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Old 01-13-2009, 07:49 AM   #1
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1973 31' Sovereign
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Battery Compartment Door Pops Open

On my most recient trip I encountered a new problem. My battery compartment door popped open twice and needed to be secured with gorilla tape. I recently repaced the smaller battery with a larger unit and the fit in the space is very tight but have not had this problem in the year I have had the larger battery till now. After I got home I removed the tape and looked closely at the problem. If I pull on the door with latch locked I am able to make it come lose. I was thinking of having a friend tack a larger piece of metal to catch the tab on the door but was wondering if this is a good idea and if anyone else has a better idea?
thanks
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Old 01-13-2009, 09:28 AM   #2
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well there are some who are thinking if your running gear needs to be balanced!!

I just hate it when a hatch blows off and you have to retrace your steps to find said departed item.

To keep the hatches secure on kayaks (same kinda idea) we fasten a bunjie from the hatch to an inside point of the yak.

but something has changed-- wonder what it is?

have you tweaked the airstream god lately?
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Old 01-13-2009, 10:35 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinAir View Post
On my most recient trip I encountered a new problem. My battery compartment door popped open twice and needed to be secured with gorilla tape. I recently repaced the smaller battery with a larger unit and the fit in the space is very tight but have not had this problem in the year I have had the larger battery till now. After I got home I removed the tape and looked closely at the problem. If I pull on the door with latch locked I am able to make it come lose. I was thinking of having a friend tack a larger piece of metal to catch the tab on the door but was wondering if this is a good idea and if anyone else has a better idea?
thanks
If the catches are similar to those on my trailer, your idea sounds as though that would be the simplest solution unless there is some other obvious problem that needs attention.

I had the same problem on one of the rear glass latches on the truck cap I had on my last truck.

It was a fairly inexpensive truck cap and all the hardware seemed poor quality and ill fitting. I did exactly what you suggest and used it for years.

This time I bought a Leer cap - you get what you pay for - well, sometimes!

Brian


PS - are you sure that the locking tab hasn't maybe gotten bent back so that it cannot engage properly? Seems to me the material is pretty soft. I had to bend the tabs on mine a little as it was difficult to lock the batt. compartment doors.
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Old 01-13-2009, 01:40 PM   #4
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It could be that the weight of the larger battery has caused the bottom of the compartment to drop a little bit. raising the stop tab is the right way to fix it, but I would also check to see if the compartment bottom is moving down if you push on it where the catch is located. If it is, the battery bouncing up and down may still cause the latch to disengage.
Good luck, Rich
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Old 01-13-2009, 03:51 PM   #5
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If your door is like the one I had on my '75, it is mounted low on the side, and the door opens outward and down. I lost the door and the battery out of my trailer like this.

I would suggest you check the rivets that hold the hinge to the door and to the metal at the bottom, because if they loosen in the slightest amount, it causes the door to lower, and therefore the latch to not catch as well as it should.

Believe me when I say batteries are not cheap, but finding a replacement door is a real challenge as they are no longer made....I was fortunate to find one in an Airstream type bone yard.
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Old 01-13-2009, 04:28 PM   #6
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thanks

Thanks for all the great input I wil check things out and probably lengthen the catch for the latch lock.
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Old 01-13-2009, 04:31 PM   #7
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How would you attach bunge like kayak?

I was just thinking it might be a good idea to put a bungee as a back up, like you said on door but not sure where or how to attach it.
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Old 01-13-2009, 05:20 PM   #8
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second the motion

I would like to second the suggestion from SteveH that you check the rivets on the hinge along the bottom of the compartment door. We have the same configuration on our '74, and I was amazed at how little material there is at the edge of the compartment where the hinges attach. You can see that in one of the pictures below.

During our remodel, I relocated the battery to the floor of the closet next to the tub. It was actually a shorter run for the battery cables, and it put the battery in a safer, drier place. It also took a lot of weight off the back of the trailer, which is a good thing.

We have a rear bath model, so we have plumbing lines that run right over the top of the battery compartment. The old Univolt was there as well, right under the side of the shower. If you choose to relocate your battery (and are doing some plumbing work) , one of the things the compartment can be used for is an outdoor shower. There is a picture below, sorry it is out of focus.

I have not tried your bungee idea as a backup for the latch, but I suspect the battery is too heavy for it to do much good. I suggest you consider putting a small aluminum angle along the hinge to reinforce it and put in an extra few rivets. Good luck with the project.
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Old 01-13-2009, 05:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveH View Post
If your door is like the one I had on my '75, it is mounted low on the side, and the door opens outward and down. I lost the door and the battery out of my trailer like this.

I would suggest you check the rivets that hold the hinge to the door and to the metal at the bottom, because if they loosen in the slightest amount, it causes the door to lower, and therefore the latch to not catch as well as it should...

Agree completely. Lost my battery in 2007 on the way to Burning Man. Several of the rivets on the hinge were broken. Thought I'd solved the problem. In my last trip, three weeks ago, the battery door opened twice, but I didn't lose the battery. The door is retained with two steel cables, so if you still have those, I don't think the bungee will add very much.

I am mystified, this time, because the finger on the lock seems to have about 3/4" or more of overlap on the catch. I can't imagine the battery box bottom deflecting that much.

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Old 01-13-2009, 05:53 PM   #10
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When I did repair mine with a new (old) door, I put a 2" X 1/8" piece of aluminum strap along where the hinge rivets, and added lots of 3/16" rivets. That battery door and battery made the trip to Alaska and back last summer with no problems.
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Old 01-13-2009, 06:54 PM   #11
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Y'all Are Right

I just finished looking at the hindge and it has nuts and bolts instead of rivets. One of the holes in the hindge was never attached to the box that holds the battery and the Airstream. There was not even a hole drilled there. I drilled a hole and put a nut and bolt in for now. I think that area is the problem because it was sagging there and the plastic above had cracked. I may still try to extend the catch just to be sure.
Thanks so much for all the help. Luckily I still have my battery.
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Old 01-13-2009, 07:33 PM   #12
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bunjie

AA;

here's a few pics so you can get the idea. just use your imagination for how to secure the bunjie.
The door on my 73 is like your set up. kinda needy!!
I lived on a sailboat for a few years and I can tell everyone that anything unsecured while underway WILL become an unguided projectile. Same goes for 47 lb batteries in airstreams. Get Battery tie downs. All the marine hardware places have them.

thanks to CLC for photo's
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