RV Awning Repair - Replacing the Cam Lock

What You'll Need
2x4 board
Cotter pin
Tape measure
Permanent marker
Vise grips
Rubber pads
Vise grips and pliers
Drill and metalworking bit
Rivet gun and rivets
Replacement cam lock

RV awning repair is a complicated task because it requires a wide assortment of tools. The spring on the awning arm stores a dangerous amount of tension that violently release. It is important to allows take every safety precaution available when working with an RV awning. To replace the cam lock, disassemble the awning assembly completely. Remove the awning fabric from the awning arms, and then remove the tops of the arms to access the torsion assembly. Replace the cam locks and reassemble the entire awning. If the awning you are repairing is very large or high, you should find an assistant to help with the lifting.

Step 1 - Extend Awning Slightly

Release the travel locks on the awning arms and release the cam lock, if it still holds at all. Extend the awning out approximately 1 foot and prop it in place with the board for now.

Step 2 - Lock Spring Tension

Insert a cotter pin through the inner shaft at the end tube to lock the spring. Bend back the ends of the cotter pin to hold it in place.

Step 3 - Remove Awning Fabric and Rafters from RV

Use the wrench to loosen and remove the lag bolts holding the rafters to the awning arms. Unscrew the awning fabric from the arms at the sides with the screwdriver. Now you can pull the awning away from the body of the vehicle. Measure the length and width of the awning and set up the sawhorses appropriately. Grab the arms and release them from the feet at the bottom. Pull the awning off the trailer and walk it over to the sawhorses. Lay it with the tube on the sawhorses and the arms on the ground. Take care not to bend the frame while you are transporting it.

Step 4 - Release Spring Tension

Use rubber-coated vise grips to clamp the top of the awning tube. Remove the bolt holding the top and pull it off. Straighten the cotter pin and remove it. Unwind the spring to release all tension.

Step 5 - Remove Torsion Assembly

Use the drill to remove the rivets holding the cam handle to the awning tube. Mark the location while disassembling the end cap of the awning tube to make reinstallation easier. Hammer out the pins holding the cam lock to the torsion shaft, and punch the cap off.

Step 6 - Replace Cam Lock and Reassemble Awning

Install the replacement cam lock and replace the pin. Realign the torsion assembly according to your earlier marks. Fasten the assembly with a rivet gun. Wind the spring a certain number of turns (check the manufacturer's specifications) to achieve the correct tension and insert the cotter pin. Hold the awning arms steady while you are feeding the cord onto the rail. Do not snag the fabric as you slide it back over the rafters. Bolt the arms back into place.