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Old 10-05-2022, 10:32 PM   #1
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How to boondock-proof my Airstream cabinetry

Like many others, my cabinet doors, bathroom mirror, etc. keep falling off due to a combination of poor screw selection on Airstream's part, and some rough roads I traverse given I'm boondocking 80% of the time. I try to drive slowly, but conditions can be rough on BLM.

I've done some of the old tricks like plugging holes with matchsticks, but it's time for me to overhaul every single screw / hinge / attachment so I can boondock-proof this thing.
  1. Should I get bigger wood screws, or something like lath screws?
  2. Any reason I shouldn't use wood glue to attach something like this, or should I just replace with piano hinges?
  3. Does anyone have photos of elegant ways they've secured their cabinetry?

I spent the last two hours reading old threads, but couldn't find a consensus.
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Old 10-05-2022, 11:31 PM   #2
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What model AS do you have?
My international has handles that work well with bungy cords and the uppers have finger holes that allow me to loop through and secure using foam coated wire.
Packing and organizing the weight of objects inside might also help prevent stuff opening up.
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Old 10-06-2022, 06:28 AM   #3
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It looks like the rubber/plastic dowels pulled out of the wood, not the screws. You can buy new dowels if those are stripped, but I have a feeling they'll just pull out again. I've never been a fan of those.

If you get a slightly beefier screw it might spread that dowel more and make for a tighter fit. But I would be getting some hardwood plugs to fit the holes and gluing them in with wood glue, drill pilot holes, and then screwing back on with the largest wood screw which will fit the hinge screw hole.

Hardwood plugs will put the grain going perpendicular to the screw and give it a better bite than using a hardwood dowel which would have the grain going parallel to the screw. You can get hardwood plugs in a number of sizes at box stores like Menards or from woodworking supply places like Woodcraft or Rockler. Amazon likely has them as well.
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Old 10-06-2022, 07:25 AM   #4
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I R/R all the hinges and brackets putting 3m UHB double sided tape between the mounting point and hardware, then screws back in. Also if ruff running don't forget the microwave. RR add 3M and more screws. Found ours hanging out of the pocket after a ruff ride through the badlands.

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Old 10-06-2022, 10:40 AM   #5
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All we do is Boondock - Logging roads in the British Columbia interior - Our issue was not the cabinet doors but rather the "overhead" cabinets falling down. Basically they were just metal screwed into the alum ceiling and with the rough roads would jiggle loose and/or simply put through the alum. Go figure, heavy cabinet held to a ceiling made of "thin" alum - no backing plate, nothing - I have no words.... We fixed the issue using next size screws and two part metal epoxy and haven't had a problem since.
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Old 10-06-2022, 10:42 AM   #6
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Your doors are opening while in transit. That is causing them to fail. You need to secure them closed first. Otherwise you'll be chasing this issue for ever.

Glue will work. But at this point I think you need to strengthen the door. You can only accomplish this by adding more hinges. Any good cabinet shop can help you out if you don't have the tools yourself.
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Old 10-06-2022, 11:29 AM   #7
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Cabinet Hinges Pulling Loose...

Just about all of our cabinet and other doors have had a failure of some sort, almost always from the flimsy plastic plugs pulling out.

Drill a 1/4" hole where the plug or screw came out, fill halfway with yellow carpenter's glue and insert a piece of 1/4" hardwood dowel to the depth of the hole. BTW--mark your drill bit with a couple of turns of electrical tape to gauge the maximum depth of the bit--you don't want to go out the other side!

In about 1 hr, your glue should be dry enough to drill a pilot hole for a new, longer woodscrew that will hold the hinge properly. Best not to reuse the original screws as these are too short to work properly.

We've done this on our curved kitchen cabinet doors, wardrobe, mirrored bathroom cabinet and a couple of other places. None have come loose since and we "bungee" the handles on the doors below the kitchen sink for travel. And if you've got the round sink in the kitchen, you'll need to remove it to access the upper hinge screws, in the event those get loose. It's easy but aggravating!
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Old 10-06-2022, 12:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowey BC View Post
What model AS do you have?
My international has handles that work well with bungy cords and the uppers have finger holes that allow me to loop through and secure using foam coated wire.
Packing and organizing the weight of objects inside might also help prevent stuff opening up.
Same here.. attention to organization and weight inside drawers and cabinets as well as securing with bungies have made a world of difference. We also installed locks on all the drawers in our FC bc they continually flew open when we first got our rig. We’ve had 2 other larger Airstreams and never had these issues but happy to say the fix was easy.
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Old 10-06-2022, 12:45 PM   #9
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Simple solution

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcazes View Post
Like many others, my cabinet doors, bathroom mirror, etc. keep falling off due to a combination of poor screw selection on Airstream's part, and some rough roads I traverse given I'm boondocking 80% of the time. I try to drive slowly, but conditions can be rough on BLM.

I've done some of the old tricks like plugging holes with matchsticks, but it's time for me to overhaul every single screw / hinge / attachment so I can boondock-proof this thing.
  1. Should I get bigger wood screws, or something like lath screws?
  2. Any reason I shouldn't use wood glue to attach something like this, or should I just replace with piano hinges?
  3. Does anyone have photos of elegant ways they've secured their cabinetry?

I spent the last two hours reading old threads, but couldn't find a consensus.
Two steps to repair then prevent it from happening again.

I would use the original Gorilla Glue to hold the plastic plugs back in the door.

To be safe, get new ones if you can so the screws will bite in fresh plastic. Read the instructions on the glue - wet the wood hole with an acid brush or something similar. The glue activates with moisture. Don’t go crazy with the amount of glue as it will bubble up when curing.

Clamp and let dry at least an hour before reinstalling.

