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Slide topper tension


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I replaced all 4 slide toppers on our 2006 Monaco Dip with ones from Stone Voss a few years ago. I've noticed that water pools in the center of a couple of them and I'm wondering if there are any tension parameters to check for. 

I've also been trying to track down a leak in the outside wall of the road bedroom slide. I wonder if it might be related to the pooling? 

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I had the same issue, and here is the advice Chris Throgmartin gave @throgmartin:

"Put the slide all the way out and then pin the spring which is on the right side of the assembly.  Then remove the right en cap or tilt it out so the cog wheel on the spring is free.  Make sure the spring is pinned before doing this.

Now, bring the slide in about 4 inches, roll up the excess fabric, and then re-assemble the end cap.  Now move the slide back out and check the fabric tension.  You just put one wind on the spring.  Every 4 inches of slide travel equals one wind.  You may have to go 6 inches; the fabric should be taut.  "

Hope that helps!  Chris will tell me if I got it wrong.  😂

PS - I have SOKIII slide toppers. 

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The first thing you should do is re-stretch the fabric against the coach rail. Simply removes the set screw on one end of the coach rail and then pull like the dickens on the other end. By doing this you pull the center of the fabric. taught  If you need more tension then do as Scotty said. 2006 was the transition year for Carefree topper assemblies so you either have the SOK II model ( one screw in the plastic end cap ) or you have the SOK III which has multiple screws on the end cap. You need to know which assembly you have. The SOK II has a hold down bolt for the spring and it will be located on the left side. The SOK III assembly has a cog wheel and a tab built into the end which holds tension on the spring. So the SOK II spring is on your left and the SOK III spring is on your right.  In either case always pin the spring before releasing removing the end cap on the SOK III or before losenning the hold down bolt on the SOK II. If you loose tension you have a 50/50 chance of breaking the spring.

Scotty did well considering he graduated from the wrong MSU. 🙂  Go Spartans.

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3 hours ago, mrktrain said:

I replaced all 4 slide toppers on our 2006 Monaco Dip with ones from Stone Voss a few years ago. I've noticed that water pools in the center of a couple of them and I'm wondering if there are any tension parameters to check for. 

I've also been trying to track down a leak in the outside wall of the road bedroom slide. I wonder if it might be related to the pooling? 

I don't know if you would consider this investment in your coach, but you may want to consider looking at the Girard Slide Toppers. They are expensive compared to other brands, but the performance is perfect. I would never have anything but the Girard product. 

Paul A

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Chris, what is the procedure to pin down the spring. Is there a hole you stick a small screwdriver into and do you pin the SOKII on left end and the SOKIII on the right end?

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23 hours ago, wobrian@myglnc.com said:

Chris, what is the procedure to pin down the spring. Is there a hole you stick a small screwdriver into and do you pin the SOKII on left end and the SOKIII on the right end?

There will be two holes on the roller tube at each end. The holes are opposed to each other. You can use a screwdriver, cotter pin or like many technicians use a self tapping # 8 - 1 1/4 inch hex head screw which you drive in place using a drill. I myself prefer using the screw. Just make sure you pin the correct end where the spring is which is why I posted earlier about spring location. Those springs are like a garage door spring and are under a lot of tension. If you screw up and don't pin it, it will violently unload in a nano second and chances are it will break. I seen a spring violently unload once when the pin got accidently knocked out. The spring broke and part of it came out the roller tube. The guy had to buy a new spring and roller tube. This is why I use self taping screws. They put a positive lock on the spring and there is no chance of it getting knocked out. You can also rotate the roller tube without any obstructions such as the handle on a mini screw driver.

Slide topper assemblies are safe to work on as long as you pin that spring and pay attention to what you are doing. The guys who have problems are the ones  who get in a hurry, do not stop and think about the next step in the process or worse yet pin the wrong end of the roller tube where the spring isn't.

Edited by throgmartin
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On 7/21/2020 at 3:12 PM, Paul A. said:

I don't know if you would consider this investment in your coach, but you may want to consider looking at the Girard Slide Toppers. They are expensive compared to other brands, but the performance is perfect. I would never have anything but the Girard product. 

