Technical Tips #49
Day-Night Shade Adjustment & Repair
Most late model coaches are equipped with pleated window shades, commonly known as "day-night blinds" with a shear section for daytime use and a solid section for nighttime use. They are pulled up and down on two to four strings woven through the blind material. The strings on each side are attached to one end of a spring contained within the metal section at the top. The other end of this spring is attached to a string that runs down the inside edge of the covering valance beside the blind to a spool located on the bottom of each side of the blind. The spool has a retaining screw through its center and a tooth on the back, which holds it in position and provides a method of adjusting the spring tension. These blinds do require some adjustment to operate properly and the adjustment is quite easy to do. The first step is to determine what needs to be done. If the blind is very difficult to raise then the blind needs less spring tension. To decrease the spring tension carefully loosen the spool retaining screw on one side, while holding the spool firmly against the valence so that it does not twist free then rotate the spool counterclockwise 1/4 turn at a time. Tighten the screw and repeat for the other side. Move the blind completely up and down a few times then check to see if it operates correctly. If not repeat this procedure.
If the blind goes up in a zigzag fashion then one side of the blind has more tension than the other. In this case you may be able to see which side is loose and tighten the spool on that side. If you are unsure I suggest loosening both sides and apply an equal number of turns on the spool until the blind operates correctly. If the tension is too loose then the blind will not stay in position. Again adjust both sides one at a time to place the correct tension on the strings. My experience suggests adjusting the blind to have sufficient tension to stay in place and no more. This will give you the ability to increase tension should the spring weaken with age and it also places less tension on the strings If the string rubs against the blind mounting hardware it will fray and eventually break. Restringing the blind is not difficult however you will need to remove the blind from its mounting base. There are a number of different retainer styles, so you will need to examine yours to see what method is required to detach the blind. Once you remove the blind from its mounting hardware place one or two elastics around the folded blind to keep it tight and make it easy to handle. Do not use tape since when you remove the tape it may lift the paint as well. Restringing kits are available at many blind shops or through web stores on the Internet. If they do not include the stringing needle then get one as well. I ran across this website which has more information on blind repair (www.fixmyblinds.com) Listing this website should not be taken as an endorsement of the business, it is provided as a source of information. Follow the instructions and you will have a shade that is as good as new. Remember to adjust the tension of the blind after it is re-installed.
Check your Towbar!
At a recent Rally I had a braking system customer praise the brake system, which he was very thankful to have. On a recent trip his tow bar broke at one of the hitch pin holes, INSIDE the Motorhome Receiver. This breakage was not visible without removing the towbar from the receiver. Thankfully the breakaway system activated on his tow vehicle brake system, he was alerted immediately and stopped without incident. He admitted that he had not inspected his tow setup by removing the towbar. Therefore I recommend removing your towbar from the receiver at least once a year and carefully inspect it and all other components for hairline cracks or damage. It is important to service your towbar annually by cleaning it according to the maker's instructions and lubricating it (usually with Premium Silicone) lubricant. One benefit of owning a Blue Ox towing system is that they have a service team that will service your towbar while you are attending most major rallies. I also highly recommend a tow vehicle braking system for the safety and peace of mind it offers in situations such as this.
Permanent Mount Baseplate Safety Cables: Now Available
Blue Ox recently introduced a set of permanent mount baseplate safety cables and has begun manufacturing their new baseplates with a tab for these cables. Most baseplates have an integral safety cable attachment point for the safety cable from the motorhome to the tow vehicle. However if the baseplate separates from the frame of the tow vehicle the towbar and safety cables will not provide the intended connection to keep the two vehicles together. The new permanent mount cables are attached around the front frame member of the tow vehicle and to the baseplate (either through the new tab or around the baseplate bar near the attachment points). These new cables will provide a solid connection between the frame of the tow vehicle and the towbar and safety cables attached to the motorhome, should the baseplate fasteners ever come loose or fail. Call or email us for more information on these permanent mount baseplate safety cables.