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Old 01-10-2006, 04:31 PM   #1
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1965 17' Caravel
West Covina , California
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Question Suicide Door Needs Repair

A couple of months ago I brought the new trailer down to my Dad's repair shop in Los Angeles. Soooo excited! Well, so far, we've replaced the axle and have begun to do check out the electrical problems. This is the part my father the mechanic is taking care of. The interior is my responsibility.

I was preparing to replace the jalousie window brackets in the door of the 1965 Caravel, but it occurred to me that I had better make the door structurally sound before I worry about the window.

The body of the trailer has a dimple from the door knob that tells me how the door got into the condition it's in. It pulls away from the body just a little bit at the top and the bottom of the door. Upon further inspection, I found that the frame inside the door has a crack in it.

My question is: Have any of you repaired a cracked interior door frame? How do I go about it? Does the skin have to be removed to weld it? If so, inside skin or outside skin, or both?

And, yes, I'm still excited, but I'm getting impatient. I want to get the trailer home and get started!

As ever, thanks for the help!
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Old 01-10-2006, 04:48 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurie
... My question is: Have any of you repaired a cracked interior door frame? How do I go about it? ...
Inland Andy has posted in the past that these frames can be heli-arc welded. This is NOT a job for the weekend mechanic.

Have Dad check with his buddies who are comfortable welding cast aluminum. If they are good, they will want to see it BEFORE agreeing to it.

Tom
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Old 01-10-2006, 05:46 PM   #3
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Thanks, Tom, for the reply. Dad is a professional, not a weekend mechanic. And, the heli-arc welder friends are mine, not his. Before I hand the job over to someone, however, I want to know the problems that are going to be faced and try to plan out how the repair should progress.
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Old 01-10-2006, 06:29 PM   #4
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My apologies for any perceived slights on either you or your dad.

Welding any metal, as you know, produces heat. TIG & MIG welding produce less heat than other processes. This is important to keep from toasting the wooden components adjoining your door frame. Plus, the inert gas supplied by these processes will keep your base metal (the door frame) from oxidizing (bad weld) or bubbling away before it can be repaired.

I arc-weld. While I suck at it, the practice gives me an appreciation for the better types of welding equipment available, and the skills of the people who do it for a living.

Unless you know how to weld, you will be forced to trust the progress of the person you choose to do the repair.

Tom

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Old 01-10-2006, 07:39 PM   #5
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It might be a good idea to remove the door, so the frame can be welded in a "down-hand" position. A forum search for "door removal" should give you several threads and different methods of removing the door.
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Old 01-10-2006, 07:50 PM   #6
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Obviously you need to be able to get to the door frame in order to weld it. Once there leave as much skin on the door as possible to keep it from moving as a result of the heat from the welding. Grind a nice v groove in the cracked metal to allow for good weld penetration making certain that you have removed all of the crack. If in doubt drill a hole at the ends of the crack. Weld the frame from one side and replace the skin. It should work fine. If there is much welding to be done be certain to let it cool after just a short time welding. Its difficult to identify the base material and therefore the filler material is going to be a best guess. Lots of luck and yes it can be done.
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