Carefree Slide Topper Problem - What Happened Here?

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Kim (skyking4ar2) Bertram

Moderator Emeritus
Jun 16, 2010
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Last night, during a pretty intense storm with high winds, it appears my slide topper took a big gust and did something I am not sure I can explain.

If I understand how the devices work, it appears that maybe the topper billowed at the wind end then tried to roll itself back up but not correctly. Did it overpower the spring tension for just a bit or ???

The problem we now have is that trying to retract the slide just appears to make a bigger mess and I doubt the slide would fully retract with the awning all wadded up. So this appears like it will have to be an onsite repair job.

Today we still have 30 mph winds so I am thinking being on a 12' ladder is not an option, but is this going to be as simple as rewinding a blind, or has this problem become a two man major work project? I don't see where anything has actually torn, so I assume it just rolled enough slack out to make a mess and then quit.

Anyone have any experience with a similar situation?


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You will need a couple of 16d nails to lock the roller springs in place.  Then yes it will probably be a two person job. Remove the brackets on the slide room and then you should be able to fix the problem and reinstall the mounting plates.  Then try it again.  It is possible you have broken a spring or other parts.  If that is the case, simply take the topper off until you get home or to a shop to fix it.
Difficult to tell from the picture but you may be able to unroll it and re roll it.  You could also take the tension off the springs.  There are one on each end.  Use extreme caution in either case as these spring are under tension.  If you attempt the re roll it should take at least two people on ladders at either end.  Three is better with one in the middle.  If I remember if you take the tension off the spring it is twelve revolutions to retension it.  Anyone who had a deployment while going down the road can identify with your problem.  You may want to toss a line over the toppers to prevent further billowing.  Some people stick an inflatable beach ball or other items inside each end of the topper and then throw a strap over them.
Well, $20 and a Cajun mobile RV technician later, he just jumped up on a ladder, spun the end out with one hand, then let the spring roll it back up, off we go!

My ladder was not nearly tall enough, but it was a good lesson in how the little rascals work. Another lesson learned, and inexpensively at that!  ;D

The guy across the street, however, had his patio awning shredded like toilet paper in the same wind. I consider myself quite fortunate (and smart enough to roll up everything I can when the winds are forecast at a sustained 35 mph). His lesson was a bit more expensive than mine.
Really glad to hear that the fix was relatively painless (innexpensive). I'm curious though... I thought those Carefree awnings had a wind sensor that would auto-retract the awning if the wind-speed reached a certain threshold. Is that not the case?


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