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Author Topic: Zip Dee Awning  (Read 5591 times)
Doug1968
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« on: July 10, 2011, 10:07:41 AM »

Fellows,

Does anyone have a Zip Dee awning mounted on an MCI 102a3 that they could send me a photo of. I would like to see what the awning looks like once mounted.

And, if you have this awning how well do you like it?

Thanks,

Doug
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« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2011, 11:57:36 AM »

Call zip dee, tell them what coach you have they will Fax you a diagram og your coach frame work, and the awning mounting points. Keep frame diagram it may be handy for drilling hole for other things later,  good luck
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« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2011, 07:35:08 PM »

Bill gives very good advice. Its a good liking awning but if you were to ask me, and I have one, you wouldn't like my opinion. I'll just leave it at that and to simplify, if I had to do it again, I would look at other brands!
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Ace Rossi
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« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2011, 07:49:43 PM »

Doug, I have always used Zip/Dee great awnings but you get over over 20ft in length with one they bow in the middle if you are not careful just like the cheaper ones and they are easy to install Jack at Zip/Dee will walk you through it step by step,the upright arms with the power heads are easy to bend in a press to match your roof line.
 Bob Evans and I bent one the wrong way and we had to bend it back in the opposite direction and the arm didn't break.
Go to a marine dealer in your area and spend some of the easy money you make lol and buy the polished stainless awning rail for the top with s/s screws it looks sharp  

good luck
« Last Edit: July 11, 2011, 05:29:32 PM by luvrbus » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2011, 10:52:11 PM »

They're great awnings. I had the incredible luck to have bus-Yoda coach me through installing mine but even without such help I think a fool like myself could have got the job done. And the factory was super to deal with too.
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« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2011, 02:08:29 PM »

I just installed window and patio on my son's 102A3 and they look great.  I am a dealer for the zipdee awnings.  Going to take pictures tomorrow and will try and post on here.  Don't pay any attention to Ace, he just doesn't have any taste for quality.
If you do get Zipdee pay the extra and get NX hardware.
Jack
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« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2011, 02:21:34 PM »

     We have had 3 window and 1 patio ZipDee on our coach for 10 years with no problems (and we purchased them used). Only thing I have done is apply DWR (durable water resistant) spray about every 5 years.  We are very pleased with them.
     Ace, what is your specific complaint with ZipDee awnings?   Jack
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« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2011, 05:22:28 PM »

We have a used 22' Zip Dee awning and really like it. Currently looking for some Zip Dee window awnings to match. I chose Zip Dee because they are pretty durable and easy to maintain.


Now hopefully Doug will get his question answered. Grin
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« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2011, 05:40:29 PM »

We have the Fiesta by Carefree on the S&S motorhome that will really make you appreciate a Zip/Dee lol it is a PITA to work both ways Zip/Dee in a manual awning is the best way to go IMO for the electric
I would go with the Girard I didn't really care for the Zip/Dee electric or other brands of a electric awnings 

good luck
« Last Edit: July 11, 2011, 05:45:56 PM by luvrbus » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2011, 07:20:49 PM »

I have a 20 ft A&E and I think it is a superb product.  When I first got my RV I went to the beach.  Had to have a passerby/neighbor show me how to put it down and what all to do.  Give you an idea?  After moving to a space that was right on the water at Pac Beach I put the awning back out.  I can feel many of you shaking your heads and knowing what is coming.  Fat dumb and happy, I set about the BBQ and beer sip'n and telling lies to friends and family.  The wind came up a tetch but that didn't trigger any alarms in my fire house.  A little more wind and I started to hear the awning flap around a bit.  Still no alarms.  A big gust and the extender arms folded and the awning quit flapping next to the RV and started flapping on the roof of the RV.  I knew at once that something was amiss.  Just color me clever.

