DIY Me­chanic

Practical Caravan - - Contents -

How to fit awn­ing limpets to your van

Nigel Hut­son finds a sim­ple way to se­cure a porch awn­ing from stormy weather

I WILL AD­MIT, our Kampa Rally 200 porch awn­ing hasn’t seen much day­light in the past cou­ple of years, de­spite us know­ing how use­ful porch awnings can be.

Of the three awnings we have (the Kampa, a full-size Is­abella and a Fi­amma Car­a­vanstore canopy), the porch awn­ing is prob­a­bly the most prac­ti­cal for reg­u­lar use.

As there’s gen­er­ally just the two of us, we rarely use the full awn­ing for short trips, and when we go some­where warm, the canopy is the one that’s used, with the hope that we will only need a sun­shade.

Pe­rus­ing the Kampa stand at a re­cent car­a­van show, I came across its Lim­pet Fix sys­tem, de­vices to hold awn­ing flaps and skirts to the sides of a car­a­van.

Ob­vi­ously, the Limpets are meant for Kampa prod­ucts, but I see no rea­son why they couldn’t be used uni­ver­sally.

For in­stance, when Adam was but a lad, wheel arch cov­ers in full awnings came with fix­ings to at­tach them to the sides of car­a­vans. The prob­lem was that this usu­ally en­tailed screw­ing things into the side­wall, not some­thing I would do while a car­a­van is still un­der war­ranty.

Hav­ing had my in­ter­est in the porch awn­ing rekin­dled, Kay and I took ours with us on a week’s stay in Shrop­shire.

At this stage, I hadn’t given the Limpets much more thought, al­though I had won­dered how suit­able holes could be punched through the fab­ric where needed. That was about to change.

We ar­rived at the camp­site on a calm, sunny day, and put up the porch awn­ing in no time.

One prob­lem I have found with porch awnings in gen­eral is that no mat­ter how care­fully you set them up, thanks to awn­ing skirt rails and other body trim, it’s al­most im­pos­si­ble to get the awn­ing flush against the side of the car­a­van from top to bot­tom.

There’s usu­ally a padded sec­tion that fits be­hind any poles (in­clud­ing air), and an­other flap be­hind that, to fill the gap, but the flap of­ten flaps. It’s also dif­fi­cult to stop draughts here.

Blown away

Day two ar­rived, and strong winds were fore­cast overnight. Rather than tak­ing down the awn­ing, we de­cided to brave it.

I bought a set of tie-down straps (pur­pose-made for our make of awn­ing) and as we’ve had past ex­pe­ri­ence of the porch awn­ing and the canopy moving in the awn­ing rail, not only did we at­tach the storm straps, I also fit­ted Is­abella Safe Lock awn­ing stops (other brands are avail­able).

These slide into the rail ei­ther side of the awn­ing, and wingnuts lock them in place, stop­ping the awn­ing moving within the rail.

It’s belt and braces, re­ally.

Overnight we en­dured winds of 40-50mph and we were cer­tainly buf­feted. Thank­fully, the awn­ing didn’t budge. How­ever, I was kept awake by a very loud buzzing, and I could feel vi­bra­tion through the car­a­van wall, com­ing from the awn­ing. At first, I thought it was the storm straps vi­brat­ing, but it was ac­tu­ally the flaps run­ning from roof to floor next to the car­a­van that caused the prob­lem.

We were less than a mile from a deal­er­ship, so off I went to buy a set of Kampa Limpets. I thought I’d worry about how to punch the holes when I got back to the car­a­van, but thank­fully, next to the Limpets was a pur­pose-made tool for do­ing just that.

Armed with the set of eight Limpets and the hole-punch­ing tool, I set about fit­ting them.

The first thing is to en­sure the car­a­van side­wall is clean in the area where the Limpets are go­ing to be fit­ted. This is for two rea­sons. First, you don’t want to cause dam­age to the car­a­van’s paint­work, and sec­ond, the sur­face needs to be clean so the Limpets at­tach.

The next step was to mark where the holes would be punched through the flaps. I started with one near the top (about 100mm from the top and 40mm from the edge), and then one near the bot­tom

(ob­vi­ously this needs to be in a place where it will at­tach to the car­a­van and not thin air, so again, in our case about 100mm from the bot­tom of the car­a­van and

40mm from the edge).

Mea­sur­ing the dis­tance be­tween the top po­si­tion and the bot­tom and then di­vid­ing by three gave me the mea­sure­ments for the two re­main­ing place­ments, again

40mm from the edge.

With the po­si­tions marked, the four holes were eas­ily punched through us­ing the tool, which I has­ten to add made a very good job of do­ing so.

The Limpets then need to be dis­man­tled into their three sep­a­rate parts. There’s a clear part with a screw thread in the cen­tre, then a part that looks rather like a fan, and fi­nally a cap/ grip that screws onto the thread.

At­tach the Lim­pet

Start­ing with the clear part, work­ing from the car­a­van wall side of the flap, feed the screw thread through the awn­ing flap, and then put the fan-like part over the thread from the other side of the flap.

Next, loosely screw the cap/ grip onto the thread. Place the clear part on the car­a­van wall and tighten the cap/grip so that it holds onto the wall. Make sure not to over­tighten it, how­ever. Repeat this for each of the other Limpets. Job done. De­tach­ing the Lim­pet is straight­for­ward, too. Sim­ply un­screw the cap/grip un­til the assem­bly is loose and peel the clear part from the car­a­van wall. As (bad) luck would have it, we were again bat­tered by 40-50mph winds a cou­ple of days later. I’m very pleased to re­port that not only did the awn­ing stay put, but we also had no repeat of the vi­brat­ing or buzzing noises.

Ini­tially, we se­cured our Kampa Rally 200 porch awn­ing with storm tie-down straps Awn­ing stops slide into the rail and lock, to pre­vent the awn­ing from moving out of place The Hole Punch makes the job a lot eas­ier The Lim­pet and its three con­stituent parts Fi­nally, at­tach­ing Lim­pet to the side­wall Our neigh­bour’s awn­ing was soon air­borne – no storm straps or safe locks had been fit­ted Loose flap be­tween car­a­van wall and awn­ing Mark­ing po­si­tions for holes to be punched At­tach­ing the clear/threaded part The com­pleted job looks neat and func­tional This started out over the en­trance door and hap­pens if the awn­ing slides along the rail The Lim­pet Fix Kit con­tains eight Limpets Mak­ing holes us­ing the Lim­pet Hole Punch Fit­ting the fan-like part Close-up show­ing Lim­pet fit­ted in place

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