me up front that many owners had defective screws that broke off and caused the same issue I have! 

    Since reading previous posts I now wonder if members have additional feedback for me? I have a several questions going through my mind -
    1) where should the work be done (I'm near Lansing, MI - I had Forest City check all the seals and caulking a few months ago and they said 'all was OK'? 2) Should I be able to request that *all* the railing screws (whole perimeter) be removed and replaced with new, since mine are either defective or were broken when overtightened - or both?  3) Should I be allowed to inspect and take photos when it is taken apart - I am very 'mechanical' and had diagnosed it correctly before going to them. 

    I sure would appreciate support from WGO, but I also have been subject to them blaming the customer and ignoring the issues at hand. Any advice from members is welcome! BTW - the service manager recommended I get in touch with the WGO regional service manager, which I plan to do - so long as he will return my call, unlike Al Steen at Forest City!




 

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John Canfield

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I've heard about embrittled awning fasteners breaking, but none in any units as new as yours. 

As far as Winnebago covering up something about the fastener issue, that's news to me.  Winnebago has taken good care of their customers with the fastener issue covering repairs even with the unit out of house warranty.

Your experience with your dealer's service department (two appointments to get something repaired) seems to be the norm.  We have had that exact experience with a Texas Winnebago dealer.

Your dealer should easily be able to take care of the problem, I think Winnebago allots 4 hours for the repair.
 

IslandGuy

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Saddlebrooke, AZ
I have the same issue in my WGO 2010 View. I think mine has always been that way....it looks like a "bow" when the awning is extended and there is a gap as your pictures shows...I'll have to get up under there and take a look and see if there are any broken screws or none at all!
Thanks for bringing this to the attention of the group...I wonder how many other awnings are in this shape?

Jim
 

MichiganView

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Oct 22, 2011
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Hi Jim -

Sorry to hear that your awning rail is also 'bowing out'. The problem with words is that sometimes they get in the way of communicating - the real concern in cases like yours and mine is *not* the *awning* - it is *roof /wall integrity and possible missing screws* . The way I understand it - the roof and wall aluminum substructure rails are screwed together - then the awning rail is screwed to that assembly to secure it in place  - then the fiberglass roof material is flexed into the 'J' channel (which is a physical part of the awning rail) and actually retains the roof material - then the 'J' channel should be 'filled' with a durable, waterproof sealant ( casually referred to simply as 'caulk'). So when we observe our awning rail pulling away it is a strong indication that no screws were installed at the factory to securely hold the awning rail in place, which in turn redirects the awnings stress to the flexed fiberglass roof material, which greatly stress the top roof sealant joint and cracks it open as well as eventually breaking the sealant located at the 'J' channel! (...or the screws were over-torqued and broke off?)

It appears to be a complex interlocking and interrelated set of otherwise simple components - however, if one component fails it creates a *serious domino effect structurally* and very quickly, at some point in time, major leaks occur, which causes sidewall delamination. To make this all a bit more complicated, WGO apparently had defective screws and/or an issue with many other coaches having broken screws due to over-torquing or whatever reason, which has already been documented on this site months ago. One of my complaints is that WGO pretends this has not - and does not happen! I was never told about the potential of my wall /roof separating due to their screws breaking - prior to purchasing my coach. WGO attempts to use 'smoke and mirrors' instead - they casually inform owners to 'check your caulk every 6 months' - simply implying it could crack and cause a leak. In reality, I believe they are fully aware that the "caulk cracking" is a relatively *minor symptom* of a *potentially major issue*, that is an underlying structural problem, which results in a *breach of support*, which directly leads to the "caulk" cracking. I think they are purposefully neglecting to inform each owner of additional, probable implications of 'cracking caulk' - so when these issues do surface WGO can easily say, "Sorry the caulking was your responsibility - you blew it - so you pay for the total structural repairs"? I believe the record will show this to be the case.

When I called WGO in Forest City last week to have my 'awning rail separation with incidental caulk cracking' - and other concerns recorded on their computer system - the service person on the phone, within a nano second knee jerk reaction responded with the precision of a well-programmed robot, 'the warranty on the caulking is only for 90 days after that any caulking maintenance issues are the full responsibility of the owner' - a paraphrase, but very close. I attempted to make it very clear to that individual that the 'caulking' was the least of my concern - I didn't want my awning supported by the fiberglass roof material and caulk, nor did I want to be concerned that sidewall delamination might take place as a result of *whatever underneath* was causing the 'caulk' to crack.

