How to Replace a Caravan Patio Awning
A caravan awning is an important part of your RV. I am sure that you have already installed on your caravan by now. These accessories are life savers in situations when you need a shade and a small personal space even if you are on a road trip. Obviously you need to conduct proper maintenance and repairs from time to time, or else you risk damaging the awning completely.
If your RV’s patio awning is old, torn, faded or simply worn out, then you only need to change the fabric as this is the most important part of the awning. The support arms and other components are not easily worn out so the possibility of a replacement requirement for these components is very less. As far as replacing the fabric is concerned, it would save you a lot of money if you do it yourself (with a DIY kit) rather than taking it to professional servicing facilities. While it is safe to use professional services, but changing the fabric isn’t rocket science and with a little effort and the right materials, you would be able to do it on your own.
• Rivet Gun
• Pop Rivets
• Cordless Drill (you could use a corded one, but it would only be a hassle and you would also need to manage the extension to ensure proper supply of electricity to the tool).
• Vice Grips
• Razor Knife
• Drill Bits
• Allen Wrench (one or two may be required but it is best to keep the entire set handy)
• Box or Open-end Wrenches
• Phillips Head Screw Driver
• Silicon Spray Lubricant
• Electrical or Masking Tape
• Cock Gun and Water Proof Sealant
• Hammer and Punch
• Socket Wrench
• Tape Measure
• Flat Blade Screw Driver
• Felt Tip Marker
• 2 large ladders
• A couple of blocks with a soft cloth on top as padding
• Replacement Fabric for the Awning
• Before you order the replacement fabric for your awning, you need to take the required measurements. The safest way to do this is to measure from inside cap to inside cap. Be as accurate as possible and don’t make the mistake of rounding up the values as it could result in an improper fit.
• Make sure you have all the tools at your disposal, preferably with some backup in case something doesn’t work out at the last minute.
• While a professional can replace the fabric with just one additional person, it would be wise to bring over at least 3-4 friends to help you with the replacement. The more the merrier. I am sure that they wont mind helping you out if you treat them to a refreshing drink and a sumptuous meal once the work is done.
Replacing The Caravan Awning Fabric
• Let’s start by removing the main bolts that hold the top of the awning to the caravan. Don’t worry about the awning falling off as soon as the screws are removed. The tension in the roller spring and the support arms work together to keep it in place even when the screws have been removed. So it should be safe enough to work with it.
• Now remove the small screws (from the top section) which prevent the fabric from sliding in the track.
• Pop the support arms from their fixed position and extend them until they touch the ground. This is basically the same thing that you would have done while setting up the awning.
• Flip the control level on the right side of the roller tube as though you were preparing to fully extend the awning.
• Then use the awning tube to pull the awning out to approximately 1 ft. from the caravan.
• Before removing the old fabric from the roll, make sure that you apply some electrical or masking tape on the brackets of the roller. This will prevent the brackets from scratching the side of the caravan.
• If your awning fabric is old, then you need to use a sharp razor or knife to cut away the sealant that connects the fabric to the frame.
• You may also be required to scrape away any debris that has been left inside the track.
• Gently spread the end of the track with a flat blade screw driver. This should allow the fabric to be eased in without any obstruction.
• This is where you would need the help of your friends. Both the support arms need to be lifted from the ground so that the awning fabric may be slid out from its current position. Make sure that you have enough room behind and at the side of the caravan. You would not want the entire frame to scrape the side of the caravan while being removed from its position.
• If the fabric does not slide out easily, then a third person might be required to climb up on a ladder and manually ease the fabric through the track so that the entire structure becomes free from the caravan.
• Place the awning carefully on blocks so that you may work easily with it. Setting it down on the ground would make it a bit tedious to work with.
• There are 2 springs in the roller (one at each end). You need to block one of them, let’s say the left end spring, by removing the black plastic cap and inserting the Philips screw driver in its place.
• Now that one end of the roller is locked in place, the tension of the spring at the other end needs to be released, following which the spring would be removed. When you are removing the spring, make sure to count the number of rotations that it took to remove it from the roller. The exact same number of rotations would be required while inserting the spring again. This can be a little tricky bit with a little care and some much needed focus, you would be able to pull it off.
• Just before removing the spring, mark the position (in relation to the spring lock) so that the entire component may be assembled in the same position after the fabric has been replaced.
• With the spring system removed from the roller, all that needs to be done is to lift it up and unwind the fabric, one turn at a time. Before removing the fabric completely, use the marker to make two marks on the roller tube. This marks the channel where the main part of the awning goes into. The other mark is for the decorative valence.
• Before sliding the new fabric on to the roller, spray some silicon lubricant to allow the fabric to be slid into the channels easily.
• Slide the beads into the appropriate channels. This is where the marks come into play. At this point, you would know exactly where to slide which part of the fabric. Use a tape measure to centre the fabric between the end caps.
• Roll the fabric onto the roller in the same way that you removed it from the roller in the first place. You might need extra help for this task.
• With the fabric in place, all that you are left with is to insert the spring, place the caps and mount it onto the caravan again.
• When the awning is in place, remove the tape from the brackets. Coat each screw with waterproof sealant before putting them back into their sockets.
This takes care of the caravan awning fabric replacement. Once done, just roll out and roll in the awning a few times to check if everything has been done perfectly. If any problems exist, then it should be revealed during this testing. I am sure that you would be able to replace the awning fabric for the patio awning on your own by following these steps stringently. Remember, it is all about using the right materials and following the right steps to get the job done.