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Old 12-14-2014, 03:31 PM   #1
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1984 34.5' Airstream 345
St Helens , Oregon
Join Date: Jan 2014
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Rear door hatch information.

Hi all,

Our 345 has a full rear hatch that is indeed handy! BUT living in NW Oregon it does not seal to our rainy, windy weather this time of year. I do not see a lot of these rear doors and not much information on them. Has anyone dealt with rear door issues?
This weekend I was taking a good look at the door frame seals and noticed the whole door frame is no longer square. The door cannot sit flush inside the door frame. I would try to adjust the latch and hinges to attempt to get it all to fit properly, but all the dang hinges and latches are riveted in with no way of adjusting. The door seals look very similar to the man door seals. I can't seem to find any online info on them other then newer pictures of the Eddie Bauer Edition trailers.

Any thoughts out there?
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Thanks!
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Old 12-15-2014, 09:57 PM   #2
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1936 20' Clipper
1947 22' Liner
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1989 37' Airstream 370
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I've got something similar on my 1989 325 Classic. Size wise, the hatch fits the opening pretty well, but a slight push toward the curb side seems to help when slamming it closed. I've been told that the latches on mine are called "slam latches" for good reason. One notable difference is that mine latches on the sides while yours has a single latch in the center. The sides seal fairly well, but I definitely take water over the top edge. My plan is to eventually add a gutter or drip edge above the door.
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Old 12-16-2014, 11:06 PM   #3
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1984 34.5' Airstream 345
St Helens , Oregon
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Thanks Streamquest,


That's a great idea to add a drip rail to help with the top seal. Ours does have a drip rail over the top, however it leans inward due to the curvature of the Airstream. Any water that hits the outer edge of the rail wants to naturally trail under the drip rail right to the top of the door that is not sealing properly. I will need to adjust that too.
One possibility for adjustment on the door is the hinges on the door side might be hiding screws behind the trim that I could loosen and possibly adjust. I will need to figure out how to remove the trim to access that area of the hinges.
Glad to hear yours seals on the sides! I have BIG air gaps, 1/4-1/2" worth in the middle....UGH! I hate to say it, might be porta-power time to the door frame! I don't see any other way to bring it back into true. I just cant imagine how this door has achieved this amount of mis adjustment! Don't see where it could have been hit or damaged... maybe just settled like this over time.
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Old 12-18-2014, 12:47 AM   #4
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1936 20' Clipper
1947 22' Liner
Curtis Wright
1989 37' Airstream 370
marshfield , Massachusetts
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Posts: 729
Before you bust out the porta-power, try taking a couple of corner to corner measurements on the diagonals to see if the opening itself is actually square.
I suppose it's possible that the entire shell/frame has twisted out of true since some degree of rigidity is lost when the entire rear is opened up for a door. It's kind of like turning a coupe into a convertible without adding some stiffening.

Is there ever a condition where the door closes better or worse depending upon how you're parked? Frame flex is often visible in these coaches with the relative ease or difficulty of opening/closing the side door while they're jacked up or leveled.
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Old 12-18-2014, 05:57 AM   #5
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Where there's a will, there's a way. Would you humor me and get more shots of the hatch, open, closed, from inside and along the sides, perhaps even a movie posted to youtube showing the deficiencies?
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Old 12-21-2014, 05:18 PM   #6
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1984 34.5' Airstream 345
St Helens , Oregon
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Streamquest,

I am right there with ya on the measurements... I did take a few measurements and found the door frame on one diag is 72" and then 71" on the other. So it's 1/2" shifted, my guess the bottom is shifted to the right. The center of the door frame is 3/8" too narrow in comparison to the top and bottom. Looking closer I see the bottom left corner is actually pushed inwards with no signs of actual exterior damage to that corner.The left side of the rear bumper is pushed in a bit however. Looking at the hitch from the underside I see witness marks that the frame had shifted to the right slightly by a 1/2 inch or so.
Now it seems that my door issue is a result of some sort of rear frame shifting. Maybe the left rear had once backed into something, run aground and high centered?...Maybe too heavy of a toad once used? Again, No exterior damage except the bumper is slightly twisted in on the left side.
With that, I did attempt to porta power the center of the door frame to gain more clearance for the door. I chickened out after pushing 1/2 inch out... I can just foresee the left corner window blowing out as I am torquing this thing. I am thinking now I need to see about correcting the rear frame shift and that might improve my rear door situation.

