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Friday, October 19, 2012

Raising The White Flag

Of surrender.


I like to do my own maintenance and repair work on the Journey.  Most things I can do.  Struggling with a stuck open awning should be something I can fix.  Determining why it is stuck open should be something I can do.  Fixing the awning so it operates properly?

Maybe I can, maybe I can’t.


First things first.  I checked all the fuses and circuit breakers.  All fine and dandy.  Now what?  Umm, maybe read the owner’s manual?

I dug out the manuals and located the awning section.  Okay, I already know that to bring the awning in, I have to push the “In” button.  I also know that doesn’t work.

On to the next section.  A jumper wire is included in the Winnebago Black Bag of Knowledge.  (Every Winnebago comes with a black bag stuffed full of operator’s manuals for every system on board as well as miscellaneous items like touch up paint, caps for our Sleepless Number Bed pump and, low and behold, an awning motor jumper wire and awning strap).

I took the jumper wire, disconnected the Journey’s wires and connected it to my car battery, thereby bypassing all the wiring to narrow down the problem.


Connect the jumper wire to the car battery and…

Nothing!  Uh oh, this is bad Ju Ju.  The motor has departed to that happy awning place in the sky.  This meant drastic action to close the awning.

This is where the awning strap enters the picture.  I slide it in the end of the awning roller tube slot.


Then I removed a lock screw on the motor to free up the mechanism.


With two brooms, Marti and I were able to get the awning closed by pushing on each end, while holding the awning strap to ensure the awning didn’t slam closed.

Victory.  Sort of.


This is where the white flag of surrender was raised up.  I called an highly recommended mobile RV service technician.


We opened the awning and he double checked my trouble shooting.


Guess what he found?  I was right, my awning motor bit the big one.

He did not have the part, he said he could get it in a week or so and it would be very expensive.  Since we are leaving here next Wednesday, that wouldn’t work.  Plan “B” was for me to try and order the part myself from a dealer I use right next to the Winnebago factory in Iowa and have it shipped here overnight.  Of course, since it was already Friday at 4:30 PM CT, that would have to wait until Monday.

The tech was sorry he couldn’t help me more.  I paid him for his time and we’re going to move on to Plan “C”.  That is get the awning fixed when we get back to South Carolina for our extended stay in December.  I debated ordering the part (Plan “D”) and installing it myself after I picked the RV tech’s brain on how to handle awning spring (think of how a window shade works with a spring to roll it up), but since I have an extended warranty, it would be cheaper and (hopefully) less of a hassle for me in the long run.

So I have to do one last thing.  That screw I removed to roll up the awning has to be put back to prevent the awning from opening by itself while going down the highway.  I’m also going to put a couple of bungee cords around things to keep it closed, remember I used to work for the government so I’m used to redundant redundancy.

The awning will stay closed and not inhibit our travels.  The only other option was to do what Robin Williams did in the movie RV.  Drive past a pole and rip the whole awning off…


Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.



  1. Sometimes it is better to surrender than fight a losing battle:)

  2. Doesn't sound like surrender to me. More like getting it fixed in your own good time.

  3. I agree with Chuck and Anneke - sometimes it's just smarter to let the experts deal with it. So hopefully you can find an expert.

  4. Redundant redundancy -- that's a good one! LOL

  5. We've seen RV a few times. It definitely is funny. I think that's because most of us can relate to it.

  6. sorry to hear that the awning issue was not an easy fix..but thank goodness for extended warranties!

  7. I've tried that run the awning into a tree option myself. Believe me it isn't pretty. :( It certainly didn't come loose driving down the road after that though...

  8. Like they all said, sometimes it's good to know when to fold em :) George is the bungee cord king..we use them for everything.

  9. We found some heavy duty Velcro straps that slip easily between the awning and the coach. The straps stick to themselves and work great for holding the awning in.

  10. And here I was wondering whether when I replaced my awning fabric I just should have gotten an automatic one where the motor rather than me would bring it in and out. Hmmmmm I'm feeling better about that decision.

    Although............big expense but the extended warranty will cover it? So that means only big inconvenience? Hmmmmmmmmmm.....

  11. Smart move to call the RV Mobile Tech - most times that ends up saving money. I like the idea of the redundant redundancy too - can't be too careful.

  12. Good mobile RV guys can be a god send, too bad he couldn't get the part in time.

  13. its hard to raise the white flag but sometimes for peace of mind it is the best bet...good luck...and travel safe hope to meet up again down the road :)

  14. The tech was sorry he couldn’t help me more. I paid him for his time and we’re going to move on to Plan “C”. That is get the awning fixed when we get back to South Carolina for our extended stay in December.

  15. This is where the awning strap enters the picture. I slide it in the end of the awning roller tube slot.

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    Howdy Marti & Chief,

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  18. That is get the awning fixed when we get back to South Carolina for our extended stay in December.

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