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Old 07-27-2010, 06:48 PM   #1
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A&E Awning mounting

With all the renovation work I did on my T-2470 a few years ago, I think some sidewall shifting took place so that the lower mounting plates for the awning became loose. I figured there still might be some less than solid wood in that area, so I removed the lower aluminum siding first at the back and then at the front to do whatever was needed. The rear needed a new piece of wood spliced in and now that mount is strong. Then I went to the front and found that the wood was OK, but in order to mount the plate in exactly the same height as the rear, I'd have to drop it about 3/8" below the original location and it would be hanging below the edge of the siding. Not wanting to do that, I compromised and lowered it about half that amount. Everything is strong now, but I see that lower mounts seem to be carrying the full weight of the awning frame. I checked the installation manual and it says that when closing the awning, there shouldn't be any interference with the top mounts. Well, there isn't any interference, but to me, that looks like the upper mounts don't carry any of the weight. Either the changes that took place as a result of the work I did caused this condition, or the lower mounts really do all the supporting of the awning frame. Does anyone know about this?
Thanks,
Rich
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Old 07-27-2010, 10:59 PM   #2
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Rich

Do you have a pic of your top and bottom mount?

The mounts over the years changed and that may have something to do with it. Sunline Fan and I where seeing this during the spring M & G this year. The older ones mount different at the top then my 2004. I do not know what year the change came.

John
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Old 07-28-2010, 11:03 AM   #3
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Hi John,
I'll take a picture tonight and post it.
Thanks,
Rich
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Old 07-30-2010, 08:55 AM   #4
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John, here are the pictures of the bottom and top mounts on this A&E 8000 awning:

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Old 08-01-2010, 06:09 PM   #5
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I'm going to take a shot at answering my own question.
After using the awning this weekend and looking it over, it seems that whether it's in the open or closed position, just about all of the weight of the frame, roller and awning fabric is supported by the lower mounts. The upper mounts provide a mounting point for the tension bars that keep the fabric taut in the open position (knobs that are tightened to keep it where you set it). They don't carry much if any, of the weight of the awning. If the lower mounts become loose or even fall off (like the one in the rear of the trailer did on mine, the vertical support bar (the main frame) catches on the upper mount which prevents the whole assembly from hanging from the fabric.
While I had the lower aluminum siding panels off to do the repairs, I noticed that the two mounting screws (wood screws) holding the lower mounts, instead of biting into solid wood, made there way between two horizontal frame members Over time, the seam spread apart allowing the screws to become loose, so what I did was to drive 3" long screws up from the bottom to clamp these two pieces as tightly together as possible.
It looks like it'll hold for a while now.
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Rich
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Old 08-01-2010, 09:03 PM   #6
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Hi Rich

Your awing mount and mine are not that much different. They are not identical but they do mount the same. Mine is a slightly more modern upgraded looking thing. The older ones Sunline Fan and I where looking at actually mounted different up top. Yours and mine up top have lag screws in the TOP of the mount that goes thru the vinyl strip. The older ones we saw had the lags under brackets and a different bracket all together.

Now to your question. We went camping this weekend and I was staring at the awning thinking about your question. H’mm,,,,,, here are my thoughts subject to change maybe after I hear your take on it.

Riding down the road, the lower mount is taking the majority of the bounce and blunt of the load of the awning pounding up and down from road bumps. In this situation the top only acts as a member to help stop the top from falling off the top of the camper.

When the awning is setup with the frame in the triangle position, meaning the lower mount is engaged with the lower awning arm, the static downward weight of the awning is pushed against the camper at the lower arm mount and the lags prevent the mount for shearing/sliding off the camper. So the lower lag screws are taking load.

The top lags, (up by the roof) again in the static condition are to hold the upper part of the awing arm to the camper like you stated. The awning fabric itself is held to the camper by the gutter rail as the cord/rib of the fabric is slide thru the gutter rail. That gutter rail is taking a lot of pull.

Now the dynamic loads or in-service loads.

Under a heavy down pour of rain the gutter rail is taking one heck of a load keeping the awning fabric from ripping off the camper. The lower awning arm mounts are taking a good heavy load as the weight of the water pouring on the awning is pushing up against the camper at the lower mount and the lags are there to help keep it from shearing off the side of the camper. In the heavy down force mode the upper awning arm mount is taking load but more so from a buckling aspect as the upper arm is in tension and the lower arm in compression. If there was no upper awning support and no upper part of the triangle of the arms, the awning would cave in and collapse in the middle and try to close back up agasint the camper with all the water weight. So in this case the upper awning mount is being pushed by the upper awning arm of the triangle trying to shear the bracket off the top of the camper.

However, the upper awing rail only has a friction lock of the knob that tightens the 2 sliding channels where the lower awing rail has a mechanical pin inserted into the 2 sliding arms. The lower arm/rail for sure if taking more then the upper arm/rail but the upper rail is doing something as without it the awning would collapse.

Now introduce high winds that lift the awning. The upper awning arm/rail is now the only thing that keeps the awning from folding right against the camper. The upper arm is taking a big compression load trying not to buckle under the wind. The lower arm in this case is in tension trying not to rip out of the side of the camper.

So with all that, yes the lower awning arm does take a heavier load then the upper arm. However the upper arm does take load which is most all pushing into the side of the camping and trying it’s hardest to not collapse the awning. The upper awning arm lag screws keep the upper awning arm from sliding up off the camper.

The thing that really dawned on me as I was sorting thru this is the heavy pulling load the gutter rail takes holding the awning fabric. Especially under heavy rains.

Bottom line the lower arm mounts do need to be solid like you said, the upper mounts need to be good too just maybe not as good as the lower ones.

OK what are your thoughts now?

John
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Old 08-02-2010, 08:12 AM   #7
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Hi John,
Thank you for that thoughtful assessment.
I agree that most of the time the force on both upper and lower mounts is a downward shear. During heavy rains there is a lot of force exerted on the rail that the fabric is locked into. I think the fact that there is so much length involved spreads the load over a wide area, so each mounting screw doesn't take too much load (they are rather small anyway). When winds act on an open awning, I guess everything is stressed.
Sounds to me like you've summed up the situation and I'd say it's a good idea for anyone to keep an eye on the lower mounts to make sure they aren't loosening from the pounding they must take when in transit. Over time, they probably will tend to loosen.
The lower mounts, along with the awning retaining rail are doing all of the work when the awning is stored. In fact, I think in the that position, even if the upper mounts were eliminated, no loss in support would result. They probably only come into play when the awning is extended for use.
Thanks,
Rich
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