Author Topic: Tightening your awning springs yourself...safely!  (Read 29055 times)

Offline ClydesdaleKevin

  • 11 year member
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  • Posts: 3685
  • Member since: 2005
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1989
  • Make: Holiday Rambler
  • Model: Imperial 35 Anniversary Edition
  • Chassis: Chevy/Oshkosh/HRC
  • Engine: 454
Tightening your awning springs yourself...safely!
« on: November 10, 2011, 08:28 AM »
Okay, so my Carefree Awning came from the factory with springs that weren't tight enough, so I had to help the awning roll itself up from day one.  Yeah it was under warranty, but that meant taking it off, returning it to the RV dealer, and then waiting for them to fix it and then picking it back up and reinstalling it.  What a bother!

So, asking a few RV techs and making sure they were on the same page, I successfully and easily tightened my own springs...by myself mind you...and now the awning functions as it should.

You will need a helper if you don't have a center leg/arm/rafter thingy, but if you have a center leg like we do, its a solo job.

So here is how you do it. 

Bring your awning out all the way and tight., just like you were setting it up to camp.  Now swing the legs out and set them on the ground...and stake them down.  If you have a center leg/rafter, swing it out and stake it down, and make sure the rafter is tight.

If you don't have a center leg, you need a helper and a step ladder.  Have your helper up on the step ladder to support the awning tube a few feet from the side you are working on.

Start with the rear leg.  It doesn't matter for the rear leg which setting the awning switch is set to, roll up, or roll down.

Now make sure that your front leg is still staked down, your center arm is staked down, and/or your helper is on deck on his ladder.  Pull the stakes on the rear leg's foot.  Loosen the knob on the upper support arm really loose, then unclip the upper arm from the knuckle that the arm and leg attach too.  With the leg still on the ground supporting the weight of the awning tube, slide the arm down...it will come free at the knob in the middle of the arm, which will then swing back and thump against your RV.  The part of the arm that attaches to the knuckle will drop towards you...tuck it inside the leg and hold it there.  You are ready to tighten the spring!

If you are doing this solo with the center leg, be careful not to bend your awning tube.  If you are using a help, tell him to hold on tight...now wind the whole leg clockwise...pretty sure its clockwise for the rear leg...just follow the arrow on the awning knuckle...they all have them.  Give it 3 or 4 turns.  The whole leg.  This is why its safe.  You have the weight and leverage of the whole rear leg working for you, and the springs aren't strong enough to move the whole leg violently.

Once you've tightened the spring, set the leg back on the ground, supporting the weight of the awning tube, and stake it back down.  Take the awning arm laying against your coach and the one still in the leg, and reconnect them by sliding the one in the arm up and realigning the knob...bring it all the way back up until it clicks into the knuckle,  push on the leg to tighten the awning fabric, and tighten that knob back up.  Now you are ready for the front.

For the front, the selector switch MUST be set to "Roll Down."

The process is the same as the back leg, but this time you wind the arm counter clockwise  (again, follow the arrow on the knuckle).  Give it 3 or 4 turns...the same amount you gave the back leg...and reassemble the arm to the leg. 

Keeping the side you are not working on staked down keeps the whole awning stable while you wind the leg.  With a center leg, you don't even need a helper if you are tall enough and strong enough not to let your awning tube bend at the center leg.  If you aren't sure, use a helper anyway.

Its safe and easy, and it works!  My awning now rolls right up nice and tight all by itself...make sure you hold that ribbon with the rod now!  She wants to wind up!

I did have to do mine twice.  The magic number I got from all the techs I talked to was 3-4 turns, so the first time I did it, I went with 3 turns, and it was ALMOST tight enough...I didn't have to help it much and it wound itself up once I helped it with the first couple of turns.  I redid the process, turning each leg one more time, and it was perfect.

Safe and easy!

Kev
Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 98 Cherokee lifted beastie tow vehicle, and The Nautilus, our 1989 Holiday Rambler Imperial 35 Anniversary Edition.

Offline Elandan2

  • 15 Year Member
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  • Year: 1977
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Elandan II D27DRK
  • Chassis: Dodge M500
  • Engine: 440
Re: Tightening your awning springs yourself...safely!
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2011, 12:28 PM »
I have read that the springs should be wound up the same number of turns that your awning is in feet.  For example, 15 foot awning, 15 turns on each end.  This is assuming that you are starting from scratch such as installing a new awning or after replacing the awning fabric.  Rick
Treatzall Waste tank sanitizer, lighting, and other RV related products!
Rick Ellerbeck, 1977 Elandan II

Offline ClydesdaleKevin

  • 11 year member
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  • Posts: 3685
  • Member since: 2005
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1989
  • Make: Holiday Rambler
  • Model: Imperial 35 Anniversary Edition
  • Chassis: Chevy/Oshkosh/HRC
  • Engine: 454
Re: Tightening your awning springs yourself...safely!
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2011, 08:01 AM »
If installing a new awning, like this one was, it should already be wound tight at the factory...after install, you pull 2 cotter pins that release the springs, and it comes under tension.  Mine just wasn't tensioned enough.  Good to know though for anyone replacing thier awning fabric, or if a knuckle breaks and all the spring tension gets unwound.

Kev
Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 98 Cherokee lifted beastie tow vehicle, and The Nautilus, our 1989 Holiday Rambler Imperial 35 Anniversary Edition.

Offline Oz

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  • "So let it be written; so let it be done!"
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Re: Tightening your awning springs yourself...safely!
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2011, 02:29 PM »
I did this too on the Chariot.  Carefree awning.  It was so easy, a caveman can do it.  Hmmm... I think I just came up with a great advertising idea!  BTW - we have the awning manuals in the Member Area too, complete with pictures and all.
Previously enjoyed our '74 - D24 Indian & '74 - D24 Indian Custom

Offline GONMAD

  • Full Time Adventurer!
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  • Year: 1984
  • Make: Itasca
  • Model: Windcruiser
  • Chassis: P-30
  • Engine: 454+030
Re: Tightening your awning springs yourself...safely!
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2013, 08:39 PM »
Try holding the tube at full extension & winding the main arm in the direction you want. Do this for BOTH arms & you never have to worry about getting injured. I don't know why they tell you to do it otherwise. C YA! GONMAD

pzorkit

Re: Tightening your awning springs yourself...safely!
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2015, 01:58 AM »
Thanks Kev. Your 4-yr-old post was a godsend. The awning spring on my '82 Terry fifth wheel was horribly wimpy - figured I was going to have to scrap the whole unit and buy new to the tune of about $800. I'd looked at all the other posts and videos showing how to secure the end cap with vice grips, drill out the rivets and wind in more tension. Scared the bejesus out of me. Although I have my husband to assist me with some of the heavier work, this old woman is pretty much flying solo on the DIY remodel/restoration of this old trailer. Your description on how to tackle the awning problem safely with just some moderate help from the old gentleman was very encouraging. We put in 3 turns on each side today. The awning now rolls up tight enough to be usable. I may go through the routine once more (like you did) to see if I can get the tension a little more snappy. Just thought you'd like to know that the info you posted is still helping folks solve a problem. I really appreciate the advice. Saved me a ton of money and a good deal of time/labor and nerves.

Offline RANGERRICK

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  • Year: 1996
  • Make: Jayco
  • Model: 31BHS
Re: Tightening your awning springs yourself...safely!
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2015, 07:55 PM »
If you ever need parts for that 82 carefree awning i may be able to help you.
Bill

 

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