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Old 09-14-2020, 09:44 AM   #1
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Tightening awning bracket bolts

Just back from a long off road trip and while inspecting the van I see where the awning bracket bolts are loose (see image). It looks like I need access on the inside of the van to hold the nuts to tighten the bolts.


I have removed interior in my van before, but always seem to remove more than I have to and then have a hell of time getting everything back in place. Was wondering if anyone knows the minimum I have to remove inside to access the bolts. Specifically, the piece in the attached photo. Thanks!
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Old 09-14-2020, 11:01 AM   #2
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Hey Belize!

Those are well nuts. When you tighten them it expands the rubber on the "blind" side of the metal. I just got done with another round of trying to address this (IMO) bad design of SMB. Mine (and I think a lot of others) get body rips around these holes from the constant in/out flexing of the body at the holes. I have since switched to another style of bracket (sold here on the forum) that doesn't rely on the holes, but (again, IMO) doesn't keep the awning from vibrating a lot. Having said that, I have many many miles on washboard roads and the awning mounts have never failed.

My current, and last, mod I just completed is to permanently attach via bolts with threaded plates that fit through the holes & JB weld, aluminum plates where I had body rips emanating from 3 of the 4 holes. Still an imperfect solution, but the best I could come up with.

If you want I can get some photos of the awning now mounted with these plates in place.

Happy to discuss more if you'd like. Glad you are getting out and using the new van so much!

Side note: Yes, my PH roof isn't the prettiest anymore, but it is very solid and leak free after I had it re-fiberglassed by a small boat builder near Veracruz Mexico. One of these days I may work on aesthetics of it, but I tend to be more about function than form and if it isn't pretty maybe no one will want to steal it! That's why I keep my ugly beat up wheels.
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Old 09-14-2020, 05:36 PM   #3
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Pics of my current awning mounts:

Not sure I was clear in my post above, but you have no nuts to tighten from the inside. Your well nuts probably just slipped through the holes. If you loosen them, slide them back through the holes and tighten, they will probably be as good as before, but you will still may get body tears down the road.
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Old 09-14-2020, 07:19 PM   #4
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Phil,

Thanks for that. I agree, a very poor design for those brackets. Will attempt to push those rubber nuts back through but donít hold a lot of hope for that solution. I am thinking a backing plate on the inside to bolt through is the answer, which means I will have to take off the inside wall. Any idea what is the easiest way to gain access to those bolt holes through the body?
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Old 09-15-2020, 01:54 PM   #5
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I don't have any good suggestions on how to gain access other than a lot of time and accompanying frustration. With an attachment point there the vibration of the awning causes that part of the body (very thin sheet metal) to flex in and out until a crack will eventually develop. My van has seen a lot of off-road vibration leading to 3 body cracks. If your van doesn't get that much it may be fine for the long haul without developing any cracks.

If I were closer I'd be happy to lend a hand!
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Old 09-15-2020, 02:30 PM   #6
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Phil,


That's what I thought. I am developing hairline cracks and wanted to put a back plate in that will spread the vibration. Guess it will be a weekend project.


Thanks for replying.


Tony
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Old 09-28-2020, 10:17 PM   #7
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Digging up an old thread since Iím redoing the awning bracket body mounts. I used the awning z brackets to clamp to the rain gutter, but since I had the smb through body bolts as well, I drilled holes through the z brackets to match the SMB body bolts. I replaced the worn out well nuts with new ones. Luckily I found some at Loweís and didnít have to order online. But these are the correct size. Click image for larger version

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So Iím doubly secure. The awning is bolted to the z brackets, which are clamped to the rain gutter AND bolted through the body with the SMB well nuts. Hope this helps
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Old 10-01-2020, 02:14 PM   #8
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I love my SMB 03 which is now 17 years old.
I agree this was a poor design flaw: attaching the awning directly the side wall of the van.
My problem (2 times) were weather related, 1. Texas thunderstorm 2. AZ wind just
Both times I ended up with twisted, mangled awnings. The 2nd event damaged the factory attachment holes.
I looked 1st inside and decided the was not an option. If I did remove the interior could I get it back in place...not likely.
Decided on an exterior backing plate. A one piece application. That way I could use new holes that I knew for sure would hold the the backing plate in place. I did use a larger size well nut.
Used primed paint on the aluminum back plate then generic Ford white to finish (spray cans).[IMG][/IMG]
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Old 10-01-2020, 02:36 PM   #9
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Awning back Plate

https://www.sportsmobileforum.com/fo...1&d=1601584499
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Old 10-01-2020, 02:43 PM   #10
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Addendum: awning closing
The addition of the exterior backing plate creates a slight curve in the awning when bolted to the (factory) front door bracket.
This resulted in the awning not closing completely. I adjusted the front bracket slightly to allow for a more complete closing.
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