Door Holdback - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-26-2020, 05:59 PM   #1
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Door Holdback

I apologize...I know we've gone over this before. But it must be buried in a thread with a different subject.

I'm replacing my socket door stop/holdback with a stainless holdback latch.

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My question is, do I need to reinforce my door and the side of the trailer? I know there are people here who think it's silly to install something like this, which probably won't release in a really strong wind, so the door is damaged instead. The socket ones are nice for that because they'll release. But all the same...

What do you think about just screwing this in where I want it? Do any of the factory installed holdbacks have wood backing plates behind the fiberglass for more strength? Or are they just screwed into the fiberglass?
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Old 05-26-2020, 07:01 PM   #2
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I think you will be just fine screwing it in.
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Old 05-26-2020, 07:47 PM   #3
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Thanks Steve.

After looking closer at my door, I don’t think I’d trust that. Seeing this crack, caused by slamming into the corner of the belly band, and peaking inside a separating area of the inside of the door, it’s clear that the door is just foam insulation sandwiched between very very thin sheets of fiberglass. Actually the inside is a thin sheet of metal, but I can’t think of a way yet to utilize it that doesn’t leave a bolt and nut sticking out a half inch.

Thinking about my options....

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Old 05-26-2020, 08:49 PM   #4
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when the door is fabricated they usually put some solid wood inside it along the edge where the door lock is as well as at the top, bottom and hinge side.


You need to take advantage of that internal wood structure on the door lock side of the door when deciding where to position the catch for arm of the door holder. I did add blocking to the inside of my trailer wall and used that for mounting the other component part of the holder. Of course at that time I was adhering in lots of blocking on the interior wall during the renovation process for all kinds of things such as new tail lights, water inlets and outlets, electrical ports, ceiling lights, window blinds, Rotopax gas can mounts, etc while I was adding wood furring for putting in the insulation panels.
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Old 05-27-2020, 03:38 AM   #5
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previous owner put a door hold back on my Bigfoot. The original was still on it at the top. They put the new one in the center of the door where there is no support. When I got it the screws were pulling out. I removed it filled the holes as best I could and replaced the original with one the same. Be careful make sure you are screw into structure.
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Old 05-27-2020, 04:40 AM   #6
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You will need to run screws into something designed to hold a screw, or put washers and nuts on the inside. Fiberglass does not hold screws well. You can always cut off any extra length of screw with a Dremel when done. Or cut them before installing with an electricians electrical stripper plier.

One way these hold backs fail is when someone grabs the door and pulls on it to close it, not realizing there is a catch holding it. So, it's best to have the catch near the middle of the door vertically, where it will be close to where you grab the door. And out near the edge, far away from the hinges, to reduce leverage.
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Old 05-27-2020, 09:17 AM   #7
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On my '00 Scamp 16, the door holdback is attached with pop rivets. There isn't a lot of force at work here, so don't over-engineer the solution.



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Old 05-27-2020, 04:10 PM   #8
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To add a little bit of additional protection for the fragile door skin I added a hard plastic plate and a half round rubber bumper to the outer skin of my door in the area where it would contact the "belly band" if it were to strike it hard. Sort of a pre-emptive strike after seeing several other doors cracked from the impact of having the wind rip it out of your hand and hitting the edge with a great deal of force.

I radiused the flat plate to fit around the edge of the door window so that it would be where I needed it to protect against any belly band impact. Not a guarantee that it will be the cure-all and end-all, but it does provide a little bit of "armor" and impact dampening to the door skin by spreading out the force of impact over a larger area. And as a "cheap fix" for those who already may have a crack there, it helps to hide it and offer extra protection. A lot cheaper than replacing the door anyway.

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Gatehouse-4...top/1000138425

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Old 05-27-2020, 05:34 PM   #9
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Alright, thanks.

