A Little Weekend Slideout Awning Adventure


Formerly racing around the country.
Nov 7, 2010
I bought my Chaparral 5th wheel 3 years ago off the lot of a now closed RV dealer in mid-Illinois. I bought the 2nd week in January and got a great deal because the dealer had just ordered a bunch of new 2017 stock and needed to make room. The trailer was exactly what I wanted except it was missing two things; slide awnings and the 6 point leveling legs that were just starting to be popular on 5ers. I had the trailer back at the factory a few weeks ago having the front bedroom slide floor repaired and the service manager mentioned I should really consider getting the awnings "if I planned on keeping the camper for a while." I do plan on keeping it, but this thing has 4 slides. I looked on etrailer every so often and all 4 slides would run me about $1800. I mentioned that to the service manager and he said I could buy them from the factory for "a lot less".

Three weeks later the delivery truck dropped off 4 long tubes and a box of "parts".


A couple of people asked for me to let them know how the install goes, so I figured I'd document it here. Overall, it was much easier than I expected. Before I start on the photo documentation, I will say that the hard part of the install was already done from the factory. Apparently Coachmen installs the awning rails on the wall of all their Chaparral 5ers, or at least they did on 2016 models. I think getting the rails level and screwed on 10-12 ft in the air would be a challenge. Not overly difficult, but certainly time consuming. Luckily I didn't have to deal with that part.

On to the actual install. I already had the 3 awnings on the driver's side done. The pics below are the 12 ft awning for the living room on the curb side. Here is what I started with. I did have two 10 ft step ladders and a semi willing son to help. This is definitely a 2 person project.


The hardware is pretty straight forward. There are two brackets that get attached to the upper corners of the slide, a hex bar that goes into the bracket and attaches to the end of the awning, a hex cap to secure the bar to the awning and a bunch of self tapping screws to make sure nothing falls off.


The first step is to attach the brackets to the slide. The awnings didn't come with any instructions, but a quick internet search turns up the installation instructions from Lippert and a bunch of videos. The instructions say to caulk the back of the corner plate. Youtube says use double side butyl tape. Either will work. I use caulk because I think the tape it too thick. I use just enough caulk to go around the holes. Most of it squishes out when you screw the plate on anyway.


The plates go up to the corner of the slide. There is a flange "T-bar" that extends beyond the edge of the actual slide walls. You don't mount it to that T-bar. (brown trim in my pics). The awnings include self tapping square head screws. The screws go into the actual wall/ceiling framing of the slide. The instructions make a point of making sure these are level. I just pushed them all the way up to the edge of the slide top and side. There is quite a bit of play in the attachment bars for the awning that they don't have to be perfectly level.

All done. The hardest part of this whole process was wiping the excess caulk off the plate and slide. I like that the screws are the same color as the bracket and slide trim.


The next step is to attach the hex bar to the awning. There are brackets on the ends of the awning with a hex hole. The bars in the pic slide through that hole. You only install one end at this point. The bar for the other end of the awning is attached after the awning is on the camper. There is a special cap that cover the hole on the awning bracket. This keeps the bar from sliding back out. A short self tapping screw holds the bar and cap together. The bracket and bar have a pre-drilled hole for the screw. Make sure you slide the bar in so the holes line up.


That bar will slide into the hex hole in the corner brackets to hang the awning on the slide. There is a slightly tricky part. I had to flip the awnings around to decide what was top/bottom, right/left. The awning has to unroll with the canvas on the top of the tube. This seems simple until you have everything on the ground and upside down. You only install the bar on one end at this point. It doesn't matter which end you do, but it does direct which way you will slide the canvass into the rail on the wall of the camper. I slid the canvas left to right. That meant I installed the bar on the left end of the awning.
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Formerly racing around the country.
Nov 7, 2010
Now I was ready to start sliding the end of the canvass into the track on the trailer wall. One hint I got from the videos was to flare out the end of the track. I used a screw driver and needle nose pliers to bend the edges back. You do this to prevent the sharp end of the track from cutting the canvass as you slide it into the track.





The next step is where you need the second person. You pick up the slide, unroll the first turn of canvas and start inserting the edge with the bead into the track. The slide in the pics is 12 ft long and weighted about 20 lbs. Ian was on a ladder at the far left while I started the bead into the track. He "fed" the awning to me as I slid more of the canvas into the track. Holding everything level and tight is critical at this point. despite flaring the end of the track, I could see how it would easily cut the canvass if you weren't careful. Once about half of the canvas in is in the track, Ian moved to the other end to hold the far right end of the awning as I continued sliding it to the right.


The videos said to spray some silicone lube into the track. I did that for the first awning, but the bead slid so easily down the whole track, I didn't bother on the other three. This is the part I was the most concerned about. I have replaced regular RV awnings before I I fought (and fought and fought) trying to get the bead all they way down the track. I'm not sure if all the rails will be like mine, but mine went very easy.

Once you have the whole awning bead slid down the track, you slide the bar you screwed onto the end of the awning into the bracket. The bars are long enough to accommodate various width slides. You will slide the canvas (and bars) back and forth to get the awning centered over the slide out. I wasn't sure what angle the bar slid into the bracket, but pic on the internet showed the bracket on the end of the awning should be pointing straight up. (The bar has the circle with LCI in it). That part of the bracket should be parallel with the camper wall.


At this point, your helper should be at the other end of the awning holding it up waiting to slide the bar through the bracket and into the end of the awning. The only key here is to make sure the bracket on the end of the awning is pointing up and the bar goes through the right way. The bar and awning end bracket have a pre-drilled hole for the screw to go into. Make sure those holes line up when the hex bar is in place.


The hardware includes small self tapping screws that go into the bars and the bead of the canvas. These screws keep the awning from sliding around. Make sure the awning is centered over the slide (Mine all moved back and forth easily to get them right), then take the two larger screws and put them through the pre-drilled holes on the corner brackets and into the hex bar.

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Formerly racing around the country.
Nov 7, 2010
The awning comes from the factory with the tube wound and the springs pre tensioned. There are pins in each end of the awning that have to be removed. I used needle nose Vice-Grips, but regular needle nose pliers will work. The key is to rotate the tube a little to take some of the tension off the pin. (my hand is twisting the tube as I pull) The pin is also in a notch at one end. You have to pull the end out of the notch and then slide it straight out of the hole.


Both ends of the awning have one of these clips. The tube won't spin much until the second pin is removed. It doesn't snap or spin real fast to take up any slack. Mine just sort of spun the tube slowly a couple of turns while it rolled in the excess canvas.

After the pins are out, you are done. I moved the slides out to make sure nothing was binding and everything rolled back in tight. I also left the slide out a bit to tighten the small screw that goes into the end bracket and bar. The hole you need to put the screw in points down and angles back to the trailer wall slightly. Depending on how much room you have, it is hard to get the little screw all the way in with the slide closed.


Here is the finished result on the street side slides.


The factory ordered the same awnings they installed new. This was two 8 ft awnings (the front bedroom and mid-bunk each have slides that measure 8 ft.) and two 12 ft awnings. The kitchen slide on the street side is 11 ft 10 inches. The living room slide in the pics measures 12 ft 5 inches. The 12ft awning on Lippert's web site says it is for slides 140-145 inches, so I think the 12 ft is a couple of inches short. It just covers the top of the slide, while all the others have a 2-3 inch overhang. The hex bars that go into the brackets allow for a fair amount of variation. If I was ordering these again, I would have gone with the 12'7" awning for the living room slide.

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