Awning fell off new 17' fiberglass unit-Advice - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-12-2020, 06:57 PM   #1
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Name: Joe
Trailer: currently shopping
North Carolina
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Awning fell off new 17' fiberglass unit-Advice

Purchased new 17' egg in June 2020, direct from manufacturer. Took off for a long planned six to eight week trip across much of the country.


Three weeks into our trip, stopped for night at CG about 5:30 p.m. No wind, quiet evening. Put out awning carefully as explained in owner's manual. Partially out, I dropped the legs and went inside to get my long nails to hold down the legs. Crash, the awning fell completely off the roof. Immediately emailed manufacturer for help. Strapped the awning to the TV, cut the trip short and headed back to NC. No answer for two weeks. Finally I heard from the service department and told them my story. After several more days they got back to me to say " nobody here has ever seen this happen, yes winds have blown them off, rain has broken them and or ripped them however just sitting open this wold not have done that we have been installing these mounts and this system since the early 90s and never have experienced any problems of this nature" Contact your insurance company!
I did contact insurance company and was contacted by an adjuster. However he has been called to LA for hurricane assessment and will contact me to view the damage when he returns.In the meantime I am stuck with a great new trailer that I can't use due to the rivet holes in the roof. Need to leave them for adjuster to view.

Advice needed. I have photos of the awning bracket with the rivets showing. No indication the pop rivets ever expanded. Company would not pay for repair, even without viewing. Can't take the trailer back to Texas for their viewing. All I want is someone to repair and correctly reattach the awing. My wife and I have been camping and RVing for over 53 years and I have never run into this kind of treatment from a manufacturer on a product less that 6 weeks old. Your comments or suggestions greatly appreciated.
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Old 09-12-2020, 08:20 PM   #2
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I would post the name of the trailer, the model and manufacture date, and any relevant pictures on every fiberglass forum that you are on. You are not going to win this battle alone.



Most makers monitor social media, and the more hell you can raise the better they respond.



Been there, done that. Had my fridge replaced by Dometic once my trailer maker got involved, part of mass action that had every owner of that model get a new fridge despite whether or not their warranty had expired.



It can be done!
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Old 09-12-2020, 09:05 PM   #3
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Name: Ray
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Sadly, I've heard a similar tale from the owners of another brand new trailer that kept leaking and soaking bedding etc inside.

Approximately 6 trips back to Texas with constant "not our fault" excuses and/or "we fixed it" (but they really didn't). As I heard it, the new owners (camping veterans) were ridiculed and accused of stupidity. In the end, rather than the suggested "leaking window", I think it really turned out to be a hard-to-find leaking belly band.

Most manufactures would like to have us believe that every trailer that comes off of their line is "perfect" and "we've never seen that before". Sadly, even with the best of manufacturers, every once in a while something "less than perfect" slips through. When that happens, how their "customer service" handles issues is how some manufacturers really distinguish themselves.

I think I'd probably be inclined to take high detail, close up pictures for documentation, cover the holes temporarily with duct tape, buy a CLAM screen room/tent (to replace the awning functionality), and then go camping.

Lemon laws and bad publicity via social media posts may eventually get a resolution ... we hope.

Sorry it happened!

Best of luck to you!

Ray
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Old 09-12-2020, 09:19 PM   #4
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Not naming the builder is not fair to other builders. I can guess, but shouldn't.
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Old 09-13-2020, 06:08 AM   #5
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Name: Dave
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I would cover the holes with a good caulk and waterproof tape and go camping. When I got home I would consult someone with considerable fiberglass experience for advice and or pay them to reattach the awning. I would vote with my dollars and not buy another trailer from the manufacturer and would not have much good to say about them when asked how I like my trailer. Almost everyone has experienced “one off” product failures sometime in their life. It’s not fun especially when it’s a considerable investment. If you get it fixed or fix it yourself you have the slight satisfaction of being able to point out the incompetence of the manufacturer and the knowledge that it’s fixed right and won’t happen again. I always feel “there is a way” to fix things like this. How about the big 1/4 inch rivets they use to attach street signs to metal posts to resist theft of your holes are too big for conventional “pop rivets”?
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Old 09-13-2020, 06:34 AM   #6
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Like someone else mentioned. I would post the make, model, build date, anything else I could find to identify the trailer. The person that didn't properly install your awning may have created other potential failures.
I'm guessing the make, and I would post your situation on the other forums also.
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Old 09-13-2020, 06:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
Not naming the builder is not fair to other builders. I can guess, but shouldn't.
Wow, an egg style trailer manufacturer located in Texas. And a 17 footer. That narrows it down quite a bit.

Could it be the one located in Rice, TX?

