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Old 03-03-2013, 11:04 PM   #1
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Default Fiamma support clamps

Our Roadtrek has Fiamma clamps on the body to hold the awning supports if you don't put them on the ground. They have never worked better than horrible, being constantly stuck. Lubricating with silicone spray per Roadtrek would free them up for maybe a couple of days.



A garage accident made it so I had to paint a door on the van, so the clamp was removed. Here is what it looks like from the backside-rubber pad to protect the paint-no problem here.



With the pad removed--oh oh--lots of rust--one side I cleaned to show the difference



With the rusty piece removed



Same with the clamp open



With all the parts disassembled



The sheet metal, rusty piece sits in a recess in the base so it is flush with the base on the rubber, and appears to be there to keep the rubber from squeezing up and hitting the slider. The slider has .005" clearance to slide in, but the rust is thicker than that. I wonder why it stuck And our van has never seen salt and is stored inside.

The rusty piece is .030" thick and appears to be poorly plated mild steel. I have some .030" full hard stainless steel shim stock coming to make new pieces. They have to be pretty precise, as the recess locates them on all sides, and full hard is tough to fabricate at home. We will see how it goes. It should work fine once completed, I think.
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Old 03-05-2013, 03:35 PM   #2
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Default Re: Fiamma support clamps

The stainless shim stock showed up, so I finished up the clamps today. Really pretty easy.

I just traced the old piece onto the stainless



It shows well in the bluing, otherwise when the heat hits it you can barely see it. The stainless is just taped to a piece of plywood to hold it in place.



I used a air grinder with a 1/32" cutoff wheel to cut it out of the sheet, in a square.



Put it in the vise and "nibbled" out the opening with the same wheel. Touched it up a little with a file. It is nice when parts just need to work OK, and not show!



When I took the rear clamp off the van, it was rustier than the front, and also full of dirt.



Looking at how it is made, water and dirt can get in, but not out. I cut a couple of "drains" in the base to let out the water and dirt.



It is a pain to try to hold everything in the right place when you remount it, so I put a tiny bit of epoxy on the stainless to base joint to hold them together. It needed to be very, very lightly clamped to make the stainless seat right.



Epoxied in place



Done and ready to put back in



The first one took about 1/2 hour, the second 10 minutes. Really very easy job. I just can't believe they built this thing how they did, as there is no way they would work more than a very short time.
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Old 03-06-2013, 01:05 AM   #3
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Default Re: Fiamma support clamps

Another job well done

I think the drainage slots you added are a great idea. They will let the water get out so it is not always wet at the side of the van where the brackets mount. The last thing anyone would want is the van rusting there.

I'd like to get a pair of wall mounts for my van but, after seeing yours, I think I will try to find the old style. The new ones look better though.

Old style:


I wonder if there are multiple shim plates in the wall mount kit as shown here: http://www.gowesty.com/ec_view_detai...ory_parent_id=



There could be multiple shims in this bag......... hard to see.



I don't understand why there would be more than one shim plate though.

Making custom shim plates out of stainless steel like you did is a great idea.
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File Type: jpg fiamma old style.jpg (14.7 KB, 1692 views)
File Type: jpg multiple shims.jpg (65.4 KB, 1607 views)
File Type: jpg multiple shims 2.jpg (37.8 KB, 1606 views)
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Old 03-06-2013, 12:47 PM   #4
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Default Re: Fiamma support clamps

Maybe they think it will need to be shimmed out a bit , when you use their nutplate? Interesting.

I know that Fiamma USA still has some of the old brackets in stock. They aren't cheap, but are available. I can forward you the e-mail I got from them if you would like.
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Old 03-06-2013, 02:13 PM   #5
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Default Re: Fiamma support clamps

I searched for maybe 1/2 hour looking online for the old clamps. It is like they've disappeared.
I'll check out some local RV parts place that usually have lots of old left-over stock.
If the old ones are too expensive then I'll end getting the new type but at least I now know of the rust potential and can do something to prevent the problem.

I'd appreciate getting the info - send it to markopolo at classbforum dot com
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Old 03-07-2013, 01:59 PM   #6
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Default Re: Fiamma support clamps

Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo
I searched for maybe 1/2 hour looking online for the old clamps. It is like they've disappeared.
I'll check out some local RV parts place that usually have lots of old left-over stock.
If the old ones are too expensive then I'll end getting the new type but at least I now know of the rust potential and can do something to prevent the problem.

