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Old 07-08-2006, 11:49 AM   #1
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1959 18' "Footer"
on the road! , on the road
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1959 Door About to Fly Off! Help!?

So, our "new to us" little 1959/60 Airstream, that we have yet to properly identify(if you can help, go to the "Traveller or Globester" discussion under the "Traveller" model posting section!) ... just went on her first long trip. The previous owner had put an external pad lock on the door, and we quickly realized why. First, the door opens INTO traffic! And the handle lock somehow jiggles free, so as soon as we start moving, the door flies open, only to be held on by this pad lock, but still open about an inch. Letting in the elements, and putting severe strain on the hinges of the door.
Wondering if anyone has had a faulty lock problem and has advice? It has been an unnerving 2,000 miles!
thanks
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Old 07-08-2006, 12:48 PM   #2
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A lot of things can cause that. Bad latch being the most common. Out 59 had a dead bolt installed blow the regular handle and I imagine partly for that problem.

Rotten floor causing alignment problems or poorly done floor repair can also cause issues. Replacing the floor in out coach did wonders for door alignment and operation.
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Old 07-08-2006, 01:20 PM   #3
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Door alignment is most likly problem with shell / floor intergrity near to and forward of the door. A replacement lock with a throw that's to short may be on your trailer. Pictures, pictures, pictures
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Old 07-08-2006, 02:38 PM   #4
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If your trailer has a grab handle forward of the door, a piece of wood, properly shaped, can act as a safety latch. The wood should be about 1 1/2" wide with a notch to hold it in the grab handle.
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Old 07-08-2006, 03:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pahaska
If your trailer has a grab handle forward of the door, a piece of wood, properly shaped, can act as a safety latch. The wood should be about 1 1/2" wide with a notch to hold it in the grab handle.
And here's pictures

http://www.airforums.com/forum...ight=doohickey
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Old 07-08-2006, 03:42 PM   #6
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1956 16' Bubble
Rose Lodge , Oregon
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Hi Quinn!
You may have a "one-off," one of the 18D's, very similar to a Pacer, which is what I have. (For a look, go to the butchered "Let's See You" thread, where I'm pictured with the mystery '59 trailer next to my Bambi for comparison purposes.)

On both my vintage trailers, the doors gap at highway speeds for no discernible reason & I'm in a quandary similar to yours. I never travel without a bungee cord, and even with that I nearly lost the Bambi's door this summer.

What I plan to do is install some sort of latch at the bottom front of the door, either a flap that will fold from the body of the trailer BACK onto the door, thereby using airflow to put pressure against the door, or even a simple hook-style to keep the door bottom firmly seated & distribute pressure.

Anyone else encountered this problem and, ideally, solved it?!
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Old 07-09-2006, 12:26 AM   #7
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1963 16' Bambi
Yreka , California
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Our door did fall off...

Hi,

We have a 1963 Bambi with a "suicide" door... Ours came open on the interstate and we nearly lost it! We looked back into the rear view mirror and saw our door dragging on the road, the bottom hinge was barely holding it on the top hinge broke loose.

Our door "looked" secure, but our door is held in place with rivets, through the stainless hinge, through the aluminum outer skin, and into steel plates that provide strength. However, all these different kinds of metals seem to react to each other... our good looking rivets simply corroded in two! We wound up at a WalMart parking lot making temporary repairs. Not my idea of a good time... Naturally my husband took the door entirely apart, re-riveted the door and it is much better. But, he simply ties the door shut with a rope to the side handle. Not taking any chances....

I think my husband has info and pics on his thread search for NorCal Bambi Floor Replacement ~ it is part way through the pages... sorry I am not sure what post it is. I will see if I can find it.

Good luck. Will be interested to know what your solution will be. Let us know!

Mrs. NorCal Bambi (traveling in S Tardis)
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Old 07-09-2006, 12:36 AM   #8
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Hello again,