Paul A

You are right Paul. The Girard topper assemblies are the best in the business. They are pretty much trouble free but good Lord are they expensive. The entire problem with toppers pooling is all due to the pitch of the topper. Carefree and Dometic toppers have little to no pitch. The Girard's have a steep pitch and the water runs right off the topper.

Our engineer has been working on a new part which will increase the pitch on a Carefree or Dometic assembly which will eliminate pooling. The problem we are encountering is cost. We have yet been able to get the cost down to a level that makes sense and a price that most RV'ers can afford.

I would have to crunch the numbers but I believe the cost to change out a quad slide coach to Girards is around $ 10 K ( includes labor ). For that much money most people will put up with the pooling of water. I myself would rather bring my slide in 8 inches to drain the water off rather then spend $ 10 K. 🙂

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3 hours ago, throgmartin said:

You are right Paul. The Girard topper assemblies are the best in the business. They are pretty much trouble free but good Lord are they expensive. The entire problem with toppers pooling is all due to the pitch of the topper. Carefree and Dometic toppers have little to no pitch. The Girard's have a steep pitch and the water runs right off the topper.

Our engineer has been working on a new part which will increase the pitch on a Carefree or Dometic assembly which will eliminate pooling. The problem we are encountering is cost. We have yet been able to get the cost down to a level that makes sense and a price that most RV'ers can afford.

I would have to crunch the numbers but I believe the cost to change out a quad slide coach to Girards is around $ 10 K ( includes labor ). For that much money most people will put up with the pooling of water. I myself would rather bring my slide in 8 inches to drain the water off rather then spend $ 10 K. 🙂

Thank you for your comments. My experience during 10 years of full timing, using the Girard Topper Product was wonderful. They mount to the coach the complete opposite as other toppers do. The casing is mounted on the coach side wall, which creates the pitch you mention. They also have a small sweeping broom that contacts the cloth, located at the front of the casing.  The water pooling is a definite contributor to the life span of the cloth and threads of the stitching. I had a friend, RIP, that replaced the toppers on a 2005 Dynasty 3 slide in 2006 to Girard Toppers. Cost him 4K+. He was full timing and kept the coach till 2014. So amortizing that over that duration, it's a no brainer. 

You may want to consider designing some brackets or ??? to simply reverse the current installation of Carefree, for example, and you would obtain the desired preferred pitch.  I always thought that you could / would make stainless steel coils springs that would sell very well. A spring coiling machine is not that expensive and there is a market waiting for the product that you currently service.  I have attached a link to a Girard Product Video for the convenience of our members to review. 

Paul A                                            https://youtu.be/9lyt70Vl71c

 

 

 

 

Edited by Paul A.
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HI I use a Locking Oil Filter Wrench   Harbor Freight  part # 63696  $ 9.99 { Locks like a vise crib ]  for the Slide Topper Roll

Just used it this past weekend    Installed Voss Toppers works great.

George

P.S. Thanks Chris for FAST turn Around  Topper works great and LOOKS GOOD great Product 

 

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  • 10 months later...

Does anyone know how many turns are required to load up the spring on a Carefree Summit XL topper.  This is on a 24 foot slide out.

I had the slide open and looked up to find that the topper was very slack.  looks like the spring either broke or unloaded some how.

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13 turns but unless you loosen a end bolt it’s probably a broken spring. Easy enough to replace the spring and while you are up there, I would remove the fabric (if more than 8 years old) and have all the seams re-sewn as the thread usually gives up at 10 years.

The smaller slides (those that only go out 20”) have enough unused fabric that I cut off the old fabric and sew the large plastic rod back in…. good for another 10 years.

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Andy, the initial spring winds for that long of a slide is 12+1 so 13. If it is a new spring then the winds will be 15.

In regards to spring tension loss then the culprit can be 2 different things. 1.) Broken spring 2.) Bent spring hold tab on end cap. I am guessing it is the end cap tab but it could be the spring. Look at the right side end cap and inspect the tab. If it is bent downward you will need a new cap. If the spring is broke then you have to be sure you get the right spring. The summit takes a special spring. I have both the end caps and springs in stock if you need either of them.

