Cockeyed Door Will NOT Open. Suggestions, Please? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-27-2018, 01:22 PM   #1
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Name: Lisa
Trailer: Boler Deluxe
Michigan
Posts: 48
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Unhappy Cockeyed Door Will NOT Open. Suggestions, Please?

Hi Folks,

Anyone have suggestions to help us to: 1) Open our jammed/crooked door, 2) Get our door lock to work, & 3) Level our door so it doesn't sag?

SITUATION: My husband (Mike) and I just got back from camping in our 1978 Boler Deluxe. During our trip, the door became cockeyed, and we had trouble getting the lock to work until we kind of butt kicked the bottom of the door back into place. When we returned home, after we leveled the camper, the door was even MORE lopsided, so much so that now the top of the door is somewhat overlapping the top of the door frame. The key would also only partially turn.

BACKGROUND: The previous owners built a bran new frame for the camper (which we bought three years ago), and we put new screws, bolts, and washers into the hinges two years ago. We did go over a lot of hills/bumps where we camped, and it is possible that the bolts had loosened up a bit over the past two years. If it is relevant, the back tire has always been terribly close to the body trim just behind the door. And we had new tires put on at the start of the summer.

NEXT STEPS: We're going to see if we can carefully pull the door OFF off the hinges, and maybe order new hinge hardware from Camping Treasures, per someone else's input here. If anyone has any ideas or input, we would LOVE to hear from you. Thanks in advance.

Here are photos:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1F2...6PGFeSl0CGo41Z

P.S. This is the same situation discussed in Mark's "Door Fitment" thread, which was related to a similar problem. I started a new thread.
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Old 08-28-2018, 03:21 PM   #2
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Name: Randy
Trailer: Casita 17 FD
Florida
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Unfortunately, the most obvious and likely conclusion is that the door or its hinges are not the problem. Most likely, the entire trailer is warped, most likely because the frame has shifted or bent after being rebuilt. New hinges will not solve the problem. Perhaps the previous owners who "rebuilt" the frame did not use the right steel members, fasteners, or overall design.
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Old 08-28-2018, 04:23 PM   #3
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Name: sharon
Trailer: Scamp
Virginia
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hi lisa, I would start small & look at the hinges, maybe the brass part in the middle wore out like mine? maybe the hinges came loose like you said & just need to be tightened back where they belong? then start looking at the big picture - is the frame cracked? did they take out a roof support they shouldn't have? (scamps have an unattractive metal bracket from sink to upper cabinets that people remove without knowing its a support). did they add AC to the roof & it can't bear the weight? good luck finding the culprit/s!
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Old 08-28-2018, 06:39 PM   #4
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Name: Mike
Trailer: 1986 Bigfoot FT20
Michigan
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I think you might tell us how you are leveling your trailer?

If you are leveling it side to side first, most likely one or two blocks to drive up on. And then level it front to back with your tongue jack.

Once trailer is level, then secure the front and back with jack stands.

If your leveling your trailer with the jack stands, then you are twisting your frame and will create the problems you have described.

How does the door open when not jacked up?
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Old 08-30-2018, 07:14 PM   #5
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Name: Lisa
Trailer: Boler Deluxe
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Jacking Up Camper

My hubby likes you're idea. We have jacks built-in under the trailer. Thanks.
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Old 09-02-2018, 11:55 AM   #6
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Name: Tim
Trailer: Scamp
Michigan
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We have a similar issue. Hereís how we handle it.

Lisa,

We have a 1982 Scamp 13-footer that has a very similar problem. When we first bought it, I immediately purchased new hinge hardware to deal with the bad tilt of the door. To my horror, I could close the door at all because the upper left corner overlapped so badly. Moreover, the door latch dropped so low that it would no longer catch the strike plate on the frame.

Solution 1: I bought longer galvanized bolts to run through the hinges. Then added a few nuts and springs to the hinges. This effectively raises the door so it catches the strikeplate. Then added more spacers to the bottom hinge than I did up top. This allowed me to slightly correct the door angle (at least enough to get it to close).

