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Old 06-18-2021, 09:58 PM   #1
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1964 30' Sovereign
Ione , CA
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 146
Bent Door-in-a-Door on 1964 Sovereign 30'

Just completed a great two 1,400 mile round trip with my wife and son from our home near Sacramento up the coast (Northern California and Southern Oregon) and then across the coastal mountains and down past Mount Shasta before returning home. Note - 59 - 63 degree temperatures along coast - rember that as you read the following paragraph!

Everything on our mostly renovated Sovereign worked great. Except...on today, our final day, the Central Valley temps were 110 degrees as we drove down Highway 5. After stopping at a rest stop for a while (and carrying our 80 lb collie across the blacktop to a shaded area to pee), we rolled back onto the freeway at around 60 mph. Another Airstreamer caught us and told us our door was open.

Pulled over to the shoulder and sure enough it had swung wide open. The doorknob was in the locked position and the deadbolt was sticking out in the locked position too. The door was bent out at the top and bottom by 3" each and the aluminum puckered in the middle where the knob and deadbolt are.

My son and I bent the door into a semblance of its old shape and got it closed and key locked it. I then tightly tied a rope around the knob and grab assist handle in front of it...and also from the grab assist handle to the exterior hinge at the rear of the door. That got us home ok.

My questions for this stellar group:

* Has anyone had a door on an older Airstream deform or pop open even though latched?

* Could the 110 degree (F) temps have cause it?

* How do we bend the door back to its original shape and hopefully remove the pucker which was caused?

* Has anyone installed latches or deadbolts on the top and bottom leading edges of their doors? (note, my wife desires any solution to look good on our vintage trailer and I am not thrilled at needing four keys to open the door).

Brilliant suggestions here would be welcomed. Thanks much!
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1964 Airstream Sovereign 30' (Double)
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Old 06-19-2021, 05:51 AM   #2
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1966 22' Safari
1955 22' Flying Cloud
Fredericksburg , Texas
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Sorry to hear that. There are videos on massaging a door back in shape by using pieces of wood blocking. The only security method we have ever used is a custom wedge. Vibration, heat and bouncing can release a door from the jamb. Placing a “thingy” on the door to keep it shut is peace of mind. Good luck
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Old 06-19-2021, 06:05 AM   #3
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1960 33' Custom
Athens , Georgia
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Not exactly a brilliant suggestion, and nothing new, but when I installed a deadbolt on my 60 I put the deadbolt mechanism in the wall. With the bolt in the retracted position it just clears the door frame so when extended it's a long way into the frame. Still, when I get around to making "the wedge thingy" I'll use that too.

http://www.airstreamcentral.com/arti...tch/Page1.html
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Old 06-19-2021, 07:47 AM   #4
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I don't think you can just bend the door back into it's original shape.

When my door-in-door was bent I disassembled the door and found a frame member had broken. Even if not broken, it is much easier to bend the frames back to their original curve if you take the skins off the door.

Also by taking the skin off it will be easier to roll out that buckle in the skin.

Try taking the inside skin off first. They are just pop riveted on. You may not need to remove the buck riveted outer skin if you can inspect and repair from the inside.
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Old 06-19-2021, 10:58 AM   #5
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1993 21' Sovereign
Lewisburg , West Virginia
Join Date: Jun 2015
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Exact Experience

Had the exact experience last summer. Spoke to the NC Airstream dealer who said they would try to fix it but had never done it and wasn't sure it would work.
Ended up filing an insurance claim and took it to the Airstream factory. Replacement was going to be about $7,000, but they said they would try to bend it back. It worked, and they did a good job.
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Old 06-19-2021, 03:29 PM   #6
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1964 26' Overlander
1974 31' Sovereign
Milton , ON
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I'm surprised that it would come open with the deadbolt engaged. I just checked my 64 Overlander and the deadbolt (which is mounted in the door) extends a full inch into the pocket on the door frame. It might be good for others to check that their deadbolt extends fully. The deadbolt isn't original, I installed it about 20 years ago.
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Old 06-19-2021, 06:25 PM   #7
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1972 25' Tradewind
St Clair County , Michigan
Join Date: Mar 2017
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A couple things about this really bother me.


First, the door design is practically negligent. Do you know why no car/truck manufacturer makes vehicles with suicide doors anymore? If they happen to pop open, horrible things will happen. The way they are now, if a car door comes unlatched at 60 miles an hour, it's actually difficult to open it due to the wind resistance. Why are Airstream doors on backwards?


Second, what forces are put on locked Airstream doors that cause them to just "pop" open while driving down the road?


And if you can't fix the Second, you darn sure better fix the First!!
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Old 06-19-2021, 06:38 PM   #8
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1988 32' Excella
Robbinsville , New Jersey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TR Anderson View Post
A couple things about this really bother me.


First, the door design is practically negligent. Do you know why no car/truck manufacturer makes vehicles with suicide doors anymore? If they happen to pop open, horrible things will happen. The way they are now, if a car door comes unlatched at 60 miles an hour, it's actually difficult to open it due to the wind resistance. Why are Airstream doors on backwards?


Second, what forces are put on locked Airstream doors that cause them to just "pop" open while driving down the road?


And if you can't fix the Second, you darn sure better fix the First!!
The government is only concerned about passenger safety so they don't care about trailers no one is supposed to ride in. So since nobody got physically injured in a situation like this Airstream is not required to fix it.
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Old 06-19-2021, 07:00 PM   #9
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2018 30' Flying Cloud
Springfield , Ohio
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Just for the record - so called 'suicide doors' are as safe as any and there are still cars with them in production. The 2020 Rolls-Royce Dawn and 2019 Lincoln Continental are examples. It's the locking mechanism that determines how secure the doors are when closed and latched.
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