A friend and I heaved on the bent arms and finally hammered, jammed and forced them into the piece of extrusion that they heretofore had slipped into.  As I recall it was a three beer effort and we were sure it would never work again and that we had only made the thing safe to drive home.  A couple days later I and a different friend looked at those bent arms and pondered how to get the thing apart and where to buy new arms.  On a lark, after getting the arms slid apart...a 4 beer project....we tried to straighten the arms by tweaking them as we slid them together.  It went smoothly and amazingly the things worked perfectly and were perfectly straightened.  Those extrusions are butter soft and easily straightened by an amateur....read "by me".

The sagging problem is successfully dealt with by installing the brace designed fo that purpose.  It sits under the rolled awning and prevents the main tube from taking a set from the bumping going down the road.  After the awning is extended you reconfigure the support to brace the awning away from the coach and that relieves sag.  If you have the space or add a screen room, that same brace will also open up to provide a vertical brace that supports the main tube from bending down under the load of the porch and if that support is fixed to the cement or screwed into the earth the awning is stable in a breeze.

I think this thing is a terrific product.  ZippDee must have similar options and add-ons.  I thought A&E was a better design and more stout.  Could be wrong but I know for sure that ZippDee is a good product.  But Ace doesn't agree with me. Shocked  Then again, he has had both, it would seem. Grin

John
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« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2011, 07:29:37 PM »

JohnEd,Zip/Dee does not use a center support Jack at Zip/Dee told me to prevent the middle sag is to keep the awning adjusted properly  I don't if that works or not I gave Sonnie Gray the 24 ft Zip/Dee let him worry with is my motto LOL

good luck
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« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2011, 09:20:54 PM »

Jack my zip dee is what I'm told the largest one they make. It developed a bow or sag in the middle. Its very hard to roll up since it wobbles. Yea the book says it can be straghtened but that doesn't work as easy as they claim. Friends and I have tried with little success. Jack (blue goose) says it has to be removed from the coach to fix it. Not something I want to tackle alone and ask these friends seem to stay busy these days so it just gets used as is and becomes a conversation piece to passer byers especially when they see me standing on a picnik table rolling it in by hand before it decides to take off and roll. Besides that the strap that hands down acquired a rip in the fabric, not a seam or seen part but the actual material. The factory tells me, "oh well"!
I have owned an A&E and it always worked and was easy in and out. Granted it was on a  stacker trailer but still it worked as designed!

Again, regardless of what the dealers say, I would definitely NOT go this route on another one. In fact I'd probably go electric.
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Ace Rossi
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« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2011, 10:36:27 PM »

        I hope they are as good as everyone says, I ordered a full set today.   Will find out in a couple weeks how easy or hard they are to install.   Wilbur
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« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2011, 03:28:29 AM »

Ace, I have a slight bow in mine also. When I installed it I put the required turns that Zip Dee said on the spring, had to give it a push to get it going. I had a Z-Lock break on the spring end, replaced it and added two more turns. It goes up without any help at all now. You might try it, just a thought.

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« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2011, 04:29:21 AM »

Paul, I think it has plenty of tension on the spring. Its just got such a bow in it, probably about 3-4 inch difference.

Oh and I forgot to mention.... To the guy that just bought a whole new set, and any prefers that buy them and have NEVER installed one prior, you better take and study the manual before and fully understand it first. It itself leaves a lot to be desired!

And I might add that when mine was delivered, it actually came with, get this, WOOD SCREWS! Try putting those in stainless steel! I called the factory about that and their answer was "yea we ran out of regular attachment hardware and sent out some orders with what we could find"!
So yea your right Jack (blue goose) I guess I dont recognize taste for quality since I never got it!
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« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2011, 05:05:36 AM »

Wlibur,they are easy to install I do it by myself over 20 ft it would be nice to have help with your Prevost it is a little tricky with the round sides and the flat roof get the rail right it goes together pretty easy.
 I don't really follow Zip/Dee instructions when doing myself.
I think all awning give problem from time to time I have helped folks remove the $$$ electric awning from their roof where the wind here has tore those up people wait on the sensor to roll those up sometimes it is not fast enough.
Take care of your Zip/Dee they last, any problem I ever had was caused by me not locking it and 70 mph winds not pretty lol fwiw Bill's 4905 has a 24 ft Zip/Dee been on it for 25 years no sag period only 24 ft one I ever saw without a slight sag.
On the adjustment I don't count the turns I just adjust till the arm stays between 1 and 2 o'clock I don't care what length it is that has worked for me years   


good luck
« Last Edit: July 12, 2011, 05:20:22 AM by luvrbus » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: July 12, 2011, 05:34:42 AM »

