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Old 11-08-2020, 05:02 PM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Axis 24.2
State: California
Posts: 55
THOR #18202
Santa Ana Awning Wipeout

It all started as a typical Santa Ana winds day in SoCal but it was also the first day of a two week round robin of state campgrounds in the central and north coast areas of California. We have driven in similar winds in the past, not fun but ok.

The problems began when the traffic locked up in one of windiest areas. As we sat and rocked around, we began to hear banging on the passenger side (facing the winds). The awning was slapping against the side of the motorhome, despite having been stowed in a closed position. Initially, it was just a few inches but the wind was blowing up into the exposed area forcing the awning further out. The canvas then billowed out completely, banging against the top of the motorhome.

We pulled off to the highway shoulder and I did what I could to tie the awning brackets shut – not much luck. By the time we got moving and could exit the highway, the awning was ripped and had pulled the cross bar completely off of the motorhome at the front end. This actually put a slight bend in the rear vertical support.

All I could do was cut the awning off of the motorhome and remove the cross bar from the rear support. We laid it alongside a nearby utility fence and proceeded to our campsites.

We got home Friday and yesterday I went back to the scene of the crime and recovered the evidence.
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Old 11-08-2020, 05:10 PM   #2
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Ouch!

And the winds did that to a fully-retracted awning??
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Old 11-08-2020, 05:11 PM   #3
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Sorry to see that. Hopefully your insurance will repair the damage. Years ago I was on a trip with my mother and step father with their fifth wheel. Came upon a side wind and it did the same things as yours to the awning. Again, so sorry to see the damage to your rig.
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Old 11-08-2020, 05:26 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bob Denman View Post
Ouch!

And the winds did that to a fully-retracted awning??
Yes Bob, when this gets repaired, I plan to devise some sort of lock to hold the vertical supports shut. Probably never be an issue but once burned...

The awning did not have to open much for the wind to catch the "sail" and pull it further. No way this 75 yo was going to hold it shut.

BTW, great time for the two weeks along the coast. The Redwoods provided all the shade we needed.
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Old 11-08-2020, 05:52 PM   #5
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Sorry for your “adventure”. At least you seem to be taking it in stride. I recall seeing something about a storage lock available to prevent this very thing. It was pretty simple and I remember that I was considering purchasing one but got busy and forgot. Perhaps I’ll get to looking again! Good luck with the repair.
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Old 11-08-2020, 06:01 PM   #6
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I am really surprised that a tightly closed awning would open

Once the fix is complete, I suggest you ensure that the motor is working properly and completely closing the awning to its tight & locked position.
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Old 11-08-2020, 06:06 PM   #7
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Would something like this hve helped?

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Old 11-08-2020, 06:36 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by taylorbob1 View Post
I am really surprised that a tightly closed awning would open
Needless to say, I was quite surprised as well. I typically retract the awning until it wants to reverse and then make sure it is as close as possible. The old style that I had on prior rigs had a clamp designed into the support that would have prevented this.

I doubt that there is a locked position - I suspect the only thing holding it is the motor winding itself. I never would have thought that the wind could have got the process started.
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Old 11-21-2020, 07:46 PM   #9
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Same thing happened to me with a TT awning, in west Texas. An extremely hard blowing wind directly out of the north, hitting us broad side on the passenger side. Thank God for the Hensley Hitch. The hardware stayed intact, but the canopy was completely billowed out.
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Old 11-21-2020, 07:49 PM   #10
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Sorry to read of your woes, with our previous RV's, with manual awnings, I wrapped a velcro strap around the front legs to prevent accidental opening, it worked well. I'll look at doing the same to our electric awning after reading this. Cheers.
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Old 11-21-2020, 08:31 PM   #11
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Sorry to read of your woes, with our previous RV's, with manual awnings, I wrapped a velcro strap around the front legs to prevent accidental opening, it worked well. I'll look at doing the same to our electric awning after reading this. Cheers.
l considered doing something like this but the vertical arms are mounted flush to the motorhome so that the velcro would not pass behind it. I am still looking at alternatives. Negative is that I would likely forget to unhook it before extending the awning. I use red "Remove Before Flight" ribbons on other things as a reminder - example the pins on the overhead bunk.

https://www.amazon.com/Apex-Imports-...02171408&psc=1
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Old 11-21-2020, 08:37 PM   #12
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Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill in Redlands View Post
l considered doing something like this but the vertical arms are mounted flush to the motorhome so that the velcro would not pass behind it.
Could you possibly loosen the arms enough to pass the Velcro behind, then tighten it back down?
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Old 11-21-2020, 08:54 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill in Redlands View Post
Needless to say, I was quite surprised as well. I typically retract the awning until it wants to reverse and then make sure it is as close as possible. The old style that I had on prior rigs had a clamp designed into the support that would have prevented this.

