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Old 07-12-2007, 01:31 PM   #11
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awning

I have the awning but rarely use it. How I camp makes the difference. I almost never stay in camp and leave to 4X4 most of the day so its one more thing to put away that wastes time. I know of a couple that have put it up in windy conditions, but I wouldn’t want to leave camp for fear of high wind approaching while being gone. I always rig up a cheap well made tarp that I place close to the edge of the fire (or my Pit-2-Go) so I am dry and warm without the worry of an ember burning a hole in the awning. It has been a nice item to have during warm days when I point the van so the awning cast a shadow to keep the side cool. Also in places where there are no trees to rig a tarp up I was glad I had it. So far the only problem was the bracket rubbing on the van so I had SMB add extra rubber to isolate it. I do get small amounts of rust around the bolts that I have to keep clean. I drive a lot of rough roads and so far no stress cracks. I also crash a lot of brush and haven’t had any problems there either but I am careful not to hang up on anything large. I think it would get a lot more use on long cross country trips when you want a fast setup and tear down situations while hopping from place to place. Hope this wasn’t too late of a post providing it helps...DaveB
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Old 07-15-2007, 12:01 AM   #12
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Dave,

Thanks for the input. We opted for the Fiamma and our van is currently on the line at SMB.

There were a few other options, but I kept coming back to the fact that this thing is already attached and ready to deploy for shade; I like that feature.

From those who I have talked to, it really depends on the gound where you set it up and how well you can stake the guy lines for additional support in windy conditions.

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Jeff
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Old 07-16-2007, 09:04 PM   #13
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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

-- Geoff
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Old 07-17-2007, 11:46 PM   #14
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Wow Geoff thats ugly. Maybe you should post on "known issues". I have yet to see this (I looked tonight) but you hit more bad roads than I do. I wonder if there is a solution? That scared me a bit....DaveB
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Old 07-18-2007, 01:12 AM   #15
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awning cracks

I've been meaning to talk some more with Sportsmobile West about it. I have done some serious washboard road driving (such as Baja), but so have other Sportsmobilers. I've seen some variation in how the awning is mounted on other Sportsmobiles.

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Old 07-18-2007, 10:33 AM   #16
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Geoff, in the various mounting differences, have you seen examples which you believe are less susceptible to the problems you've experienced?
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Old 07-18-2007, 11:27 PM   #17
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mounting

Sorry, hard to say. When looking at the other Sportsmobiles with awnings at the 2006 Rally, I saw a few others vans with cracks around the mountings, but I didn't immediately realize that there were some small differences in the mountings.

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Old 07-19-2007, 11:15 AM   #18
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Your site was one of the ones I was looking at before I made my decision, and definitely gave me second thoughts about ordering the awning, but I think my personal usage will require it enough to put up with the cons.

One of the things that occurred to me is that if the bracket were longer, and had two series of bolts on it, it would probably be considerably more stable. Have you come up with anything to stabilize it yourself?
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Old 07-19-2007, 11:54 AM   #19
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I've been procrastinating on this, but I think that maybe a 3"x3" or so square of plate metal between the mount and the sheet metal would help spread the load (which is now concentrated at that one bolt).

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Old 07-19-2007, 12:30 PM   #20
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I've been giving this consideration, even though I don't have my rig yet.

The awning housing mounting brackets keep the thing a certain distance from the van body, say 1-2" for sake of discussion. The greater this distance, the more vibration and force is upon the brackets. Adding Geoff's plates will make the mounting pad area stronger, which certainly helps, but doesn't necessarily reduce the forces that create the problem. I plan on designing additional cantilevered style brackets to actually assist in supporting the weight of the unit and preventing it from bouncing around. I don't know at this time if they will be above or below the housing, but they will keep the thing ridgid to the van body, thus preventing the stress fractures that we have been seeing. These awnings are made for general purpose RV use, and not the abuse and rattling that off road driving will subject them to.
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