Ben, We worked up a prototype but the cost was prohibitive so we are back to the drawing board. My engineer and I are still working on it. Our problem right now is time. We are so buried it got shoved to the back burner.

SOK 3 Right End Cap Tab Arrow.jpg

Edited by throgmartin
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Thanks for the replies on my dilemma.  The problem is the hold down tap on the right end cap.

I called around and factory was out of stock.  called Alliance RV in Wildwood FL as I have dealt with them in the past. 

They did not have one but found me one at Amazon.  I was surprised that they had it so I ordered it this morning.

I will keep you in mind for future items that I may need to order. 

Thank you all for the information. 

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Andy, Those bent tabs is the reason we stock a lot of those end caps. We stock a lot of springs as well.

I am always left wondering why other repair centers don't stock these common parts that are known to fail. They are always scrambling to get and end cap or spring when a customer shows up with a problem. We sell to a lot of dealers who would rather buy from us then a wholesaler because we ship faster. Even Camping World has bought from us because we can turn parts around quickly.

If someone in the USA who needs specific parts for Carefree assemblies calls Monaco or the Carefree factory they send them to us. Monaco is particularly annoying as they send customers tech questions to us as well. In turn we end up providing free tech support to their customers and it loads down our staff while freeing up their call center. We never turn anyone away and do it for the benefit of Monaco owners but I get a little tired of eating up our company resources by providing factory support for Monaco without getting reimbursed by them.

I forgot to mention, once you get the assembly back together, check for end play. See if the roller tube has any play end to end. This has been a common problem with large Carefree slide assemblies. If you find end play bush the left end with a washer. That end play damages the end caps and I have had numerous customers have their flarge slide topper assembly come off their coach while driving down the highway at 60 mph. Most end up on the roof destroying solar panels, sky lights and other items on the roof. We always check end play on all large slides when we get a coach in. Be sure to check yours.

 

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4 hours ago, mmccwill said:

Chris -- I see where Stone Vos will have a booth at the Gillette Rally -- Will you be there -- Bill Willard

No Sir I wont be there. I sent Jason out to do the rally. He is doing several for me this year. He is our Executive Director and oversees all of our companies.

Be sure to stop at the booth and say him to him. Let him know you are one of spies and are keeping an eye on him. 🙂

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Great thread. 
 

Not to get off the specific topic. Bought 2003 Camelot 3 years ago and the front passenger side topper does not have a cover. Been told by Carefree that it either did not come with one, I find that strange or it was removed. Point being now its no longer made Im told.

Any thoughts about this?

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19 hours ago, KenAVTech said:

Great thread. 
 

Not to get off the specific topic. Bought 2003 Camelot 3 years ago and the front passenger side topper does not have a cover. Been told by Carefree that it either did not come with one, I find that strange or it was removed. Point being now its no longer made Im told.

Any thoughts about this?

The reason this slide does not have a slide topper is because of the interference with the patio awning. In other words there is no room for a slide topper assembly. There were select models of Monaco's that were manufactured without a slide topper on that particular slide. It was a stupid deletion as our coaches need slide toppers.

The main purpose of the topper is to keep water off the roof of the slide. Because we do not own Prevost, Newells or Foretravels which all have inflatable slide seals, our slides leak water like a sieve through the top wiper seal. Toppers also keep debris like leaves, sticks, etc. off the top of the slide. In regards to your particular slide I have researched many different slide topper assemblies trying to find one that would fit under that patio awning and never found one. This problem was later rectified by Monaco by installing roof mounted patio awnings which cleared the way for the topper assembly.

Your only option is to live with it or remove your current awning and switch to a roof mount and then install a new topper assembly. The cost would probably be somewhere around $ 5,000 for the two assemblies and labor. You currently should have a one touch patio awning. If anything ever happens to it then that would be the time to make the switch. Beware - there are no parts available anywhere in North America for the One Touch. The parts inventory has been completely exhausted, The slide topper assemblies you have on your other slides are probably Carefree SOK II models which have been discontinued. If the assemblies have question mark arms on the end then those would be Omega assemblies. We do have parts for the SOK II's and Omega's and we are the worlds only company that manufactures parts for the Omega assemblies including the arms and locks. 

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