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Old 04-16-2014, 01:29 AM   #1
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What's wrong with my door?

A couple of years ago while in Yellowstone, we were locked in our trailer and could not get out. The original KT lock just would not open. Fortunately passers by heard us and I passed the key through a window screen and we got out. Not wanting to immediately spend $500 for a new lock I waited to see if the problem would repeat itself. A year later it did but I found that pulling in on the door while lifting the handle would work. When I got around to investigating further I noticed the striker bold had a groove in it and that groove was preventing the door from opening. I filed it down with a file and the striker would then open without catching on the striker plate. I figured it was caused by 37 years of wear and tear so I sprung for a new lock and installed it with a smooth striker bolt. Well after only 500 miles with the new lock, I am beginning to see the beginnings of another groove beginning to form on the striker bolt. I have to believe that the door is rattling or vibrating rather significantly while traveling, which is causing the groove to form on the striker. I can't figure out how to solve the rattling/vibration so that the door is snug. The door gaskets are about 20 years old. Would new gaskets solve this or am I looking at a door alignment problem or maybe running gear issues? My trailer weighs 7600lbs and has a tongue weight of 900 lbs. I replaced the axles 4 years ago and 2 years ago had the belly pan removed to install a spare tire carrier and to fix a small frame crack and to box both sides of the frame from the axles rearward. The frame from the axles forward was fine. I should also note that 3 years ago after getting the new axles a crack began to form above the door in the usual location. I had it reinforced with a new sheet of aluminum riveted to the main bows. I tow with a F250 and 1000lb spring bars that my father used for 20 years prior with an F350 dually. In order for the trailer to sit level when hitched, I use the 4th link. Any less tension and in addition to the trailer hanging low, when I hit bumps I get quite an up and down motion in the truck. The higher tension minimizes that but I'm beginning to wonder if it's contributing to my door lock issue. Any thoughts are welcome.Click image for larger version

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Old 04-16-2014, 04:06 AM   #2
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A couple of years ago while in Yellowstone, we were locked in our trailer and could not get out. The original KT lock just would not open. Fortunately passers by heard us and I passed the key through a window screen and we got out. Not wanting to immediately spend $500 for a new lock I waited to see if the problem would repeat itself. A year later it did but I found that pulling in on the door while lifting the handle would work. When I got around to investigating further I noticed the striker bold had a groove in it and that groove was preventing the door from opening. I filed it down with a file and the striker would then open without catching on the striker plate. I figured it was caused by 37 years of wear and tear so I sprung for a new lock and installed it with a smooth striker bolt. Well after only 500 miles with the new lock, I am beginning to see the beginnings of another groove beginning to form on the striker bolt. I have to believe that the door is rattling or vibrating rather significantly while traveling, which is causing the groove to form on the striker. I can't figure out how to solve the rattling/vibration so that the door is snug. The door gaskets are about 20 years old. Would new gaskets solve this or am I looking at a door alignment problem or maybe running gear issues? My trailer weighs 7600lbs and has a tongue weight of 900 lbs. I replaced the axles 4 years ago and 2 years ago had the belly pan removed to install a spare tire carrier and to fix a small frame crack and to box both sides of the frame from the axles rearward. The frame from the axles forward was fine. I should also note that 3 years ago after getting the new axles a crack began to form above the door in the usual location. I had it reinforced with a new sheet of aluminum riveted to the main bows. I tow with a F250 and 1000lb spring bars that my father used for 20 years prior with an F350 dually. In order for the trailer to sit level when hitched, I use the 4th link. Any less tension and in addition to the trailer hanging low, when I hit bumps I get quite an up and down motion in the truck. The higher tension minimizes that but I'm beginning to wonder if it's contributing to my door lock issue. Any thoughts are welcome.Attachment 209767
A worn striker bolt must be replaced if the lock is to perform as designed.

BUT, replace the brass shim in the striker pocket as well.

When the brass shim is worn out, then the stainless steel striker pocket can and will put a grove in the striker bolt.

What further causes that issue?

Excessive tow vehicle rating, excessive high bar rating, AND unbalanced running gear.

Most likely the pins in the hinges are worn excessively as well.

If the door gasket has never been replaced then it can contribute as well.

Andy
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Old 04-16-2014, 09:38 AM   #3
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Andy, I don't think I have a brass shim in the striker pocket. All I see is a piece of metal with a rectangular hole for the striker to go through secured by 2 rivets. This piece of metal is a little loose. I take it you carry the striker parts?
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Old 04-16-2014, 09:39 AM   #4
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To clarify my new striker bolt is still good, I'm talking about the shim and pocket parts.
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Old 04-16-2014, 11:26 AM   #5
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A new pocket will probably help. When I replaced one in one of my Airstreams which developed a similar issue with grooving the new pocket which I also put in was of a different design and the problem did not re-occur. Andy's post also identifies other possible issues to consider.
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Old 04-16-2014, 12:33 PM   #6
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Andy, I don't think I have a brass shim in the striker pocket. All I see is a piece of metal with a rectangular hole for the striker to go through secured by 2 rivets. This piece of metal is a little loose. I take it you carry the striker parts?
Yes we do.

Andy
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Old 04-16-2014, 04:19 PM   #7
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After viewing the striker pocket parts I realized that I am missing the brass shim which appears to provide a solid surface that covers the length of the striker bolt when in the striker pocket. I think this shim will prevent the formation of a groove in the striker bolt as it will distribute the force of any vibration over the full surface area of the bolt. I will soon find out.
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Old 04-16-2014, 04:48 PM   #8
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After viewing the striker pocket parts I realized that I am missing the brass shim which appears to provide a solid surface that covers the length of the striker bolt when in the striker pocket. I think this shim will prevent the formation of a groove in the striker bolt as it will distribute the force of any vibration over the full surface area of the bolt. I will soon find out.
The brass shim keeps the striker bolt from ever touching the stainless steel striker pocket.

When the shim is gone or worn out, then the groove will take place.

That has happened many hundreds of times.

Andy
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Old 04-16-2014, 06:37 PM   #9
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Thanks Andy for the advice and the parts.
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