Replacing an RV awning is a project that requires at least three people to complete. The size and bulkiness of the awning demands that more than one person hold the awning assembly while it is being removed and reattached to the RV. If fabric replacement is required, having a helper or two makes threading the new fabric onto the frame easier and reduces the chance of tearing. A single person can perform small repairs, such as repairing holes in the fabric.
Replacing and Repairing the Awning
Disengage the travel locks on the awning and set it to the roll-down or open position. Unroll the awning fabric about 12 inches.
Lock the spring tension by inserting a cotter pin into the hole located on each side of the awning cam. The inner rod may require turning so that the holes line up. Once the cotter pin is inserted, bend the ends to secure.
Set up two saw horses so that the entire awning assembly can rest across them. Undo the lag bolts that hold the awning to the RV. Remove the screws that hold the awning fabric in position on the awning rail.
Have a helper hold each side of the awning assembly. Slowly remove the entire awning and place it across the saw horses. The fabric can lie across the ground.
Lock the spring assembly in place by clamping the removable part of the awning arm with vice grips. Do this on each side of the awning. While holding the vice grips, have a helper remove the bolts that hold the awning to the awning arm.
Turn the awning arm with the vice grips to loosen all of the tension off of the spring. Drill out the rivets holding the end cap, the cam and the torsion assembly together.
Unroll the fabric and remove it. Keep it on the ground to protect the new fabric. Line up the new fabric and replace the torsion assembly using a new cap and cam.
Tighten the torsion assembly according to the owner's manual. The exact tension varies by awning size and manufacturer.
Roll up the fabric and thread it through the awning arm. Reattach the entire unit to the RV.
Repairing Small Holes in Awning Fabric
Open awning completely. Rinse off awning fabric with a garden hose to remove all loose dirt and debris. Check for leaks in the fabric. Small holes, ¼ inch in diameter or less, can be repaired with a vinyl liquid patch product.
Ensure that the repair area is clean and dry. Open the vinyl liquid patch and apply a small amount to a cotton swab.
Dab the area around the hole with the cotton swab until the hole fills in. The liquid vinyl patch will melt the paint on the fabric as it fills in the hole, leaving a repair that perfectly matches the awning color.
Items you will need
- Garden hose
- Vinyl liquid patch
- Cotton swab
- Owners manual
- Cotter pins
- Saw horses
- Cordless drill
- Replacement fabric
- "Trailer Life's RV Repair & Maintenance Manual"; 4th Edition; by Bob Livingston; 2002.
- rving, image by Greg Pickens from Fotolia.com