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Hey guys! My husband and I just bought the 2020 awd transit with the medium roof and we’re in the middle of planning our build! Because we spent $$ on the van and so many other things so far we are leaning towards not spending the money on a roof rack. I love the look of having a roof rack but my husband says our solar panels will take up so much room that it wouldn’t be worth it. Now my question is...has anyone mounted an awning on the side of the van (mr) with no roof rack? It seems like brackets have been made for the high roof and the sprinter/ram but I have not seen any for the transit medium roof. Any advice? Do you use your roof rack/awning a ton? Thanks in advance!
 

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You didn't put the solar modules ON a roof rack? That would have served double duty, and kept the modules cooler (more efficient) by allowing air underneath them.

The problem with the MR is that the slider kicks out over 6" from the side when open, and an awning that has ANY downward slope is going to impede the door. A lot of those standard store-bought awnings like Fiamma have a downward slope, especially because the legs are too short to bring the outer lip up enough so the slider on a MR Transit has enough room.

One solution; if you still have access to the threaded attachment holes on the roof, would be to have a steel shop fabricate a pair of L-shaped brackets to mount the store-bought awning to. You only need them on one side for an awning, not a whole roof rack. Plus side: No new holes through the van! I made my own out of heavy duty Unistrut L-brackets. The angle to make the slope of the roof vertical is 5 degrees offset, if I remember right. (85 degree L) I think Hein might sell adapters that are spacers to make a 90 degree bracket vertical on a Sprinter.

My DIY ARB style awning, not a good shot of the mounting on top:
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I know nothing about Fiamma other then there are many Transit Forum threads here that mention that company.
The instructions show it mounting to the side of the van, Eliminating water dripping on your head at the Slider Door that many Roof Rack Awning owners complain about.

 

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I went the DIY route to mount my Thule 10' awning, using 4 pieces of 4"x.25" aluminum angle to create mounting feet at the stock factory roof rack locations. Drilled one hole on each bracket to attach to the van, and four holes on each to attach to the awning. Let me know if you want some pictures. The eBay seller that I bought the alu angle cut them to length (4 inches wide).
 

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Craig, would love to see how this comes out. I think there's a market for a MR awning mounting system, that's not a full roof rack.
 
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zsilet - pics would be great.
 

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Here are some follow-up test-fit pics of my ARB awning on my MR van. I still need to weld up the middle bracket, and do some trimming/grinding/sanding before paint and final install. Everything fits & works GREAT.







I'll be trimming about 2" off the height of the vertical portion of these brackets once everything is fit up.
 

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Very clean! Are you worried about them flexing while driving and making contact with the roof?
 

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Very clean! Are you worried about them flexing while driving and making contact with the roof?
Thank you. Not at all. They're made of 3/16" plate, and there's an 1/8" closed-cell foam pad underneath the outer edge of the bracket. Once everything is fit up completely, and after I paint them, I'll adhere the foam pad to the underside of the bracket (there's adhesive on one side). The tolerances are tight enough that the pad rests on the corner of the roof, much like a Yakima "landing pad" roof rack mount.

Craig
 

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Thank you. Not at all. They're made of 3/16" plate, and there's an 1/8" closed-cell foam pad underneath the outer edge of the bracket. Once everything is fit up completely, and after I paint them, I'll adhere the foam pad to the underside of the bracket (there's adhesive on one side). The tolerances are tight enough that the pad rests on the corner of the roof, much like a Yakima "landing pad" roof rack mount.

Craig
Ah, nice! I hadn't seen the foam under there. That's a nice design. I might try and do something similar, since I'd like to have an awning but probably not a rack. Thanks for sharing these pics!
 

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Nice awning mount concept.

It seems like perhaps something similar could be done with 8020 or T slot material.
 

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Updated awning mount pics...

I cut down the vertical portion level with the top of the ARB aluminum mount, shaped the rear (centermost portion) to match the contour of Hein's roof pad, then bent & welded a piece of 14-gauge to keep everything in place. It's a nice tight fit. On to finishing up the other two mounts.

The nylon threaded rod & nut will be replaced with a bolt once I'm done fabricating everything.

Craig

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@gf293guy @Muvybuf Sorry, all that requested pics, been away from the forum for a while. Here are a couple of non-technical pics of the Thule awning. I'll post some detailed ones of the mounts later.

Also, some more details about the installation:
  • The awning is attached to the van permanently. I COULD remove it, would take about 16 nuts and two people. It took me about 390 mins to put on, not something I want to deal with often.
  • As seen in the back photo, the back of the awning sticking out JUST past the back of the van. This way the crank pole enters the awning from the back of the van. I see no way to fit the crank if the awning is further forward, and I have not found an electric motor conversion for this model.I like the fact that the awning is flush with the side of the van though, instead of sticking out from the side.
  • The front of the awning stops about a foot BEHIND the front door opening. This is not ideal, but necessary because of my point about the back of the awning/crank arrangement.
  • I plan to add a rubber strip between the awning and the roof, to prevent rain from running down the side of the van under the awning.
  • I do not notice any additional wind noise from the awning. My van came with the long-arm mirrors, and they make enough wind noise to drown out everything else...
  • I don't think there is anything easy/practical/cheap I would change about the setup. I would love to be able to pull the awning further forward, but not enough to spend twice the amount I paid for an electric Fiamma.


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A few more of the 'technical details:

The bolts I used are from ebay, they were listed as "1/4-20 X 1-3/4" stainless T-Hammer Head bolt", although I cannot find them listed anywhere at this time.

The L-bracket is "6pcs 6" x 6" x 5" Long x 3/8" Thick 6061 T6 Aluminum Angle", from themetalmerchant on eBay. The seller cut the pieces to size for me. I drilled the holes myself and got the brackets painted. The brackets are mounted with 3M VHB and a single bolt per bracket in the factory roof mount hole and sealed with Dicor. I sealed all other factory holes on the roof as well, some of them had the paint cracking already after 3 years.

The last image shows the fitment of the manual crank into the awning.

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Hey guys! My husband and I just bought the 2020 awd transit with the medium roof and we’re in the middle of planning our build! Because we spent $$ on the van and so many other things so far we are leaning towards not spending the money on a roof rack. I love the look of having a roof rack but my husband says our solar panels will take up so much room that it wouldn’t be worth it. Now my question is...has anyone mounted an awning on the side of the van (mr) with no roof rack? It seems like brackets have been made for the high roof and the sprinter/ram but I have not seen any for the transit medium roof. Any advice? Do you use your roof rack/awning a ton? Thanks in advance!
Check out this one. DIY Awning for your Transit
 

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Hey guys! My husband and I just bought the 2020 awd transit with the medium roof and we’re in the middle of planning our build! Because we spent $$ on the van and so many other things so far we are leaning towards not spending the money on a roof rack. I love the look of having a roof rack but my husband says our solar panels will take up so much room that it wouldn’t be worth it. Now my question is...has anyone mounted an awning on the side of the van (mr) with no roof rack? It seems like brackets have been made for the high roof and the sprinter/ram but I have not seen any for the transit medium roof. Any advice? Do you use your roof rack/awning a ton? Thanks in advance!
I bought one of these. Moonshade. It comes with suction cups that attach to the roof or side of the van. I've only used it a couple of times but those suction cups really stick! I'll eventually replace them with attachment points on my roof rack but that's for another day. :sleep:😷
 
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