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Old 11-15-2004, 11:40 PM   #1
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Door Frame not Square

I have completed the shell off floor replacement and am working on weather-proofing the shell before beginning the interior work. I noticed that my door frame opening is 27" at the bottom and 26.5" at the top hinge. A half inch out of parrallel. I know how to fix household doors - not sure what my options are here.

I had never noticed it before. My shell has definately flexed and shifted over time - due to a bad axle and that the PO had removed the original floor and left the shell to float and wobble out the bolt holes in the floor channel. I cribbed the shell during the floor replacement, and purposefully screwed into the door frame to maintain its shape. I will rebuild the door itself, since most of its rivets are loose and allow me to push the door out of square. I have not replaced all the door gaskets yet, so I am not sure if I will get a good seal yet.

Can I move the bottom of the door over (reattach it at a different spot on the hinge) when I rebuild the door? My 63 Safari has two hinges - very similar to a normal door hinge.

Kevin
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Old 11-16-2004, 07:47 AM   #2
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Kevin,

Stupid question here, but did you check it for square befor you botled the shell to the floor/frame?? Is the shell square to the frame ie. corner to corner measurment the same? The door frame being out of square seems odd, but anything is possable. The first thing I would do is check to see if the front right (Passanger side/ curb side) is the same distance from any point on the traier as the front left (Drivers side / street side). It could be just a matter of unbolting the front of the trailer and scootching it back a 1/2 inch on the door side.

Disclaimer... These are the ramblings of a mind that is still waking up.
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Old 11-16-2004, 07:54 AM   #3
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It could be a little tight if you just move the hinges. On my '59 the door opening is 26 3/4" top and bottom, and the door itself is 26 3/8". That leaves 3/16" gap all around. I think if you tried to reset the hinges without adjusting the opening you would only have 1/16" gap at the top, and it would cause rubbing, especially when you are traveling.

On the other hand, I don't understand how the opening could be narrower at the top, assuming the original opening was 26 3/4", like mine. I could understand the bottom being wider, due to crabwalking during reassembly, but not how that would make the top narrower.

Measure your door. I think if your door is 3/8" less than the opening, it should be ok. Otherwise I would either adjust the door, or the jamb. Just my 2 centrinos.
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Old 11-16-2004, 11:00 AM   #4
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Thanks

I will measure the door. Glad to hear yours is 26 3/4 - means I am not as far out of whack as I thought. I think the shell definately crab-walked when it was not properly bolted to the floor, unfortunatey I did not measure the opening before installing the cribbing to lift the shell, so I never looked to fix that when I reinstalled the shell.

Thanks,

Kevin
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Old 11-16-2004, 01:26 PM   #5
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I've got the same issue on my recently re-floored and re-shelled 1963 Overlander. Mine is more out of square than yours. Th door barely covers tha opening to the front lower part.
I did not check for this before taking things apart either. How can you, with everything being rotten and wobbly.... I contribute it to a case of too much metal on the curbside front curve, making it so the skin can't quie reach the lower door frame rivet holes any more.
So, for me this means pushing the curve in slightly, so the door frame goes back to being square. I checked the rear facing skin segments, which seem to all line up well with the old holes in the floor channel.
It will be intersting to watch this thread, see if any one else has good ideas..
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Old 11-17-2004, 09:29 AM   #6
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Door frames and jambs for 1964 and older trailers, left much to be desired.

As an example the door frame and jamb was the same extrusion. Obviously, one will not fit within the other.

Therefore, the extrusion for the door was put around a post, and yanked on.
When carefully done (???), the door frame now became smaller in width, than the jamb. Sometimes, however, you can see a kink in the top of the door frame.

It was not unusual for the door jamb (the part riveted to the shell) to have a different width from the top, to the middle, and to the bottom, as there wasn't any jigs to dictate position, or width.

This is not really any problem, within reason, as long as you use the correct gasket, on the door.

Trailers, Airstream included, 40 years ago, were made some what crudely, compared to today.

Most of the 64 and older doors, will fit one trailer, as they were all bent, twisted and tweaked, to fit that particular trailer.

My oh my, how times have changed.

Airstream made the big jump in construction methods in 1965, and continue to do so today.

Andy
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Old 11-29-2004, 10:49 AM   #7
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Andy, good to know, thanks. The gasket will help, but the distance is such that the door no longer latches, so I have to do something.

I am in the process of rebuilding the door - its amazing how loose it is (maybe not considering the age and a bad axle). The construction method is basically a box, but they didnt use many rivets, so it sags a lot. I plan on squaring the door and replacing loose rivets and adding some more as needed.

My hinges are relatively small - maybe 3x3", but I am thinking about un-attaching the door side hinge rivets and moving the door to center in the gap and then reriveting - any thoughts on this? I don' think this will weaken the hinge, but it would be nice if it were larger.

Can I get a new, larger hinge somewhere?

Kevin
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Old 11-29-2004, 11:16 AM   #8
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Kevin.

Unfortunarely, larger door hinges are not available. We inquired about having a couple of dozen or so hinge sets made, but the cost was out of sight.

There are several reasons that cause a door, old style or new, not to latch correctly.

The first is usually the lock as well as the striker bolt may be severely worn.

The next is the striker pocket can be worn as well.

But since you are not the original owner, then quite well a previous owner may have made a repair that solved the issue at the moment, but created another problem in the long run.

Striker pockets are very important, and must be the correct one for your coach, as well as properly installed, and properly adjusted.

Depending on the exact location of the door, within the door jamb, sometimes a striker pocket must be shimmed outward, bringing it closer to the door frame, as well as allowing the striker bolt to engage further.

This almost sounds like what will fix your "not latching correctly" problem.

The 1964 and older doors were made with a number of pieces. In time, due to use and/or lack of proper running gear balance, these pieces can and do become loose, requiring a rebuild.

Adding addition rivets certain will improve the original construction of those older doors.

Andy
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