To prevent the doors from opening when traveling, replace the original latches with stronger ones. They’re all rated in pounds of force to open. You can find them on Amazon.

That should solve your problem since the screws held in the plastic plugs. If there weren’t plugs, go with a larger screw.
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Old 10-06-2022, 05:28 PM   #10
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The under sink doors on ours are a constant problem. I’m considering replacing with piano hinges, someone did that within the past two years and posted on it….might have been on Airstream Addicts.
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Old 10-06-2022, 08:35 PM   #11
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Here was my solution to keeping my wardrobe cabinets from falling off. It was a little overkill, but they haven't budged in 4 years.

https://www.airforums.com/forums/f54...el-182821.html

Regarding draws / bathroom mirror. As Jeffmc306 suggested, the factory cabinet latches are 4 lb. I've upgraded mine to 8lb and no issues.
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Old 10-07-2022, 08:18 AM   #12
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Stumbled across this video today, which reminded me of similar repairs I've done to screw holes using sawdust and super glue (CA glue).

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Old 10-07-2022, 09:30 AM   #13
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I believe I'd try threaded inserts. It looks like the original were plastic?
Get those made of metal. There's ones for hardwood and others for plywood.
The "ears" are really tenacious, and the challenge will be getting one's that don't go all the way through. Maybe cut longer one's off. I'd try to use the existing hole.
They're sized by depth and machine screw size.
Lowe's has as small as #6 screw, I've used 1/4 x 20 to fasten a grab rail by my door.
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Old 10-07-2022, 09:49 AM   #14
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So many great replies. Thank you all for the ideas!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffmc306 View Post
Two steps to repair then prevent it from happening again.

I would use the original Gorilla Glue to hold the plastic plugs back in the door.

To be safe, get new ones if you can so the screws will bite in fresh plastic. Read the instructions on the glue - wet the wood hole with an acid brush or something similar. The glue activates with moisture. Don’t go crazy with the amount of glue as it will bubble up when curing.

Clamp and let dry at least an hour before reinstalling.

To prevent the doors from opening when traveling, replace the original latches with stronger ones. They’re all rated in pounds of force to open. You can find them on Amazon.

That should solve your problem since the screws held in the plastic plugs. If there weren’t plugs, go with a larger screw.
Thank you - this sounds like my easiest bet. I bought some wood glue but was apprehensive about how difficult it'd make things if I had to replace the hinge. I don't plan on renovating my cabinets, so hopefully these hinges last.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 369goose View Post
Same here.. attention to organization and weight inside drawers and cabinets as well as securing with bungies have made a world of difference. We also installed locks on all the drawers in our FC bc they continually flew open when we first got our rig. We’ve had 2 other larger Airstreams and never had these issues but happy to say the fix was easy.
Sounds like this might be one of the causes. I tried organizing my cleaning supplies but they're clearly moving around and one of the causes here. I need to get some sort of secured organizer for this area or install a mini divider.
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Old 10-08-2022, 11:52 AM   #15
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Here’s how we secure our cabinets. Bungy across the fridge, foam coated wire through the finger holes.
Cleaning supplies; dawn dish soap in the small bottle, Clorox wet wipes (just add water if they dry out).
The tiny bungy wrapped around the secure base works well for this heavy drawer.
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Old 10-12-2022, 10:08 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcazes View Post
Like many others, my cabinet doors, bathroom mirror, etc. keep falling off due to a combination of poor screw selection on Airstream's part, and some rough roads I traverse given I'm boondocking 80% of the time. I try to drive slowly, but conditions can be rough on BLM.

I've done some of the old tricks like plugging holes with matchsticks, but it's time for me to overhaul every single screw / hinge / attachment so I can boondock-proof this thing.
  1. Should I get bigger wood screws, or something like lath screws?
  2. Any reason I shouldn't use wood glue to attach something like this, or should I just replace with piano hinges?
  3. Does anyone have photos of elegant ways they've secured their cabinetry?

I spent the last two hours reading old threads, but couldn't find a consensus.
Loctite works on wood
https://woodworkly.com/does-loctite-work-on-wood/

you could use through bolts with locking hardware or double nuts to keep things from vibrating part
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Old 10-12-2022, 11:34 AM   #17
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Cabinet rebuild

I replaced the under engineered kitchen cabinet hinges with piano hinges. When in transit we lock the doors together with a child proof lock.

My bathroom mirror fell off the wall as well. I plugged the holes glued a small
Suppor block on and used bigger screws. It is very important that the mirror is latched while underway.
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Old 10-12-2022, 07:08 PM   #18
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Danecoyer has the answer. Piano hinge. 16 screws are better than 4. I installed piano hinges and no more problems. I also installed airstream cabinet latches in the upper cabinets over the dinette table. No more dents in the table from stuff falling out.
Tom
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Old 10-12-2022, 07:11 PM   #19
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I would agree - stainless piano hinges are much stronger.

My 1974 Custom Coach bus conversion impressed me from day one in the quality of the build. It used piano hinges throughout the build for every door - cabinet and room doors. After nearly 50 years every one of them was still functional and holding tight.

Great idea to use them on an Airstream.
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Old 10-13-2022, 05:29 AM   #20
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Cabinet door repair

Check these out. They work well! I also like magnet child safety locks. You can shut them off once you arrive!


4 PCS Hinge Repair Plate,Stainless Steel Fix The Hinge Side Plate Repair Piece with Mounting Screws for Wood, Furniture, Shelves, Cabinet https://a.co/d/g8sMyAD

20 Pack Magnetic Cabinet Locks Baby Proofing - Vmaisi Children Proof Cupboard Drawers Latches - Adhesive Easy Installation https://a.co/d/2rBf84l
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