Home Forums General Discussion Standard awning and bed

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    • #3516
      Jean Johnson

        <p style=”text-align: right;”>Hello again,   We had an awning on Hector, but it didn’t work, and was slotted into the C rail, which meant we couldn’t slot an air awning tent into it, so had it removed. Since then we’ve had to return ( can you  believe it!!). 4 faulty tents! Consequently we’ve now decided to go for  having a new standard awning with sides and front attachments, if we can find such a thing. Fiamma seem to do one called Zip, has anyone got one, or recommend another please?</p>
        Also we’re having huge difficulties putting the bed up, so heavy and high, even with both of us trying.  Don’t spose there’s a solution out there, other than hiring a heavyweight?

        Thanks, as always for any help !


        Jean and Erwin xx

      • #3517

          Hi Jean and Erwin

          I had a Fiamma zip and privacy room as they call it on a previous camper.

          I honestly found it a bit of a faff. The side panels were very heavy/bulky and there seemed to be excessive tension in the zips , i.e. you might get the front panel and one side on relatively easily but then a lot of strain zipping on the last side panel. Needed one person to hold the mating zips together and another to zip it up with a lot of grunting from both parties!

          Looked good when completely assembled but then needed more bulk, i.e. another groundsheet on the floor and I had a custom skirt like you see around the base of some caravans as the wind would otherwise whip under the van making it a much draftier affair than something with everything sewn in.

          Another issue with Fiamma awnings is if you get heavy rain in the night if you don’t either drop one side of the awning or park your van somewhat inclined you’ll get a big pool of water in the middle of the awning which just sits there, stretching the awning fabric which can cause permanent damage. You can get a separate awning tensioning pole to offset that a bit but really doesn’t work with heavy rain.

          So you attempt to drop one side of the awning via the adjustable leg and find there’s so much tension in the privacy panels it’s virtually impossible to get a good run off.

          I saw a nice looking awning when flicking through the Little Exis Facebook Group posts but it looked like the fibreglass pole type.

          I think, personally I’d be looking at an airbeam type if I could get one that wasn’t too bulky.

          Not sure about the bed situation as I’m 6ft which is partly why I love the bed  My wife can’t really reach to push the bed up but she probably could manage if she was tall enough.

          I have a couple of Milenco XL wheel ramps which are 6 inch high at the highest point and very grippy. Maybe standing on two of those end to end or a really strong folding step? I’d probably fashion something you could fold flat out of plywood and hinges to extend the existing step up, but that’s just me! Gonna make some magnetic frames with proper midge netting to go around the upper windows as had about 50 midges in our van in the Galloway forest, all well fed!



          Gary & Debs


        • #3518

            Good afternoon Jean and Erwin!

            The bed problem has been discussed extensively on this website and the FB group.

            3 things to do

            1. Before lifting the bed open the bedding flap and separate the 2 mattresses. This reduces friction on the initial lift.

            2. Check that the locking nuts on the bed struts are not fully tightened. They are captive locking nuts and should allow frictionless rotation of the strut eyes.

            3. Replace the struts. I bought 280N struts from Metrol.com NS-FF-8-160-280N.  These are probably too strong and the bed requires a bit of a push down when initially lowered. Probably 250N would be better.

            Good luck with this and the awning which I think is a personal preference. We’ve used different types but now happily without one.



          • #3520
            Fred & Gill

              Hello Jean & Irwin,

              Not much more that I can add to Tom’s comments on the bed.

              I believe that your van is already fitted with the increased pressure gas struts –see General Discussion ‘Bed Gas Supports’ page 5 June 2020.

              Several comments there and a few of us fitted them. I still find they work much better than the old ones although the increased pressure does mean that the bed does not lie flat when unoccupied, but that helps with the raising of the bed – just push upwards behind the middle hinged part. With two of you perhaps one could push up the middle section and the other could push up the end and engage the locking mechanism.

              Not used our   conventional stand alone awning for many years – its about 18 years old and never had a problem fitting it.


            • #3531
              Jean Johnson

                Many thanks, as always, for your help!!  I wonder if there is a lighter weight standard awning, with light sides. It would be good to find a motorhome sales place that specialises in all these items, and has various makes available to look at …. it would have to be pretty big !!

                Thanks again .. xx

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