Things with springs scare me

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pheasant16

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Went to pull the awning out last trip. the little hook tab finally gave up the ghost. Already has a couple spots of duct tape elsewhere
and getting pretty crusty looking after 27 years. Watched a couple youtube videos, doesn't look real difficult to replace, but like the
title says powerful springs I dislike working with. Is a 20' Dometic. Don't have a clue as to cost, but fingers, bones, etc are more valuable than
a few dollars saved DIY. Years have taught me if you don't have any experience, a pro will save you time, money, and it will look nice when done.
 
It was not difficult, as you did watched a few vids (alot of vids). Make sure you have a good grip with the vice grips, count turns.
 
If you have not already undone things Open the awning (you will need a step ladder) then take a look at the back end. Good chance there is a hole for a pin. Use a good hard pin Smooth not threaded (Though I've seen smaller things done) Drill bits work well (*The shaft not the cutter part)

Then let the thing roll back up till the pin engages. Tape over to make sure it stays in place (masking should work Now you can slide the fabric out of the roller and the spring does not spring.
 
If you have not already undone things Open the awning (you will need a step ladder) then take a look at the back end. Good chance there is a hole for a pin. Use a good hard pin Smooth not threaded (Though I've seen smaller things done) Drill bits work well (*The shaft not the cutter part)

Then let the thing roll back up till the pin engages. Tape over to make sure it stays in place (masking should work Now you can slide the fabric out of the roller and the spring does not spring.
And remember there are springs at both ends of the tube.
 
Oh, oh, listening to you guys makes me think I should give it a try. :sneaky: Just to understand; open all the way, stick something in a hole so it can't retract, slide out fabric, slide in new stuff, remove pins form both sides and let it retract? No messing with springs?
 
Oh, oh, listening to you guys makes me think I should give it a try. :sneaky: Just to understand; open all the way, stick something in a hole so it can't retract, slide out fabric, slide in new stuff, remove pins form both sides and let it retract? No messing with springs?
Yes, but also check that any screws locking the fabric to the tracks are removed first. There's often one at one or both ends of the tracks.
 
When I replaced the awning fabric on my camper I didn't unwind the springs in the awning tube. Instead I drilled a hole on one end of the end cap where the awning fabric was, and then used a hacksaw to cut a groove to that hole so I could slide the old fabric put and the new one in. It worked for me without messing with the springs.
 
Oh, oh, listening to you guys makes me think I should give it a try. :sneaky: Just to understand; open all the way, stick something in a hole so it can't retract, slide out fabric, slide in new stuff, remove pins form both sides and let it retract? No messing with springs?
Its not that easy. On some RV's, the upper bracket for the forward arm has to be removed from the side of the RV to permit the fabric to slide out the front of the channel it is in. In some cases, the gutter downspout may be in the way and also need removing. The awning I did was an A&E8500 but they vary and mine did not have any holes, front or back for a pin to lock it. As I was doing the roof and the awning was removed for that, we taped the ratchet mechanism knob in place so it could not be accidently bumped, then with the bottom of the arms unlatched from the brackets, we grabbed an arm each and walked the fabric out of the channel. With the awning off the RV (a roller with the two arms attached) we rested the arms on sawhorses out in the yard, unwrapped the fabric off of the roller and removed it from the roller (mine had a molded cutout to feed the fabric thru). We fed the new fabric into the roller and then had to press it down into another slot and feed the length of "spaghetti" thru a hole in the end cap which held the fabric into the second slot. Re wrapped the fabric around the roller and picked it up and walked the new fabric into the channel on the side of the RV.

I did it with just two of us but a third would have help when coming off or on the RV. Myself and the guy helping me are both airline mechanics and are used to thinking out of the box to get things done easily but properly.

Charles
 
My new fabric arrives today. I guess we'll find out. I'm solo, so may have to do things in a less than optimum fashion.

Enjoyed the video, always neat to see the wisdom of experience in motion. What strikes me though is these aren't 20 somethings, they're relatively old duffers. Don't any young people work at trades anymore?

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
 
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Those of us who are handy tend to think any sort of mechanical work is easy. Maybe even fun. We probably have a box full of tools and prior experience with a variety of repairs or installations. But there are also among us those habitually use a table knife as a screwdriver and have to think "Righty-Tighty, Lefty Loosey" to open a water valve.

And it is a fact that a manual awning is potentially dangerous if the spring gets out of control. I saw one where the spring was locked down with a soft finishing nail, which bent under the pressure. The spring promptly spun the vise grips clipped to the shaft and whacked the unprepared RV owner in the wrist hard enough to cause a sprain. It's the sort of accident that are all too common with amateurs.
 
We had our fabric tear and got slide toppers replaced. Watching the two very experienced installers do it was enough to show me we made a good choice hiring it out! They got the old one off and the new one on in just over five minutes, but seeing the snap roll when they released it was impressive.
 
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Oh, oh, listening to you guys makes me think I should give it a try.
Should you decide not to do it yourself, Shade Pro has a very good reputation and reasonable prices. I chose not to do mine myself even though I have done the vast majority of repairs, when I just happened to be present when an inexperienced RV tech made a mistke that gave him a broken wrist.
 
I decided to hire this out. Talked with the service dept and got the fabric ordered today. Even after watching the youtubes, springs still scare me. The couple hundred extra will be worth not having to worry about the trip to ER and messing up the short summers we have up here. Have done enough DIY the past 50+ years that gonna treat myself on this one.
 
I received my awning fabric and did the job myself this weekend. Start to finish was a couple hours old awning rolled down to new awning rolled up. I decided to try drilling out and sawing slots in the front end cap and it did work OK.

1719890308066.png

So, no disassembly of arms or messing with roller springs. Being alone though, putting the piping through the roof and roller channels was like getting yoga pants on Rosie O'Donnel - a little bit at a time and lots of back and forth pushing and tugging. Having a second person would've made a huge time difference and lots fewer trips up and down the ladder. Who knows how long this particular material will last in NM sun but for the money and my sweat equity I'm OK for what I have in it.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
 

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