I am aware that I am being hard on WGO, but it is based on their poor past performance - if I am wrong, I will apologize publicly. We have had several warranty repair items worked on several different times for the same item and never got them actually remedied. Now I have this major issue, which *needs* to be addressed by them under warranty and I have zero confidence in their knowledge base, motivation nor ability to properly repair it - especially, for the long term! 

I'm still in the process of collecting data and sorting this all out - so don't pay any attention to me -  but check your own coaches 'caulking' and underside of the awning rail to see if it is pulling away from the exterior wall - if it is - I would get on it right away. Also if you observe this issue or have had it already repaired on any model Winnebago, please post it on this site so we can all begin to better protect ourselves. 

I will post a sampling of some earlier posts for clarity...       
 

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John Canfield

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MichiganView said:
...I am aware that I am being hard on WGO, but it is based on their poor past performance..

I have a completely different take on that.  It is my experience based on being on the forum for several years and being directly and indirectly involved with various issues that forum members have experienced, that Winnebago does a great job of standing behind their product.  I am personally aware of maybe a dozen instances of goodwill repairs being extended long after the warranty has expired for one example.

I'm having a very difficult time trying to understand exactly what the objective of your posts are.  You have some broken screws on the awning rail.  Okay.  What can we help you with?  Getting your repairs accomplished?  Help us out here.
 

IslandGuy

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I took a close look at mine today and looks like the screw heads on about 12 screws popped off...most likely from overzealous torque by the installer. Who knows! Strange how the end screws are OK just in the middle? Anyway I have an appointment with a WGO dealer on Thursday...hopefully WGO will pick up some of the cost on this.
 

mrschwarz

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I have been to Forest City and have nothing but good to say about them. I found the staff eager and willing to help, given the chance. Anything made by man is imperfect. It's how the company responds to it that defines them.

In my case, they came through.
 

FrontrangeRVer

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Michigan View, your dealer should be qualified to make the repairs.  Winnie most likely will cover this.

Oh....and when you take these things in to your dealer for service, certainly don't expect to sit in the waiting room as the service dept jumps on your unit.....it takes DAYS of leaving your motorhome at the dealer usually....just the nature of the beast.  Certainly dont expect to have this repair done in a day....won't happen.  ;)

PS.... I just had my motorhome in my local Winnie dealer to repair this EXACT problem.....TWICE.....this dealer didn't do a good job the first time replacing the broken screws (Winnie paid....way out of warrantee...no cost to me...thanks Winnie!).  After the first repair, I still saw a small gap under the rail and took it back for other work to be performed, and told them to please re-do it....and they did...no questions asked. 

Double PS:  chill....you will be ok....Winnie will come through
 

IslandGuy

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FrontrangeRVer said:
PS.... I just had my motorhome in my local Winnie dealer to repair this EXACT problem.....TWICE.....this dealer didn't do a good job the first time replacing the broken screws (Winnie paid....way out of warrantee...no cost to me...thanks Winnie!).  After the first repair, I still saw a small gap under the rail and took it back for other work to be performed, and told them to please re-do it....and they did...no questions asked. 

Double PS:  chill....you will be ok....Winnie will come through

When you went in to your Dealer to get this repaired what was the conversation about financial responsibility for the repair? I assume the Dealer went to bat for you and convinced WGO that this was a factory problem? Bad screws? Screws torqued to much? Any guess on the actual cause?

Thanks!

Jim
 

John Canfield

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I'll jump in with a couple of comments since there is a major need for clarification about the situation.

- First, Winnie will cover the repair costs for the broken screws.  The dealer simply needs to contact Winnebago for goodwill authorization

- Dealers can file claims for sealant (caulk) issues for the first year.  Winnebago has recommended sealant inspection for years, nothing new here

- There is no record of this kind of screw failure ever causing delamination

- The installation of the awning rail has two functions, retaining the roof fiberglass and an attachment point for the awning, it has no structural intent.  The roof to sidewall joint is made below the roof fiberglass before it is tucked into the rail

 

IslandGuy

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John Canfield said:
I'll jump in with a couple of comments since there is a major need for clarification about the situation.

- First, Winnie will cover the repair costs for the broken screws.  The dealer simply needs to contact Winnebago for goodwill authorization

- Dealers can file claims for sealant (caulk) issues for the first year.  Winnebago has recommended sealant inspection for years, nothing new here

- There is no record of this kind of screw failure ever causing delamination

- The installation of the awning rail has two functions, retaining the roof fiberglass and an attachment point for the awning, it has no structural intent.  The roof to sidewall joint is made below the roof fiberglass before it is tucked into the rail

Thanks John, appreciate your input!

Jim

 

IslandGuy

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John Canfield said:
I'll jump in with a couple of comments since there is a major need for clarification about the situation.

