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Old 02-14-2020, 07:20 AM   #1
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Adding slide toppers

Iím looking for advice/information. I have a 2019 315RLS, I want to add slide toppers to my three slide outs. I have watched several install videos, it seems straightforward, but my question is about the awning rail. Other than a ton screws holding it to the side wall, does there have to be a header it gets screwed into? What holds it secure to the side wall? Keystone keeps referring me to an authorized dealer, but I donít trust someone who is trying to sell a product.

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Old 02-14-2020, 07:33 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum. If your unit didnít come from the factory with topper rails installed, then you can add them. As a rule we use putty tape on the rail, and then just screw into the sidewall. The putty is very sticky and helps hold the rail. You need to take care not to tighten the screws to tight and stripping out the hole.

Some brands are easier to install, if your unsure then the dealer can be a good choice as there is most likely a tech that does them all the time.


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Old 02-14-2020, 07:36 AM   #3
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All of the recent model Cougars and Cougar Half Tons that I've seen have a OEM drip rail over each silde. Most slide covers are sold with an awning rail insert provided in the kit.

There are three ways to install the awning rail. First, you can buy an optional "drip rail/awning rail" aluminum molding to replace the OEM drip rail and slide the slide cover awning into the new awning rail molding.

Second, you can install the provided awning rail that came with the kit "just below the existing drip rail"... I found that on my trailer, the OEM drip rail was where I needed to install the awning rail.

So, the third option: Remove the OEM drip rail, install the awning rail in its place (there's usually a backer strip in that location) and then reinstall the OEM drip rail above the awning rail. This is what I did, sort of "double protection" against water leaking into the awning rail seam should the slide cover pull it away from (or loosen it) the trailer wall.

As for the need for a "backer plate", many trailers have slide covers that are simply screwed into the FILON sidewall. Essentially, if you use BUTYL putty tape under the awning rail, the screws AND butyl putty tape will hold it securely whether it's in a backer plate or just in the FILON.

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Old 02-14-2020, 08:45 AM   #4
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Should a person be a bit nervous about maybe causing a leak and having warranty issues? We are debating having them installed on our two longer slides but I don't think I want to take a chance.
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Old 02-14-2020, 11:26 AM   #5
Dave W
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I installed Dometic toppers last year on the 4 slides of our 343RL Montana. There are good on line instructions for these toppers and are pretty simple to install. Carefree and LCI Solara instructions are confusing but decent. It averaged about 2.5 hours each to install with the first one much longer - lotsa screws!

Ours came from Makarios but they seem to have recently closed their doors.

The Dometics came with awning rails cut to the proper length plus, hopefully, the correct screws. 3 sets of mine were missing so was given a credit and bought them from Amazon

You can use silicone or as suggested butyl tape. I used both, switching to butyl after slobbering silicone on the 5ers side - oops.

It does require two people to slide the awning fabric into the rails though I did one when I couldn't find my helper.

I extended each slide about a foot as a makeshift table

You will also need two ladders - 8 footers work best.

Read the instructions and understand what needs to be done and in what sequence. Don't even think of pulling the locking cotter pins untill the topper and brackets are installed. One of mine had a spring evidently dislodged in transit. Had to drill out a couple pop rivets, reattach the spring. rerivet then rewind that spring (13 turns)

Buy extra screws even if they ship all of them. The supplied aren't the best as the square drive holes tend to wallow out, especially the larger bracket screws. I used Makita extra hard drive bits. You will need to pre drill for the bracket screws.

Good luck. Not a difficult DIY project, just time consuming
Dave W, traveling with my DW, Susan and poodlepups, Callie and Molly with a 2011 F250 CCLB 6.7, B&W hitch and hauling a 2014 Montana HC 343RL
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Old 02-14-2020, 01:44 PM   #6
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Dave W hit it on the head. Plan it out and think it thru several times. With the help of a friend we just installed 5 on my Alpine. I was fortunate that the awning rails were already mounted. It took us right about 5 hours to get them all on. We did not have to do any predrilling but it was helpful to have an impact driver for the screws that went thru the mounting plate into the rods on the end of the toppers.

Etrailer has several good videos showing the procedure.

Dennis and Lisa
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