I was sure that this would get Ace to get in here about his Patio awning.  Come on now and tell everyone how it got bent and then give me a call and we will help you fix it.  Or you can leave it like it is now and I will keep ribbing you about the way it works. Enough picking on Ace lets talk about Zipdee.
SPEND THE EXTRA MONEY AND GET NX HARDWARE
If you have the NX hardware your kids can put the awning up and down.  If you have the standard hardware Zipdee makes a kit to change it over the the NX.
Now lets see if I can get the pictures posted that were ask for at the start.  Just two and not the best pictures because of the time of day and where the coach is parked.
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« Reply #17 on: July 12, 2011, 05:37:06 AM »

Lets see if I can post the other picture.
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« Reply #18 on: July 12, 2011, 05:58:00 AM »

What is special about the NX hardware I always have flipped the arms on my ZipDee so the claw hooks to the roller been doing that for 15 years and fwiw I have always installed a 6 foot section of thin wall tubing in the middle riveted to the roller to stop the sag on the 24 footer even done that with other makes and models

good luck
« Last Edit: July 12, 2011, 06:22:02 AM by luvrbus » Logged

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« Reply #19 on: July 12, 2011, 06:57:41 AM »

I've always wondered about the legality of that type of awning - ie., the sort that has vertical arms permanently attached to the side of the bus. If the bus was built at the factory to the maximum legal width, attaching something to the sides that makes it wider must mean that it then technically infringes the law (lights and mirrors are of course exempted).

The type of awning shown below doesn't have this problem, and is a much neater and more elegant system altogether - but is a much more difficult retro-fit, and is presumably more vulnerable to gusts of wind as it lacks the tri-angulation offered by the vertical / angled arm.




Jeremy



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« Reply #20 on: July 12, 2011, 07:18:12 AM »

Those are Girard awning Jeremy they have their share of problems high dollar also a 20ft is over 5 k for the patio side and they have a housing on top you don't see in the photo and they operate on 110v not DC

good luck
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« Reply #21 on: July 12, 2011, 07:18:53 AM »

Blue Goose

I went to the Zip Dee site and it doesn't show the NX kit you speak of. Any chance of getting a picture of what is changed? I would like to get the kit, do you have it?
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« Reply #22 on: July 12, 2011, 07:21:48 AM »

Look under parts Paul 160 bucks retail

good luck
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« Reply #23 on: July 12, 2011, 07:28:48 AM »

Those are Girard awning Jeremy they have their share of problems high dollar also a 20ft is over 5 k for the patio side and they have a housing on top you don't see in the photo and they operate on 110v not DC

good luck

Ok thanks; whilst on the subject of those awnings - what exactly are they for in the photo I posted? Are they there to shield the slideout windows (which they barely seem to do), or is their real purpose to prevent leaks by keeping water off the slideout roof? If it's the latter it's a bit scary for those of us constructing home-built slideouts - especially when I believe Prevost uses pneumatic seals on their slideouts, which should provide a faultless seal in all conditions.

Jeremy
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« Reply #24 on: July 12, 2011, 08:22:13 AM »

Those are just for the slides to keep bird stuff,and the weather like snow and rain off and yes Prevost slides do leak like any other LOL
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« Reply #25 on: July 12, 2011, 08:44:47 AM »

The PO of my bus put  on 2  7&1/2 ft. and 2 15 ft. Zipdee window awnings. Somewhere along the way he replaced one of the 15 footers with a 21 ft. A&E patio awning. We used it for awhile but i grew to dislike it and sold it. Have wanted to replace it with another 15 ft. Zipdee  widow awning but could not find a used one with all of the hardware until this spring. It was also 21 ft. and just before we left Yuma for the summer i cut it down to size. I need an attachment strip and the money for new fabric for all 4 and then i will be a happy camper. Grin
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« Reply #26 on: July 12, 2011, 11:07:31 AM »

