Fiamma Awning! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-18-2009, 09:51 AM   #1
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Well, we just got back from our latest trip in our Casita. Once again we had a disaster befall our Fiamma awning. I've had to face the fact that these things are just poorly designed. As soon as it's in the budget, I'm going to remove it and have it replaced with a decent awning system.

The problem this time was almost a carbon copy of a previous incident. A cloudburst caught us by surprise. Water pooled in the awning within an instant and caused the central rafter to snap in half, then the right leg of the awning also snapped off. The last time it was the left leg of the awning. Both times it resulted in a small perforation when the awning caved in and hit the metal joint. Now we have two matching perforations--one on the right and one on the left.

In both cases I was able to repair the legs and get the awning up. But now the awning is torn on either side and bent on either side. It still works, but I now have to nudge it on either end to get it to roll completely into the housing.

These awning are just a terrible design. Time for this one to go.
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Old 05-18-2009, 11:08 AM   #2
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Sorry you've had such a problem with your awning.

I personally never have with one leg of the awning much shorter than the other allowing the water to drain. One time I went out and lowered both legs so the tremendous rain would simply run off the entire awning. One other time I bit the bullet and went out into the rain to wind the awning in. Then when the storms subsided I opened the awning to let it dry.
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Old 05-18-2009, 01:45 PM   #3
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You have been the first that has had any major catastrophies that I have heard of in my 6 years of reading these forums. most complaints come from folks not being able to roll them all the way in and having to wrap a bungy around them, some others have had to replace (including me) the knuckles on the top of the legs because we didn't know how to fold the legs up right. most everybody lowers one leg to let the water run off. If you broke the middle brace it was set up too flat and allowed way too much water to puddle up I always roll the awning in if it gets windy or gusty. Biggest problem I've seen is folks winding their awning up with trash on top resulting in pin holes. I don't agree that they are a bad design but they certainly have their limits. On our maiden voyage back 6 or 7 years ago we were in the Fl keys and a storm came up and a motor home beside us lost a very expensive electric awning so these accidents don't happen just to el-cheapo's. They were not there when the storm came up.
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Old 05-18-2009, 02:11 PM   #4
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You have been the first that has had any major catastrophies that I have heard of in my 6 years of reading these forums. most complaints come from folks not being able to roll them all the way in and having to wrap a bungy around them, some others have had to replace (including me) the knuckles on the top of the legs because we didn't know how to fold the legs up right. most everybody lowers one leg to let the water run off. If you broke the middle brace it was set up too flat and allowed way too much water to puddle up I always roll the awning in if it gets windy or gusty. Biggest problem I've seen is folks winding their awning up with trash on top resulting in pin holes. I don't agree that they are a bad design but they certainly have their limits. On our maiden voyage back 6 or 7 years ago we were in the Fl keys and a storm came up and a motor home beside us lost a very expensive electric awning so these accidents don't happen just to el-cheapo's. They were not there when the storm came up.
Nope. I always keep one leg lower than the other one. Always. In addition, I bought the umbrella type central rafter from Fiamma after the first one snapped off. That was, I thought, an extra bonus to keep water from pooling. How wrong I was.

I have to wonder about a company that tells you up front that their awning shouldn't be left open. If that's the case...what the heck are they for??!! And why do they sell kits to turn their awnings into rooms if they admit to the buyer that they're so fragile that they shouldn't be left open in the rain and/or wind?

Plus, I had total fits buying the replacement rafter when the first one snapped like a dry twig. No RV dealer in this area (Charlotte NC) even knew what a Fiamma was or how to get parts for them. Fiamma finally agreed to sell me the rafter, but only after their approved Florida dealer also didn't seem to know what I was talking about when I called down there to order the part. At that point, Fiamma relented and allowed me to order it direct.

As I said, though, the second my budget will allow for the purchase I'm taking the Fiamma awning off and buying anther brand.

