Hello from a new 1977 28ft owner!

A little about yourself
cdnunn01
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2017 4:32 am

Re: Hello from a new 1977 28ft owner!

Post by cdnunn01 » Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:51 am

Thanks! So here's the issue... This trailer had no awning and no roller bar thing for the awning. It only has the side and middle bars and the c channel rail. We've looked into a replacement and its gonna cost us between $1000-$2000 to get that replaced, depending on the brand. Apparently we only have two choices, Zip Dee (original) and Dometic (aftermarket). We can go cheaper with a place like vintagetrailer.com, but thats still gonna be around $750 for a 20' awning. So to save some much needed money we have made our our 20' awning (tarp) out of silpoly material used to lightweight backpacking tarps. We are hikers and ultralight backpackers too so we've made many tarps in the past, that was the easy part. The hard part is coming up with a good solution for attaching it to the camper. We will be working on it again today if the rain stops, but so far what we are thinking will work is to have our tie down points at the ends (lengthwise) and attach them to the ends of the c channel. Then we will have other tie out points across the top which we will use heavy duty marine grade suction cups to attach them across the top up under the curved aluminum flap that usually covers your existing awning. That should keep the tarp pulled taught across the top so that rain doesn't come in and it doesn't sag over the door (In theory). Then we will connect the other ends that roll outward to the existing arm bars, pull it all taught, and then stake it out to the ground using our Amsteel and a little shock cord (the system we use for our backpacking hammock tarps). All of this is of course "in theory". Until we finish it completely and test it out we won't know if that will work. But the tarp itself is very pretty. We got the steel gray color to match everything and its very lightweight and extremely durable and waterproof. We may need to run a piece, 20', of electrical conduit cross the arm bars so that it acts like the roller bar would to keep the arms stable, but that will be tested today or tomorrow. It may or may not be necessary, we aren't sure just yet. Awnings are no fun, and the sewing that was required to make this 20'x10' awning was so tedious that I never want to look at a sewing machine again! LOL . Of course, any suggestions to improve upon our DIY awning would be welcome and appreciated!

nralifer
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Posts: 509
Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2016 11:42 pm

Re: Hello from a new 1977 28ft owner!

Post by nralifer » Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:35 am

Hmmmmm...... I am going thru this in my head and imagining if I was needing to do it........

As you say, one of the challenges is attaching the awning to the trailer. In your proposed solution, those suction cups.... those would be stuck to the body of the trailer?

As an alternative, I am wondering if it would be feasible to install about 1000 snaps (figuratively speaking....) to the upper edge of the awning and the aluminum awning cover? Maybe with enough of those it would provide good attachment? Or, somehow use grommets and rope of some kind along that upper edge?

I always carry a 5' step ladder with me, so I am thinking of solutions with that in mind.

I dunno..... just doing a mental exercise.
nra1ifer
1987 Avion 34W
Every day is a good day..... some are just better than others!

silverloaf
Posts: 98
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:01 pm

Re: Hello from a new 1977 28ft owner!

Post by silverloaf » Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:21 pm

I, too, am looking for different ideas to re-engineering the awning.

The OEM awning design on our 1988 30P is pretty hokey. Before we bought it, the wind grabbed it and ripped it to shreds. The upper bracket attaching the rear arm to the roof is loose from missing a screw or two. I think its a contributing factor to the water damage to the bathroom floor.

Ours has this small roller attached near the top of the entry door. I assume it is there to prevent the door from garfing up the fabric. Whatever the case, it screams barn job.

Keep the ideas rolling, please.

Bob

nralifer
Moderator
Posts: 509
Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2016 11:42 pm

Re: Hello from a new 1977 28ft owner!

Post by nralifer » Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:40 pm

Those brackets are common areas for leaks. It is best to remove them, clean the bracket and that area of the trailer, then reattach them using the proper number of screws and ParBond to seal the area where they meet. I also sealed a leak source on our Avion at the rear end of the awning rail..... I think water was wicking underneath that rail and running inside. Did some sealing under that rail, and PRESTO, no more leak!

I like that roller.....


silverloaf wrote:I, too, am looking for different ideas to re-engineering the awning.

The OEM awning design on our 1988 30P is pretty hokey. Before we bought it, the wind grabbed it and ripped it to shreds. The upper bracket attaching the rear arm to the roof is loose from missing a screw or two. I think its a contributing factor to the water damage to the bathroom floor.

Ours has this small roller attached near the top of the entry door. I assume it is there to prevent the door from garfing up the fabric. Whatever the case, it screams barn job.

Keep the ideas rolling, please.

Bob
nra1ifer
1987 Avion 34W
Every day is a good day..... some are just better than others!

cdnunn01
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2017 4:32 am

Re: Hello from a new 1977 28ft owner!

Post by cdnunn01 » Wed Sep 13, 2017 6:48 am

Well, we tested it out last night using 1.5" PVC pipe as the roller bar... It doesn't work. It has way too much flex in it ant the connection points. So we went back to Lowes and tested in the aisle the metal conduit like we originally thought we'd go with, and because that also has to be connected together in the center it also had too much flex. I realize that a center brace going from the floor to the center of the "roller bar" is necessary to keep any material from flexing given that we are working with 2 10' pipes rather than one 20' pipe, but still if we want that route it would have to be taken down each and every time we set up, which would get rather tiresome and heavy (the metal conduit is quite weighty). We wanted to be able to permanently keep the "roller bar" up there so that we would only have the tarp material to set up each time, but that clearly will not work.

