Feb 122011

The fabric on the slide topper awnings on the two slide rooms on our motorhome had become very frayed and nasty looking, so when we were here in Apache Junction last year, we had a mobile awning repair company replace  them. Since the company was recommended by a friend who is an A&E factory rep, we thought we’d be getting a good installation and good service. A year later, we’re reevaluating that opinion.

Within a few weeks of the installation, the awning cover on our living room slide seemed to be sloppy. As I understand it, the fabric attaches to a roller inside the awning cover, and we thought that the spring should have been tightened more when the new fabric was installed. Over time it has just gotten worse.

The awning flaps terribly in any kind of wind, and when it rains, we get a lot of water on top of the slide room, which is what the awning is supposed to prevent. Instead of running off the awning with the slant of the design, the fabric is so loose that it sags and the water builds up until it spills over the side. When we try to pull the slide room in, we had to stop and start several times, to give the water time to run off. At the same time, the awning will be so stretched that instead of rolling up properly, it will bunch up between the roller and the top of the slide room. By the way, the owner’s manual that came with our motorhome specifically says NOT to start and stop the slide room when retracting it. Now that we’re back in town, we called the company and explained the problem. The tech said he would be here yesterday at noon to look at it.       

He arrived 30 minutes late, with no apology or explanation for his delay. When we showed him the awning, he said that whoever had installed the new fabric had done a bad job. Terry reminded him that HE was the one who had installed the fabric, and he immediately backpedaled faster than a politician retracting campaign promises the morning after election day.

“Well, anybody can see that whoever installed the original awning units used the wrong ones, they’re too short. I see it all the time,” he said. We told him that Winnebago installed the original awnings when the coach was built, and that we didn’t think that was the problem, since it had never come up before. I found it interesting that he also didn’t make that observation when he installed the new fabric last year.

I can handle it when somebody messes up on a project. Lord knows, I have a long history of flubs and failures. But when somebody does sloppy work, and then wants to pass the buck and make excuses, they turn me off really fast.

By then, I had no faith in this clown at all, and I could see steam beginning to come out of Miss Terry’s ears, she was so angry with his attitude. He told us that it was more than a two person job to fix the awnings (even though he did the replacement by himself), and said he would be back on Sunday with a couple of helpers to “take a look.” He also repeated, for the third or fourth time, that the problem obviously wasn’t in his installation, but in Winnebago’s choice of awning covers in the first place. Then he jumped in his truck and was gone. 

I really don’t expect him to return, but I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt before I mention the name of the company. We’ll see what happens on Sunday.

A while back Gary Smith sent me a set of his Learn RV Awning Repair DVDs to review, and they are an excellent guide to anybody who wants to start their own awning repair business. Terry and I watched the DVDs, and one explains the procedure to tighten the tension on an awning rewind spring. If this guy doesn’t get back to us, I know that once we meet up in Yuma, my buddy Greg White can probably adjust the tension for us, using the instructions in the DVDs as a guide.

RV Awning Repair DVDs 

Now, don’t go thinking that I’m exploiting Greg again! I keep him busy for his own good. As his lovely wife Jan says, if Greg is left unattended he tends to wander off and get into mischief. If he’s up on a ladder working on my awning, we can keep an eye on him.

Thought For The Day – I don’t get even, I get odder.

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Nick Russell

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  7 Responses to “Sloppy Awnings & Sloppy Service”

  1. I am betting that the awning repair guy does not return.

    Sorry, Nick, but I see no reason to not tell us who did the original repair. Why do you want to protect incompetence? We recently had a repair done to our motorhome that the company screwed up and then sent a tech 60 miles one way to our site to make good on the repair. I included ALL of this information on the RV repairs dot com web site. I figure that with full information others can make their own informed decision.

    And if I am wrong and the guy returns it would be better to tell us that here is a company that stands behind their repairs — even a year later.

  2. But I haven’t even gotten to that DVD in the set yet!

  3. This is the reason that I do a lot of that kind of work myself. Over the years I saw way to much faulty work and I am in a position that I can most likely do it as good or better than a so called Tech.
    Furthermore it can be done by one per and that is to give it more spring tension one side at a time, no rocket science here.

  4. If you don’t get this resolved before you get to Yuma, I can give you the name & # of the guy that replaced our A & E’s here. Did an excellent job and showed up on schedule. Yes he did tighten the tension on both of my covers and said A & E always leave them a little loose. He also made sure the covers extended out past the slide by a bout an inch on each end. That was four years ago and they are still tight and drain as good as new.

  5. happy to hear that you will keep Greg out of trouble once again fixing stuff. Just in case he does not get the video on how to fix it. If this idiot of a repairman does not come back and I am sure he will not. If you are going to the Winnebago GNR this year they have an excellent company that is one of the vendors that will do the work. I will look up their name and send it to you. They did not only our slide covers but replaced the main awning and motor. They also educated us on the fact that we should never extend the main awning all the way, but to leave it a bit loose. You really should tell us who the company is so we can avoid using them.

  6. When we replaced our toppers, we did not use the lightweight OEM material. Instead we used the material from Tough Tops Awning Replacement Fabrics. It is a thicker material and looks like it will last longer. Here’s a link for info: http://www.rv-motorhome-answers.com/rv-slide-out-topper.html

  7. Some of you folks need to re-read what Nick said. I expect he will tell us Sunday or Monday who the vendor is. This is what Nick said:

    “I really don’t expect him to return, but I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt before I mention the name of the company. We’ll see what happens on Sunday.”

    Let’s all be patient.


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