I would argue that there is a lot of force at work. It doesn't need to stand up to an actually wind storm, but does need to not rip out during the first out-of-nowhere gust of wind that comes along. Or, as mentioned, someone tries to close the door not realizing there's a latch holding it open. A 1mm piece of fiberglass over foam insulation will not hold long. Bigfoot doors are different than most fiberglass trailer doors. Very flimsy fiberglass on the outside, very thin sheet metal on the inside, styrofoam style insulation sandwiched between.

I do have wood framing around my door, but due to the pre-fabbed length of door holdbacks, I can't mount it there. It needs to mount about 6 inches in from the frame of the door.

I'm starting to rethink this, and might come up with my own creation. And I'll definitely use something like Greg posted to stop my door from slamming the belly band. After reading so may posts on other forums from people who just use a bungee cord to hold their door open, my thinking has expanded...

Whether cut off with a dremel or not, I don't want washers and nuts sticking out of my door, either on the outside or inside. If they make those things long enough...bear with me here...that are like a pan-head screw on both sides, and thread together in the middle...don't know what they're called but I just remembered seeing them in the hardware store. I could live with something like that.
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Old 05-28-2020, 01:09 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by ZachO View Post
Alright, thanks.
If they make those things long enough...bear with me here...that are like a pan-head screw on both sides, and thread together in the middle...don't know what they're called but I just remembered seeing them in the hardware store. I could live with something like that.

they are called "joint connectors". the part with external threads is called the post, the side with internal threads is called the cap. The do come in a wide variety of lengths and if you can't find one long enough in the hardware store try MCMaster Carr.
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Old 05-28-2020, 05:36 AM   #11
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My bigfoot had this type of holder from the factory I believe. I replaced it with a new one. Nice thing about this one is you don't have to worry about pulling on the door without unlatching it.
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Old 05-28-2020, 07:08 AM   #12
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Thanks Karin. I'll check that out. I've also heard they can be called binder screws.

Doug, yeah mine came with a similar setup. It wouldn't hold the door open, so I bought a new one. It won't hold the door open either. Maybe I got a crappy one. I could blow on the door and it would release. No holding power at all. Which is why I'm on this path...

The slightest breeze or change in air pressure, and my door swings shut.
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Old 05-28-2020, 08:25 AM   #13
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They also go by the name of "Chicago Screws" as well. All the same thing.

https://www.chicagoscrews.com/
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Old 05-28-2020, 08:59 AM   #14
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Yes.

If I decide to install the holdback I already bought, those are probably what I'll use. I've realized I could probably get away one of those angled holdbacks, just like what I bought but with a bent end. That would allow me to install at the edge of the door, where at least a couple screws would hit the wood frame.

But we'll see. I'm completely unsure of how I want to approach this whole project now.
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Old 05-29-2020, 08:14 PM   #15
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Zack,

Let me confuse the issue further.

Maybe you could glue a neodymium magnet on one side and a steel plate on the other. Or two magnets. Don't underestimate their holding power. They are cheap and come in lots of sizes. I Just bought some 1" cube size and they are impressive.

Of course, any magnetic compasses within a quarter mile would be worthless beyond pointing to your trailer.

Seriously though. No holes in the trailer and no breaking the catch if pulled accidentally. E6000 glue would hold them.
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Old 05-30-2020, 08:16 AM   #16
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It's a legitimate option, John. The issue is the space between the door and the side of the trailer when the door is fully opened. Not being able to see exactly what your picturing in your mind I'm not sure if that's no issue. Would there be something inherent in that setup that could span a 4-12" gap? When the door is open far enough that the already-cracked part of the door is touching the belly band that cracked it, there's still that large of a gap range.

And yeah...no big deal, but I have compass I use when I get to camp at an area I've never been before, to get some idea of which way is west, so I can avoid pointing my fridge vent that way. So the magnet might be an issue!
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Old 05-30-2020, 08:38 AM   #17
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Zach,

The spacing is an issue.

