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Old 06-23-2014, 09:36 PM   #1
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Awning Sliding Bracket Repair

Carefree Awning Arm Slider Repair


And


Thoughts On Hardware Used By Carefree

On my first trip out last year when closing the awning it jammed see: http://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f7/first-outing-thoughts-2656.html
Well I finally got around to replacing the sheared rivet / lock tab on the sliding bracket. I have to say I am not impressed with the hardware Carefree used to hold the sliding bracket in place. It is nothing more than a steel set screw screwed into the alum extrusion. Steel and alum in such contact IE Steel threads cutting into alum is a recipe for corrosion in an outdoor environment albeit the set screw is alodined or anodized it is scraped off when it is installed. Over time and with road vibration, temperature changes and the differences in thermal expansion and contraction of the two metals the set screw will eventually loosen and fall out. How many would ever think to check that it is secured.

The Semi Tubular rivet used is either made out of T4 2117 or 2017 alum easily cut with a pair of diagonal cutters so I am going with T4 2017. I will caution you, If you are not familiar with how to install solid rivets / Tubular rivets do not attempt the replacement of the rivet take it to a shop. The parts come as a kit 1 bracket and 1 rivet for $35.00 if you make a mistake you’re out $35 bucks for another rivet. Carefree will not deal these parts direct I had to go through ETI. You will need to also make a jig to slide into the arm to prevent it from bouncing and collapsing while upsetting the rivet (I used a Piece of Oak). In my case the manufacture head sheared why is a debate for engineers could be bad install procedure, hole prep, rivet gun set etc, defective rivet.

My opinion is the rivet material is to soft and the type of rivet is wrong for a piece that pivots every time the awning open and closes. Carefree did not use a bushing to prevent wear on the rivet shank and used a low profile manufacture head product IE the head is half the thickness of a normal rivet head of that size. They used the same type of rivet to hold the top arm to the trailer bracket (I will be changing both of them out with appropriate sized anodized bolts with nyla nuts. The use of the semi tubular rivets on points subjected to shear, torsion and friction along with high speed vibrations and you have a recipe for rivet failure.

Furthermore, the nuts and bolts they did use are rusting already they will be changed out to 316 SS hardware. If you are unsure of the quality of SS items just put a magnet on it if it sticks or has any attraction at all then it is low quality SS and will rust.

The short version of this discussion is CHECK ALL YOUR AWNING HARDWARE before heading out and upon arrival as you open the awning. There are not many bolts / rivets to check but it is better to find them sooner than later. Imagine the top arm rivet shearing off as your driving down the highway at 60 mph it will beat the side of the trailer to death before you notice as it is above your line of sight. Even if you had the straps on to prevent it opening it will still flutter and damage the trailer or window.

Cypher
Bracket View W_Rivet Manufacture Head Side.jpg

Bracket View W_Rivet Shop Head Side.jpg

Hollow Rivet Manufacture Head Sheared.jpg

Hollow Rivet Shop Head.jpg

IMG_20140623_172645.jpg

IMG_20140623_172653.jpg

RT Pic3.jpg

RT Repair Part.jpg
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Old 06-23-2014, 09:51 PM   #2
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I always felt that those little slip things were a weak point in the awning, in fact I already lost one on my new one after 3 uses. I just use it with out the pin!! Glad you got it fixed, maybe you can look at mine at the rally and come up with a fix. How about a threaded rod that can easily be replaced?
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Old 06-23-2014, 10:25 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
I always felt that those little slip things were a weak point in the awning, in fact I already lost one on my new one after 3 uses. I just use it with out the pin!! Glad you got it fixed, maybe you can look at mine at the rally and come up with a fix. How about a threaded rod that can easily be replaced?
Take a picture of exactly which one your talking about I am hunting low clearance ss bolts and nuts it would fit the slot with out interfering with the movement. If need be I can machine a part my mini lathe can handle 12 inch long x 2 inch diameter max.

