We’ve demonstrated how to replace the fabric on many different awning & slide topper models. A few years ago, we showed how to replace one of the most popular patio awnings on the market – the manual pull-down Dometic/A&E.

We’ve now learned a new way to do the job… a considerably easier method than the old way. Here’s a step-by-step  tutorial, as we replace the awning on our friends Tom & Cait Morton’s 5th wheel. Watch the video above to see how surprisingly easy this job is for any reasonably competent DIY RVer (with the help of a couple of friends)! Since we’ve gotten positive feedback whenever we’ve included bloopers, look for a few at the end. ;-)

Of course Tom & Cait were rolling cameras too, so you can check out their version of the installation here:

Be sure to check out the Morton’s website and YouTube channel for lots of other great content:

Do you have a different model awning, or want to replace your slide topper fabric?

Complete details on measuring and ordering replacement slide topper and awning fabric are available at ToughTopAwnings.comSave 5% on your entire order by using Discount Code RVGEEKSROCK at checkout!

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  1. Thanks for the video showing how to replace my awning on my small R-Vision camper. I ordered my new awning from Toughtop and followed the procedure. After installing it I centered it on top and between the end caps. Then, before locking the awning in position on the top of the camper, I lowered and raised it a few times, however the top would move to one side about 3″. I tried this several times after re-centering and with the same result. I could screw it down centered, but it would probably not lay flat or no wrinkles.

    1. Glad our video helped, LeRay! Based on what you’re saying, it sounds to us like it could be an issue with the awning hardware itself being out of whack (bent or misaligned). But because we haven’t encountered a problem like you’re describing, we’d suggest giving Tyler at Tough Top a call to see what he suggests… he’s the expert about awning fabric replacement and we’d bet he’s had this problem before and will be able to tell you what to do to correct it. Let us know how you make out, so everyone can learn!

      1. Just to followup on this, I contacted Tyler 1st by phone and was very helpful, but unfortunately that changed after I suggested that I could send photos of it rolling up on one side. He said that my roller was bent, but I explained that it was not bent & it only appears that way due to lens distortion which is common in cell phone cameras. He did not believe me & asked for more photos which I sent to him. He stopped communicating when I confronted him about it. I think Tough Tops is a good company & Tyler probably a good guy, but in the end I still have the same problem and not sure how to fix it.

  2. Hello! We followed this video, but had trouble at the very end when releasing the orange pick. It seemed the tension wasn’t correct and there was still some slack on the fabric when finally closed up. What do we do? Do we have to start again and unroll, then re-turn the tension again, re roll and release the pick again?

    Thank you for the advice!

    1. Hi Kenny! Sorry you had trouble! You shouldn’t need to completely undo and unroll the awning in order to add more tension. Just unroll it a bit like at the beginning of the video. Then pin the left-hand end so it doesn’t unroll (leaving the right-hand side in “Extend” mode so the spring is ratcheted and won’t unwind on you)… and remove the screw that holds the awning bracket to the left-hand arm. Using a cloth and pliers to hold the left-hand awning bracket, you should be able to remove the pin and then add a winding or two to the spring before putting the pin back in and re-installing the bracket onto the arm.

      Since you re-tightened the spring on the right-hand side during the fabric replacement, we’d guess adding a couple of turns to the left-hand spring should fix things, but you might have to tighten both. You’ll want to keep the tension in both springs fairly consistent, so the awning doesn’t roll up unevenly. So keep an eye out for that. Try the left-hand side first (adding a couple of turns) and see if that fixes it. If the other side now seems like it’s not retracting as quickly, repeat the process and tighten the spring on that side a turn or two to even things out (being sure to pin the left-hand spring first so it doesn’t unwind on you when you remove the right-hand bracket from the arm!).

      Let us know how you make out!

  3. It would be really helpful if you could make a printable checklist of the steps. We would really appreciate it! This is a wonderful video!

  4. Thank you! Just cancelled my service appt for this. You gave me the confidence to save some cash. My dometic patio awning is powered or motorized. Does this change the instructions much?

    1. That’s great, Brent! This is one of our FAVORITE DIY projects for just that reason… saves a nice chunk of cash that can be better spent on fuel (or beer or wine or… LOL!)! The powered & non-powered awnings are fairly similar, but check out this video about replacing the fabric on our powered A&E WeatherPro awning: How To Replace A&E / Dometic WeatherPro Power Awning Fabric

      Between that video and this one, you should be all set! Good luck and have fun! (and if you haven’t already ordered your replacement fabric, we still STRONGLY recommend Tough Top Awnings… where you can save 5% on your order when you use the code “RVGEEKSROCK” at checkout, or on the phone)

      1. So that link doesn’t work. :-( And your YouTube video link titled power awning actually takes you to a non powered video. Any direction? Thanks!!

        1. Hi Brent. Not sure what’s going wrong with the links for you (just tested it in three different browsers on three different devices and it worked in all of them), or on YouTube (here’s a link right to our video about the WeatherPro power awning fabric removal: https://youtu.be/cPSk_vUb1KQ). If you’re still having problems, please try looking on another browser and/or device… and let us know if you still have the problem. Sounds like you may have a virus or some other link redirection issue going on.

  5. Thank you for your video’s very informative. One question before I attempt this: I have never used pop rivets, so what size do I need. In the video you mention 3/16 inch, but what length?

