Slide-out topper replacement
#1
Well, it's been many years since I've posted here.  So sad to see all the old posts and all that wonderful information dissolved into space(!)  Anyhow, life goes on...and thanks to youtube and all the DIYers out there, many hurdles can still be overcome.  So, why am I here???  Well, the topper (awning) over the slide-out of our 2004 EC 950 is deteriorating and separating from the mounting rail.  Actually, it's just the threads...the material is still in pretty good shape. At the advice of the the repair shop, we ordered a new one from Carefree (the makers of the original), but would like to install it ourselves if possible, as shops want to charge $300 and up to do it!  The roller/mount is a Carefree SideOut Kamper II (no cover or wind deflector).  I haven't been able to find the exact instructions for this model, but looking at the various instructions on Carefree's website, and at several videos, we have a pretty good idea how to do it.  We were dismayed to realize that the "awning rail" (the rail which attaches the topper to the RV) is not separate, but part of the whole gutter running along the length of the camper, therefore making it necessary to insert the vinyl topper at the camper's nose and feed it all the way to the back before reaching the slide (what were they thinking?!?).  If anyone has replaced their Eagle Cap slide-out topper and has any tips or tricks, we'd love to hear 'em.

Dee & Norm
Bend, Oregon
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#2
I think that the rail slot attached to the wall at the roof line is standard build feature for other camper manufacturers as well.
Arctic Fox uses the same method.
It's been a few years since I installed a slideout topper - and I was able to do it by myself!
And a friend recently installed one himself too.

With the camper standing on it's jacks and the pickup truck parked along side next to the camper, I stood on the truck bed rail and fed the awning into the slot at the end - then walked the rail while pulling the awning edge into the slot.
An awkward and hazardous process to be sure. . .
AKA: testdog
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#3
Rich, you confirmed our “plan of attack”...bringing the pickup up along side of the EC!  However, Norm is thinking of making it an even moreawkward and hazardous process” by placing scaffolding in the pickup, in order to get up above the slide-out roof Sad (I’ll make sure our insurance coverage is in good shape before we begin!!)

How did you raise the topper material up into position as you slid it along the gutter, especially as you did it by yourself?  Once you reached the slide-out, did you gather the mid-section and maybe clamp it accordion-style to keep it out of the way?  What we ordered only came in a 48” depth, even though the slide-out depth is only around 20”, so there will be extra material to deal with.

And lastly, any tips on removing the old topper?

Slightly anxious,
Dee
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#4
After the loss of my Eagle Cap, I had purchased a used Arctic Fox - AF does not include a slide topper with their campers - so removal was not part of the process.  (Same for my friend who recently purchased an AF - no slide topper).

My memory fails me as to the details of the installation process.  I somehow managed it - probably by simply trying to start the process and then work through it.
AKA: testdog
[Image: attachment.php?aid=333]
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#5
(10-03-2020, 01:24 PM)admin-rich Wrote: I somehow managed it - probably by simply trying to start the process and then work through it.

...our philosophy of life in general!  Thanks again for your time, Rich.
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#6
I just replaced ours, not that big of a deal. The only thing difficult is being able to reach everything, meaning either you access everything from the roof or have some type of scaffolding. We have a tractor so I used the bucket to stand in while working on it.

I went to a local rv shop and bought the fabric, which they had on a big roll and it was very inexpensive, especially when looking at carefree and their replacement cost. This was the thicker fabric also and all I needed to know was the length on the fabric.

There are two small screws at each end of the rail along side the camper which hold the fabric in place. The roller on the outside of the slide has a spring loaded insert in each end, which is not under a lot of tension, at least on mine, and can easily be wound by hand. When I removed the fabric, I used a Phillips head screwdriver, stuck into a hole, to remove some tension and to hold it in place, the cut the fabric using a utility knife, remove the two screws and it slid right out of the channel. When I started working on the slide side the screwdriver popped out and the spring tension was released, which scared the crap out of me and I figured I really screwed things up, but fortunately all was good. I removed the screws holding the tubing assemble to the slide and replaced the fabric while everything was on the ground. There are two inserts that go into each end of the roller, the one towards the rear of the camper has the tension on it, and as I said it can be wound by hand, which slide into the tubing assembly. Put everything back together, climbed back up on the tractor, slid the fabric, which has a piece of maybe 1/4” solid, but flexible tubing that the fabric is attached to, back into the channel, remounted the assembly to the slide, pulled out the insert and wound it to reapply the tension, tighten everything down and everything worked.

I don’t think it would be easy to do from the roof, but could be done. If you have someone to help and two ladders that would work as well as what I did. All in all it was fairly easy.

Hope this makes sense and helps. As I said, the process is fairly straight forward and pretty easy, not worth the money Carefree wants nor what the shops want to do it.
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#7
TASK COMPLETED!

Funny how something can seem so intimidating when you’ve never done it before, and once you’ve been successful at it you can say “Gee, that wasn’t so bad“. 

We used Rich’s approach and simply pulled the pickup along side of the camper, and stood on the pickup’s bed rail when necessary.  When the old topper slid off with such ease, our confidence level rose, and we completed the process with no problems.  Just as d_smith84 detailed, a screwdriver inserted in the roller bar kept things in order while we did the replacement. Making sure the sides of the fabric were properly aligned, we removed the screwdriver, slowly rolled the fabric on to the roller, and reattached the necessary hardware.  A couple of tests of the slide in and out, and everything was perfect!

I’d like to know, d_smith, if the fabric you purchased came off of a roll, how were the upper and lower tubings installed (without there being a seam there for it to slide through).  Were there different lengths/widths to choose from?  I can only imagine that if the top and bottom tubings were already installed on the shop’s master roll, that your only option for sizing would be the width of the topper, and not how far your slide extends.  With the Carefree topper that we purchased, we were able to choose the width (side to side dimension of 82”), but the extension was a stock 48”.  Our slide extends less than 24”, so the extra length just got wound up onto the roller.  However, the Carefree has the advantage of a double-thick side seam, which I thought would be worthwhile for durability.  Time will tell.

Diane & Norm
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#8
I would bet the fabric I purchased and what you purchased were very similar. The shop that I bought mine from had a big roll that was 47” wide, I believe and all he needed to know was the length of our original cover. He had it cut and ready to go so all I did was pick it up and pay. I can’t find the amount I paid but I know it was considerably cheaper than anywhere else. I can get a price if your interested. It had tubing, that slid into the channel on the side of the camper and the slot in the roller.
The only difference between fabrics that I could find was the weight and he carried the heavy duty fabric. The thread on our old top rotted  and started to come unraveled. I searched the internet and there are lots of places to purchase the fabric but most came in rolls larger than I needed. The original top lasted 14 years so I hopefully won’t have to worry about it again.
Dan
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