Apollo Norseman awning stay or go? T4500 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-25-2014, 10:57 PM   #1
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Name: John
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Apollo Norseman awning stay or go? T4500

Hi all, this awning is riveted in 14 spots to our trillium 4500. New to us trailer (1977) working the bugs out. Focusing on stopping leaks and the last few rivets to the rear of the trailer are leaking into the shell slowly. When we bought the rig we asked sellers about the awning and we're told it is a retractable unit and was tricky to set up and more so getting it all put back into the aluminum case. This awning runs really to front to back of trailer and is gobbled with multiple (poor) sealant attempts covering the aluminum mount strip and the roof.

Soooo....Discussing it with my wife we feel the old and apparently tricky awning might not be used often so I thinking of removing it by drilling out the rivets then sealing the holes. I guess covered space is nice but I thought that I could use a few old rivet holes to put an eye hook into instead so we could at least fix a tarp and poles if needed.

I have not unrolled the awning. At minimum I think it best to remove the unit and clean all the old versions of sealant off both awning and roof. In situ makes tough scraping and cutting and impossible to remove all old junk.

For some reason, the last 2 or 3 feet or so towards the rear of the trailer above the window, the aluminum mounting band has really separated from the roof line? At least 1/4 to 3/8". As in the last 4 rivets look really pulled/ strained and gap has been filled with gobs of goo as rivets flop around (and leak) ...

Advice from the flor would be very appreciated,
Thanks!
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Old 04-25-2014, 11:39 PM   #2
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the awning no doubt took a gust or two of wind and pulled the rail loose.
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Old 04-25-2014, 11:45 PM   #3
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Thanks Gina that certainly does make sense.
We'll have to figure out the current awning condition and if it worth to keep vs an alternate like I suggested with removable option.
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Old 04-26-2014, 09:03 AM   #4
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I am not a fan of attached awnings myself. I don't like the extra holes in the shell, and I prefer the flexibility to place the awning to take advantage of the best shade or views. (Besides, I think eggs look best without things stuck to the outside.) I vote for removing the awning, sealing the holes, and using a freestanding type. We have a 10'x10' First-Up that I purchased at Walmart for less than $100 several years ago. It's sturdy, easy to set up, and stable in wind when staked down. And if a freak gust does do damage to the awning, the trailer won't be harmed.

I'm not sure I like the eye bolt idea. Wind can exert a lot of pressure on a tarp and with all that pressure on just a few points, I'm thinking there is a good chance it might crack the shell. Unlike aluminum rivets, steel bolts are harder than fiberglass, so if something has to give…

I know I have seen a lot of threads about various awning solutions, both attached and freestanding. Some are pretty creative! If you haven't already, you might do a google site search (top blue bar, "search," scroll down to the bottom) for "awning" and see what comes up.
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Old 04-26-2014, 11:04 AM   #5
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Thanks Jon. I agree with you. Less holes in the shell the better. It is coming off today and won't be going back on. I did have a read and search of many threads on here and gleaned some good ideas. Generally I do like the approach of a bonded rail or anchor points vs rivets. With the bonding agents available today like Sika products for marine use it makes sense to distribute the stresses on the mounting surface vs a tiny rivet (or eye hook as I suggested earlier).
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Old 04-26-2014, 01:36 PM   #6
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I love my rope and pole awning (riveted to the shell of my UHaul). It totally protects my door from rain running down the side of the trailer from the roof. I check it every year and will periodically clean up the top and reseal with calk. Works well.
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Old 04-26-2014, 03:04 PM   #7
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Good point, Pam! I tend to forget that some people actually camp in the rain! Here in arid-Zona, we dance in the rain, but camp in dry weather. Awnings are for shade!
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Old 04-26-2014, 03:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyhee View Post
Thanks Jon. I agree with you. Less holes in the shell the better. It is coming off today and won't be going back on.
I don't get it. Removing the awning will not remove the holes.
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Old 04-26-2014, 03:56 PM   #9
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As you can see on the cover of the 1973 Trillium brochure at this link, the awning rail on the Trillium 4500 was factory installed. It can be used for any awning-type setup from a plain ol' blue tarp threaded through the channel all the way to a real pulldown awning like the big boys have. No other arrangement will provide a rainproof "roof" between the trailer and the front yard, as many folks unlucky enough to have trailers without it can attest.

In my opinion removing it would be a mistake and a downgrade of the trailer/its original equipment. Better to repair/reset with new rivets where necessary.
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Old 04-26-2014, 05:29 PM   #10
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Considering John (Tyhee) is on the wet coast, the rain type awning might be most suitable. The holes can be filled. Rivets replaced with SS machine screws and washers in inconspicuous places (e.g. overhead storage and closet) and then VHB tape used to help hold down a new rail. (Assuming the old rail is bent). Then comes the decision to keep the original awning, go with a new bag awning, or the old style rope and pole.

FWIW, I am going to reattach my rail and use a new bag awning (with add a room). And I'm not on the wet coast, but do camp in the rain on occasion.
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Old 04-26-2014, 07:07 PM   #11
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It had to come off

Interesting comments thanks. The rail and awning are off. The back 3 rivet holes were leaking and at least one in front of the door definitely a lot of stress cracks in the gel coat and widening of the holes.

I was always planning to fill the holes in Glenn. With what or how not sure yet. We do live in wet area of the planet and an awning would be nice ...that heavy finickity thing up top is a no go.

I need some Sika And some fg lessons . Never worked with fg before..
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Old 04-26-2014, 07:32 PM   #12
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What is the appropriate fix on these cracks when I'll possibly be using rivets again (and sealant!). Also would it make sense to go one size larger a rivet on the holes that have been cracked / stressed etc..? Double pull rivets? Lots to learn but worth it. Rail is bent for sure. Awning is 8 ft wide and weighs a ton. Still not brave enough to unroll it. Lol it is brown and beige stripes.

Or heck to rivets and bond with Sika only?
Don't want to start a argument though!!!

Hung the washed Route 66 curtains, ac plug in works as do lights and propane system. Sleeping in it tonight in the garage ...whole family.
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Old 04-26-2014, 10:04 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Roy in TO View Post
Considering John (Tyhee) is on the wet coast, the rain type awning might be most suitable. The holes can be filled. Rivets replaced with SS machine screws and washers in inconspicuous places (e.g. overhead storage and closet) and then VHB tape used to help hold down a new rail. (Assuming the old rail is bent).
You bet Roy. I like the idea of stainless bolts with washers and figure I could slit the rubber interior lining to get a nut in place.

But what is VHB tape? A really good double sided tape?
Cheers,
John
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Old 05-25-2014, 11:16 PM   #14
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Update

Well, I thought I'd chime in with an update. Looking at bottom pic in post 12 above you can see blood stains and nicely sums up the past 2 months.
Stainless rivets suck!!!!! ALMOST as bad as silicone sealant removal.

Alas, the awning rail at least is straightened and back on the trailer but with using 1/4 inch stainless bolts / washers / nuts. I drilled out the few non-stretched rivet holes to the 1/4". Stainless washers outside and also inside with lock washers. I had to make small round donut cut outs of the ensolite to do job properly. Sealant used was "siliprene" and I have used it before. Sealant on rail to fibreglass and on fasteners. This thing is NEVER loosening off or leaking again. Quite happy with how it turned out ....sealant is messy and tricky to work with but local welding shop uses it on their alum jet boats.
So....some pics.
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