Just six weeks old. One would expect a better response. I guess the heavy backlog of orders have made them overlook taking care of customers. Sure sounds like an installation error.

I'd be sure to post pictures on the facebook group dedicated to that brand, along with the forum too.

Sadly, many brands of trailers (not just ones made in Texas) rely on customers doing quality checks. Its quality by inspection rather than quality by design. The RV world is full of quality problems pretty much at any price point. Read up on brand new Airstream quality issues. Its very sad. And I am not singling them out. Its rampant in the RV industry. The fact that many brands have an onsite service facility at their factories is a clue.....
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Old 09-13-2020, 07:49 AM   #8
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i’ve said this many time over many years and I still believe it to be true
“ The warranty on a FG trailer is mainly a useless piece of paper “
By the time you haul your trailer a thousand or more miles back to the factory and they do a guick ,sloppy, half a_s repair job that fails shortly after you leave the factory, you are probably better off just fixing it yourself .
Far less frustrating and less expensive in the long run
I firmly believe that the FG trailer manufacturers know full well that you will never come back for warranty repairs and that figures in well with their profit margin
The only way to end some of this BS is having a Lemon Law similar to new vehicles but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for it .
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Old 09-13-2020, 07:55 AM   #9
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Just fix the thing and get on with it. Take many nice detailed pictures and post some here and knowledgeable people will pitch in with advice, some good some bad,
Don't let this disrupt you planned life.
A couple of aluminum foil backed patches and get on with it.
Will it be a PITA to remove, yes, but clean it up when it is time to repair.
You won't be using the awning as much as you think anyway.
Plus I don't think that the insurance company would be responsible for poor workmanship at the factory. If you had an accident and it was ripped off that would be a different thing.
In that case say that and fix the thing.
You spent a lot of money to have the trailer to enjoy and you are losing that value every day you wait for someone else to take care of it.
Each day you lose is another day gone forever.
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Old 09-13-2020, 08:54 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redbarron55 View Post
Just fix the thing and get on with it. Take many nice detailed pictures and post some here and knowledgeable people will pitch in with advice, some good some bad,
Don't let this disrupt you planned life.
A couple of aluminum foil backed patches and get on with it.
Will it be a PITA to remove, yes, but clean it up when it is time to repair.
I would personally not make temporary patches that would “be a PITA” to remove.” A couple of years ago a falling tree branch cracked my (Heng’s) escape hatch lid really bad during a rain storm and water was pouring in. I quickly covered it with a garbage bag and got some Gorilla clear waterproof tape. It took 3 weeks to get a replacement lid and the tape did not leak or come unstuck. After replacing the lid, I easily peeled the tape off of the broken lid. I would just use a couple of layers of waterproof tape and leave it there until repairs can be made. If the tape leaves any residue, it will be easy to remove.
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Old 09-13-2020, 09:35 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
i’ve said this many time over many years and I still believe it to be true
“ The warranty on a FG trailer is mainly a useless piece of paper “
By the time you haul your trailer a thousand or more miles back to the factory and they do a guick ,sloppy, half a_s repair job that fails shortly after you leave the factory, you are probably better off just fixing it yourself .
Far less frustrating and less expensive in the long run
I firmly believe that the FG trailer manufacturers know full well that you will never come back for warranty repairs and that figures in well with their profit margin
The only way to end some of this BS is having a Lemon Law similar to new vehicles but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for it .
I couldn't agree more. My Trillium was a nightmare. Multiple build quality issues. In the end I fixed everything myself and have enjoyed my camper ever since. Ten years later I'm at 85K mile. Posted everything I repaired on here complete with pictures. I know every inch of my trailer and my posts have helped others with similar issues. And atleast one buyer, taking delivery at the factory had my list with them.
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Old 09-13-2020, 10:02 AM   #12
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Name: bruce
Trailer: Casita
Texas
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Awings are a hassle.

Three years ago I bought a used 17' Casita with the awning damaged when she hit a low overhang. I decided to rent it throught RVshare. So I removed the awning because I had two blow off on Casitas I had owned over the years. In the middle of the night a big storm can rip it off before you have a chance to stow it. Not a good thing for a rental. I drilled out the pop rivets and put white silicone sealant in the holes. I can understand your rivets pulling out if they had not been expanded, but the long pin would still be sticking out. I am guessing the holes were drilled too big. Please post the photo of the rivet. I have had a few Casita rivets come loose... I think the rivet was too short and did not expand on the other surface of the fiberglass.
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Old 09-13-2020, 10:12 AM   #13
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Name: Joe
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Thanks to everyone who responded, it is what I needed!



