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Old 05-26-2007, 03:28 AM   #1
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Picture of the damage

Ugly, ugly! Had the awning out in a light rain yesterday. Rain continued to build in intensity to where we had a large pool of water weighing down the fabric. I tried to push up on the bulge to dump the water (as I have done before) and the shifting weight was too much on the rear arms and we had a catastrophic failure.

Dometic (parent company of A&E) are a little schizophrenic about the "water dump" feature of the awning. In some of their advertising they allude to the fact it can dump water, but other documentation calls the awning strictly a sunshade.

I suspect the marketing department wrote the advertising copy and the tech writers wrote the other documentation where it correctly states its inability to do anything in rain.

Got to run - time to get the tools and ladder out to see if I can get the thing to where I can roll it up.
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Old 05-26-2007, 03:28 AM   #2
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Picture of the damage

Ugly, ugly! Had the awning out in a light rain yesterday. Rain continued to build in intensity to where we had a large pool of water weighing down the fabric. I tried to push up on the bulge to dump the water (as I have done before) and the shifting weight was too much on the rear arms and we had a catastrophic failure.

Dometic (parent company of A&E) are a little schizophrenic about the "water dump" feature of the awning. In some of their advertising they allude to the fact it can dump water, but other documentation calls the awning strictly a sunshade.

I suspect the marketing department wrote the advertising copy and the tech writers wrote the other documentation where it correctly states its inability to do anything in rain.

Got to run - time to get the tools and ladder out to see if I can get the thing to where I can roll it up.
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Old 05-26-2007, 03:51 AM   #3
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That sure is ugly John. It looks like it may be able to be salvaged with some new parts. Did I see some other posts by you regarding the water dumping feature or lack of?

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Old 05-26-2007, 04:13 AM   #4
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Do any of the automatic awnings give you the capability to lower one end manually so water will run off?

Love my manual awning, by the way.

John, sorry you had a problem but I am thinking you will have it fixed pronto.
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Old 05-26-2007, 05:52 AM   #5
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OUCH!

Sorry to see that John. When we are parked for a while and I want to leave the awning out and we are around the MH, I disable the wind sensor, throw a small rope over the end of the arm, pull the arm down and stake the rope to the ground. My awning does dump water automatically but pulling the end down allows water to run off rather than collect and then dump.

I hope you can at least secure things for travel.
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Old 05-26-2007, 06:11 AM   #6
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John - Dang!! Hate to see that. The picture looks like the damage is confined to just the rear arm. Sure hope that's the case. Every time I see one of these things happen, it makes me wish we had the manual awning - never had a problem with them. I'm so gun shy now we don't use the awning nearly as much as we would a manual one...

Frank - that's a great idea! I've tested the tension and compression of the rear arm many times, but never thought of "preventative compression". That sounds as good as dropping the corner on a manual awning.
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Old 05-26-2007, 06:17 AM   #7
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John...Sorry...When we were in Forest City for warranty repairs in 2005, they tested our awning and found the fabric was too short and would not dump the water. The clue is the awning arms have to be straight when open or it won't dump the rain. In my case they put on a new and longer awning fabric under warranty.
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Old 05-26-2007, 06:37 AM   #8
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John,

I'm really sorry this happened, especially under such mild conditions.

We have no problem with water accumulation on our awning. If the coach is level the water rolls off the rear corner. However, my awning is the "full deployment" type versus the restricted "over the slide" type like you and so many others with right-front slides have. The angular differences may be the key.

I've always been a little dubious of the "over the slide" design and this incident just adds to my concern.
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Old 05-26-2007, 06:47 AM   #9
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WOW what a surprise that must have been - and sick feeling I expect. Guess I would have expected the thing to be strong enough. I will have to put that one in my memory bank so I don't have a similar experience.
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Old 05-26-2007, 06:54 AM   #10
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Sorry to see that happend John. I have seen and heard my awning dump water. I do have the short awning and the arms are not completely straight when the awning is extended.

After seeing your damage I am propably foolish to trust it to dumpwater every time without fail.

Looks like some new arms should take care of the damage. Now lets see if A&E steps up to the plate and takes care of you.
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Old 05-26-2007, 07:09 AM   #11
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My camping buddy Bob and I (along with a couple of helpful campers) managed to get the awning to a point to where we could stow it.

We disconnected the arm from the end of the roller tube and straightened out the bent arm. We reattached the arm to the roller and removed the lower strut mounting point and carefully rolled the awning up while guiding the arms back to their stowed position.

Some cable ties and some lock wire should keep it secured while we figure out what to do with it.

There are bent parts at the end of the roller, and several broken parts on the aft arms (as you might expect.)

I have never been real happy with the awning performance in any kind of rain, so I will be looking into alternatives. I tried to get Winnie to lengthen the fabric on one of our trips, but they tested the awning and say it is working nominally.

The problem (at least in my opinion) is the awning was designed to be mounted with more of a slope - it most likely works fairly well (as in kneeling and dumping water) when mounted with a more acute deployment angle. When coaches were appearing with more and more slides, compromises had to be made, in particular with the curb-side slide awning. The awning needs to to extend out more horizontally to clear the slide topper, hence the lack of an appropriate deployment angle.
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Old 05-26-2007, 07:57 AM   #12
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I saw a coach (in one of the mags) with a nearly full wall slide on the curb side with an awning attached to the slide vs. the side of the coach. It appeared it could be deployed at a more acute angle.

On most coaches with curb side slides, wonder why manufacturers don't offer a slide-mounted awning....shorter in most cases but at least perhaps a bit more functional. In fact, I am not sure you couldn't have two awnings on a curb side...one mounted to the slide wall and a second mounted to the coach....length adjusted on the slide-mounted awning so when both are deployed, they are aligned??? Probably would not be popular due to the extra hardware involved.
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Old 05-26-2007, 08:52 AM   #13
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Sorry for the trouble John.

A couple of poly grommets placed in the fabric at what becomes the low point of water collection would allow the water to escape in heavy downpours and in a light rain the water would run around the grommet. Looks like there
would be room for the discharge to hit the ground instead of on the slide.
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Old 05-26-2007, 09:16 AM   #14
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Next time it will be a manual awning for me!

It sure is nice to push a switch and have the awning operate but the manual type are much sturdier and give more shade. I never have been able to figure out why my awning is so high. Heck, I'm 6'5" and cannot even touch the bottom of the awning valance. But I have seen other similar size WGO coaches on which the awning is a lot lower. (Not over a slide, tho.) Seems as tho putting on a longer fabric would require some changes to the geometry of the arms and supports! Any thoughts on that?
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