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Old 07-01-2014, 03:20 PM   #4
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Cypher,
Could you substitute a stainless steel roll pin?
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Old 07-01-2014, 07:37 PM   #5
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Awning bracket

I had to go out right now to check my brackets and rivets, that meant I had to open the awning and also I could then see if it needs to be washed this weekend when I do the trailer. My rivets look good and I had no problems when I had the 19. When I open or close the awning, I only open half way on one end then go to the opposite end, if this might be a factor I don't know but (knock on wood) I haven't had a problem with a lot of use. Of course I don't have winter type of weather either.
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Old 07-01-2014, 07:52 PM   #6
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I photographed Tammy showing new owners how to open the awning. She opened a couple feet on one end and then the other, and back. I asked because I thought you could go half way on one and then the other. But, she said it should be opened a bit at a time alternating sides.
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Old 07-01-2014, 07:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
I photographed Tammy showing new owners how to open the awning. She opened a couple feet on one end and then the other, and back. I asked because I thought you could go half way on one and then the other. But, she said it should be opened a bit at a time alternating sides.
That method would let the clearances in the rivet/hole take up the slack a bit at a time instead of putting a lot of torque on one side or the other....
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Old 07-02-2014, 01:06 AM   #8
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Cypher,
Could you substitute a stainless steel roll pin?
Russ
If the bracket was steel yes I could stake a roll pin in, I did get the OEM rivet from ETI. I installed it with some modification of tools I own though, if you do not have experience shooting semi tubular rivets it is not something one should try. As the age old saying goes " Experience is in direct relation to equipment ruined" :} the replacement parts kit cost US $35.00 a bit pricey for experimenting as they are a one shot deal do it wrong you split the rivet.

I went over the whole frame system and noted several places self plugging ( Pop Style) or semi tubular rivets were used when it just as easily could have been bolts. NOT AN ETI PROBLEM the manufacturer designed it that way for cost efficiency and speed of assembly.

Yes the awnings will more then likely last a very long time with those rivets however, you will not get a warning the rivet is failing or has failed till it does. With semi tubular rivets you can look at the shop head and see if it has split or broken etc. The on I replace had sheared the manufactured head not the shop head. With bolts and nuts you can check for corrosion, tightness etc. The moving parts riding on the rivet shanks will wear them so it is use dependent. They did not put a hardened bushing in to protect the rivet shank. Nylon nuts and or lock washers would prevent the bolts from loosening or if need be Loctite BLUE.

I am looking at different fasteners when I decide and replace the ones that I feel should be / can be I will post the info and pictures.

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Old 07-02-2014, 07:27 AM   #9
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I'm lost now. The part I was referring to in post#2 was the little clip on the end of the top side rail, seen in photo#6 above that when you extend and then tighten the black knob. The clip inserts into a hole on the main awning, see photo #6 to keep it there until you tighten the knob. It is this clip that got twisted and now it does not go into the hole. The clip is attached with a rivet which is inaccessible without dismantling the awning arms. I thought this was the clip the OP was referring to in post#1? I was hoping there was a way to easily replace the clip in the event of failure or malfunction. Nothing to do with opening halfway!! I can still use the awning, the clip has nothing structural, more of a convenience that holds the end up until it is tightened. The awning is fully 100% operational without the clip, just a matter of convenience.
Not sure what other brackets are in jeopardy opening and closing all of part of the way?
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Old 07-02-2014, 01:55 PM   #10
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I'm lost now. The part I was referring to in post#2 was the little clip on the end of the top side rail, seen in photo#6 above that when you extend and then tighten the black knob. The clip inserts into a hole on the main awning, see photo #6 to keep it there until you tighten the knob. It is this clip that got twisted and now it does not go into the hole. The clip is attached with a rivet which is inaccessible without dismantling the awning arms. I thought this was the clip the OP was referring to in post#1? I was hoping there was a way to easily replace the clip in the event of failure or malfunction. Nothing to do with opening halfway!! I can still use the awning, the clip has nothing structural, more of a convenience that holds the end up until it is tightened. The awning is fully 100% operational without the clip, just a matter of convenience.
Not sure what other brackets are in jeopardy opening and closing all of part of the way?
CpaHarley,

Yes the clip is what was missing when I found the rivet that holds it sheared. No there is no easy way for someone who does not have the tools to remove and replace that rivet. Getting the piece out requires the removal of the set screw at the bottom of the track and sliding the arm down and out then remove the black knurl nut completely. Be careful the knurl nut tightens up on a floating nut when you remove the knurl nut and bring the arm down it will slide out of the arm. Just catch it or pick up and put it back when it is fixed. Or wait till I find the right bolts ands I can do it maybe in Sept.

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