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Repair to the RV Awning

January 21, 2006: During our coast trip our awning suffered some damage during a wind storm on Christmas day. A top arm-bracket was cracked into two pieces and the cylinder connecting a bottom arm to the trailer separated from the bracket. I knew these could probably be replaced and here is what had to be done. So far the total cost has been $35 for the parts to this Carefree of Colorado awning.
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I used a special hack-saw handle to cut between the old bracket and the arm. I cut the rivet to remove it. This is the bottom part of the broken bracket. Hacksaw the upper bracket from the arm
New Top Bracket Carefree supplied a new top bracket with a rivet to attach to the arm. I had to use the old bolts to attach the bracket to the trailer.
The rivet for the top bracket had a head on one end but was drilled with a center hole on the other end. After inserting the rivet through the arm and bracket, I place the rivet head on an anvil then spread the rivet using a punch. This spread the drilled end evenly. I finish off this end of the rivet by spreading further with a hammer.
Release the old bracket and arm The top half of the broken top bracket had to be removed from the trailer. I used zip-ties to support the arm for travel. These had to be removed first. One zip-tie was not long enough so I connected two zip-ties together before securing the arm.
The head of the bolt which attached the top bracket to the trailer was 3/8 inches. It was easily removed using a socket wrench and 3/8 inch socket. Unthread the bolts connecting the bracket to the trailer
Apply clear silicone before attaching the new bracket to the trailer Before replacing the top bracket, I filled the holes with clear silicone. I don't want any water leaking into the trailer through these holes. The new bracket is attached to the arm and ready to mount at the top of the photo.
The old bolts are used to attach the new top bracket to the trailer with a socket wrench. Attach the bracket
One arm slides into another The telescoping arm must be re-inserted into the track of the upper arm in the left photo. Once inserted, a set screw must be replaced to be sure the lower telescoping arm does not accidentally come out of the upper arm. I'm using an allen wrench to replace the set screw in the right photo. An allen wrench is used to replace the set screw
The old rivets must be drilled out To replace the broken bottom bracket, I had to first drill out the old rivets attaching the bracket to the arm. Note the zip-ties holding this bracket in place.
The new bottom bracket came with two pop-rivets. A pop rivet looks like a nail with a long head on one end. The nail end is inserted into a pop rivet tool while the head end is inserted into the hole to connect the two pieces. New bracket and pop-rivet tool
Attach the new bracket to the arm using the pop-rivet tool Using plier like action, you swing out the upper arm and press it back toward the other arm with great force. The pop-rivet tool grabs the nail and pulls it through the head end expanding that end. Continue with this action until the nail breaks off. This required great pressure. I have owned this pop-rivet tool for about 30 years and used it last about 20 years ago. I was about to discard it when this repair was needed and here I am using it again. This repair could not have been completed without this tool so I guess I will keep it in my tool box.
New bottom bracket replaced The finished bottom bracket on the left and the finished top bracket on the right. The whole repair took about 2 hours. I was lucky more damage was not done to the awning or trailer. New top bracket replaced
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