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Old 05-09-2020, 08:43 PM   #1
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Piano Hinges to Save the Under Sink Doors

I got tired of fixing the hinges on the under-sink doors of our 2018 25fb. They kept coming down, usually with the little screws that hold the hinges to to cabinet body pulling out. To add to the pain, the space where the screws were is so tight that I had to use my little bent screwdriver which is slow and difficult. So with plenty of time on my hand due to Covid-19 shutdown, it was high time to make a permanent fix.

The solution to replace the hinges with piano hinges was discussed before on the forum, but never with pictures of how it is done. So I thought I will add this for record.

Stainless steel hinges and screws available from Amazon. Changing the hinges was easier than I thought. I aligned the hinges first on the door, then on the cabinet. I had to move the latch a bit because now the door comes out a little further than before.

The new hinges feel solid. On closing, the latch finds its match on the cabinet without any need to hunt around as before. It also looks finished. The only problem is that the drawers scrape against the hinge when they are pulled out. I will need to file the edge down a little.

The first 3 images are of the 'before' and the last 2 of the 'after'
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Old 05-09-2020, 08:57 PM   #2
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Nice job! Looks like a great solution to the hinge problem.

Thanks for sharing!
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Old 05-09-2020, 09:20 PM   #3
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I just noticed that the last image of the open piano hinge shows missing screw holes. I probably took it before the project was complete. On completion, there was a screw in every available hole in the hinge for strength of cours.
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Old 05-09-2020, 09:21 PM   #4
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Thanks for sharing. We may attempt this mod on several cupboards!
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Old 05-10-2020, 05:44 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chugchug View Post
< snip > I had to move the latch a bit because now the door comes out a little further than before. <
snip >
Could you please explain a bit more about how you had to move the latch? Photo?

Also, don't the new screws go into the edge of plywood? Do you have any concerns about that?

This is very interesting and potentially a really great improvement... thanks for posting.
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Old 05-10-2020, 07:18 AM   #6
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Could you please explain a bit more about how you had to move the latch? Photo?

Also, don't the new screws go into the edge of plywood? Do you have any concerns about that?

This is very interesting and potentially a really great improvement... thanks for posting.
The piano hinge goes between the back edge of the door to the front edge of the cabinet wall, which causes the door to move forward slightly compare to where it was before. This is very slight, maybe just 1/16 of an inch. So the latch on the door didn't engage the receiver on the cabinet stile at the center. I had to move the latch back slightly, but not enough to make new holes, so I moved the latch and the receiver down a bit and made fresh holes.

As you can tell from the picture, this is not the first time I had to reposition the latch. And it also not the original latch. The first set got banged up and pulled out during one of the times when the European hinges failed. One of the original receivers lost a spring and a ball, probably from getting banged up the wrong way by the latch.

As for how solid this repair, the piano hinges are held with 24 screws each, 12 in the door and 12 in the cabinet. I used 1 1/2 inch long screws compare to the 3/4 inch originals. This was possible because they are going in to the edge and not across the boards. It seems to be holding well so far, but time will be the final judge. On my recent trip, after one rough washboard section of road, I found that one of the doors was open. It was not broken, but the latch got disengaged and the door was swinging on the hinge. The hinges and latch were still solid. This is probably an indication of how much twisting and rattling is going on back there when driving. I think a twisty tie on the door handles for when driving, is still a good idea.
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Old 05-10-2020, 08:00 AM   #7
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Hello, thanks for your post on this issue. I've had similar problems and considering the same fix. Can you please provide a link to the hinges you purchased on Amazon? Also, please expand a little about the drawers scraping the piano hinge. How were you able to file the edge of the drawers?Thank you.
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Old 05-10-2020, 08:05 AM   #8
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Quote:
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< snip > As for how solid this repair, the piano hinges are held with 24 screws each, 12 in the door and 12 in the cabinet. I used 1 1/2 inch long screws compare to the 3/4 inch originals. This was possible because they are going in to the edge and not across the boards. It seems to be holding well so far, but time will be the final judge. < snip >
Thanks, for the further explanation... this is a great 'mod.'

Using 1.5" screws seems to be a great plan for sturdiness; especially since they are so closely spaced. And, if you ever felt like you needed a bit of extra 'security,' you could remove the screws (a few at a time) and inject a bit of CA glue in there, let it 'dry' before putting the screws back in. That would harden the plywood significantly.

Thanks again for posting this... it's going on my 'to do' list!