I'd appreciate getting the info - send it to markopolo at classbforum dot com
Info sent.
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Old 03-07-2013, 04:30 PM   #7
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Default Re: Fiamma support clamps

Got it - thank you.
Expensive for such a simple and small part but not too bad when you think of the added function you get. I'll check a few local places too.
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Old 04-03-2013, 02:58 AM   #8
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Default Re: Fiamma support clamps

One of my Fiamma awning clamps broke when I was down in California a couple of weeks ago. I ordered a kit from GoWesty and it did come with 6 shims. I like your modification.

cheers, Ian
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Old 04-07-2013, 08:31 PM   #9
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Default Re: Fiamma support clamps

This topic has helped me out! My 99 American Cruiser has plastic Fiamma support clamps and one is broken. I have been searching for replacements but all of the sources I have been able to find have been in England or Australia. This thread pointed me to GoWesty and I just ordered a pair of the aluminum ones for $29.
Thanks!
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Old 04-15-2013, 09:24 PM   #10
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Default Re: Fiamma support clamps

I received my new clamps from GoWesty and installed them Saturday. My old clamps were plastic. The front one was broken and the prior owner had jury rigged it with a barrel bolt.
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File Type: jpg 100_0710a.jpg (171.1 KB, 1130 views)
File Type: jpg 100_0703a.jpg (138.4 KB, 1130 views)
File Type: jpg 100_0707a.jpg (152.6 KB, 1130 views)
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Old 04-15-2013, 10:44 PM   #11
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Default Re: Fiamma support clamps

That's an improvement for sure

What is the explanation for all the shims in the kit? I'm really curious about that.
Perhaps a spray of a rust inhibitor on the installed shims now when they are new will help prevent the corrosion Booster found when he took his Fiamma support clamps apart.
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Old 04-15-2013, 11:09 PM   #12
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Default Re: Fiamma support clamps

It's a rather poor design. I tried various combinations of shims and when I tightened the mounting screw to what felt like an appropriate amount, the clamp would jam. The number of shims made no difference. I ended up leaving the mounting screws a little looser than I would prefer and it worked ok. The shims are stainless. The old plastic clamps had identical shims and had no corrosion.
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Old 04-16-2013, 12:33 AM   #13
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Default Re: Fiamma support clamps

Quote:
Originally Posted by AmCruiser
It's a rather poor design. I tried various combinations of shims and when I tightened the mounting screw to what felt like an appropriate amount, the clamp would jam. The number of shims made no difference. I ended up leaving the mounting screws a little looser than I would prefer and it worked ok. The shims are stainless. The old plastic clamps had identical shims and had no corrosion.
Randy
Glad to hear the changed to stainless on the shims. They never got back to me when I tried to contact them for a cure for the rust. It would have been nice if they just sent those of us with issues, new shims.

The jamming of the clamp may have to do with the location of the shim in the base. There is small recess that it needs to sit into and if it slips out as you install the base, it will jam. I wound up epoxying the shim onto the base before installing it, and then no more jamming.
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Old 04-16-2013, 09:45 AM   #14
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Default Re: Fiamma support clamps

Thanks Booster. I may try that. I did daub a little silicone sealant in the corners of the recess but it still moved, so I think that is the main cause of the jamming. A piece of masking tape to hold in place until tightened might work also - then tear of the excess after.
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Old 04-15-2015, 03:34 PM   #15
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Default Re: Fiamma support clamps

The brackets on my 2008 RT have rusted like yours. Unfortunately, I broke one trying to remove it so I have shiny new clamps. Thanks for the tip about making seep holes for water and dirt...done.

When you remounted to clamps, did you use backing washers on the pop rivets or have they been strong enough without them? The back of the front clamp should be accessible by removing the inner door panel but the rear one looks like it's hard to get to. Jim
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Old 04-15-2015, 05:56 PM   #16
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Default Re: Fiamma support clamps

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dieps
The brackets on my 2008 RT have rusted like yours. Unfortunately, I broke one trying to remove it so I have shiny new clamps. Thanks for the tip about making seep holes for water and dirt...done.

When you remounted to clamps, did you use backing washers on the pop rivets or have they been strong enough without them? The back of the front clamp should be accessible by removing the inner door panel but the rear one looks like it's hard to get to. Jim
I used regular pop rivets and they have held up fine, although we rarely use our awning.
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Old 04-15-2015, 08:04 PM   #17
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Default Re: Fiamma support clamps

Thanks for the quick reply Booster. Our awning isn't an everyday thing either but it's nice once in a while. The clamps have been frozen since we bought the RT almost five years ago so we've just staked the legs on the ground. This is just one of those projects I decided to do. Thanks again. Jim
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Old 04-16-2015, 07:35 PM   #18
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Default Re: Fiamma support clamps

A quick follow up. I installed the support clamps today and out of curiosity, I pulled the front door panel to see if backing plates were used during the original installation. Nope, just pop rivets. Since I had access, I used backing plates for the front support clamp. The rear has plain pop rivets.
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