How to Install Slide Topper On a Camper (Adjust and Tighten)

DIY projects can be fun. They help pass the time of day and they can provide better protection for more sensitive parts like your side-outs. Plus, they help those parts last longer and work better. A good slide topper is a DIY worth investing in.

Once you have the right parts and the topper you want, get a friend to help you. The installation will go a lot better when you have someone helping you out. Don’t forget to remove the old gutter as that is where your new topper will sit.

To learn more about installing a new topper on your slide-out, just continue to read our article. It has the instructions and information you need to know about. Take a few minutes to make sure you are up to speed on how this process goes. It will save you time and frustration.

How To Install Slide Topper on Camper

The very first step is to measure your topper. The awning you order should be the right size and that means you have a 2 1/2 inch overhang on either side. Also, make sure to get all the hardware, fabric, and colors you want before you start your project.

Your second step is to repair or maintain any part of your slide-out at this time. This is an ideal time to handle any issues you are having with your slide-out and make sure it remains in top running order.

Once these two steps are done, you can begin the installation. You will want to glue the new rail into place (or use screws that should be included in your purchase)and since the edges are sharp, you may want to cover them up with some duct tape to prevent tearing of the fabric.

The next step after the glue dries will be to place the brackets in their proper spots. Then slide the roller tube into place through the brackets, then secure the tube in place. With some models, the fabric is already in place and all you have to do is remove the safety pin and let the pressure out slowly.

The one end of the awning needs to be attached to the rail you glued into place next to your RV. Make sure there is no slack in the awning when you attach it to the rail. Once you get a very taut hold you can move on to the final step of the installation process.

When everything is in place, just add the caps to either end and you are almost done. Make sure to do some tests to make sure the topper slides into place and recoils nicely. After you are satisfied with the results of your handiwork, enjoy the comfort your new topper brings to your RV life.

The topper helps protect your slide-out from debris and damage so DIY is helping you save money in more ways than just labor costs. We should add that each topper should come with its own instructions depending on the model you buy. They may not all be this easy to install.

Adjusting Slide Topper Tension

The first thing to be aware of in this situation is that the mechanism for your topper is quite simple. The system is a spring-loaded mechanism that unfurls and folds up the awning fabric depending on the direction you are moving your slide-out.

When the topper starts to show its age, you may have to adjust the spring tension a little bit. This is not always as easy as installing the topper itself but it can be done if you are careful.

In some models, you may have to use a Phillips screwdriver to turn a screw that handles the tension duties on the spring. But not all toppers are made in the same manner. Other models simply need you to turn the awning roll about 14 times to adjust the tension.

Why 14 times is a question you would have to ask the manufacturer but it seems to work and this will stop any billowing when the wind starts to blow. Also, when you install the topper, make sure to have a little incline from the back to the front. This will help stop water from pooling on top of the fabric.

How To Tighten Slide Toppers on RV

This method will depend on which model of topper you have. The instructions given here are for the Dometic model and may not work for all brands of toppers. The first step is to pin the awning on each side.

The pin needs to go through the end cap into the torsion assembly. Once it is pinned, you can remove the screw holding the arm, then remove the arm. Hold that arm very firmly and then pull the pins.

If you let go of the arm during the release of the tension, do not try to catch it. After you have got this far, rotate the awning two turns on each side and then put the pins back in. Put the arm back into place and then after both arms are back in their rightful spots pull the pins.

This is a delicate procedure and almost anything can go wrong. Look up further instructions in your Dometic manual to see what they tell you as well. There have been complaints that the manual for the Dometic toppers does not include a lot of key information so you may have to contact the company and ask them.

When you tighten the slide topper, it may be best to have someone help you. With one person on each side, you should be able to control the topper fabric a lot better and make this difficult project go faster and smoother.

How To Replace Slide Topper Fabric

The first step of this process is to measure your current topper fabric to get the right size of material. The second step will be to make sure you get the awning of your choice.

The cost will depend on different factors including size, color, and material used. It is best if you get a type of fabric that will be best suited for the region of the country you will be doing your camping.

There are a lot of stores that sell RV awnings so the selection is not going to be a problem. These stores, for the most part, also offer replacement services but if you want to do it yourself, make sure you have a good friend to help you.

As for the equipment needed, a ladder for each person, screwdrivers, and some spray on lubricant are about all the tools you will need to do this task. Once the ladders are in place, remove the anti-billowing devices and unscrew them. Make sure to put all parts in a safe location so they do not get lost.

When that is done, unroll the roller tube carefully. Be very careful when doing this step as some people have been injured when they let the tube roll back suddenly. At this point, the slot should be facing upward and that is the position you want it in. The fabric will come off easier when the slot is facing up.

Make sure to put a pin in the ends of the tubes to keep them from rolling up on you. Allan keys work the best here. On the RV side of the slide, there should be screws holding the awning in place. You will need to remove those and place them in a container so that they do not get lost.

Now spray some lubricant onto the track. This will make the old fabric slide out easier. After doing this step, cut the old fabric in half and pull one half out of one side and the other half out of the other side. If you want to keep the old fabric and use it elsewhere, skip this step.

Once the old awning fabric is out, you should take the time to clean up the mechanism. It should be dirty and also check to see if any repairs need to be made. When sliding the new fabric back in you can split the ends and cover the sharp edges with duct tape.

Then slide the new fabric into place and take the other end of the fabric and slide it into the gutter of the roller tube. Be careful and patience is the key here. One person needs to feed the tarp while the other is pulling it into position, making sure there is the appropriate amount of overhang on each side.

Release the pressure and let the roller pull the tarp into itself and make sure that is done evenly. Do some tests to make sure everything works and you are done.

Some Final Words

The key to all of these tasks is to make sure the tarp does not get torn, rolls up evenly, and has the right amount of tension.

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