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Old 05-18-2014, 12:36 PM   #1
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Loose Hinges

2004 16' Bambi CCD.

Bottom hinge on exterior door is loose, and the door hangs low. The hinge itself seems fine, but the whole assembly shifts and gaps against the frame as the door is closed.

The hinge mounting screws will start to tighten up, but then spin for part of a turn, start to tighten up, etc.

So I've either got loose nuts on the other side of the frame, or if the bolts go directly into the frame it's stripped.

Can't see if nuts or not because of trim, interior skin, etc. Removed trim, tried to peel back the skin, but the thick aluminum of the _inside_ door frame is right behind it. No room to work cause the wall of the bathroom is right there; I've got just about an inch of space. The red arrow in the second pic points to the little spot in which I peeled the interior skin.

So, about to go out and buy that extra-long 9/16" drill bit for $$$ to try and expose the nuts. Before I do, can anybody verify that they're really there? OR by '04 was AS screwing the hinge directly into the frame, in which case how to fix _that_?

Or does anyone have a better idea?

Thanks!
Jon
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Old 05-18-2014, 12:41 PM   #2
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I believe yours has nuts on the back side of the frame. Do you have an aluminum strip surrounding the door interior frame? It's about 1" wide. If so, remove and see if access holes are already there. If not, you'll have to measure very carefully and make holes to get a socket onto the nuts. After you think you have the door and hinges adjusted properly, remove the nuts one at a time and loctite them in place.

Sorry, I didn't read carefully.....I think you're going to have to drill exploritory holes to find the center of the nut/bolt.
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Old 05-18-2014, 12:52 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toasty's Dad View Post
2004 16' Bambi CCD.

Bottom hinge on exterior door is loose, and the door hangs low. The hinge itself seems fine, but the whole assembly shifts and gaps against the frame as the door is closed.

The hinge mounting screws will start to tighten up, but then spin for part of a turn, start to tighten up, etc.

So I've either got loose nuts on the other side of the frame, or if the bolts go directly into the frame it's stripped.

Can't see if nuts or not because of trim, interior skin, etc. Removed trim, tried to peel back the skin, but the thick aluminum of the _inside_ door frame is right behind it. No room to work cause the wall of the bathroom is right there; I've got just about an inch of space. The red arrow in the second pic points to the little spot in which I peeled the interior skin.

So, about to go out and buy that extra-long 9/16" drill bit for $$$ to try and expose the nuts. Before I do, can anybody verify that they're really there? OR by '04 was AS screwing the hinge directly into the frame, in which case how to fix _that_?

Or does anyone have a better idea?

Thanks!
Jon
Nuts hold the hinges in place.

There are several reasons that make hinges come loose.

1. Unbalanced running gear.

2. Excessive rated hitch bars.

3. Excessive rated tow vehicle.

4. Bad rubber rods in the torsion axle/axles.

Those issues must be addressed, if not the same thing will happen over and over again.

Andy
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Old 05-18-2014, 01:14 PM   #4
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Jon,
I just worked on the bottom door hinge of my '02 Classic. I have more room beside the door than you do, though. The nuts with a star washer built in do come loose and spin. I removed the metal U-shaped trim surrounding the door sides and top. I then took a hole saw and made an access hole for each nut. I didn't drill thru the door frame but did remove a piece of the inner skin. I can't tell if you have that much room. I believe the hole saw was 1" dia. I was able to dig out the Vulkem on and around the nut with screw drivers, cotter pin pullers, and a brake adjusting tool. It was tedious work but I was then able to get a wrench on the nut. I had to try sockets and open end wrenches to get what worked, and that was the open end 7/16" as the bolt is 1/4". You may have to sacrifice a wrench and heat it with a torch to get it bent just right. I had mirrors of several types to help see the problem area. My son came over to help with final disassembly and reassembly. Do not take both hinge bolts out at the same time. We used long curved needle nose pliers to hold the nut and by turning the bolt from outside we started the nut on the bolt. I used the nylon self-lock type nuts. Home Depot had metal plugs in their specialty hardware drawers that fit in the holes I made. I had to do the same thing on my upper hinge a couple years ago. Good luck, it is frustrating.
Dan
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Old 05-18-2014, 01:45 PM   #5
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The bottom hinge on my 2014 FC 20 is loose. It is under warrantee and the dealer will have to tighten it up. I am going to be interested to see just what they do to get at the rear nuts. Report later....LOL.
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Old 05-18-2014, 02:49 PM   #6
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thanks all.

i think i know what i need to do now.

just gotta find something long enough to drill a 1" hole without running into the bathroom wall with the drill or the chuck.

and then do the other unpleasant things that Farmer Dan hadda do, except with less clearance.