I doubt that there is a locked position - I suspect the only thing holding it is the motor winding itself. I never would have thought that the wind could have got the process started.
Maybe that was the problem? I've never had an electric awning that wanted to reverse when it was fully retracted; but they do "reverse" when extending them too far and will actually wrap back up with the awning under the roll rather than on top of the roll.
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Old 11-21-2020, 09:43 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Popfla View Post
Could you possibly loosen the arms enough to pass the Velcro behind, then tighten it back down?
I think you could but there may be a better solution. Sometimes, I just have to think on it until a light bulb comes on. I don't expect the new awning material for at least a couple of more weeks, so no hurry.

BTW, I had to remove the rear arm to make a minor repair and was disappointed to find that, of the five screws holding it on, only two went into solid wood. The other three were inserted into the facia - outer skin of the rig. It is probably adequate when you consider that the two in solid wood are at the top and the load on the bottom is in compression against the rig, but still a disappointment.

This may be different on other models of the Axis.
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Old 11-21-2020, 09:47 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by 16ACE27 View Post
Maybe that was the problem? I've never had an electric awning that wanted to reverse when it was fully retracted; but they do "reverse" when extending them too far and will actually wrap back up with the awning under the roll rather than on top of the roll.
My bad, when I typed that I was thinking about the reversal at the extended end. Mine comes to a solid stop when retracted. Call it a senior moment, I surely qualify.
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Old 11-21-2020, 11:06 PM   #16
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I had this happen to a left side slide out cover on a MH we owned
before switching to a 5th wheel.

The wind (about 35-40 MPH) ripped the awning cover out and
in the process broke the springs that hold the cover taught.

When I had it replaced the shop installed a set of locks to control
this ballooning from happening again.

My repair was about $800 parts and labor).
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Old 11-21-2020, 11:26 PM   #17
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same wind?

We were caught in some insane winds crossing from Barstow to Bakersfield on the 58 on our way to Yosemite less than 2 weeks ago.

The winds were coming from our left (non-camp side). I guess we were lucky. This could have been our result too if the wind were coming from the right.

At one point we did hear a crash right behind the drivers seat. Realized later it was probably an empty plastic water bottle. - we had seen a few fly across the freeway-

It left no marks, but you can imagine what the sounds like when the bottle hits the side at 60 miles an hour.
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Old 11-21-2020, 11:32 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill in Redlands View Post
l considered doing something like this but the vertical arms are mounted flush to the motorhome so that the velcro would not pass behind it. I am still looking at alternatives. Negative is that I would likely forget to unhook it before extending the awning. I use red "Remove Before Flight" ribbons on other things as a reminder - example the pins on the overhead bunk.

https://www.amazon.com/Apex-Imports-...02171408&psc=1
I thought of drilling a hole right through the arms when closed and then getting a long pin to go thru it all due to them being flush to the side.
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Old 11-22-2020, 12:41 AM   #19
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I live in San Diego County and spend all the fall, winter and spring going back and forth to the Colorado river near Yuma, the Drive through the San Diego mountains can be pure hell during a Santa Anna, I usually see at least one awning on the side of the road each season, I had a dust devil cross in front of me going across the desert and ended up in every direction except the one I wanted, I saw it coming and did not think much of it, now I pull over and let them pass if I see one coming,
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Old 11-22-2020, 01:31 AM   #20
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High winds have been pulling awnings out and destroying them for as long as I have been involved with RV's, (many years). It amazes me that they are not designed with an auto lock in place when closed, similar to slides. Driving a large RV through high winds is stressful enough, without having to worry about your awning being ripped to shreds too.
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