Mod #20: Awning Lock

Mod #20: Awning Lock

Submitted on: 06/24/08

     Category: exterior
Mod Rating: 12345

(37 ratings)

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Mod Description:

As an RVer, you’ve probably come across a fellow RVer whose had his awning become unwound and blown open while traveling down the highway. He might have been lucky enough to catch the situation before serious damage occurred. Or not so lucky, having the awning and support arms completely destroyed. Or worse yet, caused an accident from flying awning parts peppering the cars behind him. What causes this to happen and what mod can you do to prevent this from happening to you? Of course, the awning lock mod.

Mod Difficulty:

The awning can be exposed to as high as 65 MPH winds (or higher!) when your RV is moving down the road. If the awning roller is allowed to move even the slightest bit, air can get in between the layers of awning fabric, causing the fabric to begin flapping. Flapping leads to tearing, exposing even more fabric. Eventually, enough fabric is flapping in the breeze and the awning (along with the support arms) rips itself apart.

The awning lock device works by preventing the awning roller from turning, even if the factory awning lock (the little lever you pull down when deploying your awning) fails. It works by pinning the roller in place using, well, a pin. The spring-loaded pin is mounted to a bracket that is installed under the awning roller. A small hole is drilled in to the roller for the pin to go in. When you want to deploy the awning, simply use the awning pull rod to pull the pin out of the roller. Rotating the “D” ring on the pin lock 90 degrees prevents the pin from going back in to the roller. Then just setup the awning as usual.

There is another precaution you can take in addition to the pin lock, and that’s to use awning straps. These are really just fancy strips of Velcro that wrap around the awning support arms when the awning is closed. Even if you snap the awning arms in place as part of your awning closure routine, they may still be jarred loose on rough roads, which sets up the awning to start unraveling. Just add awning straps to to your mental checklist and this won’t happen.

With the pin lock and the straps, there’s not much else short of a bracket failure that can provide your RV with shade while rolling down the road.

ModMyRV recommends these parts for this mod:

Awning Locks
Keith Williams’ Ultimate RV Awning Travel Lock

Awning Straps
AP Products 006-6 10″ Awning Cinch Strap

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13 Comments For This Mod

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  1. BillT

    I installed one of these and it works. Well, at least my awning has not come open on the road. I found that extending and retracting the awning several times before making installation to make sure the awning was rolled up correctly was important.

  2. jmt

    No need for this (I think) since I have an electric awning.

  3. Keith Williams

    1. While I appreciate the good words, the RV Awning Travel Lock is the invention of Loess Hills Technologies, not me. I am an authorized dealer of their well-designed RV products.

    2. Unfortunately, A & E electric awnings ARE susceptible to billowing and loss. We offer an RV Awning Travel Lock designed specifically for the A & E WeatherPro awning. We call it our “Model B.”
    Carefree states that their electric awning is not subject to this kind of destruction. That appears to be true, so we do not offer a model of RV Awning Travel Lock for Carefree electric awnings.

    Regards,
    Keith Williams

  4. Julie Rea

    Unrolling the awning, and removing the pin sounds easy. What about when you put the awning back up? Is a ladder then needed to re-insert the pin?

  5. ModMyRV

    The pin is spring-loaded and is attached to a ring. After the awning is rolled up, you can use the awning rod (the one used to pull on the awning lever lock release) to pull down on the pin ring and then slowly let it up so the pin goes in to the hole in the awning roller. No ladder needed.

  6. Scott Alexander

    Will this awning lock work with a slideout awning?

  7. LionRampant

    Before this manufactured solution came along, here’s how I handled this potential problem.
    http://www.goldcountrytravelers.com/tech_tips%20awning%20saver.html

    Ken

  8. ModMyRV

    @Scott Alexander: Yes, the lock will work with a slide out awning. The first picture above shows the lock installed on the right side of a slide out awning.

  9. ModMyRV

    @LionRampant: Nice mod! Simple and looks very easy to do. I noticed the hole in the awning roller for the pin - have you had any trouble with water getting in to the roller tube through that hole?

  10. daveg

    We did this mod about two years ago on our rig works great (33′ TT), became necessary after the awning came unrolled in some very windy conditions going down the road - fortunately no damage resulted I was able to pull over quickly. Was pretty easy to install, can be a pain sometimes getting the awning in the right position when it’s time to roll the awning backup; I resolved this problem to most part by putting marks on both sides of awning (fore and aft) to make sure the fabric is aligned properly before rolling up the awning; keeping pressure on the roll-up strap as the awning retracted makes sure the hole in the awning roll bar stays aligned when the awning is rolled up. Since this mod has been put on the trailer we haven’t any additional incidences of the awning coming unrolled. In some instances I have had to use the ladder to get the pin in properly; but in most instances it works every time.

  11. Lloyd BC

    My buddy had this problem during a trip thru Kansas in the worst winds he’s ever driven in. He had to have his entire awning system replaced. As my A&E happens to be one without the ratchet system, and relies on only the rewind springs to keep it from unspooling, I took the cheap route to fixing the problem. I bought a cheap 1″x 10ft ratchet strap, cut the hook off the long end, and used a 2″ piece of plastic awning spline to hold it in the roller groove. With the awning rolled up, I put one wrap of the strap on the awning roller, opposite direction to the fabric. Then, remove the strap end from the ratchet body. Screw the ratchet body to the bottom rail of the coach. To lock the awning in retract position, tighten the ratchet strap. I defy any wind that you can stay on the road in, to unroll your awning, as the fabric is constantly in tension from a strap with a safe load of about 500lb. I have only noticed two small problems with this system, 1: You have to watch that the strap does not run off the roller end and get jammed, when setting up.
    2: The strap may ‘Buzz’ in high winds. A ‘Velcro’ awning arm strap cures this by strapping the retaining strap against the arm.

  12. Rick Davidson

    I am taking delivery of a Casita travel trailer 9/1 with an awning. I am not sure what brand awning is used, but I would like to know what awning lock to purchase for that particular awning.

  13. tvman44

    Recently did this mod to our 5er and like it. Very easy to do.

1 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. 10 Low Cost Mods You Can Make to Your RV

    [...] 5. Awning Lock - The awning lock device works by preventing the awning roller from turning, even if the factory awning lock (the little lever you pull down when deploying your awning) fails. It works by pinning the roller in place using, well, a pin. The spring-loaded pin is mounted to a bracket that is installed under the awning roller. A small hole is drilled in to the roller for the pin to go in. When you want to deploy the awning, simply use the awning pull rod to pull the pin out of the roller. Rotating the “D” ring on the pin lock 90 degrees prevents the pin from going back in to the roller. Costs about $20-25 and takes just minutes to install.  Here is an example: http://www.modmyrv.com/2008/06/24/rv-awning-lock [...]

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