How to Replace RV Awning Fabric
Whether it is time to replace your RV awning due to wear and tear from a storm or merely old age, with the help of some friends, it is a task you can do in just 3 steps, granted you are mechanically inclined. The springs inside the awning are under extreme tension. This could pose a danger for those who are not used to working with tension loaded springs. If you have any doubts in your ability, it is best to allow a professional to install your replacement awning.
Step 1 - Get the Replacement Awning
Awnings can be purchased at a local retailer or online. The most important aspect to buying an awning is ensuring you get the right one for the make and model of your RV. Make sure you know the exact measurements of the awning. While appearance is key, if the awning you select does not fit, it was just money down the drain.
Step2 - Release the Awning
Roll the awning down 1-foot and lock it in place by inserting a cotter pin through the holes on each end cap. Rotate the inner shaft until the holes are lined up. Bend the ends of the cotter pins to firmly lock it in place.
With a needle-nose vice grip, reach up through the awning arm and securely clamp down on the assembly attachment plate. Have your assistant do the same on the other side. This compress allows the arms to be disconnected.
Disconnect the lag bolts holding the awning rafters to the vehicle. This task will require a wrench. Use a screwdriver to remove the screws that hold the fabric to the rail. If there are additional rivets holding it into place, they will need to be drilled.
Lift the awning out of its resting place and walk the arms, tube, and fabric away from the vehicle, unwinding the fabric as you go. This task will require 2 people.
Remove the cotter pins and carefully unwind the springs on each end. Note the number of times you turn each pin to relieve the tension. The spring's tension is exact and will need to be set to this exact point during reinstallation.
Mark the position of the cam handle on the awning tube before you remove the torsion assembly to ensure the same position is used during reassembly.
Now that the tube is free of attachment, lift it out of place and unroll the awning fabric.
Step 3 - Install the New Awning Fabric
Thread the new fabric onto the tube with special care as to avoid tearing it. It is best to use the assistance of your help. Tuck the fabric cords into the ends of the tubing once you have the fabric centered.
Reconnect the torsion assembly aligning it with the marks you made earlier. Rivet it back into place.
Return the tension to each end of the torsion assembly using the vice grips to hold the spring as you wind it the exact number of turns required to place the proper tension. Once the tension has been placed, have your assistant insert the cotter pin. Repeat on the other end. Reconnect the arms by screwing them back into place.
Feed the awning cord into the rail to reconnect the rail. This is where a third person comes in handy as it easier to do when two people hold the rail while the third person connects it. Reconnect the arms to the vehicle by reassembling the lag bolts. Remove the vice grips from the assembly plate. Test out your handy work by setting up your awning. Ensure ease of movement.
If you are mechanically inclined, you can replace RV awning in just 3 steps. Springs that are under extreme pressure pose a danger for those who are not used to working with tension loaded springs. If you have any doubts in your ability, it is best to allow a professional to install your replacement awning.