My 2020 Casita Freedom Deluxe travel trailer was completed and picked up in Rice, Texas in June 2020 will now get my full attention. I will post this info on other forums as I find them,. After paying this much cash for a new trailer, you would think the Casita folks would at least pay the repair. Because of "Covid" the factory did NOT do any walk through explanation of the trailer's operations. They did provide a DVD with video explanations, but no information on how to view the DVD! Hooked us up and sent us on our way.

Now I will take more closeup pictures of the damaged awning and trailer roof for my records and will try to post them to this thread ASAP. Then I will make an effort cover the holes to seal them from water and USE MY TRAILER!


Thanks for all the input. I truly feel better after getting these comments.
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Old 09-13-2020, 10:15 AM   #14
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I don’t know why Its important to keep the manufacturer secret, or speaking in code to hide it. But this problem looks like a simple mistake of leaving the nuts off of the mounting bolts, or similar. Awnings dont just fall off on calm weather.

Warrantees are not all worthless. Oliver is an example of a company that stands behind their stuff, and you dont have to drive thousands Of miles to get things fixed.
Just bolt it back on and resume enjoying your trip.
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Old 09-13-2020, 10:39 AM   #15
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Name: bruce
Trailer: Casita
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I used pop rivets to mount a Maxxair rain shield to my Casita 16. I have installed thousands of pop rivets over the years. I have 6 pop rivet tools, one that is 2 feet long and does 1/4" stainless steel sailboat rivets. The Maxxair was not up there when i got home from one trip. Hope the car behind me didn't get whacked. The next Maxxair I installed I used stainless steel bolts with washers. I know it looks a bit raw seeing the bolt/washer up there in the ceiling carpet, but it will never fail. Any awning needs a thru-bolt at least at each end. Casita puts a plastic snap cover under each poprivet. Looks nice but after five-ten years in the sun that plastic crumbles and you have a loose leaky rivet.
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Old 09-13-2020, 01:14 PM   #16
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Awning fell off new 17' fiberglass unit-Advice

Joe,

With proper documentation, they should pay for the repair.

Larry (of “Little House Customs”) once did an educational seminar on “how to rivet” at a past Green Eggs & Ham rally.
Apparently, there is/was one (at least) rivet that is/was fairly prone to failure (on/near the microwave cabinet IIRC).

After one of my rivets failed in a high stress area, with help from some of my rally friends, I replaced it with another rivet. The second time that same rivet failed, with manufacturer approval and hardware, I replaced it with stainless steel bolt and nut hardware.

IMHO - You shouldn’t have to fix it yourself.

If you do have to fix it yourself, you might consider a similar size stainless steel bolt, butyl sealant, stainless steel washer(s), and stainless steel “nylock” nuts.

You should know that there are sometimes controversies about “bolt and nut” fixes and others may have alternate and/or better suggestions. YMMV.

Good luck!

Ray
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Old 09-13-2020, 01:34 PM   #17
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Name: Steve
Trailer: 2018- 21FT- FORD
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If you read this or other similar forums you soon discover that many of the people who purchase FG trailers have little or no mechanical knowledge or skills
What seems like an easy repair to many is a daunting task to others
I’ve had issues with FG trailers where the manufacturer agreed it was their fault , were willing to send the replacement parts to make the repairs but the amount they were willing to pay for labor was nowhere near reality
On one defect I encountered they would only reimburse me up to $ 100
I got three estimates to perform the necessary work and all were between $300 to $400 . At that point I decided to make the repair myself
What is the person who does not have the time , tools or knowledge to perform the repair supposed to do ? They either eat part of cost out of their own pocket
or park their trailer and let it sit
If auto companies handles warranty work like the FG trailer mfgs do everyone would be up in arms but it seems with FG trailer the consumer is willing to take it in the shorts
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Old 09-13-2020, 02:34 PM   #18
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i have installed a lot of rivets, none were meant to take any amount of a large tension load, i.e. pulling!!!. "Pop-Rivets" will "easily" pop out all the time, especially in soft materials i.e. plastic or fiberglass or soft metal.. There are some 'special' fasteners that will work better when used with the required backing plate. One is called a 'rivnut', but this item requires a special tool and specific installation planning and specific hardware. But, all that requires planning in the design and in the manufacturing planning and assembly instructions . AND, all of that requires MONEY, which will drive the cost of the RV up. Also, the use.Soooo,
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Old 09-13-2020, 02:51 PM   #19
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Put a washer on the inside where the rivet goes through it. The washer spreads the load out and protects the fiberglass.
No washer and the rivet just cracks the fiberglass and pulls through it.
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Old 09-13-2020, 02:54 PM   #20
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One of the great benefits of being a Good Sam member is once you contact the dealer and they offer no assistance, you present all the facts to Good Sam and they then contact the dealer. They normally get positive results. Their magazine really goes to bat 4 U.
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