Well, I gotta eat some of my words but it ain't gonna be a feast.  I inherited my A&E awning in 90 and it was certainly not new then.  The aluminum still looks fresh.  I had the original vinyl awning repaired with a new strip that was sun rotted in 95.  And I installed a entire new awning in 2001.  The quality on the new item must have been much inferior as it is near replacement now.  I do nothing but wash them every other year...at most...religiously.  I am so anal about such.  I have never oiled or otherwise lubed anything.  I did take it apart to learn that there is nothing in it that i can "fix" or grease or even tinker with.....just a cam on a shaft.  As I said in another post, I twisted the main support arm alu extrusions into the shape of a compound bow and straightened them with a friend by hand and that was in 90 and they still operate with ease and show no sign of fault or failure.

A&E makes a center support that carries the weight of the center of the awning while the thing is in the stowed position.  That center support would work with any awning or even a small load of lumber as it just sits "under" the rolled up awning and contacts with a wide rubber/fabric strap that is tension adjustable so you can put in an overcompensated upward bow if you are artistic bent(pun intended).  Not a single reason to do that but it is that strong.....and supremely easy.  You can wreck the whole shabang with surprising ease with clear intention.

After extending your awning, you can move the center support off its bottom perch with a flipper release and pivot it out to the main awning.  There, if you followed the instructions and drilled a 1/4 inch hole beforehand, you insert the spike into the awning main rolling tube and, again with ease, move the lever to the tensioning posit and the bend in the awning that is toward the coach is pushed out and the awning sag in the middle becomes something less than drum skin taunt. Rain doesn't collect in the center so leaving the awning up isn't a safety issue.   Less worry?

That leaves the sag in the middle of the extended awning that is in the direction of the ground to deal with.  No surprise that a long 20 plus foot tube/pole suspended on the ends, would droop in the middle.  Again that center support comes to the aid with another feature/surprise.  It actually has a center section that releases and folds down to a vertical posit and the height, here again, is adjustable and you can support the center section in two vectors.....out and down.  Really handy if you attach the added weight of the screen/patio room canvas and probably a serious required add-on.

Now I have never pondered life without this feature cause I always had it.  All this discussion about sag and droop and bent main tubes is a little surprising to me.  I thought "everybody" had one of those supports.  They can be used with any awning thanks to all the adjustments.   Now, I just sit here and wonder why everybody hasn't BOUGHT one.  Your turn to talk.

I only realized that there was more than one mfr of the awnings when I noticed my neighbor at the beach had a different one.  I went over to admire what turned out to be a ZippDee.  To me it looked cheap and under-engineered but I thought that maybe those guys used tempered aluminum that would be stronger but not at all forgiving to bends and tweaks.  And whatever its apparent shortcomings, they were only in comparison to mine and i don't know beans....admittedly.

Ace,

If you rolled out your awning and stopped a half turn short and your sag/bend was aimed UP you could brace the ends with cut 2X4s and press on the center of the tube to straighten it permanently and do it alone unless you weigh less than 80 pounds.  The aluminum tube must not be hardened or it wouldn't have drooped in the first place so bending it straight should not be difficult.  I think this would apply to others and not just yourself so please don't be offended by what might be a general slur on the imaginations of the entire population.  (little joke there)

So if you haven't yet bought the awning, consider the A&E.  Look for a used one as even 20 years old they are like new in appearance and function.  Operation is so very simple and easy that I wonder that an electric/powered model was ever invented.  How about a motorized tooth pic?

