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Old 07-29-2010, 06:47 AM   #1
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Why did Airstream change from front hinge doors to suicide hinge doors?

Does anyone know?
Early airstream like the 54's had a front hinge, if the door popped open it just flapped a little, now if something happens it's a heart stopper.
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Old 07-29-2010, 07:08 AM   #2
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I 've wondered the same. Maybe so that it is opened with the right hand as most people are right handed?
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Old 07-29-2010, 07:44 AM   #3
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It was due to the advent of the permanently mounted awning. You can't open the non-suicide door all the way if there is an awning arm in the way. This type of awning wasn't invented until the 60's...earlier awnings used free-standing poles, so there wasn't anything in the way of the door.
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Old 07-29-2010, 08:09 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arcamedies View Post
Does anyone know?
Early airstream like the 54's had a front hinge, if the door popped open it just flapped a little, now if something happens it's a heart stopper.
It depends on the model, both of the doors on my 1954 Liner hinge at the rear.

Bill
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Old 07-29-2010, 08:26 AM   #5
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I always thought it was so when the door was open, the door didn't cover a window.
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Old 07-29-2010, 09:07 AM   #6
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Not quite

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I always thought it was so when the door was open, the door didn't cover a window.
Well that can't be the reason. The door on my 28 International covers one of the dinette windows, almost completely!

When I save up a few pennies, I am going to have a new door put in that opens normally. I can deal with the awning arm, but sure miss the window in the dinette.
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Old 07-29-2010, 09:16 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
It was due to the advent of the permanently mounted awning. You can't open the non-suicide door all the way if there is an awning arm in the way. This type of awning wasn't invented until the 60's...earlier awnings used free-standing poles, so there wasn't anything in the way of the door.
Yep...this is my thought too. We have a '64 GT with the hinge on the right and if it had a mounted awning the door would only open 90-degrees (without modification). This is one of the main reasons we use a rope/pole awning - who wants to have their door sticking straight out from their trailer?

I know there is a way to modify a ZipDee or other older attached awnings like A&E and CareFree that you can detach an arm from the trailer and stake it to the ground - but I think that was a later design solution.

Shari
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Old 07-29-2010, 10:25 AM   #8
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We HAD a 5'er with the door that openned to the right and stopped at the awning brace. VERY annoying to have a door sticking out there. Now we have an Airstream with the suicide door and.....no awning. I make a simple 'latch' to prevent the accidental opening( no matter how good your lock is) of the door in travel. If anyone wishes a FREE template to make your own 'latch' PM an email address to me and I will send the template to you.
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Old 07-29-2010, 01:32 PM   #9
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Front Beds

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Originally Posted by arcamedies View Post
a front hinge, :
FYI on Front beds that have rear doors, they hinge to the right. The first year they did a front bed the door hinged to the left and they rediscovered the awning/door problem. Thus, the front bed units hinge to the right.

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Old 07-29-2010, 01:34 PM   #10
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front bed

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Originally Posted by kamadeca View Post
Well that can't be the reason. The door on my 28 International covers one of the dinette windows, almost completely!

When I save up a few pennies, I am going to have a new door put in that opens normally. I can deal with the awning arm, but sure miss the window in the dinette.
I'm thinking your 2009 INT is a front bed.

Dan
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Old 07-29-2010, 11:16 PM   #11
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Modified Door

Quote:
Originally Posted by FreshAir View Post
We HAD a 5'er with the door that openned to the right and stopped at the awning brace. VERY annoying to have a door sticking out there. Now we have an Airstream with the suicide door and.....no awning. I make a simple 'latch' to prevent the accidental opening( no matter how good your lock is) of the door in travel. If anyone wishes a FREE template to make your own 'latch' PM an email address to me and I will send the template to you.
Neil.
I was going to add a deadbolt to be safer, never saw one of those unwind. I always lock mine from the outside so vibration couldn't jimmy the slide but you added a neat latch assembly.
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Old 07-29-2010, 11:24 PM   #12
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Continental suicide door

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Originally Posted by 62overlander View Post
I always thought that Airstreams were just wicked cool like a Continental and the suicide door was just taunting that rebel attitude of daring to open into the wind.

Never thought of it that way,I love it, I always liked the suicide door on the Conti's, great style.

My FJ has the suicide doors open wide.
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Old 07-30-2010, 06:07 AM   #13
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Interesting thread on doors.

When we bought our Sovereign last year the machanic going over the details was sure to tell us not to light the furnace with the door open and up against the outside wall, reason, the vent will be behind the door not letting the vent to work properly and possibily damaging the aluminum. Just FYI!!
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Old 07-30-2010, 06:45 AM   #14
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Quote:
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I'm thinking your 2009 INT is a front bed.

Dan
Nope, rear bedroom. I usually sit beside the window that is blocked and can't see anything. The wife on the opposite side is always pointing out birds, animals, etc. that I can't see!
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Old 07-30-2010, 08:15 AM   #15
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It was due to the advent of the permanently mounted awning. You can't open the non-suicide door all the way if there is an awning arm in the way. This type of awning wasn't invented until the 60's...earlier awnings used free-standing poles, so there wasn't anything in the way of the door.
hmm... i have an old school awning on my 62, but i have a non-suicide door...?
am i missing something?
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Old 07-30-2010, 08:24 AM   #16
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hmm... i have an old school awning on my 62, but i have a non-suicide door...?
am i missing something?
no, not a thing. works out fine, that way. If you had a "new-school" awning, you wouldn't be able to open the door all the way.
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Old 07-30-2010, 09:22 AM   #17
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no, not a thing. works out fine, that way. If you had a "new-school" awning, you wouldn't be able to open the door all the way.
but to say that the door change was due to the new awnings... that was not the situation in my case. was the awning style an 'option'? does anyone know of a trailer 62 or older with a 'factory installed' permanent awning?

my argument (for arguments sake - to play 'devils advocate here) is that perhaps 'awnings' are not the reason for the change ...
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Old 07-30-2010, 09:45 AM   #18
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you say you have a "non-suicide" door, on a trailer that was built before permanently mounted awnings were invented...

So, I don't know what you mean when you say " that was not the situation in my case".
The factory didn't install awnings during that era; they were aftermarket accessories.
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Old 07-30-2010, 11:38 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kamadeca View Post
Well that can't be the reason. The door on my 28 International covers one of the dinette windows, almost completely!

When I save up a few pennies, I am going to have a new door put in that opens normally. I can deal with the awning arm, but sure miss the window in the dinette.
Have you thought about adding a window to the door so that when it is open you can see through it? I would think that would be easier and cheaper, plus it would add a window when the door is closed.
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Old 07-30-2010, 02:08 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InsideOut View Post
Yep...this is my thought too. We have a '64 GT with the hinge on the right and if it had a mounted awning the door would only open 90-degrees (without modification). This is one of the main reasons we use a rope/pole awning - who wants to have their door sticking straight out from their trailer?

I know there is a way to modify a ZipDee or other older attached awnings like A&E and CareFree that you can detach an arm from the trailer and stake it to the ground - but I think that was a later design solution.

Shari
Shari, My Safari has spring clip type retaining pins on the bottom of the arms that can be removed. Then awning arm fits into a foot that is then able to be placed on the ground and staked in place to keep the awning from rolling back up toward the trailer. I have not yet tried it out but I did get the two feet with the trailer back in '04 when we got it! Ed
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