Solution 2: You no doubt have noticed that hitting big bumps can displace the door badly enough where it flies open while driving (Thank you I-75 in Detroit!). Simple solution for us was to run bungees from door, diagonally to the corner post next to the sink. Keeps enough tension on the door mid flight to keep it from popping open.

Other solutions I have read about, involve re-drilling the hinges to correct for the sag of the door. I have been reluctant to try this as I donít like putting more holes in fiber glass. Also, not sure I could correct the tilt of the door enough to merit the drilling and patching that it would require. Take a look at pics I attached.Click image for larger version

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Old 09-02-2018, 01:48 PM   #7
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What you're talking about is a pretty common problem with fiberglass and non-FG trailers. We had problems like yours -- as well as many others -- when we bought our Surfside. (See my Surfside Refit Saga thread for details on that ongoing adventure.)

My first observation, assuming the door opened and closed easily before your trip and after you replaced the frame bots, is something has changed. Before you spend money on new hinges or anything else it makes sense to figure out what that thing is.

Yes, hinges are a candidate, but the more likely culprits are sag in the shell due to a deteriorating subfloor that isn't supporting the sides of your trailer, shell damage and sag, door damage and sag, problems with your new attachments between the frame and shell, or a warped frame. Figuring out where the problem is isn't too hard to do. All you need is patience, a bright flashlight and a 4' long level from a hardware store.

The first step is to park your trailer on a regular, level surface like a driveway and get your trailer set up and level, just s you would at a campsite. Now crawl under the front of your trailer with eye protection, reading glasses (if you need them), and your level. CAREFULLY inspect every point on the frame where there are bends for the tongue and every visible side where welds for cross-members occur. Do you see separations, deformations, lines of rust at joints or tears? When you hold your level up to the frame from below, are the parts that are supposed to be straight, straight?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you need to have your frame repaired by a welder who works on trailer frames or farm equipment. Make sure the frame-off the shell first: More than one FG camper trailer has gone up in flames when a welder skips this step.

Are the bolts you installed pulling the floor down snugly to the frame? Is the bottom of your resting uniformly on the frame? Does the frame and floor look level and straight?

If not, you may need to re-tighten your bolts or install painted wood shims to evenly support your trailer floor and you may need to take the trailer to a body shop and have it straightened. (Re-check for frame cracks/tears after straightening and once again after a couple thousand miles on the repair.)

Inspect the fiberglass at every part of the bends around the inner sides of the wheel well for tears. Tears suggest floor sagging and a need to both replace the floor and fx the sell.

Moving into the trailer, hold the level right-to-left across the floor at the front of the trailer and and at the door to see if the floor surface sags downward as it heads to either the street- or curb-side from the frame below. Also check for sag along diagonal lines, from the center of your trailer floor a few feet back into the front corners of your trailer. (Similar checks should also be doe in the back of your trailer, by the way. Wood rot can happen anywhere.) If you find sag over 1/8" (3+mm), your floor is likely rotted and the entire floor needs to be replaced. Double check the fiberglass around the wheel wells from the inside if you find sag.

If the floor of your trailer is rotted, you'll need to replace the rotted section all the way across, right-to-left, the width of your trailer, otherwise your repair won't support the walls of your trailer. A boat shop can do this repair.

Now inspect the sides of your trailer. Does the door-side bulge outward more than the street-side? If so, your roof isn't being supported properly and is sagging downward. This can happen when a floor rots or when non-fiberglass structural supports inside the trailer are removed, deform, or decay or because heavy hardware has been added to the roof (air condidtioner?) that isn't properly supported. Talk with someone who is familiar with fiberglass trailer repairs and modifications for next steps.

The core inside your door can rot, too. Now you know whether or not the shell has sagged or deformed, inspect your door to see if it is splaying out and away from the shell. if you A boat shop can repair your door if its interior has rotted.

Let's look at the hinges last. Are the screws tight? Do they screw into nuts on the inside of the trailer & door or do they screw into some hidden -- and possibly rotting -- wood that you can't see? When you remove the screws and hinges, do they come out too easily or are the screw threads rusty and filled with bits of wood? If so, the wood itself is rotting, and you'll need to install longer bolts, nuts, and washers to hold the door in place. Talk with a fiberglass trailer modder for ideas on how to best do this.
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