Saturday, September 30, 2023


Ask Dave: Replacement awning motor failed; dealer can’t determine why

Dear Dave,
My awning quit—would not come in. A new motor was put on under warranty. After using it a few times, that awning motor failed. Took it back to the dealer, and they claim they can’t get it to fail. Used it once, and went out OK, but failed to come in again. It will travel in a few inches, stop, then click a few times. Release button and press again it will go a few inches, stop and click again. I noticed the R-side rail is a little crooked, about .5 inches. Will that have a major impact on the motor working? It is a Dometic 9100 electric awning, and the switch is Lippert OneControl (which I hate). What else is possible to look for? Thanks. —Bob, 2021 Cedar Creek 34IK Hathaway edition

Dear Bob,
A couple of questions. Are you connected to shoreline power when the awning motor failed, and are the jacks down with the unit level and secure? I know I sound like a broken record, but 12-volt power is probably the biggest issue when it comes to components working intermittently. And if the rig is not level, there could be just enough twist somewhere to cause resistance. It doesn’t take much for the small awning motor to “give up.” And, yes, the .5” twist in the arm can be just enough, as well.

What typically happens is you are at a campground and setting everything up, putting the awning out—and the awning motor doesn’t work. You take it to the dealership and they park it in the perfectly level service bay that is climate controlled and plug it into a 30-amp outlet and it works. However, nothing else is running in the rig such as lights, appliances, etc. You take it back out and that “Gremlin” comes out again.

Try to document conditions when awning motor fails

Try to document the conditions in which you are experiencing this. What is the temperature? Is it windy,? What is the actual voltage coming from the shoreline pedestal if you are connected to a campground source? What is the voltage of your house batteries?

If you are not connected to shoreline power, put a multimeter on your house batteries and notice the voltage. Fully charged batteries should read 12.6 volts. If it’s less, your batteries are too low to run the motor. If they are at 12.6 volts, run the awning and watch the voltage. But if it drops, they are probably sulfated and can’t take the draw.

Document all this. Also, if you can take a video when it happens, that will provide the dealer with more information.

 You might also enjoy this from Dave 

Why does my RV’s electric awning retract only intermittently?

Dear Dave,
When I try to roll up the awning at the side of the coach, it rolls about half-way and then stops. It acts like it doesn’t have enough charge in the battery, but it is full. I’ll wait about 5 minutes and then it may finish rolling up. It will eventually roll all the way up. When rolling it out, there is no problem; only when going in. There are two 6-V Trojan batteries, 3 years old, with 13.6 volt charge; plugged into shore power. The water level is OK. —Ernie, 2006 Tiffin Allegro Bay

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Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and the author of the “RV Handbook.”

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Dave Solberg
Dave Solberg
Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club. He has been in the RV Industry since 1983 and conducts over 15 seminars at RV shows throughout the country.


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Bob p
1 year ago

An uneducated guess would be some of both. Out of level and battery condition, battery condition is something that sneaks up on you very quietly. “It was good last month when I used it”! Happened to me when I parked the TT at home, I used the power jack to raise the coupler off the the ball, moved the truck forward about 6-8”, dropped the coupler back down to level the TT, unplugged from the truck, and finished the unhooking. Came back 5 weeks later to prepare to leave for FL went to raise the coupler, jack just groans and quits, and the trailer is plugged into a 30A outlet. Plugged the cord into the truck and the jack worked, new battery time.

Jesse Crouse
1 year ago

What RV component doesn’t have gremlins. Those pesky little animals still arise after 20 plus years of RVing. lol

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