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Old 01-24-2009, 08:39 AM   #1
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My Entry Door Hinges Are coming Loose

This has been slowly getting worst and worst. Now the latch on the door is not catching at all. Since I am full timing in my AS this is most annoying in the colder weather and the door is open just enough to let in unwelcome cold. Well at least I am living in FL and it's not too bad.

The slotted bolts on the hinges just spin and I cannot get them out. only one seems to be holding at all. So even If I wanted to take my 35 year old Sovereign out on a road trip I couldn't because the door is open just enough to catch the wind. Any help on this would be appreciated. I did a search but didn't come up with anything that referred to it.

Thanks, SL
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Old 01-24-2009, 09:34 AM   #2
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If your '74 is like my '77 the problem is the nuts have fallen off or loosened on the back of the hinge.

My PO lost the keys and tryed removing the hinges by unscrewing the flat heads. The nuts on the back side have some sealant that sort of holds the nut and allows the nut to break loose but it may not come completely loose. Either way, the sealant doesnt seem to offer any help when ya try to retighten the bolt.

I used a 1" hole saw in a drill and made a hole in the interior skin exactly between the two bolts of each hinge. This allowed me to wiggle a new nut on the back of each screw and hold it while the screw is tightened.

The only other solution I could see involved removing the kitchen cabinet, drilling out the interior skin...

I guess I should look for some 1" chrome snap in inserts to fill those holes someday...
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Old 01-24-2009, 09:44 AM   #3
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I guess I should look for some 1" chrome snap in inserts to fill those holes someday...
You can find them in the electrical department at Lowe's and Home Depot. They are used to fill holes when wires are removed from fuse panels. They come in different sizes to match the holes.
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Old 01-24-2009, 09:50 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by SaabLover View Post
This has been slowly getting worst and worst. Now the latch on the door is not catching at all. Since I am full timing in my AS this is most annoying in the colder weather and the door is open just enough to let in unwelcome cold. Well at least I am living in FL and it's not too bad.

The slotted bolts on the hinges just spin and I cannot get them out. only one seems to be holding at all. So even If I wanted to take my 35 year old Sovereign out on a road trip I couldn't because the door is open just enough to catch the wind. Any help on this would be appreciated. I did a search but didn't come up with anything that referred to it.

Thanks, SL
Main door hinges coming loose, is not unusual. The cause is well known.

Find the cause, and correct it.

The causes, based on my over 40 years with the Airstream product are all simple and easy to correct.

The number one cause is lack of proper running gear balance.

The other causes are using a tow vehicle that has a suspension to tow the Queen Mary, namely way way too heavy a duty, and a hitch rating that is excessive as well.

Next is bad axles. We all know that from 74 on back, all the axles are doomed. But later year axles also fail, for a variety of reasons, such as being parked for a long time, 2 years or so, and overloading. The rubber rods must be exercised. If not, they will give out and/or solidify. In either case, the shell and it's components will suffer damages.

That happens to any torsion axle, regardless of manufacturer.

Airstreams love a soft ride. They are built that way. When that ride is stiffened, many many damages occur, including the door hinges.

Andy
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Old 01-24-2009, 12:15 PM   #5
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Good post Andy! Very informative. I was amazed at the differences after my new axle was put on.

Thanks for all of your insight!
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Old 01-24-2009, 04:36 PM   #6
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1974 31' Sovereign
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiHoAgRV View Post
If your '74 is like my '77 the problem is the nuts have fallen off or loosened on the back of the hinge.

My PO lost the keys and tryed removing the hinges by unscrewing the flat heads. The nuts on the back side have some sealant that sort of holds the nut and allows the nut to break loose but it may not come completely loose. Either way, the sealant doesnt seem to offer any help when ya try to retighten the bolt.

I used a 1" hole saw in a drill and made a hole in the interior skin exactly between the two bolts of each hinge. This allowed me to wiggle a new nut on the back of each screw and hold it while the screw is tightened.

The only other solution I could see involved removing the kitchen cabinet, drilling out the interior skin...

I guess I should look for some 1" chrome snap in inserts to fill those holes someday...
So I was afraid of that. At first I thought that they might have just stripped out, and I could install a heili-coil. I can see no other way to access the nuts other then drilling an access hole. I really don't want to remove the cabinets at this time. I think I will try to find the hole plugs first as to not having to be limited to a set size. If 1" is it then so be it. I'll check at Lowes first then the local Ele. Supply house. I know that I have seen what you are talking about around but never had need of any.

Thanks, SL
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Old 01-24-2009, 05:09 PM   #7
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Our 1980 entry door needed hinge bolts and alignment. Not having a specialized wrench to reach two bolts through one small hole, we cut a rectangular hole exposing both bolts on both hinges. We were able to cut excess inner skin material from inside a wardrobe and rivet same over the holes when finished. An AS factory mechanic told us to always use TWO nuts per bolt to keep them tight longer. Good luck and happy travels.
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Old 01-24-2009, 06:09 PM   #8
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Our 1980 entry door needed hinge bolts and alignment. Not having a specialized wrench to reach two bolts through one small hole, we cut a rectangular hole exposing both bolts on both hinges. We were able to cut excess inner skin material from inside a wardrobe and rivet same over the holes when finished. An AS factory mechanic told us to always use TWO nuts per bolt to keep them tight longer. Good luck and happy travels.
It's also wise to coat them with Vulkem sealer.

Andy
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Old 01-30-2009, 12:31 PM   #9
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... Not having a specialized wrench to reach two bolts through one small hole, ...
My specialized wrench was, well - I glued the nut to the end of my finger in a position so I could poke my finger in the hole and the nut was close to the end of the bolt. I got the wife to turn the screw until the nut started on the screw and then came loose from my finger. I could then stick an open end wrench on the nut and complete the tightening.
Like Andy said, some sealant was used to keep things from leaking and/or backing off.
They are still tight 12,000+ miles later!
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Old 01-30-2009, 01:10 PM   #10
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Use red Loctite.
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Old 01-31-2009, 05:40 PM   #11
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I drilled a hole straight thu, used a SS flathead bolt then used an acorn lock nut looks like it belongs there.
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Old 03-21-2009, 12:20 PM   #12
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Next is bad axles. We all know that from 74 on back, all the axles are doomed.
Andy, what is it that's special about the 1974 and previous axles? Why in particular would they faill more that the newer ones?
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Old 03-21-2009, 12:38 PM   #13
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Andy, what is it that's special about the 1974 and previous axles? Why in particular would they faill more that the newer ones?
My understanding is that a different rubber was used starting with the 1975 units. These axles will fail also if left sitting too long, but overall should have a longer life.
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Old 03-21-2009, 08:50 PM   #14
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Hmm, good to know. Those are the years I tend to see a lot of in my price range. Thanks, Richard.
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