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Old 12-11-2003, 09:42 AM   #15
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1975 31' Sovereign
1980 31' Excella II
Sprung Leak , North Carolina
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Don't forget too that the AS are handbuilt, if something didn't fit quite right at the factory it would be shimmed or adjusted to fit. Also like Brett says, "All of the years of opening and closing as well as traveling down the road make the trailer and door flex." Kind of like an old pair of shoes, if you were to put a pair of mine on that I had worn for a couple of years, they wouldn't fit you quite right because they are worn to fit my feet and not yours. Am I making sense or just muddying the waters


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Old 12-11-2003, 10:38 AM   #16
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1978 31' Sovereign
Mesa , Arizona
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Sue & Von,

Colaws has a door for $650.00. I live in AZ. Shipping to my area is an additional $150.00. Does $800.00 for a crated door in good shape sound fair? Would I be better of attempting to fix mine? I opened another "want ad" thread to see if there are any other member willing to part with a door to see if I may have any addtional options. My wife and I are wrestling with the idea of paying $800.00 for a door. If we decide to purchase the door from Colaws (provided that someone else does not purchase it befor us) my door will be available. The problem with my door is that someone put an aftermarket handle on it. It looks like the standard handle you would find on 90% of the tts out there. It also does not have the shade. The coating on the inside of the outer glass pane is starting to cloud and separate from the glass. It also has the coating stripped off of the interor of the door. The door interior is bare aluminum.


Slade Weaver

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Old 12-11-2003, 04:02 PM   #17
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Sladew only you can decide.
It depends on how quick you absolutely have to have a better door I suppose.

I would arrive at an educated guess of the condition of your present door. In percentage of acceptable (to you) figures. If it is say 65% or better ok then I personally would probably explore fixing it.

Will it lock securely?
Is it reasonably water tight?
Will it travel and stay closed?
Does it allow too much air in/out?
How much will it lower resale value ?but only matters if you plan on selling soon.

In a large city like Phoenix there are surely some who could make it look like new.
Perhaps a body shop but more likely a specialty place that does some totally non RV thing. Maybe a blacksmith or a airplsne repair shop.Or some specialty welding shop or even a dune buggy or hot rod shop. If you have the time start calling and asking questions.

Problem will be showing it to the potential handymen. It is more complicated to remove and replace than it looks according to posts elsewhere written.

Be real careful with body shop and welder promises. Many claim to be able to fix the crack of dawn but this may be foreign to even them.
I would be very skeptical of just any old RV place. Ask for similar silver bullet repairs and references and call the reference.

An RV man told us that the doors are around 2200 dollars new. Not in my lifetime.

Was your door sprung by coming open at speed or by forced entry?

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Old 12-11-2003, 04:45 PM   #18
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1978 31' Sovereign
Texas Airstream Harbor , Zavalla, in the Deep East Texas Piney Woods on Lake Sam Rayburn
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Price of repair?

You might check out repair shops at small airports, those where you see the really small planes parked around.

Most small aircraft mechanics are well versed in working aluminum, and should be much better qualified than your average repair shop.

If you bring the door in, most will probably give you a quote for free.

"Suck it up, spend the bucks, do it right the first time."

WBCCI # 1113
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Trailer '78 31' Sovereign

Living Large at an Airstream Park on the Largest Lake Totally Contained in Texas
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Old 12-11-2003, 05:26 PM   #19
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Re: Price of repair?

Originally posted by 87MH
Most small aircraft mechanics are well versed in working aluminum, and should be much better qualified than your average repair shop.
What does the inner door structure look like, anyway? Is it extruded aluminum or just tubular steel?

My Argosy's door was somewhat "reformed" by a previous owner's snafu, but WOW! I think I can do a lot of disassembly and adjustment for way less than the price of a replacement. The door needs a partial reskin, anyway. I'd be tempted to weld up some sort of frame with a hydraulic jack attached to tweak the curvature.

Also, just how hard is it to remove the door if that becomes necessary? Seems I've heard that you first have to take off the inside skin to access the hinges.

Bob McKeown
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Old 12-11-2003, 05:40 PM   #20
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The inner door is like the rest of coach. A formed outer rim with a cross piece or two that run side to side. The whole thing is built in a jig and the shape is normally pressed on a mold, or a bender like they use for muffler tubing that is designed for the shape.

The cross ties may be welded, I know the bottom of the door frame is welded onto the side risers. The cavity is isolated and the inner skin is riveted in place.

