Door Popped Open - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-23-2016, 08:48 AM   #1
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Name: Emily
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Door Popped Open

We were finally able to get the Scamp out camping again last weekend. Our last trip was about a month ago and one of the door hinges broke during that trip. I replaced them and made sure that everything was lined up properly for the door latch and for opening and closing.

Door Hinge Bolt Sheared Off

On the way home this past weekend, we were about six blocks from the house when someone pulled up next to us yelling and motioning that the door was open

We stopped, I hopped out, and sure enough, it was open. I KNOW that it was latched tight when we left the campground because I pulled on it twice to make sure (I worry about this exact scenario!)

We did hit a really rough spot in the road so maybe that's what caused it to open? When I purchased the new hinges, I also purchased a new handle and lock set because sometimes it is REALLY hard to latch closed from the inside. I obviously haven't replaced it yet, but after doing some reading, I've discovered that many people actually switch out to a different RV type latch and lock. I really like the look of the original hardware, so I guess my question is this:

Was this a one-off situation due to flex from hitting the rough spot in the road? Does anyone think changing the handle and lock set to a new Scamp set will do the trick or should I switch to a different style all together?

After we got home, I tried and tried to get the latch to pop and open and couldn't get it to do so while locked, but I really don't want to worry about the door opening again while in transit.
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Old 08-23-2016, 09:02 AM   #2
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You didn't say - Did you have the door locked as well as closed?

The Scamp door handle, being a lever, could conceivably turn due to gravity and unlatch the door on a rough road. I was warned about this from the previous owner when I got my Scamp. Always make sure the door is closed, and locked during travel.

I would say the same thing about the sliding windows. On my return home from picking up my Scamp, I noticed the curtains blowing out the driver side window - both the window and the screen had slid open during the drive. I now make sure everything is closed and locked.
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Old 08-23-2016, 09:20 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by LyleB View Post
You didn't say - Did you have the door locked as well as closed?
That's the odd thing...It was locked. When we stopped to close it after being flagged down, it was still locked. Everything seems to line up solidly, too. As in the latch fully covers the strike plate, no edges hanging above or below it. I feel like it would have had to flex the body badly going over that bump, in order to knock it completely off the strike plate, and yet no cupboards opened, nothing fell. The couch pillows weren't even out of place when we got home.
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Old 08-23-2016, 10:03 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by emij View Post
That's the odd thing...It was locked. When we stopped to close it after being flagged down, it was still locked. Everything seems to line up solidly, too. As in the latch fully covers the strike plate, no edges hanging above or below it. I feel like it would have had to flex the body badly going over that bump, in order to knock it completely off the strike plate, and yet no cupboards opened, nothing fell. The couch pillows weren't even out of place when we got home.
Before we replaced our Scamp supplied door handle latch and striker with an RV latch, we found it sometimes necessary to place the heel of one hand over the handle and press it inward to hear the latch click over the striker, then lock the door.
The stock latch can lock without being fully extended behind the striker.
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Old 08-23-2016, 10:06 AM   #5
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Did you check the amount of throw there is on the strike plate by viewing it from inside the trailer? It may be just enough to (falsely) assume the door is securely closed.


If there's plenty, I'd be carefully checking the trailer frame. Sounds like something is flexing. I hope it's not a crack in the frame.
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Old 08-23-2016, 10:06 AM   #6
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Name: David
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emij View Post
That's the odd thing...It was locked. When we stopped to close it after being flagged down, it was still locked. Everything seems to line up solidly, too. As in the latch fully covers the strike plate, no edges hanging above or below it. I feel like it would have had to flex the body badly going over that bump, in order to knock it completely off the strike plate, and yet no cupboards opened, nothing fell. The couch pillows weren't even out of place when we got home.
----------------------------------------------------------------

While people are telling you how to fix the latch, I will offer additional insurance that the door does not open. My Scamp is fairly old ('93) And the door has never actually come open, but seems a bit loose fitting. So I bought a length of the thin ( Pencil sized ) white bungee cord material, and put a loop at each end. One loop goes over the fire extinguisher bracket on the back side of the closet, or a hook thereabouts. As we step out to lock the door, we stretch the other loop over the outside door handle. If the lock fails, the bungee will hold it closed. Best not to just hook the inside loop on the closet door handle because those knobs tend to vibrate loose.
I have also looked at entrance door 'grab handles ' for big trailers at Camping world. They are meant to swing out and lock , to help you step in. but they also swivel flat against the trailer, frontwards or to the back. The smaller model might be mounted close to the Scamp door and flip forward to push against the Scamp door and ensure it does not open. I'll check that out soon. David in Fresno and Sonora.
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Old 08-23-2016, 10:38 AM   #7
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You might try turning the handle 90* so it points down rather than horizontal. Bounces won't pull down on the handle. When locked it limits how much the handle will turn but does not eliminate all movement, it can still pull latch back a small amount from the strike plate. There is just a set screw for the handle and a square shaft for the latch. No problem to slip handle of and slide back on in the down position. That would address the leverage point mentioned in an earlier post.

Door seal, I replaced my door seal and the door which never had a problem staying latched suddenly was flying open. Even though door felt secure. Member at a rally suggested removing some door seal from near the latch, the extra pressure from the foam seal was enough to cause the unlatching situation. Rode to rally with para cord wrapped around trailer just above belly band to hold door shut, came back minus about 12 inches of foam door seal without any latching problem.

Do take a look at the floor to wall attachment on either side of door, and the frame. Excessive flex can be a result of wood tabbing that holds wall to floor coming loose, prime location for that is on sides of the door where wall meets floor. Or frame metal or weld starting to go which allows too much flexing. Better to catch those early rather than later. But if door aligns true then I expect the rest is OK. Door opening will tend to distort if starting to break free or frame is bent/bending.