HTH,

John

PS;  I have the screen room.
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« Reply #27 on: July 12, 2011, 11:33:31 AM »

What is the difference between A&E and Carefree John ? Ace maybe p***** at Zip/Dee but I bet he would have a hard time trading his Zip/Dee for the A&E or Carefree I know I wouldn't you can be setting in the shade with a Zip/Dee while still trying to get the first leg down on A&E or Carefree.  
Those upright arms going to the power heads on Zip/Dee are a 1in square solid Stainless Steel bar they are not a cheap built or under engineered awnings they are not cheap in price either lol   

good luck
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« Reply #28 on: July 12, 2011, 12:46:22 PM »

 Jack, I'm not ashamed to say publicly that the awning got a bend that was acquired during installation. $#!% happens, but even after TRYING to straighten it by the book, it ended up worse.
Like I said its a conversation piece now and I dont mind telling people my experience/s with zip-dee ange you know it!
As for pouting the hump of the bend up? Been there end tried that. No go! And if you think the center tube is soft aluminum, think again! I think its more on the lines of galvanized steel that is springy! We had ladders under it and TWO growth men pulled down on it and only thing that did was give us both a good bounce up and down.
The quality in my eyes is good on some of it but in other areas, its the same as anything else.
Next time I get a chance to put it out, I will post pictures.

Clifford, Im not pissed at zip-dee in general but you do get a little irritated when you call then and end up talking to a moron. Heck when I first got it, I called them, and the guy said I couldn't put one of their awnings on a seated coach end said when I was done to send them some pics. I told them Bil Phelan already had put one on his and they almost said it was impossible!
Go figure!
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« Reply #29 on: July 12, 2011, 01:04:13 PM »

I never had that problem I know who to talk to, when the daughter in laws answers I ask for Jack he has been there since the 80's but I have had problems with 24 ft bowing and forget the drawing showing how to remove the bow with awning on the unit lol
I remove the tube and take it to a pipe straightening outfit in my area cost me 15 bucks for them to run it through the machine.
The more I try a remove a bow the worse I make it that tube is tuff stuff it just springs back on me and has a small wobble no matter what I do

good luck
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« Reply #30 on: July 12, 2011, 02:41:32 PM »

Thank you! Thats what I've been trying to tell these guys say it can be done. When end if I get around to removing it, I too will take it down to my buddies machine shop and let him do his thing!
Your definitely not going  to do it on or off the coach without taking it completely apart .
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« Reply #31 on: July 12, 2011, 03:02:51 PM »

Ace,I don't take the awning off I just remove the tube from the fabric I remove tension then the the arms set the tube on saw horses mark the fabric and tube on both ends for alignment drill the rivets holding the fabric to the roller slide it out of the fabric use the marks and a ice pick to align it back so I go back in the same drilled hole for the removed rivets put it back together set the tension ready to party .

good luck
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« Reply #32 on: July 12, 2011, 05:58:01 PM »

       Randy at Zip Dee called this morning with a couple of questions about my order. I asked him about the NX hardware and what he would recommend, he said he was short and it was a lot easier for him to put the awning up and down. On a new installation, the NX is a little cheaper than the original hardware.           Good Busin'     Wilbur
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« Reply #33 on: July 12, 2011, 06:12:22 PM »

About all the NX amounts too is they hook to the roller and not the arms I have flipped those for years and use the head knocker rails so you don't have the arms in your way

good luck
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« Reply #34 on: July 12, 2011, 07:13:05 PM »

Maybe it's a regional thing but the majority of all the awnings I see around here are Carefree. I have a 24' Fiesta and I can put it up or down in  a heartbeat. I have no center support other than a clip that holds it in the center when it's rolled up. That does require a ladder which I carry along. When it's out it has a bit of a bow but nothing that causes any problems. Just natural for that distance. She's been through some pretty good wind storms before I got it rolled up and a lot of rain. I've seen a lot of awnings damaged over the years and generally they are owner/operater induced no matter the brand. I've recently installed two 8' and one 11' window awnings by Carefree and they are pretty slick. I have a 21' Mirage that I'm replacing the Fiesta with when time allows. I saw a lot of them on some higher end units and talking to the folks they seemed very happy with them. Still nothing against my Fiesta awning. I just wanted something without the lower arms that I could cover the entry door with also and something the wife could handle if need be. 
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« Reply #35 on: July 12, 2011, 11:22:51 PM »


As for pouting the hump of the bend up? Been there end tried that. No go! And if you think the center tube is soft aluminum, think again! I think its more on the lines of galvanized steel that is springy! We had ladders under it and TWO growth men pulled down on it and only thing that did was give us both a good bounce up and down.

