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Replacing a Dometic/A&E RV Slide Topper — “Alternate Method”

Replacing a Dometic/A&E RV Slide Topper — “Alternate Method”


UPDATE: Tough Top Awnings now offers a special discount for RVgeeks viewers. Enter the discount code “RVGEEKSROCK” at checkout and get 5% off your entire order!

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This is the “alternate” installation method, which is well-suited for deep slide-outs. To see the “standard” installation technique, check out our two videos on the topic. One is the “express” version, which show the installation only. The other is the full-length version, which shows how to take correct measurements for ordering, placing the order online, and the actual installation itself.

We bought this excellent RV slide topper fabric from Tough Top Awnings. It is obviously superior to the original fabric… and far less expensive. Ray (the owner) took great care of us and followed up to be sure we were all set. He runs a great company and we highly recommend his replacement fabric (be sure to tell him you heard about Tough Top Awnings from RVgeeks)!

Our favorite type of DIY RV project is one that is both surprisingly manageable and also saves a lot of money. Slide topper replacement fits that description to a T by being much easier to accomplish than one might expect and costing as little as 1/2 to 1/3 the price of having it done at an RV shop.

As an added bonus, aftermarket slide topper fabric readily available online is often superior to the original material. Our large front driver’s side A&E slide topper was coming apart after only 7 years and had to be replaced.

For this project, you’ll need two stepladders, two people and a couple of basic tools. If you thought that replacing your slide-toppers was out of your league as a DIY RVer, watch this video first, and you may change your mind!

We demonstrate the entire process and describe in thorough detail what’s involved. And since we’re replacing the largest topper on our RV by far, replacing any other one is even easier, since they’re much smaller.

Related videos:

Typical Products For Awning/Slide Topper Replacement:

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Roger Flynn

Friday 29th of April 2022

I have watched both videos on replacing an A&E Slide Topper, now I know how to do it with one exception. Our bedroom topper was rotted and on our last trip the wind ripped the topper in half while we were in the RV park. I borrowed a long step ladder, climbed up and rolled the remaining fabric tight to the roller and zip tied it in several places. The fabric remaining on the motorhome side was only about 4" so I left that until we got home. I ordered the new topper from Tough Top and it arrived today. My problem is that I have no idea how many turns I need to make on the roller to give me the right tension. Is it just a matter of rolling it until it feels right then pinning it, or do I need to measure the new awning and calculating whats needed? I'm kinda at a standstill right now. I don't want to mess up the new fabric, or worse damage the roller. Any help on this?

TheRVgeeks

Friday 29th of April 2022

Hi Roger. This video might provide some help: https://youtu.be/tIj6GdLMOBM

Also, if you Google “Dometic FRTA replacement manual” you should find the fabric roller tube assembly manual. It gives the number of turns required based on the length of the awning. Hope this helps.

Harold

Thursday 28th of March 2019

Just replaced 13'6" slide topper on A&E. 1 hr start to finish. Thanks for tips before we started. Now that is assembled. Need to take up a little slack. Perhaps one roll. How do we do that?

TheRVgeeks

Thursday 28th of March 2019

Hi Harold. That’s awesome! Tyler from Tough Top Awnings did a little Q&A video for us a while back, including the topic of increasing the spring tension. It will require removing the fabric again, but now that you know how to do it, that part should be easy. The video is in this post: https://www.thervgeeks.com/awnings-and-slide-toppers/quartzsite-az-2017/

John Zick

Sunday 22nd of April 2018

My wife and I replaced the awning over our dining room slide. Easy peasy, thank you very much for the video.

TheRVgeeks

Sunday 22nd of April 2018

Great to hear, John! Thanks for letting us know... and enjoy your new slide topper! ?

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PLEASE NOTE: 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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