Rob
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Old 05-10-2020, 08:26 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blufishin View Post
Hello, thanks for your post on this issue. I've had similar problems and considering the same fix. Can you please provide a link to the hinges you purchased on Amazon? Also, please expand a little about the drawers scraping the piano hinge. How were you able to file the edge of the drawers?Thank you.
The SS hinge
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I hope the attached image explains the situation with the drawer. This is the left side under the counter. It is not bad enough, so I haven't done anything yet. The drawer scrapes the end of the hinge a little, but not enough to stop them from opening and closing properly. I suppose in retrospect, it might have been possible to install the hinge in a way that it doesn't protrude so much.
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Old 05-10-2020, 08:40 AM   #10
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Looking at your image #2, it appears the design flaw is when the door opens, the base is leveraging the screws out of the cabinet.
Every time the door opens it tries to pull straight up on the screws.
I suggest a T-nut inside the cabinet (accessible if the drawer is out?) and a machine screw instead of the wood screws.
For others with the same concern.
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Old 05-10-2020, 08:42 AM   #11
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Looking at your image #2, it appears the design flaw is when the door opens, the base is leveraging the screws out of the cabinet.
Every time the door opens it tries to pull straight up on the screws.
Yep!
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Old 05-10-2020, 12:58 PM   #12
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I like Mollysdad's suggestions for the left side door next to the drawer stack (if the T-nut installation can be accessed when the drawer is removed. Have to check that.) But for the right side door, any ideas about how a T-nut might be disguised/hidden so that you didn't see that hardware since its right across the entry from the lounge/table?
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Old 05-10-2020, 01:07 PM   #13
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I notice you have a 2018 Airstream and sort of wonder why you didn't take it to 5-rivet dealer or the factory to get this fixed? Based on your photos and write-up, your doors have been pretty banged up. I bet they would have replaced the doors. Last summer, during a road trip, my cantilevered closet fell off the wall onto my twin bed. The factory replaced it and did some additional reinforcing to keep it in place - I truly believe that sucker is never going to fall off again. The guys were just great about it.
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Old 05-10-2020, 01:22 PM   #14
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The dealer had 3 attempts and AS wouldn't authorize any modification as in piano hinge or T nuts. So now it is 2 years old and it is time to get it done right. The European hinges will be great in my kitchen. I doubt the factory intended then to be used in an RV. To many small moving parts, and they take valuable space.
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I notice you have a 2018 Airstream and sort of wonder why you didn't take it to 5-rivet dealer or the factory to get this fixed? Based on your photos and write-up, your doors have been pretty banged up. I bet they would have replaced the doors. Last summer, during a road trip, my cantilevered closet fell off the wall onto my twin bed. The factory replaced it and did some additional reinforcing to keep it in place - I truly believe that sucker is never going to fall off again. The guys were just great about it.
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Old 05-17-2020, 09:53 AM   #15
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Great idea on piano hinges. I'm going to try it.

Our doors not only pull screws out, but the hinge on the door separates from the hinge on the cabinet. They also never seem to stay in alignment. So, I think the piano hinge is better than the T nuts.
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Old 05-17-2020, 10:07 AM   #16
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After 2 rough trips with some travel on gravel and washboard roads, the piano hinges not only holding up well, but they also keep the door in alignment, so the latch always finds its other half on the center stile.
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Old 05-17-2020, 10:29 AM   #17
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Hi, I salute you for your ingenuity. My door under the sink fell off in the last few days traveling through in my opinion the worst roads in the United States - PA.

Please tell me what hinge you bought on Amazon what was the width and what was the length. And measuring the cabinet door it is somewhere around 29 inches. did you buy a 36-in hinge and cut it to fit or did you buy a 24-in hinge and leave a little bit unhinged.

The hinges are typically one and a half in wide is this what you used. Thanks so much vtfrank
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Old 05-17-2020, 12:35 PM   #18
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Well, this thread has inspired me to do the piano hinge upgrade to ur 23D. Proving that I can complicate absolutely anything, I have routed a groove in the edges of both doors and both cabinet sides. Then, I glued in a strip of white ash for superior screw holding characteristics. This was pretty scary since I knew any mistake could booger really expensive curved doors. I had to make several "jigs" to hold the doors for routing and to do the cabinet sides. Thankfully, all went well and I am eagerly awaiting my hinges.
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Old 05-17-2020, 01:06 PM   #19
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Unhinged

Since joining this forum and seeing evidence of such poor quality design, engineering and construction of modern Airstreams I decided that Thor Industries is milking the Airstream brand and the actual product is way way overpriced. Reminds me of GM circa 1980s and why I switched to German cars. Anyway, Iím no longer interested in newer Airstreams. Donít want to be another fashion victim.
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Old 05-17-2020, 02:37 PM   #20
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"Fixing" the danged rotated photos!

Better look at the photos...
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