Making a De Tensioning Tool and Changing fabric on a Girard Slide Topper


Until now I have avoided customers that would say the name Girard, when it came to slide out toppers. Basically, it was a small tool that I have never seen and the only way to get one is to either buy a fabric from Girard and get a free one or make your own.

Since I’m not in the business of buying someone else’s fabric I opted for make my own. It’s not too bad and since I am in the business of helping customers save money here is the how to make your own tool and replace a Girard Slide topper.

Start with a hand-held grinder with a metal cutting blade, a pair of glasses, (Safety First) and one 3/8” socket driver. Also, some good gloves to save on the cost of band aids.


 Securing your socket driver on the edge of a work bench and start cutting in the tip straight up and down. You will need to cut down to past the secure spring ball on the end of the driver.

 Now you are ready and the tool goes into this small hole in the center.

 Now with your new de tensioning tool and socket driver in place to hold the spring tension. Remove the 2 screws below. This is where the spring tension will need to be released, by letting the unit unwind with the socket.

 Now with the tension out of the spring. Remove the 4 screws that secure the end cap. 3 on the outside and one on the bottom.

 Now you are ready to remove the roller tube and the fabrics by sliding the roller tube out of the cradle.


 The fabric on the flexible guard on the end of the slide can be secured with a screw underneath or the guard could be crimped causing it not to slide out. You will have to use a flat blade screw drive to un crimp it.


 After removing the old fabric and installing the new fabric. It is ready to put it back together.

 After sliding the tube and the fabric in the guard at the same time. Secure the side of the roller tube without the spring in the center hole.

 Now secure your end cap on the side with the spring with the 4 screws.

 Now you are ready to reload your spring tension with your new de tensioning tool. Take it 13 full rotations and while holding the tension. Re install your tension screws.

 Replace the decorative end caps and enjoy your new water proof fabric from Tough Top Awnings.

Now that was easy, right? : )

If anyone has questions or comments, please let me know..... And pass this along to folks who might need it.

CLICK HERE (coming still) to view photo gallery of the Girard install we just did

Happy RVing!



  • by Tough Tops on

    Glad we could help Harold… Hope we can make an awning for you someday. Happy RVing!!

  • by Harold Ames on

    I have an issue with my slide out seal and need to remove the fabric from my G-5000 Girard Slide Out Awning to access it.

    I am going to the store to purchase an inexpensive 3/8" drive socket extension and a face shield in lieu of safety glasses right now!!!!

    Thanks for the great tutorial, and helping us save a few dollars.

    When it comes time to buy replacement RV awning fabric I will be purchasing it from you!!!!

  • by Larry Prough on

    So glad to know I can get Girard replacement at Tough Tops. I

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