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Old 05-18-2009, 02:16 PM   #5
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Personally, I think the Fiamma awning is great. Sure is better than the one I had on my Scamp. Took 2 men to set it up. Once I had the whole awning flip up on top of the trailer. bent the heck out of the mounting and the case but I was able to bend all back into reasonable shape. Since then, it staked down well when it's out. Of course I know to slant it to be sure the rain rolls off.
Let us know what you get and how you like it.
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Old 05-18-2009, 02:27 PM   #6
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Hi: Bob... I don't know if they will fit on a Casita or not but we sure love the Carefree of Colorado Awning on "Our Escape Hatch" 5.0!!!
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Old 05-18-2009, 02:47 PM   #7
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There is not an awning made that can stand up to high winds! Not one! I have seen more of them, get bent, tore, blown off. Not even the automatic open close ones can take high winds when the stupid and YES, I mean stupid rv owner stakes it down, then just for extra measure ties it to the picnic bench................... HELLO, Think for a moment what happened to that awning and million dollar coach? Well the automatic motor blew up trying to pull the awning in, the stakes finally gave way, but the rope attached to the picnic table held really good. So good that it bounced the picnic table into the million dollar coach a few times before someone ( my workcamper) could climb up on the picnic table and ride it till others (Me and a 15 year old kid) could come help save what was left of the side of the coach. All this should have never happend, Cause I posted signs everywhere that weather is unperdictable and that if a guest was out of the resort they should pull in their awnings. His answer to me when he returned 4 hours later was, its automatic! hmmm, Really! Love working with the genral public.................................

Bob, I don't mean to make light of your awning issue, but have to say they are, what they are. So thats probably why the company makes no claims to being able to hold up to weather. Their way of getting around it, is that an awning is made for shade nothing more.
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Old 05-18-2009, 03:03 PM   #8
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Your awning says Fiamma 75 or something like that, right!!!

It's the same case awning Casita has been putting on for years but now with a name change and the fabric. It used to be the A&E Horizon which I see now sold at Camping World as the Dometic Horizon awning. And then to take it a little further the Carefree of Colorado is basically the same awning except the wand mechanism is in the back rather than the front.

The parts are all the same except for the wand and it's mating parts with the Carefree being odd man out. So you may have been able to get parts through Dometic or Carefree for the legs and rafter.

A bit of information: I once ran into a person in the awning business and during conversation he said that basically ALL awning parts are made by Fiamma and then others get the parts and make up their awnings with different fabrics selling them under their particular label. This ALL awnings include the ones on every other RV.
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Old 05-18-2009, 03:21 PM   #9
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Nope. I always keep one leg lower than the other one. Always. In addition, I bought the umbrella type central rafter from Fiamma after the first one snapped off. That was, I thought, an extra bonus to keep water from pooling. How wrong I was.

I have to wonder about a company that tells you up front that their awning shouldn't be left open. If that's the case...what the heck are they for??!! And why do they sell kits to turn their awnings into rooms if they admit to the buyer that they're so fragile that they shouldn't be left open in the rain and/or wind?

Plus, I had total fits buying the replacement rafter when the first one snapped like a dry twig. No RV dealer in this area (Charlotte NC) even knew what a Fiamma was or how to get parts for them. Fiamma finally agreed to sell me the rafter, but only after their approved Florida dealer also didn't seem to know what I was talking about when I called down there to order the part. At that point, Fiamma relented and allowed me to order it direct.

As I said, though, the second my budget will allow for the purchase I'm taking the Fiamma awning off and buying anther brand.

Awnings should never be left extended, when the occupant is absent from the trailer. Wind, rain, etc. can and will develop at a moments notice and can damage an extended awning. If you are looking for an awning that can safely be left extended, they do not exist. Check any awning manufacturer's web site and they will all recfommend retracting the awning when the occupant is not with the RV. Fiamma awnings appear to be an excellent design and when used as designed will provide excellent service.
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Old 05-18-2009, 05:38 PM   #10
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I can not agree that the Fiamma is a bad design.

If you have problems with yours, it is the user and not the design.

When I set up for a few days stay, I put out my awning, stake it to the ground (after parking properly), add RX's wind screen, add RX's deflapper, and it stays up with no problems in winds up to 30 MPH. I don't lower one leg for the rain, I just set it up properly with the 'deflapper' and that takes care of preventing water pooling.

I do pay attemtion to my weather radio just to make sure there are no tornados in the area which I believe would damage anyones awning.

Here we are at 2008 Matagorda Madness - with awning, wind screen, deflapper, and tie-downs. You can tell by the wind screen the wind is blowing pretty hard.


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Edit to add:

OBTW, I forgot about the tent poles that prevent streching the awning when the deflapper strap is in place.
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Old 05-18-2009, 05:48 PM   #11
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Bob, I don't mean to make light of your awning issue, but have to say they are, what they are. So thats probably why the company makes no claims to being able to hold up to weather. Their way of getting around it, is that an awning is made for shade nothing more.
That's okay.

There were no high winds involved. Only rain. This Fiamma awning just can't handle rain. I had the awning tilted down, one leg lower than the other, umbrella rafter, legs secured with stakes, etc. It's just a very flimsy unreliable piece of equipment.
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Old 05-18-2009, 05:49 PM   #12
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[quote]I can not agree that the Fiamma is a bad design.

