Gremlins open the door? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-29-2005, 09:07 AM   #1
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Occasionally when traveling the door to our 99 Scamp will come open; even when locked. This happened while towing on rough roads at highway speed (I 40 through the Smoky Mtns). The strike plate engagement seems to be about 1/2-3/4" which should be plenty. What's going on? Using a bungee to keep it shut seems inelegant.
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Old 11-29-2005, 09:14 AM   #2
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Problem may be opposite of where you think. Check your hinges. They me be loose and allowing the door to move and jostle.
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Old 11-29-2005, 09:16 AM   #3
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Occasionally when traveling the door to our 99 Scamp will come open; even when locked. This happened while towing on rough roads at highway speed (I 40 through the Smoky Mtns). The strike plate engagement seems to be about 1/2-3/4" which should be plenty. What's going on? Using a bungee to keep it shut seems inelegant.

I had the door of a 77 13ft open on steep driveways, never did stop it but figure it must be torguing the egg. Is you egg level when towing??
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Old 11-29-2005, 09:23 AM   #4
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It's possible the frame may be twisting and something isn't bolted down too. Check for loose fasteners EVERYWHERE and cracks on the frame....I'd think it would be time well spent.
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Old 11-29-2005, 10:49 AM   #5
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I don't know the cause OR the cure but this is what happened to me:

When I first got my '89 the door came open very easily. Two things that I did (amongst others) before I took it very far was to change out the door latch and put new rubber molding around the door. Did this do it? Not sure; but I do know that it fit much tighter and after 9,000 or 10,000 miles later, it hasn't come open again.
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Old 11-29-2005, 12:39 PM   #6
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I too had a problem with an '84 Scamp 13'...what I found that worked was to make sure that after I locked the trailer door, I lifted the handle up a little and this seemed to keep the door closed. But I haven't driven on rough roads.

So far I have not had this problem with my '94 Scamp 13

Good Luck

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Old 11-29-2005, 06:51 PM   #7
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My 1978 Fiber Stream's door is aft of the axles, and I know that my frame flexes. Sometimes I have to apply downward pressure to the deadbolt lock to get it to engage in the strikeplate while hitched up for towing. When parked at a campsite, the rear stabilizer jacks keep the doorframe aligned for trouble free operation. There are RV supply stores that carry a red rubber bungee in the shape of the letter "P" and I have one installed. There is a screw eye at the tail (or foot) of the "P" to fasten it to the side of the trailer and the loop goes over the doorknob while in transit. I consider a bungee more elegant than a flapping door while underway.
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Old 11-30-2005, 08:41 AM   #8
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I've checked the frame... this was one of the first things I did when I got the Scamp home this June (wire brushed and rusty spots and repainted). The Scamp tows slightly nose up as level is 19" and the tow height is 20" (factory recommended 21" hitch height but the Durange doesn't squat quite as much as a lighter tug... tongue weight at 20" is 350 lb tho). I have noticed that the front, curb side, of the Scamp is lower than the driver side while the belly band is level... looks lopsided and the 1-2" extension appears to be so the bottom of the door is covered. Strange way to deal with a door fit (the hull below the belly band on this side is actually longer... I measured it). The door fit is also kinda funky as it matches the curve of the Scamp in the rear while the front sticks out and I had to seal the door bottom with garage door seal [this was a former topic, pre-hack, and seems to be a rather common problem.
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Old 11-30-2005, 04:42 PM   #9
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I see 140 mph through the Smokey Mountains as being the problem! (I see being the operative words-- That's what I really thought it said at first!)
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Old 12-02-2005, 10:35 PM   #10
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The door on our Trillium got sprung on a trip to Alaska. We drilled out the holes for the hinges and reglassed them and hung the door again. By the way, we enlarged the hole where the screws go into the body and stuck a hardwood dowel in before glassing. The hardwood made it easier to drill the pilot hole for the hinges. Since we had the same problem with the door coming open that you had I took the striker plate off and fabricated a new one that gave me a better bite from the sliding latch. Never again did that door pop open accidentally.
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Old 12-09-2005, 06:48 PM   #11
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John and Sandy, our '92 Scamp door would pop open, too. We always tried to remember to lock it when traveling. That was a pain. What we (actually my husband) did was take the handle off and turn it upside down. Now to open the door one has to pull up on the handle instead of pushing down. It worked like a charm. Hope this helps.

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Old 12-11-2005, 08:15 AM   #12
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Hi Nancy; I think I'll give that a try. I suspect that the trailer flexing during towing (particularly on rough roads) may be causing the handle to gradually work it's way downward... Thanks!
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Old 12-11-2005, 12:58 PM   #13
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that would make my brain 'splode!

It's hard enough to remember to turn my wheels opposite where I want to go when backing.. I am afraid I would break down in tears if I couldn't remember to turn my handle wrong to get in..

