Stability arm for electric awning


CinC of Everything Else
(Disclaimer --- this is an amateur Do-It-Yourownself project. Proceed at your own risk.)

My Big Country has an electric awning. The design is not very robust, and a passing gust of wind can cause all sorts of havoc because the awning tube basically just "floats" out there on the end of the arms. Wanting more stability, like the old familiar "triangle" strut design of manual awnings, I devised an "upper arm" using salvage aluminum tubing from amateur radio antenna projects.

(In the instructions below, click on each image for a better size view)

Each arm assembly (one a each end of the awning) consists of two aluminum tubes which "telescope" inside each other.

The inner tube is 4-feet long, ¾” OD, and the outer tube is 6-feet long, 7/8” ID. These telescope together nicely, not “snug” but not much play.

Other material needed:

  1. Two ¾” copper caps used for capping off ¾” copper plumbing pipe.
  2. Two 5/16” threaded rod 4.5 feet long.
  3. Two aluminum “L” brackets, 1”x1”. (I cut mine off the end of a piece of aluminum angle bracket)
  4. Two hose clamps, stolen from a garden hose repair kit.
  5. Various nuts and washers.

This first photo shows the two tubes laying on the ground. The top one is a complete tube, and the bottom shows the inner section and the outer section separated.


The outer tube is just a 6-foot section of tube, with a ¼” hole drilled all the way through, ½” from one end. (You will see other holes in mine, these are holes that were already in my salvaged material).

The inner section of tubing is an assembly made as follows.

  1. Drill a 5/16” hole in the end of the copper pipe caps.
  2. Drill a 5/16” hole in one side of each of the L-brackets
  3. Using 2 nuts, attach an L-bracket and a pipe cap to one end of each threaded rod.
  4. Insert the other end of the threaded rod into the ¾” aluminum tube.
  5. Tap the copper cap over the end of the tube until it bottoms out.
  6. At the other end of the threaded rod I put a washer between 2 nuts so the rod wouldn’t flop around in there. Slide the two sections together.

The photos below shows how that will look when finished. The end of that L-bracket will fit into the canvas slot on the awning roller.

Detail tube end at awning.jpg

Detail lower end.jpg

On the trailer, at the top of the vertical channel, drill a ¼” hole all the way through both sides of the channel, as shown below.

Drill bracket on RV.jpg

Using a ¼” x 3” pin, attach the assembly to the trailer.

Detail tube attach at RV.jpg

Extend the lower tube out and insert the L-bracket into the awning roller into the slot at the end of the canvas.

Detail tube in canvas slot.jpg

Extend the lower section until it is taut, then secure it in place with a hose clamp.

Detail lower half.jpg

Repeat at other end of the awning.

Tube in place.jpg

Sit back, admire your work, and have a beer.

PS: This also provides an attachment point for those old "deflappers" from your last rig, which wouldn't normally work with your newfangled flimsy electric awning.


CinC of Everything Else
Continuing my awning support project, I have now fabricated upright "legs". (Click photos for better detail)

The material is 1-1/2" x 1/8" aluminum angle stock, available at Home Depot, etc. I bought two 8' sections and two 3' sections. I shortened the 8' section down to 6-1/2'. The "cutoff" will provide material for small parts in the assembly.

Leg overall.jpg

The longer section forms the bottom of the leg. There I made a small "foot" with holes for pegs.


At the top of the leg, is this "cradle". The inside dimension is 2-3/4". I used 1/4" hardware (screws, nuts, lock washers) throughout.


On the existing support arm on the trailer ("U" shaped channel), I drilled a 1/4" set of holes about 2.5" from the end of the arm. Drill the hole as close as possible to the bottom of the "U" cross-section. Using a 1/4" pin, the cradle attaches to the existing support arm.


Below is an overall view of the leg in place. I have it placed at an angle in this photo, but could it could also be placed in an upright vertical orientation. Initially I am using a pair of small C-clamps on each leg, but will probably drill and screw them together when we get set up for the winter.

Both in place.jpg


Well-known member
Only problem with the ones hooked at the top is that point is 12 1/2' off the ground. The other is is abut 11' up. It would require a tall stepladder to tighten it.


CinC of Everything Else
Only problem with the ones hooked at the top is that point is 12 1/2' off the ground. The other is is abut 11' up. It would require a tall stepladder to tighten it.

Yup, that was a problem, but I reinvented that top attachment up at 12 feet that you talk about (no idea about any 11 foot point).

I simply leave the top pin in place, and slotted the end of that tube (instead of a drilled hole). Now I can do everything from a 10” tall stool on the roller end of the awning.

I’ll post a photo when it quits raining.