If you have problems with yours, it is the user and not the design.


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WRONG!

It's a lousy awning.
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Old 05-18-2009, 05:51 PM   #13
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Fiamma awnings appear to be an excellent design and when used as designed will provide excellent service.
I disagree completely.

They're a poor, flimsy design.
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Old 05-18-2009, 06:23 PM   #14
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IMHO The fiamma is a fine built quality awning. I have had mine up in monsoon downpours and 40 mph gust's. I always use a strap and tilt it in the rain, the more the rain the more the tilt. The only problem I had was the leaking between the awning and the coach and I fixed that with RV gutter and silicone. Any awning will fail if not used correctly. The Fiamma is about the best choice there is for a Casita.
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Old 05-18-2009, 08:52 PM   #15
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Ok, Now I have a question? Could Bob's awning just be a dud? Seems like so many of you think the brand is good, could he just have a lemon? Honestly, I have seen just about every brand out there and I personally think they are only good for shade period. That's what they are designed for.

I have been watching all awning post, cause I want to get one put on our Casita. Like I said, I have seen a lot of brands and there always seems to be issues. I guess another question I have is, are you suppose to tie down a retractable awning? And I am not talking a automactic kind (HELLO), I am talking the kind most of you seem to have. I thought thats why they are built like they are so as to avoid staking, etc. Might as well have a bag awning if you got to have all kinds of poles and straps IMHO. Robin
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Old 05-18-2009, 09:15 PM   #16
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I would use a strap on any awning. The fiamma sitting on my Casita would be hundreds to replace. A gust of wind could damage it or any awning. Its like anything, experience counts. Any awning needs respect and proper use. I enjoy mine every trip and listen to the weather radio in the morning to know wind conditions for the day.

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Old 05-18-2009, 09:29 PM   #17
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Thanks Charlie: With the side shade on and the detachable tie downs and the over the awning tie downs your awning will stay in place with no problem. The side shade stops the wind from coming up under the awning and lifting it, not to mention stopping rain and wind. However it is best to use the poles on each end with the over the awning tie down so the awning ends do not pull down. REI is no longer having the poles except in the 7 ft length which is too short so I am not sure what other pole can be use. The REI stores in Cal seem to be the only REI stores that still have them in stock. Cabela has an telescopic pole in different lengths and they look like they would work in the awning backet and awning end like the REI pole does.
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Old 05-18-2009, 10:00 PM   #18
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Robin,

This type awning is retractable via a wand simply to make it easy to use. Not because you are supposed to always retract it. There is no reason you can't stake it down. I'm careful with my awning and generally roll it in at night and when I leave the campsite if I'm somewhere where I'm not sure about the wind. The Oregon gathering is one of the few places where I put my awning out and stake it for my entire stay. There's never enough wind at the campsites I pick to worry, that's because of the trees and vegetation.

This awning that is used by a variety of RV manufacturers. You will find them on Bigfoot cabovers, Bigfoot RV's class whatever A-B-C, I can never remember classes but interestng that they don't use them on the trailers. Also a lot of those little van type campers have this style.

They are a great awning.
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Old 05-19-2009, 07:29 AM   #19
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Before poor BOBSMITH feels to much in the crosshairs, I want to add a couple of thoughts. First, I have been in rainstorms that would collapse any awning, tilted or not, even without the wind. I am not familiar with the particular awning in question, but I've camped enough to say that no awning is a perfect fit for every person. I, personally, don't want to spend my time worrying about a sudden gust of wind wrecking my expensive awning, or tearing big holes in my camper as it rips the awning away. And, I'm not interested in putting the awning in and out every time I come and go. So, I use a freestanding picnic shade. I stake it down, and then forget it. If it blows away, so be it. So far it has lasted seven years, and it's doing great!

Anyway, all that is to say that, as much as most of you love your awnings, it clearly does not meet BOBSMITH's expectations, and it is absolutely, perfectly, his right to expect more. It is not a slight to the rest that he doesn't like it, nor should it bring him into question just because he thinks it should be better. It is the demand for more and better that fuels innovation!
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Old 05-19-2009, 08:04 AM   #20
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Well said Paul! Again, I have to ask................................... Could Bob's awning be a lemon?





Joy, I understand it's retractable for easier use. But from my understanding, retractable's are not suppose to be staked down. Granted people do it, but I remember ours on the Class C and Class A said not too. Our first motor home, you did but that was one of the first retractable awnings ever made. And most people don't on larger coaches. Yes we used strap, and of course the arms. But we didn't add a bunch of tie downs and extra legs. So not knowing this particular awning I was wondering if your suppose to with these type of awnings?
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