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Old 02-17-2016, 10:29 AM   #15
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2014 23' International
Hurst , Texas
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Dometic Hinge Reinforcement Part

My friend, Larry Gambel, at Little House Customs sells a little stainless steel reinforcement for the small Dometics used in Casita trailers... I suspect they would work on the Airstream Dometic hinges as well.

From the description in his web site:


All too often we hear of the top hinge breaking on the 17-foot Dometic fridges. This is bad news when it happens because that top hinge is part of that quite expensive door! This stainless steel bracket is easy to install and will repair that broken hinge permanently or prevent it from happening on one that's not yet broken! The very thin profile is nearly invisible when installed. This is a must have for all 17' refrigerators.

Web site here (scroll down 4/5ths or so)


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Old 02-17-2016, 11:55 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by bugman3 View Post
So far no success, the Dometic Rep never really answered my question. She just emailed me a schematic of the fridge and said these are the parts available. And from what I can see there is no part there to fix this.

Our local RV shop, after a few days, got back to me saying there is some sort of fix from Dometic but he had no part number or price and would get back to me.

It baffles me why this is so hard to find a is obviously a common problem.
Yes, your absolutely correct, in that it's common for a reefer door hinge to break.

The question is not what happened, but WHY did it happen ??

The answer is very basic.

Shaking the trailer, by what ever means, will cause the reefer door hinges to break, along with the cabinet door hinges, etc. This has been going on for my 50 years with Airstream.

The hinges don't break, unless the trailer is towed. The more towing, the more hinges break.

The cause is from several different sources, or a combination of them.

First, everyone agrees that an Airstream MUST have a soft ride. When that happens, then crazy things like hinges breaking, rivets shearing, fatigue cracks in the shell or chassis and water leaks, as well as many other issues, rarely, if ever, happen.

The list of regular possibles are as follows.

1. Bad rubber rods in the axle/axles.
2. Unbalanced running gear.
3. Excessive rated hitch bars.
4. Excessive rated (heavy duty) tow vehicles.
5. Many rough roads.

Figure out which of the above your trailer is experiencing, and then you will have your answer as to why "hinges" on anything in the trailer, break, as well as other "don't make any sense" problems.

The rubber rods in the axles are good for about 25 years, and possibly a little more "if" the trailer was towed very often. Parking a torsion axle equipped trailer with the weight on the axles for even a couple of years, destroys those rubber rods.

Unbalanced running gear is way to often a issue. The use of proper balancing methods such as the Centramatic balancers have become a great answer, that lasts forever.

Excessive rated hitch bars and tow vehicles, is almost always a selling dealers answer. Unfortunately, most always, that answer is incorrect.

The heavier duty the tow vehicle, the lighter rating bars should be used. A good test is to jump up and down on the coupler when the rig is ready to be towed. The coupler, and the rear end of the tow vehicle should move vertically about one inch, or more. That test would show that the overall suspension sytem in use, is OK.

When that movement is next to nothing, that tells you that the rig is "over suspended", if you wish, and must be softened so that the soft ride for the trailer, can be achieved.

Physics is physics, and it doesn't matter how old or new the issue, the rules still apply.


If the shaking is present, NEGATIVE REWARDS, will greet you in many ways, and seldom are they cheap to correct.


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Old 02-17-2016, 12:07 PM   #17
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Kits are available to repair the various model Dometic door hinges and were, at one time, available through All Seasons RV Appliance Parts & Service in Elkhart, IN for around $20. You can reach them at 800-344-0673. Worth a try.
"Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment."

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Old 02-21-2016, 11:33 AM   #18
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In reply to the shaking trailer. Yes, we towed a long distance and yes some roads are rough but as to why this hinge let go, it is poor engineering on Dometics part. It is a plastic piece where a metal piece should be. In my case it was as simple as I moved the trailer in and out of my garage and forgot the fridge door was open, it swung around and snapped off. Still shouldn't have happened and when I looked closely at the other side, which is there for left hand hinge installation, it is cracked also and there is no hinge installed there. And further to that the broken piece is merely a plastic molded piece that could be easily available if the manufacturer so choose to supply it, which it appears they don't. I will try some of the above contacts for a solution. Stay tuned.
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Old 02-21-2016, 02:16 PM   #19
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Check out this guys experience:
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Old 03-13-2016, 11:56 AM   #20
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2008 27' Safari FB SE
Delta , BC
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There is no easy or inexpensive solution that I could see. So I glued the pieces I had back together with JB Weld, then fashioned a 1/8 piece of metal, 1 1/4" by 7 1/2" to support the bottom around the pivot point, painted it black, and riveted it in place. I then used layers of the JB weld material as filler to fill in the area around the hinge. I will paint that black and as it is on the bottom of the fridge for the most part, it is invisible. Probably better than new. If they had used any metal whatsoever on the bottom part of the fridge no one would have these problems.

It should hold, we hit the road for a month in April, that will be a good test.

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