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Old 11-08-2013, 05:32 PM   #1
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1974 31' Sovereign
1979 23' Safari
Wayland , New York
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Squaring a door?

The bottom front (not hinge side) of my door hits the door frame lip, they overlap by maybe 1/16" or so, small, but keeps the bottom from closing flush. Looking at the gap between the door and door frame, it's obvious that the door is not square as the upper left gap is larger than the bottom left. Opposite on the forward side of door, so it's obvious that the door is rotated slightly clockwise on the hinges. Before i start taking the door apart i am wondering, are there bolts that hold the door to the hinges on the inside of the door that have a little play in them so i can loosen them square the door and retighten them back up, keeping this an afternoon repair, or is this a major fix? Last resort would be grinding off a little on the bottom of the door so it closes flush. Would rather see the door square.
Thanks
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Old 11-08-2013, 05:42 PM   #2
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Biloxi , Mississippi
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The method used by the factory involves the use a 2X4 and a large rubber hammer. Scary to watch the video but it is effective.
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Old 11-08-2013, 06:21 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiJoeSilver View Post
The bottom front (not hinge side) of my door hits the door frame lip, they overlap by maybe 1/16" or so, small, but keeps the bottom from closing flush. Looking at the gap between the door and door frame, it's obvious that the door is not square as the upper left gap is larger than the bottom left. Opposite on the forward side of door, so it's obvious that the door is rotated slightly clockwise on the hinges. Before i start taking the door apart i am wondering, are there bolts that hold the door to the hinges on the inside of the door that have a little play in them so i can loosen them square the door and retighten them back up, keeping this an afternoon repair, or is this a major fix? Last resort would be grinding off a little on the bottom of the door so it closes flush. Would rather see the door square.
Thanks
The problem is simply wear within the hinge.

You don't need to cut or grind anything to make the fix.

Loosen the bolts on the top hinge, and realign the door. If the holes in the door are not large enough, then enlarge them as need be.

This fix takes less than 10 minutes.

Andy
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Old 11-08-2013, 06:36 PM   #4
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2012 25' FB Eddie Bauer
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Virginia Beach , Virginia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiJoeSilver View Post
The bottom front (not hinge side) of my door hits the door frame lip, they overlap by maybe 1/16" or so, small, but keeps the bottom from closing flush. Looking at the gap between the door and door frame, it's obvious that the door is not square as the upper left gap is larger than the bottom left. Opposite on the forward side of door, so it's obvious that the door is rotated slightly clockwise on the hinges. Before i start taking the door apart i am wondering, are there bolts that hold the door to the hinges on the inside of the door that have a little play in them so i can loosen them square the door and retighten them back up, keeping this an afternoon repair, or is this a major fix? Last resort would be grinding off a little on the bottom of the door so it closes flush. Would rather see the door square.
Thanks
There are at least three things that can go wrong that prevent a door from closing properly.
  1. you've over tightened the stabilizer jacks - the door IS level but you've made the frame "smile". Crank the stabilizer jack nearest the door down a turn or two, then try to close the door. Simplest fix.
  2. Something has gotten jammed in the bottom of the door when it was closed. (Or some newbie thought it wouldn't hurt to run an extension cord out of the door then close it - me 8 years ago? perish the thought!) The door no longer curves in far enough. That is the one involving a 2x4 and rubber hammer to fix. Or more gently you can unrivet and re-rivet the bottom of the door while nudging it to curve more. There is a video somewhere of the 2x4 technique but I can't recall where to find it.
  3. Give the upper hinge a shake with your hand. Is it loose? You've got the hard one to fix. ALL doors want to sag. Gravity tends to cock a door down and out at the top. Sometimes a child swinging on the door, or an adult using it as a handrail to assist climbing up the stairs will speed this process up. The result is that over time the screws holding the top hinge have a downward and outward pressure put on them and they let the hinge slip. The bottom hinge can be pushed inward and down too. Fixing that varies with the style of hinge and age of the Airstream. See below.
On newer models like mine there are no visible screws, rivets, etc. on the outside of the hinges. All of the connections are between the two shells. To fix you have to take off the inside door trim, peel off the wall covering if you have it, and cut into or bend back the inner shell to expose the top hinge. I think there are actually bolts in the hinge that come through the outer skin - and the nuts have loosened or fallen off (been a while since I helped another member fix his door). New nuts with locking washers, and perhaps a soupcion de "locktite" judiciously applied while an assistant is putting upward pressure on the door from the bottom on the opposite side from the hinge... you're good to go.

If you have bare aluminum interior getting the inside skin off without cutting it or marring it is a puzzlement. I vaguely remember a post from years ago where the member drilled holes in the inside skin with a hole saw, 1 inch or so around, fixed the hinge connection - then used silver colored childproof outlet covers to close the holes. After he reinstalled the trim just a tiny bit of the cover showed... and probably only he'd notice it. He also has pre-drilled access holes for "next time" the hinge loosens up

On older Airstreams you can see the screws that hold the hinge on the doorframe and skin... but if the screws just spin around and around - they've stripped something on the skin or door frame, etc. Again, you're probably looking at removing the inside doorframe to find and fix the problem - but I'd prefer if a vintage owner responded to the details on that one.

Patience helps... X-ray vision would REALLY help with this.

Good luck. Paula
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Old 11-08-2013, 06:41 PM   #5
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Oh... just noticed the year on your Airstream. What Inland Andy said.

P.
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Old 11-08-2013, 08:43 PM   #6
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1974 31' Sovereign
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Thanks all, I've got all the inner skins off (except on the door) as i'm working on a full monte, i'll have to try loosening the bolts in the next few days to see if that works, if not i'll take off the door skins of and see what's inside, how does the hinge attach through the exterior skin to the door, i'm thinking there must be bolts or something under the door part of the hinge that go through the exterior skin and into a bracket or something on the inside of the door.
Spent today putting the curb side belly skin wraps on in the freezing cold and some snow, went mostly smooth, but spent atleast 1-2 hours wracking my brain on the cs rear banana wrap, but think i've got it, it just didn't want to fit properly, and there were so many holes from previous (PO) work that it made getting it back pretty confusing.
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