RV Expert Center
Replacing a worn, faded or damaged patio awning fabric can restore function and appearance to your RV. It also saves you money over a complete awning replacement if your awning hardware is still in good condition. Fabric replacement also is a great time to upgrade your awning. In this installation, the customer opted not only for new fabric but for a slightly longer awning for more shade and better positioning of awning arms on the side of their travel trailer.
The old awning is first released from travel position at the awning rail. The support arms are then released from the bottom brackets and extended to the shop floor. Support arm top brackets are then removed from both ends.
After removing set screws in the top portion of the awning rail (if present), two technicians then carefully slide the old fabric out of the awning rail on the side of the trailer, completely releasing the awning and hardware from the trailer. The fabric and roller tube assembly plus the support arms are then carefully placed on a clean area of the shop floor for the next step.
The awning arms are then removed from either end of the roller tube, using vise grip pliers to secure the end of the torsion assembly. After the support arm is removed, two technicians carefully unwind the torsion assembly on that end of the roller tube; the process is repeated on the other end. NOTE: Releasing the tightly-wound spring torsion assembly in the roller tube must be done with extreme care to avoid serious injury and property damage. The tensioned torsion assembly packs tremendous energy, and allowing it to unwind unrestrained is very dangerous to anyone or anything in the immediate vicinity.
With the torsion assembly safely released on both ends of the roller tube, the technician drills out the pop rivets in the end of the roller tube so the torsion assembly can be removed, repeating this procedure on the other end. The torsion assembly will be reinstalled on the new roller tube with the new, longer awning fabric. The old fabric and roller tube are put aside.
The new, longer roller tube and new vinyl fabric are both unwrapped, and the new fabric is slid into place on the new roller tube using the supplied end cap guide. Polycord sewn into the fabric holds the main canopy and the valance on the roller tube. These are carefully slid into two grooves on the roller tube; excess polycord is then trimmed flush with the end of the roller tube.
With the new fabric in place on the new roller tube, the torsion assembly is reinstalled on each end with new pop rivets.
Using vise grips for safety, each torsion assembly is then carefully re-wound to the manufacturer’s specified number of turns for the roller tube length and reattached to the top of the awning arm on either end.
With the tensioned roller tube with fabric now reattached to the awning arms, the technicians carefully slide the new fabric into the awning rail on the side of the trailer. The new arm positions are carefully noted and top and bottom brackets are reinstalled on each end, with caulking applied in the new holes before the screws are reinserted. The old holes are also caulked and covered with reflectors.
With new fabric and roller tube now secured to the trailer, the new awning is extended and the pull strap reinserted in a utility groove of the roller tube.
The technicians check the new awning’s operation, install set screws in the awning rail at each fabric end and make final adjustments. The new blue shadow vinyl nicely complements the graphics on the trailer sidewall. The longer awning length protects both front and rear doors and windows from sun and showers.
Awning fabric and/or roller tube replacement requires at least two people; three or more sets of hands are even better for optimum safety of people and components. A wide selection of replacement fabric colors are available, including OEM colors. Awning fabric replacement is available at Camping World and other RV accessory retailers.Thanks to Rick Matar, Tom High, Mike Steele, Bruce Esbaugh and Shawn Justice of Camping World for assistance on this project, and to Bryant and Kelly Allen for allowing the use of their travel trailer.