Our Dometic / A&E Oasis Elite power door awning died recently… in the closed position, with no obvious way to get into it. Crowbarring it open would have led to a huge replacement bill. Even if you can’t salvage your motor like we did, you can save a ton… if you know the dirty little secret about this common point of failure.
The Oasis Elite is surely one of the most ubiquitous RV door awnings out there. When we bought our rig in 2005, it seemed like just about every mid-to-high-level motorhome came with one. A version of it is still widely used today.
With so many of these units out there, there’s a common failure, which we experienced recently: motor seizure due to moisture penetration. If you’re lucky enough to have the motor fail with the awning in the extended position, you can easily remove the entire unit for diagnosis and repair. If it fails while closed, like ours did, you’ll need to know the hidden trick to opening it without using force, potentially damaging or ruining it, which we demonstrate in the video. (just to clarify that statement… we focus on the “without using force” technique. The “damaging or ruining” part… not so much.) ;-)
The secret about these awnings is that they’re not actually made by Dometic. They’re made by a company called Fiamma. And the dirtiest secret of all is that you can buy a replacement motor directly from Fiamma… for less than one third of what you’ll pay for a “Dometic” motor!
That’s right, as of this writing, the typical price we found for a “Dometic” replacement motor for our awning was $688. You read that right. Six Hundred And Eighty-Eight Gen-u-ine United States George Washingtons. For a little 12-volt motor. If that sounds like a lot, it will REALLY sound outrageous when you learn that by simply ordering direct from Fiamma, that same part is only $215. How’s that for mark-up?! That kind of profit margin would land your company a deal on Shark Tank.
Watch the video for details on how we were able to get away with a total freebie on this repair, because you might be able to as well. If your motor does need to be replaced, not only do Fiamma’s prices kick butt, but their customer service puts Dometic’s to shame too. Their assistance was key in our learning how to do this job… and we didn’t even buy a motor in the end.
Our motor, the “Motor Kit F45 Oasis Left Fully Automatic Polar White” part number 04834A01 is the last part listed on this page: http://fiammausa.com/products/awnings.asp?Fam=A1
And if your awnings or slide toppers are getting a little threadbare, Tough Top Awnings makes excellent replacement fabric for the most common types of RV awnings and slide toppers, plus they offer a discount to RVgeeks viewers.
Visit www.ToughTopAwnings.com and use the discount code “RVGEEKSROCK“ when you check out to receive a 5% discount on your entire order.
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