Found a replacement spring, much better than the original, and cheap. Tried the hardware store search... not very fruitful in these days of inventory defined by fast turn sales. Did get some suggestions though, that eventually led to a solution... first looked at mouse traps (springs too big), then clothes pins (still too big), then thought of those little potato chip bag closure clips... just right, and much stronger than the original cheap China crap spring Dometic used. See my attached.
You probably already have some of these clips (of the smaller variety), but they're available at any dollar store and most grocery stores. Also cheap China crap, but the springs are a better quality and much stronger than those used by Dometic in their $35 latches... imagine that.
- Pic 1: starting point.. latch, broken spring, good spring, chip bag clip
- Pic 2: old weak-kneed good spring, new spring from chip clip
- Pic 3: trimming new spring down to fit in latch
- Pic 4: same as Pic 2 but new spring trimmed down
- Pic 5: new spring sitting in one half of latch, ready to assemble
- Pic 6: latch assembled
Getting from Pic 5 to 6 takes some labor and care, maneuvering the new spring into both halves of the latch, slipping latch pivot pin through the new spring and then through the other end of the inside latch half (use a very small screwdriver to coax it, but watch out not to stress Dometic's cheap plastic latch... could break), and be sure to get the pivot pin's large end into the tighter end of the outside latch half. You also may need to 'adjust' (bend) your latch strike plate on the frig so the plastic door latch engages just right... to avoid the stronger-sprung latch from breaking when it hits a mis-aligned strike plate. A little work beats adding $35 to $40 to Dometic's revenue stream.