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Old 09-30-2002, 07:10 PM   #1
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Angry Poor design on slide bathroom door

My wife and I just returned from a weekend camping trip with our 2001 27-foot Safari and during the weekend, the bathroom door nearly fell off! An example of shoddy design and workmanship at the factory that I am sad to report. The sliding wooden door moves on a metal track which is fastened near the top of the bathroom wall using three sheet metal screws through the 1/2-inch plywood wall. There is also one sheet metal screw fasting it up to a roof rib on the extreme right side of the track when viewed from outside the bathroom. After a year of light use, the thin track metal gave way and broke off at the screw holes. The screws could no longer grip metal! I repaired this mess as follows: I removed the track and slid out the wood veneer strip that covers the outside of the track. I drilled two holes the size of a #8 bolt through the top portion of the track near the shattered screw holes, but my holes gripped more metal and went all the way through to the front portion of the track (the portion that is hidden under the veneer strip). Then I enlarged the front portion holes to 3/8 inch diameter so the #8 bolts could be inserted from the front. I drilled new small holes in the bathroom wall to accept this modification. When mounted, I made sure the new holes would be close enough to the old screw holes so using a 1-inch wide washer would cover the old holes. I mounted the door and new track fasteners using stainless steel 1-1/4 inch, #8-32 bolts. I used a small washer under the bolt head inside the track and a 1-inch wide washer, lockwasher and nut on the inside bathroom wall, all stainless steel. I capped the remaining exposed portion of the bolts with nylon cap nuts. I believe the bolt-washer-nut approach should prevent another case of stripped-hole metal fatigue. The door now works better than when the trailer was new. Hope you never have this problem, but my fix seems to work well if you do.
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Old 10-01-2002, 07:19 PM   #2
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The sliding door to the rear bath on my '77 Excella 500 does not always stay locked in place to the side. Once I stopped and found that it had come completely out of the bottom track after slamming shut. With a little work I was able to guide it back in and open the door. The latch at the top of the door pulls out to let the door slide but it apparently doesn't always retain the heavy door with a mirror on the bath side. I worry about 7 years bad luck should the thing not stay locked. I also have problems with the 2 sliding doors seperating the kitchen from the center twin bed and opposing dresser. I wonder if Airstream ever had any type of locking device for them? They always have one side or the other closing after I arrive at my destination.
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Old 10-01-2002, 07:50 PM   #3
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David,

The latches you pull out to close the doors when the bathroom is in use are designed to hold the door open during travel. If you pull out on the little knob and give it a counterclockwise turn while it is pulled out, it will stay out. If you are having trouble keeping the door open I would suggest replacement. I have a set that are too long for my argosy doors, but may work for you. I would need to verify the depth of the trim they go thru to tell you if they would work. The last thing you want is to find the bathroom door in the kitchen when you stop for the night!
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Old 10-03-2002, 01:05 PM   #4
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2002 Safari LS

A neighbor just took delivery of a new Safari LS. Does anyone know what the LS stands for? What it is, is an upscale Safari with a number of Excella features. The guy who bought it said it was quite a bit less expensive and lighter than the Excella but has a number of the more popular Excella features.
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Old 10-03-2002, 02:23 PM   #5
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Brett,
I will take a look at the depth that the door stop goes through. It seems that it is right at the edge where it doesn't keep the door closed all the time. I did find previously that a twist will keep the lock pulled back.
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Old 10-03-2002, 03:53 PM   #6
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Re: 2002 Safari LS

Quote:
Originally posted by Antique Pedaler
A neighbor just took delivery of a new Safari LS. Does anyone know what the LS stands for? What it is, is an upscale Safari with a number of Excella features. The guy who bought it said it was quite a bit less expensive and lighter than the Excella but has a number of the more popular Excella features.
The items in the LS package are on the Airstream Safari web page. Doesn't say what LS stands for though.
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Old 10-04-2002, 09:40 AM   #7
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Poor design on slide bathroom door and more

I had roughly the same experience as Ibrodsky with the bathroom door track on my '99 Safari 27 a year and a half ago. Mine was fastened with sheetrock screws which started shaking loose after a long trip. So I did a similar modification with thru bolts. The only difference was to buy a nice brass bracket and brass bolts with brass end cap nuts. So the installation looks nice.

As an aside, most of the corner and door facing wood trim was also inadequatey fastened for the long haul. Pieces started working loose after about 7,000 miles. The answer here was also decorative brass ...tiny screws.

I think things can be expected to work loose over the miles. So I periodically make the rounds with a wrench and screwdriver and tighten nuts, bolts and screws. One thing I missed this year was the hot electrical lead to the Frig. It worked out of the connector, hit steel and closed the breaker. It took a while to trace down what happened.

But I gotta tell you.....compared with the fit, finish and components in a highend brand Pickup camper I bought a number of years ago, this Airstream is a delight.
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Old 10-04-2002, 10:10 AM   #8
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Thanks for the heads up on the door. I haven't detected any problems on mine yet, but it will be one of those things I'll watch closely.

So far the items that I have heard about from other Safari owners that need watching are the sliding bathroom door, the hinge pins and rivits holding the two front stone guards, and on the newer Safari's (2002 and 2003), the wing nuts that secure the flat plates on the bottom of the stabilizer jacks.

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Old 04-10-2004, 10:22 AM   #9
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I have found that a little Loctite stud lock prevents screws in the airstream from working out on the road. Even works on that chipboard that Airstream is using for cupboard doors on the Safari. If you are not familiar with Loctite, it is an anerobic (cures in the absence of air) adhesive. Used heavily on race cars where vibration often makes fasteners work loose. I use is on almost everything on my vehicles. It's available at any good auto parts store and many good hardware stores and home centers.
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Old 04-10-2004, 05:28 PM   #10
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Be very careful. There are different grades of LocTite for different purposes. For general threadlocking on things you might need to take apart in the future, use the blue, number 242.
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Old 04-16-2005, 01:44 PM   #11
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after many episodes of door coming loose , coming off the track , and closing poorly on my 2001 safari ls, i decided to bite the bullet and do a permanent fix. had the exterior wall removed and a new solid wall and regular door with a porthole window (sandblasted) installed. skinned everything with formica brushed aluminum and used chrome screws in a pattern to look like the exterior rivets. what a change in both looks and function
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Old 04-16-2005, 03:36 PM   #12
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Ibrodsky,

I have a 30 ft Excella, 2001, with a sliding pocket door and I also experienced a similar problem. I actually had Jackson Center fix it after a long west coast trip but it lasted just one trip. So removed the bedroom wall to get to the entire pocket door track. I installed new wood and screws to refasten the track. Then I used some veneered shelving pieces to fashion a bottom rail that the door could slide on and which would also relieve the weight off the upper track. It has worked quite nicely now for three years.
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Old 04-16-2005, 05:12 PM   #13
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Hey, at least you've got something in front of the shower! Many of the vintage rigs (like ours) arrived in the hands of the current owner with no such device. Jerry-rig time!

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Old 04-16-2005, 08:03 PM   #14
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New Mexico

eubank,

My wife and I are planning an extended winter time trip to New Mexico probably during the 2007 season. Kindly pass along any information on RVing in your great state.
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