By Cheri Sicard
Josh the RV Nerd, one of our reader’s favorite RV YouTube channels, says that if you have an RV built after 2011, chances are good you have a power awning. And chances are even better that you are using it incorrectly.
Josh (now at Bish’s RV, BTW) says not a lot of people know this and that even RV dealers don’t know it, but in the video below, he is going to let us in on a secret.
Josh noticed a lot of used RVs coming into his lot with the auto rain dump gas struts on power awnings prematurely worn out. He came to realize this is because people are not taught how to properly use their power awnings.
In theory, using a power awning is simple. Push a button and it unfurls, push again and it retracts. Not so fast, says Josh.
The rain dump gas strut in the awning arm allows the awning to tilt down if there’s rain then straighten back out when there’s not.
In order to not have this part wear out before it should, like so many used RVs Josh sees, you will want to extend your awning in two stages.
Here’s what Josh recommends:
- First, open the awning about two feet, then stop and pause for a few seconds
- Now fully extend the awning
It takes just a few seconds but can save you hundreds of dollars in power awning repairs.
Why do you need to open your awning in two stages?
Because of the mechanics of the gas strut that takes time to expand. The reason a gas strut is used in a power awning is that it doesn’t move quickly. It only works when it’s subjected to a certain level of resistance aka water weight.
Forcing this part to open and close too quickly will damage the strut’s seals and result in its wearing out prematurely.
So take your time, give it a few seconds to catch up, and extend the life of your power awning!
Don’t ever listen to the [bleeped] this guy says.
If that’s the case, Bruce, please explain why Josh has almost a quarter-million subscribers to his YouTube channel and almost 100 million views. Huh? Have a good night. 🙂 –Diane at RVtravel.com
He’s a salesman and completely clueless on how gas struts work…..that’s how.
Got it.👍 But Josh still has lots of subscribers, so he must be doing “something” right, or at least not doing too many things incorrectly. Just sayin’.🤔 Have a good night, Jonathan. 🙂 P.S. Josh, if you’re reading this, how about chiming in on this topic? Thanks! –Diane at RVtravel.com
I won’t argue the fact that he does great in sales and walk-throughs and such, but not so much in the technical stuff. I couldn’t do nowhere as good as he does in his lane, but on technical conversations, well thats a complete different thing. We all have our personal strong points right?
If you release the gas strut from the awning, it moves on its own way faster than the awning motor moves the awning, that right there debunks his statements.
The same reason he doesn’t understand how RV 12V fridges work and how much power they consume. He had one video that said you could run a 12V fridge off one battery with one 50W solar panel for a week.
Thanks, Bruce. I get it. Have a good night. 🙂 –Diane at RVtravel.com
That piece of Josh’s work and my ignorance cost me thousands of dollars. How? I had 380 watts of solar on the roof. A 12 volt GE fridge. 2 Golf cart batteries. 2 days dry camp was enough to need a recharge. So I bought an extra 100 watt solar panel to follow the sun with. I don’t stay in the camp much, so that was no help. I bought a dual fuel inverter generator. Smelly, noisy. Bought 200 watts of lithium. Gained a day of camping. Pulled fridge out of the trailer and had a Dometic LP fridge put in. We mountain camp and solar is not the way to camp there. Got plenty of solar for our setup now, though. I still like Josh…but that video was horrible and very expensive for us!
Excuse me, 200 amps…
Completely clueless. When you open your vehicle hood to you stop it part way up? When you adjust your office chair do you? How about when your vehicle hits a bump, do you stop the shocks mid stroke? Gas struts are not like “super soakers” like Josh claims.
Gas struts work on a simple principle of a hydraulic piston with a bypass valve or orifice.
I’m a mechanical engineer and can tell you that this is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, but don’t believe me or “Josh the salesman”. I personally contacted Dometic, who is the manufacturer of awnings, and spoke with their engineer specifically about this and I can’t use the exact same words he used, but the family version was he stated that it was the dumbest thing he’s ever heard and completely false.
But I didn’t stop there, I also contacted SUSPA, one of the largest manufacturers of gas struts in the World and spoke with one of their engineers, who also agreed that this is all nonsense.
“Forcing this part to open and close too quickly will damage the strut’s seals and result in its wearing out prematurely.”
Collapse a gas strut and release it at the same time you hit the button to extend your awning and you’ll find that the gas strut extends much faster on its own than the awning extends. This fact alone completely debunks this absurd misinformation…..
This is the dumbest thing I have ever seen.
Thanks so much, Josh! Great info!
Thank you Cheri 😊
had new awning fabric installed and the installer told me the same thing that you are saying here
I don’t think all electric awnings have this “feature”. Wish he had put his hand or a pointer on the strut being discussed.
Hi, Bill. Josh did point to it very briefly. Look at about 1:30 in the video, where he walks back to it and points it out. Have a great day. 😀 –Diane at RVtravel.com
I don’t even know if my 2012 Arctic Fox HAS the rain dump thing. We do have an electric awning though.
Thank you, Cheri!
According to LCI (Lippert) this is nonsense and not endorsed by the manufacturer of your awning.
Exactly…..but don’t listen to the professionals, listen to the salesman trying to increase his clicks……..
Thanks for the tip. Here’s another. When I was a newbie, I left the awning out during a rainy night. Next morning I peered out the front window at a sight I did not recognize. The awning had filled with water in the middle, sagging enough to cover the view thru the window. Luckily I was able to drain it before anything broke. I quickly recognized the wisdom of others who keep their awnings tilted slightly while deployed.
Your sun shade (awning) shouldn’t be open in the rain or anytime you aren’t using it.
This doesn’t make logical sense to me. Isn’t the gas strut used the whole way out for the awning? Why would stopping or not in one place be any different than the other?
Nope I didn’t know that thanks!
Wow, who knew this?, thank you for sharing, new subject for around the fire at night.