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Old 07-25-2011, 07:50 AM   #1
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First time out, epic FAIL, expensive too!

Our first time out ever with the new-to-us Surveyor SV303. I did myself no favors and dove in murky water head- first. Even had my wife's parents in tow. Last background detail you need is basically that we amount to five city bears (wife, our kids and the in-laws) and one county bear (me). All my friends thought I was nuts. Ah, come on, how hard can it be!??!

First trip out was to Fish Lake CG in Volo, IL. About 40 minutes away. I figured and joked that if things got bad, I could have us home in an hour. I had no idea what was ahead. The TV and hitch performed just as they were suppose to. The Surveyor 303 did everything it was suppose to. All the gear made me look like I knew what I was doing. Everything was great our first night out, this past Fri, until about 11:30pm. Wife wakes me up because it was raining HARD. The CG had attached a flyer to our check-in papers reminding everyone they are not responsible to power issues. I had reassured her we have a new Surge Guard and would be fine. As the rain came down, she lay there awake sure that we would all be shocked to death. About four hours later, we all awoke to BOOM and the trailer shook. What the heck?!!? I thought we had been hit by a car or maybe the front jack failed and caused the stabilizer jack to fail or...?!!? Headed to the door, a SV303 only has one, bang; wouldn't open! THE AWNING! !#@ Out one of the side emergency exits and around to the other side to see my awning slammed against the side. The main drum and buckled in almost perfect half, failing under the weight of all the water that had accumulated because I failed to put it at a pitch or roll it up before going to bed! The awning and all hardware was destroyed, fabric ripped. Only good thing, the structure and shell of the camper itself were not damaged. Brackets failed but were not torn from their mounts. Pulled everything down as the rain continued. In daylight was able to look everything over. The rain continued and we were home by noon Saturday. Ugh!

If you do the math, our first camping trip was about $1,000.00 per hour! :-)

What do smart people do with their awnings at night?


John (the unpaid kennel help) & crew
2008 Surveyor SV-303
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Old 07-25-2011, 08:12 AM   #2
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I'm not saying I'm smart, but after getting up several times in the middle of the night to tilt my awning, I now do it before I go to bed, every night, even when there is 0% chance of rain. You never know, and I hate to get up and go out in the rain. I Always tilt the corner farthest from the door to minimize door rub while getting in and out. Sorry for your misfortune. Let us know insurance says about it.

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Old 07-25-2011, 08:16 AM   #3
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I roll mine back up. It only takes a few minutes to put out. You are lucky only the awning was damaged. Have seen a TT where the arms of the awming were pulled off the TT then came back and went through the wall of the TT. You do not only have to worry about the rain but high winds came do more damage then the rain. Be safe roll it up.
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Old 07-25-2011, 08:22 AM   #4
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We tilt ours but if there's any chance of T-storms or much wind, we roll it up! It's a pain to deal with the stuff that we have under it but I'd rather do that than deal with a torn up awning.

Sorry you are!

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Old 07-25-2011, 08:52 AM   #5
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Not a smart bear but I roll it up. Doesn't do much good at night other than catch rain, wind, twigs, and leaves. Basically I'm lazy and don't want to have to do that much cleaning.

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Old 07-25-2011, 09:05 AM   #6
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Tilt and tie.. I tilt mine to one side and then install the tie downs that screw in to the ground. Don't put them real tight but good enough to hold in a a decnet wind. If I know the weather is going to come up, simply roll it in.
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Old 07-25-2011, 09:11 AM   #7
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If you have comprehensive insurance on your trailer, file a claim.....they may just replace the awning for you.

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Old 07-25-2011, 09:19 AM   #8
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Been there...done that. 1st time was 2' of snow while hunitng. 70 degrees when I turned in for the night and snow by 4:00am. I wasn't the only one. Virtually every camper in the area lost their awnings. This go around just didn't tilt the awning enough and got a gully washer. Broke the roller tube in half. Off to the RV store today to order the parts.
I feel your pain.
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Old 07-25-2011, 12:47 PM   #9
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I pitch mine so the water can run off. no losses in 8 years. I only roll it up if there is an expected storm at night or I will be gone for the day.
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Better to have a bad day of camping than a good day at work!
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Old 07-25-2011, 01:17 PM   #10
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First time I left mine up at nite, a storm came up at day break. Bent one of the braces putting it down. Since then, never leave it up at nite or when gone from trailer. Wayne

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