  6. Howdy! The video was great and made it pretty easy to replace both our slidepit awnings ourselves. Saved big bucks. Got a question on something that’s now appeared on our awning – small swirls on the top that we now can see light through from below. Look like worm tracks in tight circles. Any ideas what can be causing them? Can send a photo…

    1. Hi Lauren. Glad the video was helpful. Unfortunately, we’ve never heard/seen anything like this. If you bought your fabric from Tough Top Awnings we’d suggest giving Tyler a call, as he’s got the most experience with all of this and will surely be able to help you out. Otherwise, we’d suggest contacting whoever you bought your fabric from! You could also check to see if there’s something on your roller tube or Weatherguard (if your awning has one… the metal/plastic wrap that covers the fabric when the awning is fully retracted/stored) that’s rubbing the fabric as it’s rolling up/extending that’s causing the marks. Do they wipe off (i.e. could the be being caused by water pooling up on the fabric)? Or are they etched into the fabric (i.e. rubbed/worn into it from something rubbing)?

  7. Watched your video . . . great ! However, the end cap on my tube doesn’t have the hole in which to place a pin. Should I be looking for something else to pin the spring in place?

    1. Hi Barry! Glad you liked the video! We’ve run into that situation once before and used a long, small-diameter Phillips head screwdriver stuck in from the end of the roller tube into one of the three tracks so that as the spring tried to unwind the roller, the handle of the screwdriver rests against the support arm and stopped it. It was a bit more finicky than the typical method, and required a bit more care to be sure it wasn’t dislodged while replacing the fabric, but it worked.

      If you have any concern about the above (or if it’s not an option on your awning)… you can always give Tyler at Tough Top Awnings a call (360-953-3299). He’s REALLY good at helping people out who are having trouble with an install.

  8. We have a motorized dometic awning, any additional information available for dealing with the electric motor?

  9. All went as planned and going great until……. My wife and I rolled up the awning the wrong direction. I released the latch and the awning came flying down knocking me off the ladder to the ground. Luckily nothing serious but some dirt and a sore wrist. Decided to take another look at the video and my wife noticed we had rolled up the awning from the outside instead of the inside. We regrouped started over from the roll up point and now have a working awning. All the rest was spot on as demonstrated. Thanks for the help with our 1st awning replacement.

  10. Had accident with one of my A&E Dometic Arms come off of canopy tube, tension gone now on non locking end. Canopy tube is about 17’- 4” long, how do I know how many tension turns do I make to balance out the roller? Or should I release the locking end and count how many it takes to release then redo both? Thanks, enjoy your helpful RV videos, Greg Fee in Ladner, BC

    1. Hi Greg. Sorry to hear you had trouble with your awning like that… but glad to hear you’ve gotten it put back together. Those long awning roller tubes are surprisingly heavy, especially when the fabric is rolled up on them! We found this PDF of the roller tube replacement instructions for the A&E 8500 and 9000 model awnings: http://bryantrv.com/docs2/docs/aespring.pdf. It has instructions for the number of turns needed to re-tension the springs on page 7. Just note… the table lists the number of turns needed on a (mostly) retracted awning (which for your length would be 12 turns). If you’re re-tensioning the spring with the awning extended/unrolled, the paragraph above that table indicates that you need to add 8 additional turns to the spring… which means you’ll need 20 turns, and it’s going to get PRETTY HARD to turn and control near the end. So we’d suggest doing it with the awning retracted/rolled up almost the whole way (the replacement instructions start out by having you unroll the awning about one turn before proceeding, so if you can get it rolled up to that point where it’s about 8″ extended, you should be good).

      If that’s not your model awning, or if you have a newer one (the manual looks like it’s from about 2002), you may want to Google to see if you can find the right manual. If you use “A&E XXXX awning roller tube replacement instructions” as your search with “XXXX” replaced with your awning model number, you should find something.

      Hope this all helps! And let us know how you make out.

    1. Thanks! Hope it helps you sort out your awning. On the sunny canopy… we’re not familiar with that (is it an RV awning?), so we don’t have any specific recommendations. Although, in general, when things are stuck… Liquid Wrench and some brute force are our “go to” solutions! ?

  11. Having trouble finding info on how to put more tension on bedroom slide roller, A & E. Need to do this before I purchase new topper. Appreciate any help


  12. I don’t need a new awning, however, I always really enjoy and learn so much from your excellent and precision explanations on you “How To” videos. Thank you.

  13. I’m getting ready to replace my electric awning on my 5th wheel. Thank you very much for the videos. I think they were just great.

    1. That’s great, Robert! If you have a Dometic/A&E Weatherpro power awning, we replaced the fabric in ours about a year and a half ago (https://www.thervgeeks.com/awnings-and-slide-toppers/ae-weatherpro-awning-fabric/). We haven’t done a powered Carefree of Colorado patio awning yet, but the manual awning video may be of some help there (https://www.thervgeeks.com/awnings-and-slide-toppers/carefree-manual-patio/). And, if you’re ordering your replacement fabric from Tough Top, Tyler will be able to give you guidance on what you need to do!

      1. I will surely purchase from your sponsor. Your help is worth it. I will keep going back to your site also. Thanks again.

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We're handy RVers, not professional technicians. We're happy with the techniques and products we use, but be sure to confirm that all methods and materials you use are compatible with your equipment and abilities. Regardless of what we recommend, consult a professional if you're unsure about working on your RV. Any task you perform or product you purchase based on any information we provide is strictly at your own risk.

We sometimes receive products for evaluation at no cost, and The RVgeeks are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. But our opinions are our own, you won’t pay an extra penny, and we only link to products we personally use, love and can recommend to friends with complete confidence.
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