I'm careful with magnets too. Was partly kidding about the power, but they can be a problem. I avoided having any magnets on my boat, except for the speaker magnets, because the autopilot and the binnacle had to read the earth's magnetic field reliably. Off shore in rough water, or dealing with outdated US Navy nautical charts of the Mexican coastline kept me on my toes in the middle of the night.
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Old 05-31-2020, 08:32 AM   #18
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I've seen posts on other forms, or maybe this one, about installing some sort of household magnet door holder that has an extension like our socket style holdbacks. Meant for indoor use so they have some rust issues, but people seem to have good luck with them.

I'm a bit jealous of people with sailboat experience. Not because I'm particularly drawn to sailing, but it seems like a lot of the issues that come up for rvs have been solved decades ago for boats, but the knowledge hasn't transferred for some reason. Anyone who has sailed for long periods has boon docking pretty well figured out...
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Old 05-31-2020, 12:06 PM   #19
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Door Holdback

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Old 05-31-2020, 12:32 PM   #20
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Zach,

Yes, sailing is RVing to an extreme degree.

If you don't have the tools, the provisions or the parts, you have to improvise somehow, and do it while riding in the boat at sea. Plus navigate, watch the depth, deal with sails on a windy night, and have a watch schedule to make sure someone is awake 24/7 and watching. Then you have to be aware of coming weather patterns and the changing wind direction. You have to have wind, but not too much, and you have to make the boat go in the direction you want, regardless of the wind direction. Going to weather is rough and wet. Sometimes, as in coming back from Mexico, the wind is right on the nose and the current is about one knot heading South. You travel easily twice as far through the water as you make headway north, all with cold spray drenching the boat and a rough ride. On the outbound tack, you are actually slipping South. On the inbound tack, you are heading straight for land. With no lights on shore and only outdated charts, you have to pay attention. We sailed into a pod of whales heading south one beautiful mid-morning and it was fantastic. Whales everywhere, some passing under the boat. I dragged a hook and brought aboard a big tuna. We had ceviche for days. While heading south and making good time, the boat takes on a life of its own. It frolics in the sea, jumping, splashing and flying along. It's joyous. A wild animal finally set free. Steering itself, it dances in the waves. It's magic. Each night the sky is slightly different and we finally could see the Southern Cross. With the boat driving itself, in the wee hours of the morning, with absolutely no lights, the Milky Way goes from Horizon to Horizon. Bioluminescence from disturbing the water, looks like a blue underwater light pointing back and making a trail behind the boat. The wind steering vane steers based on its angle to the wind, as the wheel moves gracefully, making subtle corrections. No engine sounds, just the slapping of lines, and the splashing of the sea. All from the wind.

It can be very magical. It can be miserable, or dangerous. But it is unforgettable. A natural way to travel combining wind and sea. The sea is both endlessly fascinating and unforgiving. Navigating and managing the boat and its systems is fascinating, challenging and rewarding. I purified sea water for drinking, kept the batteries charged, maintained the engine, protected the prop from tangles, kept the boat off the beach and away from islands in the middle of the night. We went into foreign ports where we checked in, found provisions, picked up parts. I re-designed systems, built new systems, fixed stuff and managed to jury rig as needed. Always maintaining the sails and all the associated rigging to make it work. With three aboard, a watch schedule and varying weather and sea conditions, meals are based more on conditions than time. Simple with minimal cooking is best at sea. Later, at anchor, or in port, we could be more creative and celebrate the achievement.

Rough seas is an interesting subject. As the sea gets rougher and rougher. There is no place to go to get out of it, but as it builds and becomes more fascinating and dangerous, following along as a boiling mountain over our heads, scooping up the boat and passing under with a loud rushing sound, it is exhilarating. A 42" ketch can surf and double its speed. All is well, as long as you don't get sideways to it. I'd be at the wheel and 100% attentive. A wave can crash on the deck and threaten to cave it in. At times you cannot let go without being thrown around. Chaos results inside. I guess it is as much fascinating as scary. There is no way to fix the rigging then, so everything must hold during the din, the violence, the power. And it mostly does.

Is this related to traveling with a trailer? Certainly, but much more demanding, and much greater chance of leaks. And the boat was molded fiberglass.
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