Took me awhile to find the post where our door came off... here is the link: look at post #198

http://www.airforums.com/forum...-17925-15.html

Mrs. NorCal Bambi (traveling in S Tardis)
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Old 07-09-2006, 02:39 AM   #9
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1960 24' Tradewind
santa barbara , California
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Hello quinn,
We have a 60 tradewind that had a pad lock also .The damage to the skin was already there as it had flew open in the past .I have managed to get the area back to pretty good shape.Anyway, the hinges were pop rivited for starters ,the door sagged ,the stricker bolt (small wedge shape sticking out from the latch on the door) was worn badly.I removed multiple rivits along the door frame edge above the hinge area to below the lower hinge area,installed aluminum plates ,6 x 6 square and hand curved them to match the contour of trailer ,now door and hinges are removed of course .Slid the plates between the outer skin and door frame used a putty knife to help hold them there and drilled a hole thru one of the already there hinge holes ,used a pin punch thru the hinge hole into the skin into the plate behind the outer skin ,got an olympic rivit in place ,then drilled the rest of the plate holes thru the holes for the hinge already there into the plate behind the skin ,was able to install all new olympic rivits .Did upper and lower hinges .Yes it was tediouse work until you get the first rivit put in .The plates are 1/8 " and can be worked pretty
easily into the contour you need say with a rolling pin or? That retrofit
significantly strengthend the door hinges 100% ,no movement .Those hinges
are pop rivited to the skin with no backing for strength ,that is why you put the plates in .I removed then the door handle the bargmann lever type .
Took it apart ,easily done,removed the striker bolt piece and the 2 springs that push on it ,I had that piece welded back to longer than original so
it goes 1/2 " deep into the striker pocket on the trailer .you could get that piece made by a metal shop out of stainless steel ,costly though .I always lock the trailer before departing and have never had trouble with that door.
A combination of troubles including the floor rot if you have it around the
door area ,mine did ,all replaced ,the wiggily hinges ,pop rivits ,and worn off striker bolt .All can be fixed ,mostley time ,not alot of money ,unless you have it done .those repairs and others as posted on this thread will solve
the door problem .One good idea I use is to not shut the door hard and pull
the handle out as i close it to ease the wear of that striker.
long winded post ,Im sorry but it will be useful I hope.

Scott of scottanlily
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Old 07-09-2006, 11:04 AM   #10
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Yep, been there, done that, bought the T shirt. We lost our door on our maiden voyage on the freeway just east of Flagstaff. When I say lost, I mean it came all the way off. By the time we noticed something was wrong, it was lying beside the driving portion of the freeway a quarter of a mile away. We had it secured with a bungee cord to the front antenna ball by the front window. In fact, that's how we found out the door was gone because the bungee flew off and hit the rear window of the truck. All of this happened at 65 miles per hour.

After walking back and picking up the door, we drove onto Winslow to find a hardware store. Bought plastic sheeting and the strongest duct tape we could find. Taped up the opening and planned on re-attaching the door at our first overnight stop in Gallup. Everytime the speedometer got around 45 mph, the plastic sheeting would be forced off the trailer from some interior force. We could see in the mirror that the plastic would bubble out and then finally give way.

In Gallup, I re-attached the door at the hinges and added two hasps from WalMart. Amazingly enough, the door survived its desperation trip away from the trailer in relatively good shape. Besides reshaping the lost curvature from top to bottom, I've not done another thing to it. Oh, it needs a few skins replaced here and there but nothing necessary to its function. Besides, it makes a great story at rallys and serves as a warning to others to keep that suicide door secure by whatever means necessary.

Brad
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Old 07-01-2008, 06:33 PM   #11
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1958 18' "Footer"
encinitas , California
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i lost my door!

does anyone know of a solution, or even compatability years/ models ....
i lost the door to my 58 18' airstream....suicide door like above....

(loaned trailer to someone who.."shut it tight" .......)

lesson learned.....

is there a junkyard? will a non suicide fit? no real frame damage.... (but some bodywork and a window on side)

first post. owned 14 years...... and first loss......
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Old 07-01-2008, 06:41 PM   #12
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1959 24' Tradewind
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Sorry to hear of your 'lesson learned." I'm not sure a non-suicide door will work in your situation. I do know that you can reskin the door with new aluminum if the frame held up from hitting the road. Any way to post some pictures?

BTW - welcome to the forums.

Brad
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Old 07-01-2008, 06:45 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimcathexisg View Post
does anyone know of a solution, or even compatability years/ models ....
i lost the door to my 58 18' airstream....suicide door like above....

(loaned trailer to someone who.."shut it tight" .......)

lesson learned.....

is there a junkyard? will a non suicide fit? no real frame damage.... (but some bodywork and a window on side)

first post. owned 14 years...... and first loss......
We have the original extrusions.

We can fabricate a new door for you, but we must have the trailer in order to do so.

Andy
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Old 07-01-2008, 09:10 PM   #14
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1966 24' Tradewind
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This is a handy doohickey to give peace of mind that your suicide door will not open whether your locks are new or not. It is easily made from wood.
Neil
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