By Steve Savage, Mobility RV Service
If your RV has manual awning (and, yes, many of us still do), here’s something to put on your maintenance list. Don’t forget to lubricate the rafter locks (those little black knobs) so you don’t break them off when they rust in place. What most folks do is let them go too long until they are hard to turn, then they break the knob off trying to force them.
When you try to force them, this is what you end up with (on the left) — the black knob used to be on the rusted end. You can keep from breaking them by lubricating them with a spay lubricant, as pictured to the right. The red tube here is attached to the spray can of lubricant.
If the lock becomes rusted and is difficult to turn, don’t try to force it. Instead, soak as much of the screw as you can see with a rust penetrant like PB Blaster. Then work the lock back and forth by alternately tightening and loosening it.
As a last resort — if it is stuck fast — I normally use a cut-off wheel on my roto cutter, cutting it flush at the awning arm so the part drops through to the inside of the arm. Then lubricate the new one before installing it.