*Gina sits slumped against side of trailer in the rain.. lightning crashes.. dogs are smart, they crawl UNDER it.. Gina goes and sleeps in the car*
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Old 12-11-2005, 05:07 PM   #14
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You crack me up. Actually, it hasn't been hard to remember how to operate at all. It doesn't feel awkward.

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Old 12-12-2005, 08:09 AM   #15
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Hi Nancy; I checked the door handles on the Scamp yesterday. It appears to be possible to flip the outside door handle 180 degrees but the inside has to have it's present orientation so it doesn't hit the inside wall of the trailer. Is this what your husband did? While I was "playing" with the door latch system I noticed that there is enough movement in the locked door latch to retract the door catch more than 1/2 way... a rough road, both handles move down to unlock and gravity could easily cause the door to pop open.

Thanks again
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Old 12-12-2005, 09:16 AM   #16
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The shank on the outside door handle is square. When Nancy mentioned flipping the door handle, I believe she meant just pull it off, turn it over and reinsert. You shouldn't have to do anything with the inside door lockset.
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Old 12-12-2005, 05:42 PM   #17
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Hi Donna; I noticed this when I removed the inside latch today. The latch appears to be designed so that it's possible to open from the inside if you are locked in the camper... kinda handy... but, since the door in under tension from the inside, it is forced outward and friction may be keeping the inside latch from returning to the orig. position when jarred (bumpy road) downward. I've made a expansion spring system to provide additional upward force on the handle. I suspect it will work but is not an elegant solution (looks as funky as the original door hardware). I think it would be as workable to put the interior lock pin in during traveling but I wasn't able to talk my wife into riding in the Scamp!

We'll find out at Christmas as our camping is done in our daughter's driveway in Raleigh NC and the Scamp is a wonderful extra bedroom! It is our little peaceful place in the mornings as we have two young grand children (so far we have talked them out of sleeping in Scamp).
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Old 12-12-2005, 05:52 PM   #18
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When I replaced my door handle on my 13ft Boler I went and bought the handle and lock that is used on truck toppers.A few simple modifications and in it went and works great.
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Old 12-13-2005, 07:33 AM   #19
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Hi Donna; I noticed this when I removed the inside latch today. The latch appears to be designed so that it's possible to open from the inside if you are locked in the camper... kinda handy...


John I replaced the outside door handle on my Scamp a couple of summers ago because of this exact reason. My daughter and I were camping and the wind caught the door and slammed it shut...my daughter was inside the trailer at the time. The lock was badly worn inside the door handle and it turned inside the cylinder and locked her inside. There is no way to unlock the door from the inside when locked from the outside. It effectively locked her in. Fortunately, I was right outside the door (with the keys in my pocket) and was able to unlock the door and let her out. If we'd both been inside the trailer, one of us would have had to go out the top escape hatch.

When we got home, I took the door handle off and went to a locksmith. There's no way to repair/replace the lock the way the handle is made. I could have purchased a new one from Scamp (<$20), but we were going camping almost right away and didn't want to wait for one to be shipped from Scamp. I ended up replacing the door handle (and lock) from one made for a garage door. It's "T" shaped, but the outside plate was an exact match (including screw holes) and is substantially built. The shank was about 6" too long, but a hack saw took care of that. Took about 2 minutes to replace (put a dab of silicone in the screw holes too). Since that time, we've never had a bit of trouble.

But, I ALWAYS travel with the door locked...that in itself seems like a simple solution to keeping the door from coming open if the lock works properly.
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Old 12-13-2005, 08:17 AM   #20
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Donna>>I also travel with the door locked.

Me, too, Donna. In fact, the only time I lock the door on our trailer is when I'm pulling it down the road.

One of my first 16 footers had a door that used to pop open, in transit, occasionally, but usually because I'd forgotten to lock the door ... or as part of breaking camp, give a little tug on the door to make sure it actually secured.

If I remembered to lock the door ... and double check that I'd actually shut the door tightly ... it didn't happen.

However ... any trailer will flex ... particularly if you pull them down the kinds of roads I do! In the winter ... some of our pot-holes are the size of Texas! You hit one of those just right and your fillings will fall out of your mouth!)

My current rig ... a 17 foot Casita ... has a dead bolt that prevents the door from opening ... provided you lock the dead bolt. I only use the dead bolt lock ... and have never locked the "regular" lock.

Now, as I said. The only time I lock the trailer is when we're towing it.

As most of us know, any trailer door can be easily "popped" open with a crowbar. Since we don't keep anything of value in the trailer (I try to remember to take our jewels with me ... when we go hiking, etc) ... I'd rather someone enter our rig and take a look-see rather than mess up my door frame with a pry bar.
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