Self dumping awning - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 08-29-2013, 07:37 PM   #1
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Self dumping awning

Self dumping awnings are good for shedding wind load and water storage. However, I question (in my opinion), the engineering design flaw with the system.

When one of the gas shocks breaks down and allows the awning to dump, an unnecessary amount of strain is placed on the other end of the awning and the light weight material holding it all together.

Think of stretching your arms out straight, much as the articulating scissiors that holds the awning in place. Lean against a wall with your arms stretched and straight. Now, allow one elbow to bend in the normal fashion, straight down but not out. That's pretty much the way the dump design works. However, your shoulder will turn in to accomodate the dropped elbow and your wrist will pivot to allow your body to move in a sideways direction. That works for our bodies but it doesn't work so well for the awning roller and the upright end of the scissors. When the shock breaks down and the awning dumps, the weight of the awning and roller are transferred to the other end of the roller. At that end there isn't any pivot point or lateral attachment that allows rotation such as your body allows.

What happens at this point is the mounting hardware is stressed sideways, force is placed on the hardware that attaches the mounting brackets to the fiber glass shell of your unit. Eventually the short screws will be pulled out of the glass and the light weight scissor brackets will be tweaked out of place.

I discovered this the other day when the big awning didn't close all the way to the wall of my 3800. I opened the awning again and studied the mechanism and saw that the aft end of the roller's brackets were bent outward and to the side. After checking for mounting bracket tightness I decided I could bend the scissors back into place. I did accomplish this and now the awning closes as it should.

I've had the awning shed wind load once and dump water three times since I've had the rig. There hasn't been any external damage that caused the scissor to be bent so I can only place the problem on the dumping process.

Moral of the story, roll it up when it rains and don't wait for it to get full of water and let it do what was thought to be a good idea. Roll it up when it gets windy and don't wait for it to shed the wind load.
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:42 PM   #2
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Assume you have the Carefree traveler awning and while I tend to agree with you I seem to recall the manual indicating you can disable the auto dump and change the pitch on either side to just have the rain shed off naturally. I did confirm this on my awning yesterday and I can adjust each side individually.
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:49 PM   #3
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Yes you can adjust the side to side pitch. I think the manual says to keep them within three holes while rolling them up so the arms don't bind in the brackets.
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