- First, Winnie will cover the repair costs for the broken screws.  The dealer simply needs to contact Winnebago for goodwill authorization

- Dealers can file claims for sealant (caulk) issues for the first year.  Winnebago has recommended sealant inspection for years, nothing new here

- There is no record of this kind of screw failure ever causing delamination

- The installation of the awning rail has two functions, retaining the roof fiberglass and an attachment point for the awning, it has no structural intent.  The roof to sidewall joint is made below the roof fiberglass before it is tucked into the rail

Finally heard back from Roy Robinson RV and they sent the estimate of $800 for approval to WGO.  Probably won't hear anything back from WGO until Monday to see if they are going to pick up all or some of the cost. Will keep you posted.
 

IslandGuy

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John Canfield said:
Jim - $800 sounds a little high.  As I recall Winnie has that as a four hour repair, hopefully you won't be out any $$ when it's all said and done.

John, I am caught between a rock and a hard place...if I did not go to an authorized WGO dealer I could kiss any type of compensation goodbye...will hope for the best.
 

IslandGuy

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John Canfield said:
Jim - $800 sounds a little high.  As I recall Winnie has that as a four hour repair, hopefully you won't be out any $$ when it's all said and done.

Heard back from Roy Robinson RV...WGO will cover 4 hrs of labor and RR estimate is 6.8 hrs to repair so I will have to pick up the difference. Was told by RR if the estimate goes over 6.8 hrs then I won't be charged the extra hrs and if less then will be charged less...glad to see WGO pick up some labor on this especially since we have had the MH for 3 years.
 

IslandGuy

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John Canfield said:
Thanks for checking back in with us Jim.  At least you are only going to be out of pocket for part of the expense.

Picked up my 2010 View today from Roy Robinson RV. Final cost to me was $370 out the door. That includes, tax, caulk, etc. Labor priced at [email protected] hr.
 

MichiganView

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Jim -

It is good news to hear that WGO agreed to help you with repair costs involving the broken screws along your awning rail and that it is now behind you.

In an earlier posting on this topic John Canfield said, "I'm having a very difficult time trying to understand exactly what the objective of your posts are.  You have some broken screws on the awning rail.  Okay.  What can we help you with?  Getting your repairs accomplished?  Help us out here."

My long post was made for more than one reason:

1)  Exploration to see if other Winnebago owners had experienced a similar awning rail, broken screw problem
2)  Discover what others had done to remedy the problem on the own or with WGOs help
3)  To share that not all owners are given the same top quality service by Winnebago or their dealerships
4)  Most of all, to alert other owners that this problem does exist so they could do something about it

Jim was one of the later - fortunately my post did alert him - he checked his awning rail and consequently, now has his repaired.

I appreciate the ability to voice opinion and solve problems on this and other forums - my solution is still pending with Winnebago. Will post more when repairs have been completed.

Bill  12VJMI


 

Wagonmaster2

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I've never been able to understand why it takes these RV dealers so many days to do a few hours labor.  I had to leave our Meridian at a dealer for 3 weeks for some warranty work but they actually only worked on it 4.5 hours.  The only part replaced was a broken tail light lens.  I'll never do that again.  I recently left my Chevrolet PU at a dealer at 1:00 PM for 3 hours work and they had it ready before 5:00 PM, and this was scheduled 3 weeks in advance.  Surely even the most inept RV dealers would have service managers that could schedule their jobs better than they do. 
Forest City wouldn't tell a customer it would take days in the shop to do 6 hours labor and they schedule work weeks in advance and probably do more repairs in a single day than a dozen dealerships would.
Probably tells us something about our dealers when the factory pays for 4 hours labor and it takes the dealer over 6 hours to do the work.  No wonder most dealers don't like doing warranty work, especially if they didn't sell the RV.  And do us RV owners ever get the shaft once the warranty is past.  Not much wonder so many of us do as much work ourselves as we can.
Please excuse the Rant.  Just sitting here on a cold Sunday evening with nothing to do and getting cabin fever already.
 

John Hilley

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I do most of my own work. To do things right always takes way longer than it seems it should. A lot of the work is re doing some thing the factory didn't do right. A lot of screws have pulled out. There was never any thing to really hold them. To fix that takes a backing plate or anchor of some sort. Fixing a loose screw can take a couple of hours. A lot of the electrical needs some additional protection anchoring, wire upgrade or connector replacement. I didn't keep trake of the time, but I'm sure I have over 40hrs of real time installing my solar panels, controller, inverter, and monitor. At $110/hr that's $4,000.
 
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