I really like the snap idea you had for the material, but we really wanted to avoid drilling anything to the trailer. If we go with that route, I could sew on half of the snaps to the tarp but then the other half would have to be screws to the trailer and we aren't willing to do that just yet. The suction cups arrive today, but after troubleshooting yesterday, we can clearly see that there is no way the suction cups will hold up to the amount of tension we will be putting on that big of a tarp to keep it taught in windy conditions. So they are going to be returned when they arrive.

But there's still hope!! I have a new plan! 20'x10' is just damn big for an awning without the proper awning equipment, that is clear. I am going to cut down my length to 15' and my depth to about 6'. That is more than enough to keep us shaded and dry and will make this whole thing so much easier. I also FINALLY found the proper material to attach the awning fabric (ours is silpoly) to the actual awning rail that is on the trailer! I searched forever and couldn't find it and didn't know exactly what to call it and once I was about to give up, there it was! Its called awning rail bead and a company called Keder makes it! The size I need for a vintage trailer is 5/16ths and they sell it on amazon cheap! (link below) I am going to sew that onto my material, feed it into the awning rail c channel, then use telescoping tent poles at three points we will grommet the tarp and stake down the tent poles at the ends and one in the center. Done. That is exactly how vintagetrailersupply.com does it, and thats how I'm going to do it, but at a fraction of the price. I really think this is going to work... fingers crossed. So we won't need suction cups, a roller bar, our side bars, nothing. Just feed through the c channel, and stake it out with tent poles. I don't know why we didn't just go that simple to begin with. We tried to come up with more complex permanent solutions and it just isn't worth the hassles we are facing.

So to compare, ordering one from domestic or Zip dee will cost us between $1500-$2000. Ordering from vintagetrailersupply.com at 15' will cost us $694. This solution is a grand total of $141. Much better. The bead material and poles from amazon cost $61, and the material (14 yards and I didn't even need that much had I known I'd only be doing 15' instead of 20') cost $80 from ripstopbytheroll.com. We already have all the cordage and stakes needed for the tie downs because we are backpackers. I did all the sewing myself because tarps are easy to make... tedious, especially at 20'x10', but easy none the less.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00P6 ... UTF8&psc=1
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00VT ... UTF8&psc=1
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LY ... UTF8&psc=1
https://ripstopbytheroll.com/collection ... 6870724801

So there it is... I should have all my materials in sometime next week and be able to make the changes and test it out. I will report back with pics (if it turns out, lol) when I'm done!

Thanks so much for all the help and feedback! Much appreciated!

Sawmiller
Posts: 43
Joined: Fri Jun 16, 2017 3:45 pm

Re: Hello from a new 1977 28ft owner!

Post by Sawmiller » Wed Sep 13, 2017 5:25 pm

Thanks for all the info and links. Very helpful. Looking forward to seeing the finished product.

silverloaf
Posts: 98
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:01 pm

Re: Hello from a new 1977 28ft owner!

Post by silverloaf » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:03 pm

Thank you for the tips on the leak paths.

nralifer
Moderator
Posts: 509
Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2016 11:42 pm

Re: Hello from a new 1977 28ft owner!

Post by nralifer » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:16 pm

Regarding the snap idea.......

You still have the awning cover pieces that would normally wrap around the stowed awning..... Any possibility of adding the screw-in pieces of the snaps along that edge?

Still doing mental exercises..... not real sure how practical any of my ideas would be.

Several ideas will produce a decent-looking awning to use, but my other concern is: how fast can you bring it all in if you get caught in a sudden or unexpected storm?

While I'm at it, I would like to suggest that whatever you end up with, add some grommets near the outside edge of the awning to act as drain holes to keep too much rain from pooling when the awning is deployed.
nra1ifer
1987 Avion 34W
Every day is a good day..... some are just better than others!

cdnunn01
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2017 4:32 am

Re: Hello from a new 1977 28ft owner!

Post by cdnunn01 » Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:05 am

Ah, ok I see what you mean about the snaps. That would definitely be a better option. My only concern would be that since that flap moves it could potentially release tension on the tarp but perhaps not. If this new method doesn't work then we will certainly be giving that a try! It's a really good idea!

Trust me, I understand about the mental exercises! We have come up with many options thus far and nothing seems to work in application the way it does in our heads! LOL

The ability to remove this new method fast in an emergency is certainly a big issue to resolve. I'm not sure that any method we come up with is going to be easy and fast, short of spending $2K on a real working awning. We are going to see if this works, then start to troubleshoot how quickly we can get a tight and fast set-up and take down. We are really good with set - up and take down of tarps out in the woods, but this is very different and we will be working with an abnormal length and a height that we aren't used to dealing with in the woods. And both of us being short, we will absolutely need to carry to step stools with us. :-)

Yes, the grommet kit should arrive in a day or two, so we will be re-inforcing our tarp and adding grommets for sure. I really hope this time we are successful. It has been a struggle and we really would like to have this be a cheap and durable fix to last us until we decide to bite the bullet and pay for a real awning.

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