How to Replace Carefree of Colorado Slide Topper Fabric (Model SOK III)

TheRVgeeks Awnings & Slide Toppers, Maintenance, Replacement, Updates & Upgrades 11 Comments

After 12 years on the road, we’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to suppliers of RV services and equipment. So when we purchased our first Tough Top Awnings slide topper replacement fabric three years ago, we immediately knew we were dealing with a great company. Responsive customer service, fast shipping and top quality products.

We’ve since had enough experience with Tough Top Awnings to recognize that Ray & Tyler run a truly wonderful company, and we’re proud to call them friends.

We recently visited their new production facility in Vancouver, WA where they taught us how to replace the fabric on a Carefree of Colorado SOK III slide topper. Since that model is fully-enclosed, it’s one of the more intimidating DIY tasks for an RVer.  It turns out… it’s actually a snap!  Check out the video to see how easy it is.

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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.

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Comments 11

  1. A friend has a SOKIII slideout topper that he has been having trouble with. It is quite a long one, with a splice in the middle of the roller tube. He has had issues with the tube being too short, and coming off of the catches on the spring tension (rhs) end. The splice insert has also been bent. We took the tube down last week and replaced/riveted the splice with a new one, however, with the end caps back in place, there is easily a half inch or more of play for the tube to slide back and forth between ends, and potentially come off of the ratchet on the right hand side.

    We noticed too that the bearing on the left end had migrated a half inch or so into the tube – there is nothing to stop it from doing that. When the rivets are removed, they only appear to be in slots on the bearing that are open to the left and do not stop that migration. There is also therefore no way to apply a “push” on the bearing from the left end of the tube to keep the right end spring close to the right end cap, fully engaging the ratchet mechanism.

    The owner tried buying some large fender washers to use as spacers on the left end, but has told me via email that he’s not confident that will work.

    The plastic part of the LH bearing looks unhealthy too. We had considered gluing it into place to allow for using it to push the tube toward the ratcheted end, but that would make it difficult to replace in the future. I had also suggested pulling the tube apart at the splice and re-riveting it so the tube is at a closer tolerance (do we need to leave room for heat expansion if we do?).

    The replacement tarp he ordered locally is 334″ x 35″ btw.

    We’ll be attempting another re-assembly tomorrow.


    1. Post

      Hi Neal,

      Sorry for the delayed reply… we were in England and then flying back to the States. We’re not sure what’s going on with this particular unit… and since the one we showed in the video is the only one we’ve had experience with fabric replacement on, we’re not sure if there’s an issue with the unit you’re working with, or not. We’d be leery of making too many modifications to the existing components, in case there ISN’T a problem. We’d actually suggest calling Carefree directly to find out if there’s anything they can recommend as far as how this unit is working and/or if there’s a modification needed to ensure it continues to work.

      Sorry we can’t be of more help here, but hope you are able to get the new fabric installed and working!

  2. I have a super slide that is over 26ft long and needs a new slide topper. Given your experience replacing them, would you tackle this job yourself? Thanks

    1. Post

      Hi Dave! We would definitely tackle it ourselves, but with a helper and a second ladder. It’s not difficult, but a second set of hands really helps make things easiest.

  3. Pingback: Easy RV Mod -> Slide Topper Replacement With Tough Top Toppers – Wheeling It

  4. Thank’s a lot for all your recommendations you have been very helpful!
    I would like to know what type of front windshield screen you have on your rig, it looks really nice along with the tire covers your using. With all the research I have done I can’t find anything as nice as yours. Could you let me know who the manufactures are?

    Thank you in advance.

    1. Post

      Thanks so much for the nice comment, Scott! Coincidentally, both our windshield screens and tire covers were made by the same company: MCD. Unfortunately, they have switched their business completely over to manufacturing RV window shades for many of the major manufacturers, and no longer make anything else. We have never seen any other tire covers anything like ours, and don’t know what we’ll do when they eventually wear out, because we really love them. As far as windshield screens, we have friends who bought Magenshade screens, and are extremely happy with them. You can find out more at their website:

  5. I noticed some trash had collected in the topper cover. Would opening the cover and cleaning that out be something worth adding to preventative maintenance schedule?

    1. Post

      Hi Ed! This wasn’t our RV, and we never allow that kind of debris build-up to occur on our slide-toppers, so we hadn’t thought of it. But it’s a great idea…. if you neglect your toppers and allow them to get this dirty, adding a cleaning to the annual maintenance list would be a good idea. Thanks for the tip!

      1. We are new to RVing and you guys have helped a lot. I assumed that the slide toppers would prevent debris from getting in my slides. Unfortunately I never thought about debris getting into the slide covers. We spent one week in a pine forest, then the next 2 weeks under an oak tree. Constantly being bombarded by acorns. Well you know where this is going. I noticed pine needles sticking out of the lower portion of the slide cover but was unsure how to get to it & worried about taking something apart & couldn’t get back together.

        Along comes the RV Geeks to the rescue. This morning I watched your newest video & went straight out to my coach. Following your instructions I went out & accessed the slide toppers & took out dozens of acorns & other debris that were inhibiting the covers from retracting smoothly.

        You guys do rock!! I have used you for tons of things. From some new LED lights, TPMS, tire maintenance , Viair compressor, and more. Next I’m planning on upgrading my inverter & eventually getting solar panels. My wife is thinking of blocking your site so I’ll stopping buying stuff. Like that will ever happen.

        Thanks for everything……

        1. Post

          Thanks so much for the great comment, Bill! Enjoying coffee while relaxing and reading on the laptops, and you just made our Sunday perfect. :) Please tell your wife that the “geek” in “RVgeeks” also refers to computers, and if she tries to block our site, we’re gonna make it so the only website her computer can get to is Harbor Freight! LOL Seriously… so happy this helped your slide-topper problem. We know that Carefree of Colorado toppers can have this issue, but not having lived with them, we didn’t even think about it when making this video. Safe travels, and thanks again for sharing.

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