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Old 05-13-2011, 12:15 PM   #1
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Awning attached to the penthouse top?

Has anyone attached their awning to the penthouse top? I'd like to have the addtional headroom when the top is up. Would the Fiamma 45 be too heavy?
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Old 05-13-2011, 12:47 PM   #2
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Re: Awning attached to the penthouse top?



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Old 05-13-2011, 03:14 PM   #3
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Re: Awning attached to the penthouse top?

I suspect you will have to adjust the penthouse springs to account for the extra weight.

And, if you have a Fiamma awning, you may not be able to reach the awning to stow and retrieve the legs - especially when the top is up. That might mean you have to put the top down to stow the awning if the wind comes up suddenly.

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Old 05-13-2011, 03:44 PM   #4
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Re: Awning attached to the penthouse top?

We do set our awning up prior to raising the penthouse top, we are not that tall. The awning is stowed after the top is lowered.

Ours is a manual top and we made no adjustments to the lift system after installing the awning. Our awning weighs 25# if I remember correctly. The most lifting of course is done when raising the top with the awning not deployed.

We do like the headroom, much less claustrophobic then having an awning 6 inches over our head. Sunny days heat build up is less w awning farther away. On rainy days it allows us to have the two penthouse windows that are located under the awning wide open.

Ours is a Trimline bag awning.
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Old 05-14-2011, 09:39 AM   #5
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Re: Awning attached to the penthouse top?

I inquired about mounting our Fiamma to the Penthouse at the time of order for our Van and was told that it was not the best option for two reasons , first was ease and speed of deployment and weight .
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Old 05-14-2011, 11:19 PM   #6
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Re: Awning attached to the penthouse top?

Did some research:

My 10' Trimline bag awning (10' x 7') has a 29 lb listed weight.

the Fiamma 45 10' x 8'2" (? size used on SMB?) listed weight is 49 lbs.

So awning design and manufacture would have a direct impact on if one could be penthouse mounted.

Condition #1: Raising roof with awning stowed

Trimline 30# on one side of penthouse
Fiamma 50# on one side of penthouse

Conditon #2: Raising roof with awning deployed

Trimline ~15# on ground, ~15# on one side of penthouse
Fiamma ~15# on ground, ~35# on one side of penthouse

I guess if I really needed a Fiamma awning I would not attach it to the penthouse. It is just to heavy.
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Old 05-17-2011, 07:45 AM   #7
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Re: Awning attached to the penthouse top?

Hi Lens,
Thank you for your responses. All you guys are great. Been dreaming of a Sportsmobile for years and finally bought one. After I go through the belts, hoses, filters, & fluids, the next thing will be a 10' Trimline. An awning is a necessity for camping in the northwest. Thanks again!
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Old 05-17-2011, 09:28 AM   #8
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Re: Awning attached to the penthouse top?

Another reason for NOT attaching the awning to the roof is you will lose several square feet of awning space due to the high angle of the awning when the roof is lifted (see LenS pictures). Since it rains and snows in the areas where you will be camping, you will want as much dry space as possible under your awning. You may also want to add tarp sides to your awning occasionally, which would be hard to do if your awning is angled steeply.

And I highly wish to repeat Mike's (Ford_6L_E350) caution about what happens when the wind blows. I have had to roll up my awning several times on windy nights. If the awning is attached to the PH roof, you will need to lower it before you can bring in the awning. That would be a hassle. And I have had a leg to my awning snap because I tried to keep the awning up in a high wind.

Congratulations on acquiring a Sportsmobile. Welcome to the Club.

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Old 05-17-2011, 04:55 PM   #9
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Re: Awning attached to the penthouse top?

I am sure you will figure out what your personal needs are.

Our original awning installation (prior to penthouse) was the mounting in about 6" above the side doors. We felt it was ok but not OK!.

Not enough head room FOR US.

When it rained we always had issues with the side doors contacting the awning when opening and closing.

When the sun was at high noon you could feel the heat radiating off the underside of the awning. White sections of the awning were better then the awnings dark colored sections but still hot. With the awning higher there is room to dissipate that heat.

Many people here do have awnings cantilevered off of the van drip rails but that has never looked robust to me (although I have never had an awning installed that way).

The picture I posted shows the Trimline awning support polls extended about 6'. It was a very windy day on Lake Michigan and the awning was less flappy and stable at in that position. On calm days the poles will extent to about 7'6". The poles would have to extend to 9' to have the awning horizontal with the penthouse up.

9'0" legs max shade = 70 sq ft
7,6" legs max shade = 68.4 sq ft
7'0" legs max shade = 67 sq ft
6'0" legs max shade = 63 sq ft

So we normally have 67-68 sq ft of max shade under awning.

The Fiamma awning is 8'2" x 10' so it can have up to 82 sq ft of shade

The Trimline bag awning does require (at least for us) two people to set it up and take it down.

The Faimma crank awning (F45) I believe only requires one person to set it up or take it down.

Trimline bag awning 7'x10' ~$300
Fiamma F35 manual awning 8' x 10' ~$500
Fiamma f45 crank awning 8' x 10' ~$750

We did make side curtains for our awning but use them infrequently

We really see no issue with raising and lowering the manual penthouse. Indeed when we stop for lunch while on the road we put it up. It only requires a couple of minutes to put it up and down. I have heard the motor driven penthouses go up and down slowly but then they only require moving a switch.

We have taken the awning down at night when it looks like real bad weather might be coming. I can only think of 3-4 we have done that over the last 10 years. Normally we drop it way down in front and stake it well.

Of course there is no answer that will make all users happy.

What ever direction you take enjoy you van.
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Old 05-17-2011, 05:30 PM   #10
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Re: Awning attached to the penthouse top?

I definitely agree with LenS that the Fiamma awning attached to the van frame places the awning in the way when the doors are being swung open or closed. I hate that. The awning also is too low for some of the lights on the side of some SMBs. LenS has explained well the pro and cons of both options. So . . . choose wisely!
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