@ Vycan, I will take more pics to show the deficiencies!
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Old 12-21-2014, 06:09 PM   #7
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1984 34.5' Airstream 345
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Old 12-21-2014, 06:40 PM   #8
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I cant get a good look at the gap running along the top of the door, is it fairly consistent side to side? Can you feel any movement at all in the hinges when lifting on the bottom of the door as straight up as possible? Frame is out of square, just for the heck of it did you run a diagonal on the door also to see how square IT is? Even though this door wouldnt get as much use as your entry door, there is quite a bit of weight hanging straight down on those hinges. Could be a combination of a number of small things adding up. Loose hinge, hinge pin wear, frame out of square, and they get multiplied. Having just replaced my main door hinges Ive got hinges in my brain right now but thats where Id start with yours. Those latches aint cheap and a bit hard to find, its gotta be putting undo wear on the latch when not closing properly. Thats a big ol door!
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Old 12-21-2014, 06:46 PM   #9
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
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Do you know if your MH was a funeral coach in a prior life? They're the only ones I've seen with a hatch like that. Maybe a funeral coach owner might be able to help. Sorry I can't help with the door seal though.
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Old 12-21-2014, 10:44 PM   #10
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1984 34.5' Airstream 345
St Helens , Oregon
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MAYCO -


Out of curiosity, do my hinges look similar to the hinges you just replaced? I cant seem to find parts for a rear hatch door and just wonder if they are the same as a man door possibly.
You put it perfectly by asking if the top gap is "fairly consistent " because that describes it well... What I mean is the gap is close side to side but yet the center of the door frame dips down to close the gap slightly. I would call the top door frame to door gap acceptable ( and possibly the best gap of the whole door). There is some room to close this gap if those hinges had bolts or something other then rivets attaching them to the door frame. I cant see how the hinges are mounted to the actual door because the inside door trim hides it... I will be dissecting the inner door trim to take a look maybe this weekend ( I think i have to remove the rear window mounting ring to access it). I did check the play in the hinge pins and there is some, not much but there is a bit of wiggle in both sides.
Good question if the actual door is square, I haven't checked that yet. I assumed it was closer to square then the frame because it fits consistent with how out of square the frame is.

3 DOG NITE,

From what I was told, this Airstream started life as a mobile showcase office for Fluke Industries. They special ordered 3 of these 1984 345 Airstreams to travel trade shows and show off their products. The next owner then rebuilt the interior into a custom RV back around 1989/90. The exterior includes 2 curbside man doors and this awesome rear hatch. The roof sports 5 vista windows curbside and 4 street side. We had never seen another one like it, however there are 2 other "Fluke Industries" custom 345's out there somewhere.
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Old 12-21-2014, 11:13 PM   #11
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1984 34.5' Airstream 345
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Unsure how to rotate these photo's when they upload orientated incorrectly ;

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Old 12-21-2014, 11:20 PM   #12
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Saint Petersburg , Florida
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Seems you have a one-of-a-kind Airstream 345. Never ever seen any Airstream Motorhome's with 2 entry doors.

Wonder for you rear hatch drip rail, if you were to get some of the plastic diverters that the SOB trailers use to drain water away from the sides of their trailers, to keep black streaks from happening? Sure you can find them at Camping World, Amazon, or even better, eBay.

Keep up posted, and would LOVE to see more photos of your motorhome.

Thanks, Derek
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Old 12-21-2014, 11:24 PM   #13
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Hi tedly,

I think we're making some progress.

It seems like your visual observations of frame movement would indicate that the problem lies there. If this were a car, I would think that putting it on a frame alignment machine would solve your problem right away.

Think about it. Damage to your shell will certainly not distort your frame, but damage to the frame will definitely distort the shell. The door clearance issue is a symptom of the problem. Since the shell is so delicate, I don't think it's a good idea to apply the port-power directly to it, and your fears of blowing out a window are well founded. I think we would all cry along with you if that were to happen. Also, the horizontal center of the door is not in the same plane as the upper and lower corners. Your door opening, and door, are more complex than a simple flat panel.

I'm thinking as I'm typing, but my first thought would be to try to pull the trailer hitch towards the street side with the help of a fairly hefty winch and closely observe the door alignment while doing so. If things are heading in the right direction, I'd say you're on the right track.

Good luck,

Charly
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Old 12-22-2014, 06:54 AM   #14
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The door side of your hinges look similar to my main door. The jamb side of your hinges are undoubtedly different. On the main door, the door side of the hinge has threaded studs in the hinge with nuts on the back side of the door. Accessed by removing interior door skin.
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