Is it possible to straighten an awning tube? If so, how? —Steve D.
Love those “to the point” questions, Steve!
To my knowledge, there is no method in the aftermarket of straightening a bent, extruded aluminum awning roller tube. Some can be manipulated somewhat, but will always show evidence of the damage. In order for the canopy fabric to remain straight and roll up square and evenly, unfortunately, the tube will need to be replaced.
I’m sure re-extruding the tube could make it like new, but a new replacement tube would certainly be less expensive than trying to find a way to make that happen! Wish I had better news for you, but I’d recommend a new roller tube.
Read more from Gary Bunzer at the RVdoctor.com. See Gary’s videos about RV repair and maintenance.
The AWNING STIFFENER, MX57 was designed and Patented for this very problem. If the tube is bowed, as they usually are due to basic gravity, this causes the “compromised” area waiting to fail and break. The MX57 strengthens the tube so it won’t break under pressure and duress. In the case of a severely bent or broken tube, the Splice n Dice will repair the broken tube. This leaves your tube in better than new condition.
We had a large tent blow down in a major storm and much of the frame was bent. Using a hydraulic pipe bender we were able to straighten or nearly straighten all the savagable pieces. A partner to help line things up and sight down the tube was a big help. Slow and easy was the approach. These poles were not as large in diameter as an awning roller but if the roller is shot anyway I’d give it a try, that is if you can find somewhere to borrow the pipe bender. Fortunately we had one.
My 20 foot Carefree Patio Awning roller tube has always had a slight bow to it. Still works great!
Somewhat off topic of a awning enclosure tube, but may be useful if a rectangular awning frame tube is damaged. If the tube has a “kink” or crease, its not likely fixable. I had a slightly bent (about 1 1/2 inch curve) awning frame tube on a trailer I bought used. I removed the tube, placing it on the the ground with the curved part up with each end resting on a 4 by 4 scrap lumber. I then applied my 190 lbs to the center by standing on the tube. That was enough to remove about 1/2 of the bend, but no more. I then placed a 2 x 6 board as a ramp applied to the center of the tube. I then slowly, inch at a time, drove my car onto the ramp. Each time I inspected the tube for deflection. After 5 attempts, the tube was bending maybe 1/2 inch in the opposite direction of the original bend. Voila, after removing the ramp and examining the rectangular tube, it was straightened enough, that the awning deployment was normal.
I’m going to agree with you, Alex, that Gary is only technically right. 🙂 I bathtubbed my own awning so bad that even unloaded it was curved more than two FEET from straight. The worst bend *I* have ever seen, to be sure, since it couldn’t be towed that way! “Stuck” until it was fixed, I set up two 16′ folding ladders (as twin 8′ A-frames), and my son and I carefully hung ourselves on the inverted bow, straightening the curve a couple inches at a time and then relaxing. Gary is right that it’s not PERFECT anymore, but it’s within a 1/4 or so from straight. I would imagine bending it that far and back has weakened the metal microscopically (it will re-bow easier, I expect?), but it didn’t snap or crack, and rolls up with only a little wobble.
It has been my expeirence with awning structures that they do not repair well. The aluminum used becomes brittle once it is formed and heat treated. Once bent or broken, it’s done.
I’ve also noticed most rv dealers have a scrap pile of awning parts. If your of a mind to do a little dumpster diving, you may find the undamaged part you need.
Owning an RV is not for the mechanically challenged.
The mechanically challenged are the ones the dealer has a love relationship with though wouldn’t you say Phil. I mean where would they be without the MC’d darkening their doorway and agreeing to wait months for a repair. LOL.