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Old 04-30-2018, 06:22 AM   #21
Vintage Kin
Fort Worth , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2006
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I don’t recall the original Clipper door design shared from Curtiss with Silver Streak, but the pot Metal hinges on the SS double door were (are) the worrisome thing, not just the door opening in flight.

The ventilation qualities of the door-within-the-door (convective, if nothing else) and the “security” of other than just a screen door for sleeping cause me to mourn its lack on the post-1986 Sterling re-design, but not the full-length piano hinge and fully-flat construction.

A few years back one of the guys on the SS Mail List put together a buy of hinges in stainless. That, and the commonly installed deadbolt took away most of the fears.

Had the door on my 1983 SS come slamming open right as I rolled into Houston traffic on US-59 one day. A real relief the hinges held. I, too, cursed the lack of “failure analysis”.

Learned later that bending the door myself was the necessary cure to keeping the thing closed. I also drilled and pinned the inner door latches.

That this trailer (1990) still features jalousie windows was part of the decision to buy one of the final series trailers. They “catch” any breeze within reach. Without that (and the double door), iddhave kept searching.

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Old 07-31-2018, 03:37 AM   #22
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2002 25' Safari
Fountain Inn , South Carolina
Join Date: Sep 2011
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Another "no common sense" design concept on my Safari 25 is the propane heater exhaust comes out against the door face when the door is open. I believe the heater exhaust is hot enough to do damage to the door if the door was fully open with the heater running. I recognize the heater should not be running with the door open, but in the world of children and grandchildren these sorts of things happen.

I would like for the door to be hinged in the front no mater what the issue is with ventilation or awning poles or whatever. My door had been damaged when in the possession of the previous owner(s) by what appears to be an uncontrolled opening. It took me many hours of adjusting to get the door "right" after I bought the trailer. I use a wooden latch to make sure the door stays closed when traveling. The wooden latch adds a certain "flair" to the overall appearance of the Airstream going down the road. : )
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Old 02-20-2020, 06:02 PM   #23
Rivet Master
1976 31' Sovereign
Oswego , Illinois
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Originally Posted by ALUMINUMINUM View Post

Let's dispel the ever perpetuated myth that it has anything to do with the awning support arms.

Hinged on the left, with outward swing, it is a “right-handed” door. Decades of trailers that pre-date awning arms were most often designed with suicide doors because of the floor plan. There were no awning arms back then. Majority of awnings were rope and pole which couldn't interfere with doorswing.

In the years preceding air conditioning, in the most popular floor-plans, ventilation of the front salon (often doubling as a sleeping area) took precedence in design. The cross flow breeze was achieved by opening the windows, which were most often top hinged (awning style) for greatest airflow. Sometimes sliding, and even roll-down like automobiles are found. If the door was a Left handed, when open, it would impede maximum airflow. Secondary to ventilation, was the view to outside. An open door blocking the view from salon was avoided by a suicide door. Sometimes a window in a left-handed (non suicide) door would exactly overlay the salon, front room, livingroom, window.

That is the reason for suicide doors… Designing for maximum Ventilation, and an unobstructed view. It was later, that modern awning mechanisms came to interfere with the historically accepted design.

The sixties Airstreams were designed with rope and pole awnings in mind. Yes, there were some budding, innovative after-matket attached awning designs adapted to the sixties. The ZipDee website shows their “Oldest Known” first attached Airstream design on a seventies model.

The awning arm is not to blame on a '69 Caravel. Airstream's shallow engineering gene pool, combined with build cheapest way (they wouldn't make a left handed door just for the Caravel, It got the same cast door as all the big trailers), use up old/existing stock, unconsciousness, inattentiveness, terminal cluelessness, all combine to a haphazard occurrence of door swing in Airstreams.

Though the body contour and aluminum rib structure of Airstreams adds to the challenge, there are too many examples of improperly hinged Airstream doors. Throughout history, Airstream's doorswing ignorance is unexplainable. Some modern Airstream door-swings were still designed to break open windows. How does this dimwitted flaw get into production?

Today's attached awning support arms are a ridiculous hassle, and hopefully will be engineered out of awning design. There are some pretty clever innovations on the horizon.

Even if you have a dead-bolt, the redundancy of a home-made suicide door wedge is absolutely necessary…
Part of post above is incorrect. Zip-Dee first awning was in 70s. Zip-dee name became by inventors name, was Henry Duda hence Zip-de from song zippity do da. Henry installed full length on my 1967 30 ft AS, [I believe second one that was made was for me] came to farm w/awning on top of Chrysler Imperial at that time he worked out of his garage. The awning that he installed on my 1967 was not one of first he built. Henry was pres of Illinois unit, well known in AS circle. The awning that he installed for me was on the 67 AS that I rolled over and back on wheels & totaled in Tennessee, when I walked back to survey damage there wasn't any damage to awning AS not bad for complete flip, could barely tell was flipped but total loss. I don't think present AS would survive like older ones.
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Old 02-20-2020, 07:18 PM   #24
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1969 18' Caravel
Greenville , whereEverIroam
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Cool history on the ZipDee. Never know what you're going to learn here!
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Old 02-20-2020, 07:29 PM   #25
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1969 18' Caravel
Greenville , whereEverIroam
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Models that could switch doors tomorrow with no effort.

Ok, so to illustrate:

Airstream has finally added sensible doors to all the FB models: i.e. doors that open forward, with hinges on the right, that will stay closed, if not latched in transit when the latch and deadbolt fail and not result in damage or destruction to trailer or door.

Here is a list of models to which they can put the exact same door on starting tomorrow on the line with no redesign necessary, and in some cases not only eliminate the insane suicide door, but improve the functionality as well:

The 20 footer:

Note how a forward opening door will also improve fridge ventilation as well!

The 30' Bunkhouse:

Note how a forward opening door will also allow the windows to be open. Who designed it the current way? Let's have a talk with them, eh? Let's make sure they are ok, cuz...just look!

Ahhh, that's better!

So, the 16-footers, the 19-footers would require some tweaking of the floor plans but I think we still have the engineering and design talent in this country to do it.
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