How to replace RV Awning Roller Tubes
Many RV fanatics believe it is impossible to replace the awning roller tube, but there are ways of doing it yourself. Today, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to replace the RV awning roller tube yourself. So, if you want to take on this task yourself, be sure to read through our useful tips and tricks below.
When Should I Replace My RV Awning?
Before you start, it is worth considering if your RV awning needs replacing. Fortunately, there are some basic indicators that tell you it is time for a replacement.
One of the clear signs of awning wear and tear is a discoloration of the fabric. There could also be some tears and holes in the fabric, which means the awning does not provide ample protection.
What Tools Do I Need?
Make sure you have the right tools for the job before you remove and replace the awning. Tools you will need for the job are:
- a rivet gun
- pop rivets
- a drill
- vice grips
- a razor knife
- drill extensions
- a screwdriver
- silicone spray lubricant
- masking tape
- waterproof sealant
- a hammer
- socket wrench
- tape measure
- a felt-tip marker
- two step ladders
- replacement awning fabric
- an open-end wrench
- and a couple of Allen wrenches
Take Your Time with It
One of the most important things when installing a new RV awning roller tube is taking your time with it. Remember, the straightness of the fabric will make things a little easier, so do not try to rush things too much.
Before you start, it is advised to have several helping hands as well. Replacing the awning on an RV is not something you can do on your own, so make sure you have a minimum of three people to assist you always.
Related: RV Slide Out Awnings
Remove the bolts that hold the awning to the top of the RV with the drill. You do not have to hold onto the awning, since the legs and the tension of the awning will keep the awning in its place for now.
Continue to remove the small screws on top of the awning; these are the screws that prevent the awning fabric from getting stuck on the track itself. Then, remove the legs of the awning by pulling them from their brackets at the bottom of the RV. Make sure to extend the legs until they touch the ground; this will keep the awning in its place until you are ready to fully remove it.
Pull the clip on the side of the awning and then use the awning rod to pull the awning slightly forward. Before your remove the awning, make sure you put some masking tape on the brackets; this is done to prevent damage to the sides of the RV.
There are some cases where you will need to use a knife to cut the sealant away between the fabric and the side of the RV; this is seen with older awnings. Open the track slightly with a screwdriver and then begin to pull the fabric from the track. Once the awning is removed, place it carefully on a bit of trap or some elevated blocks to protect the roller tube.
Replacing the Awning Fabric
There are two springs on the side of the awning. Lock the spring at the rear by removing the protective black cap and inserting a screw driver. Release the tension on the other spring by removing the bold that holds the arm to the roller tube. Then remove both the bolt and the arm.
Clamps the vice grips on the bracket. However, before you do, use some masking tap to prevent scratching or damage to the bracket. Keep a hold of the vice grips and lift it up a little to remove the tension on the lever. Then, turn the lever to the roll-up position and unroll the spring gently. Then, remove the vice grips and mark the location of the control level; this will help you during reassembly.
Remove one of the pop rivets from the roller rube. Use your hammer to remove the rest of the rivet if necessary. Do the same thing for the other side of the roller tube. Then, you can easily remove the spring assembly from the roller tube.
Life up the roller tube and remove the old fabric. If the fabric appears hard to remove at the end, use your knife to slice the fabric in half; this will make it easier for the awning to slide out.
Once you have removed the old awning, spray lubricant in the channels of the rolling tube; this will help to slide the new awning over the tube. Slide the fabric into the right channels on the roller tube. Make sure the fabric is positioned correctly and then roll the fabric up on the roller tube.
Reinsert the spring mechanism into the roller tube. With this, make sure you line up the controller level with the mark you made earlier and check if the rivet holes line up correctly. Then, use the pop riveter to replace the rivets you’ve removed earlier. Do this for both sides of the tube.
Reattach the vice grips to the tube and the brackets. Move the control level to the roll down position and turn the spring counter-clockwise; this will retighten the spring.
Once you have tightened the spring mechanism, attach the awning arm on the right side and the left side. Make sure to remove the screwdriver from the left side and reattach the black protective cap.
Before adding the fabric to the side track of the RV, make sure you use some lubricant to make the fabric roll smoother. Stand the reassembled roller tube on the legs and line up the edge of the fabric with the track. Then, slide the fabric into position.
With both support legs on the ground, coat the screws you will use with some waterproof sealant. Use the screws and the drill to reattach the brackets to the side of the RV. Make sure to attach the bottom of the support legs as well to the lower RV brackets.
Before continuing, make sure the awning rolls up straight. If the material does not line up, or if the legs are not straight, you may have to move the fabric on the side track; this can be done by moving it manually to the left or to the right.
Once the fabric is installed correctly, use your drill to reinstall the two small screws on either side of the track; this will lock the fabric in its place and prevent it from moving from one side to the other while being used.
Before you begin the process of changing your awning, make sure you have good weather conditions and plenty of space. Also, be sure to check the RV track or other parts of the awning for signs of serious damage. If a part of the roller tube or track is damaged, a professional may be required to fix the problem before you can replace the awning. Still, if everything is fine, then nothing is stopping you replacing the awning yourself.