The interesting thing is the door is incredibly strong. The inner and outer skins make it that way. If you are going to do any extreme bending you will want to remove the inner skins depending on if it is the whole door or the bottom you may only need to remove half. This will make the door much more flexible. Once you get the shape you like then you can re-drill the rivet holes and reattach the inner skins. You want to drill new holes so that you have a good grip and the door holds it shape. If you reuse the old holes in the skin and the frame you will get the same shape back! Once the inner skin is refastened and the door is once again strong you can drill the holes for the rivets to fill in the old holes and pop in fillers so it looks good.
Brett G
WBCCI #5501 AIR # 49
1978 Argosy 28 foot Motorhome

Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something. -- Plato

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Old 12-11-2003, 05:51 PM   #21
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Good advice just replacing the skins. It really isn't different than replacing a damaged panel on another part of the trailer. The door really needs to stay on the trailer so it can be fitted back in the opening like Brett was talking about.

Inside is just formed aluminum. My problems were the same as here- bad lockset, dings and dents. I replaced all the skins and made new reinforcements, this is what I ended up with. It is not exactly the same but very close. I used spray foam insulation so the holes are to fill behind them. The rivets thru the skins are also thru the reinforcement, it isn't attached to the frame.

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Old 12-12-2003, 04:39 PM   #22
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1978 31' Sovereign
Mesa , Arizona
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I like the direction that John's door opens. Mine is hinged toward the back of the trailer. My first thought is that the door came open during transit. However, the fact that the lock has been replaced leads me to belive that it may have been forced entry. The door skins are in reasonable shape. We pulled the inner door skins off reshape the door. and re-riveted the skins. While they were off, we stripped them because someone had painted over the vinylized coating with a can of paint and a brush. The bare aluminum looks pretty nice on the inside of the door. I cannot get an exact fit. on the coach and I am getting air and water leakage. As I previously stated, the prevous owner did a horrible job installing an aftermarket door latch. Currently It is non- functional. as the latch gets hung up inside the door frame (bad fit). The lock that holds the door in place is a standard household deadbolt (brushed silver) That someone installed with a cut down deadbolt. It is installed in the side of the coach. The deadbolt pushes into the door frame (like the original one with a handle inside the coach). The deadbolt actually looks pretty clean.
Also all of the plastic has rotted out of the window, no blind can be hung inside the window. Also the double-paned glass has been compromised (a bit of moisture seeps in) and all of the tinting is flaking off in between the panes. I would really like to fix this door if possible. However, I feel that it may cost me more $ to fix this door than to order another. On the other hand, the other door may have some inherant problems as well. I have heard that the OEM lock sets for this trailer are around $400 to $500. Is that true? Also, does anyone know if the OEM plastic filler that fits around the window in between the skins is available? It may be worth it to order new aluminum for the door and cut a proper hole for the existing aftermarket lock. Would it be possible to install a new AS lock if the aluminim is to be replaced. I may also be able to break out the inner glass pane and get rid of the window tint and settle for single-pained glass. Any thoughts?

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Old 12-13-2003, 07:43 AM   #23
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Also, just how hard is it to remove the door if that becomes necessary? Seems I've heard that you first have to take off the inside skin to access the hinges.
True. And there was very little space between the door frame (on the body) and the nuts, not even enough for a deep socket to get on them. AS uses vulkem to hold them in place when they are tightened so you will also have to dig them out. Pretty much the same inside the door but there is a plate welded to the frame and room to work.

However, I feel that it may cost me more $ to fix this door than to order another.
No where near $800 to repair. Someone will correct me if I am wrong, or check your AS dealer, but I don't think yours uses the high $$ lock. Even it it does now is the perfect time to replace it (provided you are not a purist). I used a L300 by Bargman because it is everywhere, cheap. It took 2 extra holes in the frame and I had to make a new strike as the one in the package was too thick. If it is the expensive lock check to see it will be in the door if you decide to go that way. I can see the dealer pulling it out and selling it separate if he can get $400 for it. I also think you are still going to have to do a lot of fitting work with a used door. As pointed out earlier, these are pretty much one off, age, etc. will make it close only.

If you didn't loosen all the skins when you reformed it that could be your problem. You can bend it a little with the rivets, but major bends the frame needs to be free. Don't be afraid to use a piece of wood between the body and frame as a fulcrum. The frame is pretty strong and you need to bend it in specific areas to make it fit. Do it slowly in steps, but it is suprising how much the extrusion will take to get it in shape.

You can break the glass out of the window and try to rescue it or just eliminate it if it is something you can do without, you will have to make that choice.


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