Copyright 2019 Discovery Owner's Association, Inc.

Tips to Prevent Your Awnings From Unfurling

Almost all of us have had problems with our slide and/or patio awnings unfurling while driving down the road. This article will discuss this problem and several potential fixes.

I am now on my FOURTH slideout awning on my 98 D. Fortunately, they have all been replaced by either Fleetwood or A&E. Unfurling can be eliminated (or greatly reduced) by the following:

  • First, make sure that your awning is equipped with an "anti-billow" device, which is an "arm" that is attached to the end of the awning and positioned in such a way that it will strike the side of the coach if the awning starts to unfurl. You may want to add one of these at BOTH ends of your slideout awning.
  • It is also very important that the spring tension in the awning be set high enough to counteract the effect of the wind.

Contrary to popular belief, holding the awning arms together will NOT keep your awning from unfurling while going down the highway. You can add as much tape, bungee cords or clamps that you want to the awning arms - it will still unfurl. And when it does unfurl, you have a $125 - $175 repair bill.

So, what do we need to do, short of taking the awning off completely or getting one of those expensive Girard awnings that stores in a box?

If you look inside the awning, you will see a little pawl that is activated by your "roll-up / roll-down" lever. Click any of the images below for a larger view.

The key to stopping the awning from unfurling is to keep the awning tube from rotating, which is caused by the wind getting into or up under the side of the awning.

Here is how you stop your awning tube from rotating, which will eliminate any unfurling problems:
Three different methods are discussed below. However, first you should ensure that your patio awning spring tension is tight. If you do not have to forecefully hold back your awning when you roll it up, then you need to adjust the tension on the spring in the roller tube. This is a potentially dangerous job, so do not attempt it unless you know what you are doing.

One method is to secure the awning tube to the coach as shown in the pictures below. The main drawback with this method is that you have to screw some brackets into you coach and you also have to get the ladder out every time you roll out or roll up the awning for travel. However, this is probably the most foolproof method.

Another alternative is to use a 5' - 6' long bungee cord as shown below. If it does not fit tightly, wrap it around the awning tube as required. Note that in the first picture, the awning has been lowered to show the bungee cord's hook placed in the small hole on the end of the awning. The other end of the bungee hooks into the bottom flange of the awning support pole. Note that this picture was taken with the bungee cord on the rear awning pole. This solution requires that you use ladder also (unless you can reach it from the front steps). Click any image below for a larger view.

The last method uses your awning rod and a shorter bungee. The hook end of the awning rod is inserted into the small hole at the end of your awning tube. The awning rod is then held to the awning arm with bungees or velcro. At the other end of the awning rod, a small bungee cord is attached between the end of the awning rod and the bottom flange of the awning support pole as above. The main advantage of this solution is that it does not require the use of a ladder to open or secure the awning. However, the awning rod does create a moderate whistle, so if you use this solution, you may want to try to shield or cover the awning rod to eliminate this noise. Also, you will want to protect your main awning support pole from being scratched by the awning rod. Click any image below for a larger view.

The August, 2001 issue of the FMCA monthly magazine MOTORCOACHING mentioned the use of a hook & eye device made by Zip Dee to prevent awning unfurling. Fred White provides the following ordering information. I ordered two latches from Zip Dee (800 338-2378 and ask for Parts) for the Patio awning (PN 299120; $10.50 each) and two latches for the smaller window awnings (PN 299344; about the same price). Zip Dee takes Visa and got the latches to me in 4 days.

The nice thing about these latches is that they can be operated from the ground using the awning rod.

Also in a later issue of the FMCA MOTORCOACHING magazine is another commercial device to prevent awning unfurling. Click Here for details and scroll down.


The DISCOVERY OWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC, was formed to promote the sharing of information and the camaraderie of fellow Discovery motorhome owners. Membership in the club is limited to owners of Fleetwood Discovery motorhomes.


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