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Old 10-04-2020, 12:27 AM   #11
JRO
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Iím donít sit around my van much but, for some reason, I want an awning. But more so, I donít want to add to my list of maintenance items. Do any of you awning guys wish you just had a detached 4-post umbrella shade canopy thing instead of the cool pull-out awning?
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Old 10-04-2020, 07:18 AM   #12
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I finally got around to fixing the awning. I decided to take apart the interior to access the body inside to place a backing plate to bolt to. Taking apart the interior was not hard, putting it back together is. I suggest making notes as to what parts and screws go where. I ended up with 6 extra screws, one extra bolt and an extra bracket.

I was very disappointed with the workmanship under the interior. The awning bolts actually go right through the body, so there was no need to drill holes. But the inside looked like a small bomb went off with crumpled metal and sharp edges everywhere inside. Wiring ran right past these edges without any protection. I was surprised at how haphazard the wiring, the screwing, etc. are underneath the interior walls. I mean I know the van is 14 years old, but how hard is it to design the wiring to run together and make it easily accessible...I guess hard.

I used 3Ē bolts with locking nuts and a 5Ēx1Ē aluminum backing plate to secure the awning. I also placed some large o-rings between the outside bracket and the van body to seal the holes and to add a little very little cushion to the bracket. It feels rock steady now.
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Old 10-04-2020, 08:20 AM   #13
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Belize - Did you put anything (like rubber or neoprene) between the aluminum backplate and the interior sheet metal?

Your discovery of the hacking and wiring is very consistent w what I and others have seen behind the finish work. the wiring at the driver side B pillar is a very, very vulnerable spot for chaffing / shorting out / fire. I recommend removing the B pillar cover and checking the wiring harness all the way to the stock roof level.
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Old 10-04-2020, 08:52 AM   #14
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JRO,
I'm not sorry now as I think I have solved most issues with attaching the awning to the van.
I like you don't live in the van, it's my bedroom in wonderful places.
The awning has come to good use as a sun screen, shade producer, protects from rain and snow...etc. I don't have to pack it. it's always read to serve...just cranking required.
Still very vigilant in any wind.......
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Old 10-04-2020, 10:34 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1der View Post
Belize - the wiring at the driver side B pillar is a very, very vulnerable spot for chaffing / shorting out / fire.
This is correct, we watched first hand as Ramsey's van had smoke poring out of the wall while camped on the beach in Baja. He had been blowing a fuse, and he MAY have replaced it with a larger one prior to when the wring finally overheated. If properly fused, the short SHOULD have been prevented, but may have happened anyway. So, it's worth inspecting the wiring, paying close attention to where it passes through structural members.
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Old 10-04-2020, 11:19 AM   #16
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1der, I did not put anything between sheet metal and aluminum back plate, maybe I should have. I did protect any wiring going past that point though as the interior sheet metal was a mess, jagged and ragged, like I said, as if a mini explosion took place when they drilled the holes. I love my SMB, but really hate the workmanship which I will slowly correct as time goes on.
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Old 10-04-2020, 02:03 PM   #17
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Belize - re aluminum plate - you have dissimilar metals in contact with each other so some corrosion may occur. More importantly is the rubbing of metal on metal via vibration. Just my thoughts.
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Old 10-05-2020, 08:49 AM   #18
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Belize,
The engineer who helped with the design took that into account. There is no bare metal contact (neoprene spacers). The additional bolts were to control the velocity shock. The entire plate is sealed with silicone caulking material. Only time will tell and I have lots of that. So far I'm pleased with the function and look of the awning reinforced connection.
I'm still very cognizant of "Maria" the wind......in addition to Tess (rain), Joe (fire)...lol
Thanks for the observations........I totally enjoy the reading various views on projects.
Off to UT, WY, CO Thursday: 2003 E350 4X4 7.3 SMB
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Old 10-05-2020, 11:16 AM   #19
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Quote:
I love my SMB, but really hate the workmanship
X2

Glad you got this taken care of!
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Old 10-05-2020, 11:53 AM   #20
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I also am a lover of my SMB.
I have not uncovered any of the reported poor workmanship.
I'm into my 17th year with my 03 and I have no complaints.
I do think people who do their own buildout have a higher standard. which I understand.
Again I have no complaints other than the awning issue which was created by myself in not paying attention to the wind.
I did not see any interior work as I did all my repair from the outside.
Heading out Thursday on a adventure to UT, WY, CO I will see what happens.
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