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Old 02-06-2008, 11:51 PM   #1
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Awning causing body cracks

Well I got the cracks from the awning mount by the side doors after my trip to Death Valley and they look just like the ones on Geoff's vehicle he showed last summer. SMB says they have a fix. A larger bracket plate I was told. Anybody have the fix done to their rig? Geoff what did you do to your van? Guess I'll get some more pictures of the new vans rolling off the line at SMB west.
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Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 7:04 pm Post subject: Poor awning experience

We don't use our awning very often, and it's attached to the body of the van in such a way that road vibrations have caused cracks in the panels.

It's hung from the rain gutter, but the mounts are also attached to the sheet metal a few inches below. It's here that the shaking of the awning has caused the paint to crack.

Details:

http://octopup.org/sportsmobile/awning-cracks.htm

-- Geoff

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Old 02-07-2008, 12:06 AM   #2
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I haven't dealt with my cracks yet. I should call them and ask them about the larger bracket, but I assume some significant painting/body work will also need to be done. I haven't talked with Sportsmobile about it since I showed them at the 2006 rally, and visiting Sportsmobile in Fresno is awkward for me up here in Seattle.

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Old 02-07-2008, 06:30 AM   #3
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Do you know if/when the fix was cut into production?

I wonder if I have to wait until cracks develop before they'd install the "fix"?


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Old 02-07-2008, 08:58 AM   #4
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My 95 Dodge does not have paint cracks or the washer/rubber grommet under the plate.

My van does have metal cracks in the rain gutter that are a direct result of road vibrations. The crack broke off a chunk of the rain gutter!

It is plausible that SMB added the grommet/washer to prevent the gutter failures, but the larger area of the washer might cause paint cracking.

I'll post pics when I get home tonight.

One of my spring projects is to repair this. I don't need the awning and was considering removing it all together and fiberglassing the gutter back together. I prefer to use me EZUP with screen instead.
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Old 02-07-2008, 09:04 PM   #5
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I guess they are going to put a larger plate on. More surface area. Peter said they have only seen this on a couple of vans. A friend made a comment that maybe flexure of the body vs the rigid awning could be a problem. I would not want to add another separate bracket and cause more trouble. It seems a shock absorber setup would be better, something like thicker rubber and a larger plate. If I were to do it over, the awning would go away. Most of the time when I want the awning un-furled, it's raining and windy. Usually I have a fire in my pit-2-go and am concerned of burning a hole in it. I tie a cheap tarp up, throw on the wood, and fire that muther up. If it's not windy the awning makes a great spot to tie up a tarp and keep warm by a fire.
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Old 02-07-2008, 09:49 PM   #6
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Awning Cracks

I have seen two Sportmobile's with these crack's and chipped paint since we picked up our van . One was a 2006 and was being brought in for this very repair on the day we took delivery of our van . The other was a 2005 that was just beginning to craze the paint . I have since reading some of your post's on this subject taken to carrying a pair of Nut Driver's in the side door and check and snug two time's a week and yes they do come loose even on the highway's . I am investigating the possibility of a long machined support bracket to displace some of inherent flex that occurs in this area and will post photograph's when we get it figured out .

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Old 02-08-2008, 11:19 AM   #7
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Re: Awning Cracks

I would suspect that the rubber under the washer is creep relaxing in the hotter weather.

[quote="...I have since reading some of your post's on this subject taken to carrying a pair of Nut Driver's in the side door and check and snug two time's a week and yes they do come loose even on the highway's .
[/quote]
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Old 02-08-2008, 05:54 PM   #8
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I would suspect that the rubber under the washer is creep relaxing in the hotter weather.
Marty can you elabrate? There is a lot of flexing on that small 2 hole plate. On top of that, the rubber/metal washers are only about an inch in diameter. I wonder what's on the inside. It seems to me that something like a 4x6 plate inside and out might help. My question would be will the cracks resume at the new bolt holes and creep from there?
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Old 02-08-2008, 10:59 PM   #9
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Well, I haven't got cracks, but as I reported before my awning bolts just came right out of the sheet metal. The rubber lock nut things did not hold. I tightened them up, but after being on the DV trip, they loosened up again. Jeff helped me try to tighten them but the nuts would not hold, so I tied the awning to my yakima rack. I spoke to Peter and he just sent me new rubber lock nuts. I will try to install them this weekend and report back.
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Old 02-09-2008, 06:43 PM   #10
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All rubber material will creep relax over time. It has a 'finite life'. A rubber that is fabric reinforced will flex and not relax over time. Time and temp are the main factors for relaxation. Another factor might be ozone depending on the rubber used.

I took a better look at my SMB, the lack or washers/rubber makes the bracket dig into the metal instead of flex. There is a line of rust forming.

I also suspect the paint cracks might be due to resonance of the awning. I would guess that some vibration from the 4WD tires be enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by daveb
Quote:
I would suspect that the rubber under the washer is creep relaxing in the hotter weather.
Marty can you elabrate? There is a lot of flexing on that small 2 hole plate. On top of that, the rubber/metal washers are only about an inch in diameter. I wonder what's on the inside. It seems to me that something like a 4x6 plate inside and out might help. My question would be will the cracks resume at the new bolt holes and creep from there?
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