rest assured, i'll be cursing our AS friends for their thoughtfulness in the manufacture of my trailer and will liberally apply beer to the problem while trying to solve it.

lata,
jon
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Old 05-18-2014, 02:58 PM   #7
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What Andy said. It is probably not a mfg problem but balance problem. Maintenance and improper equipment. Jim
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Old 05-18-2014, 03:17 PM   #8
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What Andy said. It is probably not a mfg problem but balance problem. Maintenance and improper equipment. Jim
Hi, no, but it would be nice if Airstream was smart enough to install double hole nut plates for the door hinges. This could make life a whole lot easier for some of us.
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Old 05-18-2014, 04:04 PM   #9
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Hi, no, but it would be nice if Airstream was smart enough to install double hole nut plates for the door hinges. This could make life a whole lot easier for some of us.
also, access could be a LOT easier. from what i'm seeing in both my travels and searches, this isn't exactly a rare problem. would it have cost so much do have the holes for adjustment pre-drilled?

FWIW, the trailer came new with this problem, along with some others such as cabinets that fell off the walls and an uncaulked storage tray that rotted the floor. as first time owners, we didn't realize that the the door was _supposed_ to be easy to close. It was "fixed" by the dealer under warranty, by moving the post that engages the door downward, thus getting us outta his hair on the cheap.

i guess you can argue that if there weren't excessive vibration, the nuts wouldn't loosen in the first place. but i would argue that a really good engineer would anticipate that a vehicle to be used on the road is likely to experience vibration - sometimes a lot of it, and design accordingly.

respectfully,
jon
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Old 05-18-2014, 05:47 PM   #10
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Yeah, "design for serviceability" really didn't START in the auto industry until the mid-90s. It's pretty good now....not perfect...but there are still some stuff that doesn't make sense. I wouldn't hold my breath that the RV industry is even concerned about it.
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Old 05-18-2014, 09:53 PM   #11
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also, access could be a LOT easier. from what i'm seeing in both my travels and searches, this isn't exactly a rare problem. would it have cost so much do have the holes for adjustment pre-drilled?

FWIW, the trailer came new with this problem, along with some others such as cabinets that fell off the walls and an uncaulked storage tray that rotted the floor. as first time owners, we didn't realize that the the door was _supposed_ to be easy to close. It was "fixed" by the dealer under warranty, by moving the post that engages the door downward, thus getting us outta his hair on the cheap.

i guess you can argue that if there weren't excessive vibration, the nuts wouldn't loosen in the first place. but i would argue that a really good engineer would anticipate that a vehicle to be used on the road is likely to experience vibration - sometimes a lot of it, and design accordingly.

respectfully,
jon
Airstream could indeed make many improvements in their designs.

But upgrading many of them, also increases the price of production.

Most buyers then balk at those prices.

As an example, a wood floor could be used, that would not rot. BUT, that increase in cost by most buyers, is "are you kidding"?

Andy
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Old 05-19-2014, 12:58 PM   #12
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Same issue with my Int'l and lower hinge. Happened while I was at Alumaplooza in JC last year. One of the techs came over and fixed it for me. In conversation it was pretty apparent that this happens all the time. They did do a mod to "weld" the nut in place, but the "weld" breaks loose and you have to get a socket on it to tighten. I would think that someone keeps track of how many times this warranty work gets done and what it costs to fix a recurring problem. Makes me wonder if the repair folks talk to the mfg side...or if a six sigma look would save them some repair dollars. I wouldn't acknowledge that this is MY fault due to improper set-up of my running gear either.
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Old 05-19-2014, 01:27 PM   #13
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Same issue with my Int'l and lower hinge. Happened while I was at Alumaplooza in JC last year. One of the techs came over and fixed it for me. In conversation it was pretty apparent that this happens all the time. They did do a mod to "weld" the nut in place, but the "weld" breaks loose and you have to get a socket on it to tighten. I would think that someone keeps track of how many times this warranty work gets done and what it costs to fix a recurring problem. Makes me wonder if the repair folks talk to the mfg side...or if a six sigma look would save them some repair dollars. I wouldn't acknowledge that this is MY fault due to improper set-up of my running gear either.
BAB

Sorry, but my almost 50 experience with Airstream products has more than proven hundreds of times, that it would take at least a couple of decades for the hinges to become loose by simply opening and closing the entrance door.

My same experience has far more than proven that the hinges at least 98 to 99 percent of the time, are cause by vibration.

Those vibrations are caused by unbalanced running gear, bad tires, excessive rated tires, excessive rated tow vehicles and excessive rated hitch bars.

Rarely is the looseness caused by bad roads.

Andy
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