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Old 12-28-2014, 07:44 AM   #1
"Sassyfras"
 
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1994 30' Excella
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Seriously Bent Door

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OK, door lock malfunctioned yesterday while at highway speed which allowed the suicide door to open and slam into the trailer...the top and bottom are now about two inches out from the opening. Any suggestions on this? I think that I have seen that it is repairable via removal and bending back on a form. Is this something that a good AS dealer should be able to handle?



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Old 12-28-2014, 08:41 AM   #2
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I think that you will need professional assistance with that repair. A good AS dealer should be just the ticket. But, if one is not available, don't overlook a good machine shop that works with aluminum such as one that does aircraft repair work.
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Old 12-28-2014, 08:50 AM   #3
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The repair method will depend on the nature and extent of the damage.

If possible I would try to fix the door in place rather than taking it off because it is easier to properly fit into the opening.

I don't know if your door frame is cast or if it is made of extruded material. This will make a big difference.

If extruded, I would expect that the door can be bent quite effectively in place.


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Old 12-28-2014, 09:34 AM   #4
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That happened to me once while on the road and not near an RV repair facility. In my case, I was able to put a 2"x 4" inside the bottom half of the door to hold it in place while I pushed in on the top half. After a few pushes the door gradually bent back in place. After almost two years, it's not evident that it ever happened and has never leaked.
My lesson besides learning how malleable the door is, was to always lock the deadbolt and not depend on the latch lock to keep it closed when traveling.
I think you should be able to bend it back into shape with the door still on.



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Old 12-28-2014, 10:02 AM   #5
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The door opening in that Direction is a very poor design. Really surprised Airstream did not catch that. Newer models today are very different or mine is. If for some reason my door opens while underway the air flow will help keep door closed and issues like this just can't happen. As for repairs I have seen this happen on a friends non AS RV and while it was fixed and looks good its still not like it was. A local auto body shop fixed it. No leaks when it rains but you can still hear the wind at times. Good luck in your repairs.


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Old 12-28-2014, 10:09 AM   #6
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Quote:
The door opening in that Direction is a very poor design.
I agree, but I think the reason it opens the direction it does is so as not to interfere with the awning support on that end.
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Old 12-28-2014, 10:21 AM   #7
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I see what your talking about but still feel that with a little better Engineering that issue could have been avoided.


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Old 12-28-2014, 12:13 PM   #8
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Actually interesting about the deadbolt...there isn't one on my '94. Just the key lock. I think that the wear on the bolt was enough that it didn't hold. It was still locked when it popped open. Would like to add a dead bolt and I did see on another thread where some folks use a piece of wood through the assist handle as extra security when traveling.
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Old 12-29-2014, 11:07 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by oledawg View Post
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OK, door lock malfunctioned yesterday while at highway speed which allowed the suicide door to open and slam into the trailer...the top and bottom are now about two inches out from the opening. Any suggestions on this? I think that I have seen that it is repairable via removal and bending back on a form. Is this something that a good AS dealer should be able to handle?



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You're close if you're home. Take it to Out of Doors Mart, just down the road toward Greensboro. They have taken care of our Excella very well.
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Old 12-29-2014, 11:29 AM   #10
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Dear Silver BP, only the FB's have forward hinged doors, all of the others have the hinges toward the rear - and are still "suicide doors". The design - either way - is to allow the door to open fully and not whack the awning support bar. Some of the ones which have a window directly behind the door - it's best to regard that window as "non operating" because if the door hits it with sufficient force, you've got 3 lbs of pebble glass all over the side of your Airstream (hopefully the screen keeps the glass from shattering into the Airstream).

Many do not have deadbolts, and frankly the best method of securing a suicide door is a wedge through the outside stair assist handle across the edge of the door. I've seen some people use a rubber wedge shaped door stop for the purpose. Either one is normally secured to a rope or bungee that is tied to the assist handle. The wood one is designed to be put in sideways, then turned up on end to wedge it's notch securely behind the handle.

Here's a link:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f453...tch-84326.html

You'll note this variation fits at the bottom of the handle... which could rattle loose. I'd make one to fit very close to the middle, so that it couldn't fall out.

Here's another link - see page 18 - plus there's some info about straightening the door too

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f381...e-43436-2.html
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Old 12-29-2014, 04:21 PM   #11
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Excellent info. Thanks!


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Old 01-04-2015, 12:32 PM   #12
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Update: Airstream dealer says they don't straighten doors that are sprung this badly, they replace the whole thing: door, frame, and locks. Working with my insurance company using my comprehensive, we shall what they are willing to cover. It is not cheap, in the area of $2,500.


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Old 01-04-2015, 02:24 PM   #13
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Sorry about your door.

I know how sickening it feels. Such a hassle, and so avoidable.

Afterward, I made my "ounce of prevention"

The good news... There's peace knowing that it will never happen again.

Happy Trails...
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Old 01-04-2015, 02:34 PM   #14
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You can fix the door yourself. I did. Same year trailer and same damage. If you drill out all the rivets that secure the inner skin of the door it will be quite easy to bend the frame of the door back into shape. I made a template out of a piece of wood that had the curve of the sidewall. Then I clamped it on the inner side of the door to hold it in shape while I installed new rivets.
Rather than make new rivet holes for 1/8 rivets like the original I just redrilled the old holes for 3/16th rivets.
If I remember correctly I made the curve in the piece of wood a little more than the curve of the sidewall so that when the door springs back with removing the clamps it would be right.
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