It has been a while since my last post. Between work and family, it is difficult to find the time. I am sure you all know the problem.
We bought a Fiamma F45 awning from Agile when we did the 4x4 conversion, but I did not have them install it. I wanted to save the shipping, and since I was I was mounting the awning with the Z brackets from 1der, so I wanted to do that myself.
The front bracket went on pretty easy. I found the right spot behind the passenger board. The design of the bracket makes a very sturdy mount. The middle and rear brackets seemed a little more difficult to get mounted and aligned. I struggle for a while until I figured out the problem. The instructions for mounting said a bit of bending may be required, but it seemed no bending would get the bracket to mount tight to the van body.
Finally I realized the issue. The putty/caulking really varied the depth of the gutter. The brackets need the full gutter depth to mount properly. On my van, the front of the van had a deep gutter, but towards the back the caulk almost filled the gutter. I don't know if that is by design, or just my van.
With the gutter full of caulk, I could not get the rear bracket to hold tight to the van. It would kind of grip the top of the gutter, but I was afraid it would pop off. So the only way I could get it to fit tight was to remove some of the caulk. I used a utility knife to trace out the bracket, and then a wood chisel to remove the caulk. I forgot to take pictures, but I cut out a chuck of the caulk that was the size of the bracket. After removing the caulk, I repainted the area and then used some silicone to pot the bracket into the gutter. I also added silicone on top of the bracket after it was tightened up. I think this will seal out any moisture, but I will keep an eye on it. After this work, the bracket mounted very tight and I have a lot more confidence in it staying on the van where it belongs.
I know it look terrible, But it was hard to get my hand in there. I will need to clean it up.
The next step was bolting the awning to the bracket. This was not too bad, but it was a tight area to get a drill in and drill through the aluminum awning case and steel bracket. Since I have the CCV top, I could only drill from the awning side.
I used some 1/4-20 bolts with nylock nuts to bolt the awning to the bracket. I put the head of the bolt
inside of the awning case so the low profile of the head will allow the awning to close. However, the rest of the bolt and nut extend from the bracket towards the CCV top. Without thinking, I raised the top and since the CCV top rests in the gutter, the extended bolts caught on the bulb seal of the top and started to pull it out.
This was an issue for both the middle and rear brackets. I had to get some button head bolts and low profile jam nuts. I put the button head on the outside and the nut inside. Then after everything was tightened, I had to cut off the excessive bolt inside the awning to get it low enough not to hit when closing the awning.
I also put a strip of UHMW tape over the button head to help the bulb seal slide over the bolt head. I will have to see how long the tape lasts.
So while the installation had a few difficulties, it was not too bad, and after it was all done, everything
looks good and very sturdy.
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