Keep the weather shield. It will make your awning fabric last longer. There should be a diagram of an A&E awning in the 'net. But BEFORE you attempt to "fix" any part of the awning (including re-tensioning it which you will probably have to do after ) find out the facts and how-to's FIRST. They can be damaged easily and then it's expensive to fix. Be very careful when you release the tension on a waning as you can really hurt yourself. Those rollers have a lot of tension on them.
Do an internet search for "A&E (model) awning parts diagram". The model number, etc should be on a label on one of the legs and/or awning tube. The one on the Class C said Carefree Spirit FX. There was a difference between the Spirit and Spirit FX on some parts.
Retensioning http://www.doityourself.com/stry/rv-awn ... Bg4Rhaeg9E
How to replace the fabric (video) http://www.rv-awning.com/a-e-awning-parts/
http://www.factoryrvsurplus.com/categor ... ory_id=121
(note: I am not recomending any of these places, just posting them for info value)