Yours is a different material.  Mine is aluminum and it sure isn't tempered.  My tube is thick walled and while it doesn't weigh a ton it isn't negligible.  I am certain that I could bend the thing either into a bow or straightened.  Certain.  I have already done it with those support arms.  I think you have given another reason to go with A&E.


Clifford, Im not pissed at zip-dee in general but you do get a little irritated when you call then and end up talking to a moron. Heck when I first got it, I called them, and the guy said I couldn't put one of their awnings on a seated coach end said when I was done to send them some pics. I told them Bil Phelan already had put one on his and they almost said it was impossible!
Go figure!

Well, I for one think you have every reason to be ticked off at those folks.  not that that does any good whatsoever.  Still!  I would still be livid at the moron that told me they included wood screws in my kit because they ran out of inventory for the correct sheet metal items.  REASLLY?

John
« Last Edit: July 13, 2011, 12:03:03 AM by JohnEd » Logged

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« Reply #36 on: July 12, 2011, 11:26:20 PM »

Thank you! Thats what I've been trying to tell these guys say it can be done. When end if I get around to removing it, I too will take it down to my buddies machine shop and let him do his thing!
Your definitely not going  to do it on or off the coach without taking it completely apart .

Ace,


I think we have put our collective "fanger" on the problem.  Your awning, and Cliffords, are made from different stuff than A&E.  Apples and oranges here.


John
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« Reply #37 on: July 12, 2011, 11:59:17 PM »

What is the difference between A&E and Carefree John ? Ace maybe p***** at Zip/Dee but I bet he would have a hard time trading his Zip/Dee for the A&E or Carefree I know I wouldn't you can be setting in the shade with a Zip/Dee while still trying to get the first leg down on A&E or Carefree.  
Those upright arms going to the power heads on Zip/Dee are a 1in square solid Stainless Steel bar they are not a cheap built or under engineered awnings they are not cheap in price either lol   

good luck


http://www.pplmotorhomes.com/parts/rv-awnings/awning-rafters-optima.htm

This is the A&E item that I have had since 90 and it was years old then.  The center support can
be adjusted for more or less support tension.  I strongly endorse this product and the A&E
awning.  It has operated correctly and with ease in every regard.

http://www.pplmotorhomes.com/parts/rv-awnings/awning-rafters.htm

This is the Carefree “Rafter Tensioner”.  It says it is a “universal” design so it is compatible with
the ZipDee and A&E.  The spec says it is made from cast components or some such and i think
that would make it a little less rugged than the A&E similar item.  It seems to have all the
functions as the A&E but the center support for the stowed awning is much different.  The
CareFree item doesn’t seem to give full under-support and is engaged by the rolled awning
pressing against it.  The center support is also a additional charge and sold seperately from the
“Rafter”.

The A&E costs $146 and the Carefree cost $109 without the center support which I feel is a must
have feature.  I guess the costs should be similar.

Be certain that I am not saying that I feel any of these products is not suitable or am being
critical.  They have different features of manufacturer and materials that influence my
opinion/recommendation but that is why we have horse races.

Clifford,
 This is the second time I have drafted a response.  The first disappeared and I suspect that it timed out or something due to my being interrupted by running some errands.  I did answer you promptly, or tried to do so.

John
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« Reply #38 on: July 13, 2011, 05:11:19 AM »

Jack, I'm not ashamed to say publicly that the awning got a bend that was acquired during installation. $#!% happens, but even after TRYING to straighten it by the book, it ended up worse.
Like I said its a conversation piece now and I dont mind telling people my experience/s with zip-dee ange you know it!

Ace,
   I had forgot that you had told me about your problems with ZipDee. I was just wanting everyone to know what the problem was, so they could make a more informed decision when comtemplating an awning purchase.  Jack

PS: I think it is almost as hot up here in NC as FL, but humidity might be a little lower. At least the river water is cool. 
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