Personally before I would replace the handle or latch I would just add a weld along the strike plate to add more surface for the latch to catch on. Should be no problem to add on to that little bent piece of metal that is the strike plate so the latch has a bit more to grab onto. Take no time to pull that off and add to a bit to it then put it back, just a couple of screws as I recall to take it off.

Might even be able to use JB Weld epoxy and a piece of iron wire or rod such as a nail cut to fit the length of the latch to add on along that edge. Weld you would grind down to where it just allows door latch to open when handle is turned. Can probably do same with JB Weld and a bit of metal but grind in small amounts or by hand with a file to avoid the heat of a grinder.
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Old 08-23-2016, 11:07 AM   #8
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[QUOTE=RogerDat;605320]

Door seal, I replaced my door seal and the door which never had a problem staying latched suddenly was flying open. Even though door felt secure. Member at a rally suggested removing some door seal from near the latch, the extra pressure from the foam seal was enough to cause the unlatching situation. Rode to rally with para cord wrapped around trailer just above belly band to hold door shut, came back minus about 12 inches of foam door seal without any latching problem.


I too had this occur upon changing door seal. Closing the door after changing the seal did require a bit more umph. Still the door popped open during travels when a significant jarring took place. Quite unnerving. Door is requiring less force to close as summer has wore on. Still may have to remove some of the seal as mentioned to alleviate the rubber gasket resistance. Just pulling hard on the handle doesn't result in door opening. Ramsey
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Old 08-23-2016, 11:59 AM   #9
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Floyd would you please share, with a link if you have one, the new door lock and handle assembly you purchased? And when you install did everything line up okay with previous hole, etc.? That's my next change. Not crazy about the factory one and it does give me a hard time closing from inside.

Sent from my VS985 4G using Fiberglass RV mobile app
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Old 08-23-2016, 12:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerDat View Post
You might try turning the handle 90* so it points down rather than horizontal.

Door seal, I replaced my door seal and the door which never had a problem staying latched suddenly was flying open.

Do take a look at the floor to wall attachment on either side of door, and the frame. Excessive flex can be a result of wood tabbing that holds wall to floor coming loose, prime location for that is on sides of the door where wall meets floor.

Personally before I would replace the handle or latch I would just add a weld along the strike plate
Our handle already points down, BUT I completely forgot that I also replaced the DOOR SEAL when I redid the hinges!! That may be why the door is more difficult to close from the inside AND why it popped open.

All points around the door are solid and the frame lines up around it the way it is supposed to, so I really don't think it's a frame issue. I think the latch may in fact, barely catch on the strike plate, even though it lines up properly. I do have a new one from Scamp, and after looking at it in relation to the old one, it is about a quarter of an inch longer. I think I'll remove some of the seal near the strike plate and also replace the strike plate with the new one and see if that helps! THANK YOU
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Old 08-23-2016, 12:47 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by CampyTime View Post
Floyd would you please share, with a link if you have one, the new door lock and handle assembly you purchased? And when you install did everything line up okay with previous hole, etc.? That's my next change. Not crazy about the factory one and it does give me a hard time closing from inside.

Sent from my VS985 4G using Fiberglass RV mobile app
I'd love to to have the info and install directions as well. Just in case we decide to go in that direction!
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Old 08-23-2016, 12:50 PM   #12
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[QUOTE=Ramsey;605324]
Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerDat View Post

Door seal, I replaced my door seal and the door which never had a problem staying latched suddenly was flying open. Even though door felt secure. Member at a rally suggested removing some door seal from near the latch, the extra pressure from the foam seal was enough to cause the unlatching situation. Rode to rally with para cord wrapped around trailer just above belly band to hold door shut, came back minus about 12 inches of foam door seal without any latching problem.


I too had this occur upon changing door seal. Closing the door after changing the seal did require a bit more umph. Still the door popped open during travels when a significant jarring took place. Quite unnerving. Door is requiring less force to close as summer has wore on. Still may have to remove some of the seal as mentioned to alleviate the rubber gasket resistance. Just pulling hard on the handle doesn't result in door opening. Ramsey
Thank you so much for this! It jogged my memory that I replaced our door seal after our last camping trip, so I think this may be the problem! (I'm finding the older I get, my memory isn't what it once was!)

And Donna, I think the strike plate needs to be changed out. You might be right that it is just not quite enough to grab the latch.

David G, thank you for the additional input and a way to gain a bit more insurance against it opening. I might have to look at the grab handles because they might also come in handy for those times when the step up is really high due to leveling!
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Old 08-23-2016, 01:13 PM   #13
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[QUOTE=emij;605348]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ramsey View Post

Thank you so much for this! It jogged my memory that I replaced our door seal after our last camping trip, so I think this may be the problem! (I'm finding the older I get, my memory isn't what it once was!)

And Donna, I think the strike plate needs to be changed out. You might be right that it is just not quite enough to grab the latch.

David G, thank you for the additional input and a way to gain a bit more insurance against it opening. I might have to look at the grab handles because they might also come in handy for those times when the step up is really high due to leveling!
================== 0 ===========================
I also use the thin white bungee cord material to string across certain doors that seem to spring open. Doors do have a habit of opening, and this is cheap and easy insurance. If you have never followed a Scamp or Casita on a rough road or camping area like Quartzsite, I think you would be surprised at the amount of bounce to the ounce ! ! Some can almost fly !
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Old 08-23-2016, 02:13 PM   #14
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I can't believe I found it - here is a link to my solution of the door popping open problem:scamp lock not catching
I thought then that it would be a temporary solution, but here we are years later and scores of thousands of miles down the road and it still works great. It's not perfect, but I do not let the perfect get in the way of good enough (with a grin).
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