How to Add Tension to a Camper Awning

How to Add Tension to a Camper Awning
After repeated use, camper owners must re-tension their awnings in order to keep the fabric taut when extended. A simple adjustment to the awning tube can also ensure that the fabric rolls up quickly and tightly when retracted. You won't need to adjust the springs in the roller every time you use your camper, but periodic adjustments and maintenance are required to keep the tension strong.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Screwdriver or nut-driver
  • 6- or 8-foot step ladder (optional)
Step 1
Slide the roller tube of the awning as far to the ground as it will go. The roller tube contains the tension springs used to extend an awning.
Step 2
Locate the support arms--the aluminum members that extend about 3.5 feet from the ground and connect the awning tube with the bracket on the side of the camper.
Step 3
Remove the two screws in the rear end of the support arms with a screwdriver. This is a good time to also check for broken rivets in the handles. Do not proceed if the arm pivot holes are enlarged or if the rivets are broken. Instead, see a repair specialist.
Step 4
Remove the tension arm from the channel in the outer section. Tighten the knob on the tension arm to adjust the level of tension. Rotate until you cannot turn the knob any further. It must be finger-tight.
Step 5
Hold the roller tube as you remove the inner part of the support arm. Rotate the support arm in a counterclockwise direction once. Check that the roller tube is not warped inside. If it is, do not continue; contact a repair specialist. If it is not warped, proceed to Step 6.
Step 6
Slide the inner support-arm section back into its original location. Re-attach it to the bracket.
Step 7
Re-install the two screws that you removed in step 3.
Step 8
Repeat steps 3 to 7 for the rear support arm, but turn the support arm in a clockwise direction.

Tips & Warnings

While you inspect the arm and remove the screws, use a ladder under the roller tube for support if you do not have an assistant to support it.
Tension springs hold a significant amount of tension even when the awning appears to roll slowly or when the fabric is not as taut as it used to be.
Serious injury can occur if any part of your awning is warped or damaged.

Article Written By Charlie Gaston

Charlie Gaston has written numerous instructional articles on topics ranging from business to communications and estate planning. Gaston holds a bachelor's degree in international business and a master's degree in communications. She is fluent in Spanish and has extensive travel experience.

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