Our slide toppers were delivered so it was time to install them. I watched the videos on Tough Top Awnings and even though the site didn’t have one specific to my brand of topper replacement I learned quite a few things. Also after scouring the web I learned a few more tips so after that I felt I was ready for the installation.
Removing the slide toppers could easily be done by one person but putting them back on is really a two person job. Fortunately for me last month I helped my neighbor Ed take his broken RV steps off so he could have them repaired so when he found out I was putting on my toppers he offered his help which was very much appreciated.
One tip that made perfectly good sense was that I would need to use a ¼ drill bit to widened the end of that channel on the aluminum topper roller creating more of a “Y” channel. This made it immensely easier to thread the topper back onto the topper roller. This is necessary because the slotted channel in the roller is real close to its end cap which makes putting on the new topper fabric a real challenge. By creating this “Y” channel at the start it certainly made it a whole lot easier to work with.
After drilling out the new “Y” groove I made sure to file down any sharp edges or burrs caused by drilling the “Y” channel so it wouldn’t tear my new topper fabric. Then I sprayed silicone lubricant spray in the groove to assist in sliding down the topper roller. I used this silicone lubricant spray which I ordered via Amazon and it worked fine. I am sure any silicone spray would work but don’t use WD-40 as it will leave an oily residue making quite a mess.
When installing the new topper fabric I needed to first make sure the new fabric was smooth side up with the seamed side down. To start the fabric on I needed to make sure the fabric was aligned to the grooved channel to get it to slide on. Also a tip I can offer is to do your best to keep the bead in the topper fabric at near the bottom edge of the slide topper creating less “wrinkles” in the fabric during the install process.
I had Ed holding the fabric up even with the top of the slide to reduce the friction of the fabric when sliding into the grooved channel. I would then feed the back inner channel first then slide the fabric into the outer channel moving it in an “s” pattern to get it around the end-cap. This was a slow and steady process as I had to make sure not to snag or tear the fabric. A few inches at a time.
Once i had a few feet of the fabric on I then had Ed use another ladder and he would then pull the fabric down the length of the slide as I slowly fed new fabric into the grooved channel. He wouldn’t tug on the fabric as his job was to move the fabric along the channel at the same speed I was feeding it simply taking up the slack.
Once i had the new topper fabric fully threaded onto the grooved channel I had to shorten the beads by cutting them off at the ends leaving less than an inch protruding from each side. Now to center the new topper we measured each end from the topper to the grooves end and made sure they were the same distance apart. Once centered I reversed the process by using the pair of vise grip pliers designed for removing oil filters to slowly take up the tension on the topper and we rolled up the slack in the new topper.
Once all the toppers were installed and aligned I moved the slides in and out a couple of times making sure all was well. I left them alone for a few days so the fabric could settle and stretch while in place to ensure nothing was out of alignment. After that I replaced the outside covers and reinstalled the stainless steel channel end screws.
I sure do appreciate Ed’s assistance on this job as it made it immensely easier. I repaid the favor when he got his steps back and so we got them reinstalled on his rig. We both saved some labor costs in getting our rigs fixed and our new toppers look great and the job wasn’t all that difficult… Actually it was more tedious than difficult and these new toppers are now ready for another 10+ years On The Road of Retirement…
NOTE: We are now in our winter home until March 1st in Bonita Springs Florida at Imperial Bonita Estates RV park and Coop.