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Old 03-22-2018, 10:44 AM   #1
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Cracked Body from Awning!!!

Hey Folks,
This is my second post ever. The first was searching for a rig, which we have found and are super excited and totally happy with what we found. It's in my garage :-)

So the first expense of what I presume to be many is a repair to the body after the awning mounts torqued under load and 'ripped' the sheetmetal. It sounds worse than it is but I intend to keep her (yet unnamed) in ship shape. What happened is we had the awning out during a snow/rain cycle for two days. The cold froze the crusty Cascade mush on the awning. In order for me to roll in the awning in I had to crack the ice from the underside and lower the legs to scrape the ice off. That was the mistake, the torque ended up putting spider cracks at all four bolt holes (2 each) around the mounts. These are the original SMB mounts/bolts that seem to have some controversy around them. Apparently I missed the boat on Eli's mounts.

I took one of the mounts off and took the van in to my favorite body shop. They presume they will weld a plate to the backside of the sheetmetal then repair the exterior, along with new paint on that panel (rear of the side doors). They needed access to the backside which required a fair amount of work. I am not totally clear on the various parts and terminology but I had to remove all the fixtures, C0 sensor, thermostat, rear book shelf, valance and then carefully cut the wall panel with a multi-master, peel the window liner and remove staples then pull the panel off too expose the backside of the body exterior sheetmetal. The body shop solution will work but I still need to remove the window frame to give enough access for the spot welds and plates. They intend to either tap the plates or weld nuts on the backside for the mounting bolts. I haven't done the work yet but the estimate is approaching $900, not including my labor.

I will attach photos of the demo I did so far and will update with photos of the work the body shop does also. I think this is a solution, fingers crossed. Questions, ideas and feedback are welcome!
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Old 03-22-2018, 11:16 AM   #2
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Link: http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...tch-16967.html

Z Awning Brackets are still available. I can ship April 11. Current price is $192 shipped.
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Old 03-22-2018, 11:24 AM   #3
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You do know that (Ray 1der) took over with the manufacture of gutter brackets for the awnings. Maybe just do a little body work and be done with letting the body support it. That said the repair SMB did on mine was similar by mounting a plate to spread out the load. Been OK for several years.
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Old 03-22-2018, 11:25 AM   #4
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Looks like you beat me to it Ray!
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Old 03-22-2018, 11:58 AM   #5
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Great thanks guys,
I'll get a new quote from the body shop and compare total cost. The timing on shipping works well.
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Old 03-22-2018, 07:36 PM   #6
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It may be a bit late, but if it were me, I would probably fabricate a plate to cover the area in question, extending beyond the affected area, attach it with something like 5200 (It will NEVER come off with that stuff) paint to match and then install Ray's mounts. It wouldn't be perfect, but the total cost would be much less. Best of luck........
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Old 03-23-2018, 08:59 AM   #7
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I once repaired a cracked sheetmetal panel on my almost brand new truck, where these small 1-1/2" x 3/4" brackets attached (forward stabilizer shocks for my cabover camper).

I wound up making 2" x 3" patch plates from .04" stainless steel sheet, and pop riveting them on using stainless domed head sealing blind pop rivets (no through hole to leak). Then bolting the brackets through the patch and back into the cracked factory body panel. Worked like a champ for the 12yrs I owned the truck.

It's a common race car fab trick, where the larger riveted on 'patch' spreads the same load over a larger area. At final assembly, I sealed the backside with black RTV, to keep moisture from getting under the patch and rusting over the coming years, riveted the thing together.

No heat, no warping, no paint matching, no inside panel access needed, as pop rivets install from the front of the repair side only.
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Old 03-23-2018, 09:04 AM   #8
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yeah, i'd throw away the SMB brackets, and just have the body shop weld, bondo and paint the holes. then order new brackets from Ray and never have this problem again.
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Old 03-23-2018, 07:54 PM   #9
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Yup.....what he said^


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