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Old 04-10-2016, 03:01 PM   #1
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Default Camper door opens while in tow.

So after more than a decade of just sitting I towed the camper to a trailer place to get the brakes checked and axle bearings checked. I did have to get new wheel bearings but surprisingly the electric brakes checked out fine there was no need to repair any part of them.

Anyway while towing the Hilo the 9km to the trailer place the camper door opened twice. The next day for the trip back I locked the camper door and it still opened once on the trip back home.

When I close the door if I try just pulling on it the door won't open. So how can I attempt to repair something when it appears to be working fine when it is sitting in the driveway? Anyone have any ideas?
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Old 04-10-2016, 03:19 PM   #2
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My first guess would be that the frame work is flexing a lot, or the door frame work is week and flexing. You could possible mimic the cause by using a jack to lift a little in each corner to see how much flex and might see a week spot in the frame, but be careful not to bend or warp the frame. Need to ensure the door knob latch is working properly first.
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Old 04-10-2016, 03:50 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by ltblueblzr View Post
My first guess would be that the frame work is flexing a lot, or the door frame work is week and flexing. You could possible mimic the cause by using a jack to lift a little in each corner to see how much flex and might see a week spot in the frame, but be careful not to bend or warp the frame. Need to ensure the door knob latch is working properly first.
That's my guess too. Are you locking the door with the "deadbolt"? You SHOULD, if you're pulling the trailer. The deadbolt has more "bite" than the regular latch.

- Jack
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Old 04-10-2016, 04:12 PM   #4
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My first guess would be that the frame work is flexing a lot, or the door frame work is week and flexing. You could possible mimic the cause by using a jack to lift a little in each corner to see how much flex and might see a week spot in the frame, but be careful not to bend or warp the frame. Need to ensure the door knob latch is working properly first.
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That's my guess too. Are you locking the door with the "deadbolt"? You SHOULD, if you're pulling the trailer. The deadbolt has more "bite" than the regular latch.

- Jack
Thanks for the replies guys. Quick service. First I just checked and on my Hilo the deadbolt can only be accessed from inside as the outer door window does not open and there is no way to reach in. There is some wear on the bottom of the metal piece that surrounds the opening the latch enters. Maybe things have shifted a smidge and the latch is not extending all the way in. I may try filing the bottom opening a little.
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Old 04-10-2016, 09:16 PM   #5
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Our 1997 21 Towlite had significant water damage in the front right side upper wall near the door. It would flex when we were traveling and the door would open.

Our fix was to mount a metal loop on the door jam next to the latch. When we were underway, we attached a bungee chord from the loop across the door to the metal step housing.
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Old 04-11-2016, 12:07 AM   #6
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Default Door coming unlatched.

We also had this happen on our 1990 25ft. Classic. DH has to push up on the door as it slips down slightly(old age). I'm sure he has taken the lock/door latch apart and lubed everything well. Our striker plate holes had enlarged. He was able to have a CNC program made up at work and a batch of new striker plates made up. I will be over at my trailer later this week and will take a picture. If this is what you need I will mail one to you. We gave some of these out at a HiLo rally to vintage owners. I still have a few in the junk drawer in the HiLo. Since our repairs it hasn't been an issue.
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Old 04-11-2016, 12:24 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by My name is Pat View Post
Thanks for the replies guys. Quick service. First I just checked and on my Hilo the deadbolt can only be accessed from inside as the outer door window does not open and there is no way to reach in. There is some wear on the bottom of the metal piece that surrounds the opening the latch enters. Maybe things have shifted a smidge and the latch is not extending all the way in. I may try filing the bottom opening a little.
Pat, for what it's worth, I've seen replacement door locks with exterior "keyed" deadbolts and regular latches for sale in emails, probably from Camping World. But, I'm sure you could find them cheaper elsewhere online. I think they are direct replacement items and they are not too expensive (maybe in the $20 US range?).

- Jack
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Old 04-17-2016, 09:47 AM   #8
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We also had this happen on our 1990 25ft. Classic. DH has to push up on the door as it slips down slightly(old age). I'm sure he has taken the lock/door latch apart and lubed everything well. Our striker plate holes had enlarged. He was able to have a CNC program made up at work and a batch of new striker plates made up. I will be over at my trailer later this week and will take a picture. If this is what you need I will mail one to you. We gave some of these out at a HiLo rally to vintage owners. I still have a few in the junk drawer in the HiLo. Since our repairs it hasn't been an issue.
First sorry for the late reply guys and gals, I usually get a notification when something new gets written but I haven't this past week for some reason.

Thanks for the offer Sam but that won't be necessary, very nice of you though thanks again.

I think the trailer must be flexing because when it's just sitting there everything appears to be working fine. I can't see any water damage anywhere so I don't really know what could be causing the flexing. Crawled under and pounded away at the floor, all is solid.

I'm going to keep a look out for a new bolt type lock I can access from the outside. In the meantime I may just do the bungee cord thing.

On a side note I opened the canopy for the 1st time in 11 years, it's in perfect condition. Capri made on heck of a good product.
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Old 11-11-2017, 10:36 PM   #9
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Default Fixed?

Im wondering, a year later, if you had resolved or figured out for sure the cause, or the fix?

I am renovating mine, and noticing issues at the door.
My trailer has the door near the front, about 5-6 feet from the front. Also, concerning the lift cables, the rear cable is about 7 feet from the door. The lift cable is the only thing supporting the wall.
I am noticing sag from the rear corner up to the door, then on the other side of the door there is less sag. Sag defined by the upper clamshell being measured from the railing of the lower half. There should be about inch drop at the seam, and at the door issue there is over an inch, maybe near 2 inches.
My theory is that the wall is bending down. All there is vertically here is what wood material is above the door, where the rest of the walls have the full height to give support, the door leaves a big gap/ weak spot. Also, there was [maybe - maybe not] some water damage on the roof that could have weakened the wall wood.
So, I seem to think I know the issue, the question is who has fixed this?

I am thinking to bolt in some steel to reinforce the wood above the door (after repositioning the wall of course) to get rid of the sag.
Pics would be great, otherwise I will add mine when I do this.

After reading the OP here I was concerned mine might get worse. As it is, my dead bolt will not work because of the sag making the striker plate higher than the dead bolt. I have to lift the door for it to lock, though the door lock still woks, but it only keep the handle from moving.
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Old 11-12-2017, 06:14 PM   #10
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There is a person named Sam on this site that helped me out. My Hilo was missing the striker plate for the door. In a great coincidence her husband was a steel fabricator and had made a few extras. She sent me one and it fit perfectly, solving my problem while the camper was in tow.

However I do have to lift up on the door to lock it with the deadbolt as it too sags a little on one side. I'd guess half an inch. This isn't a big deal to me as the door does lock with the key without having to lift up on it. I'm thinking my sagging door is caused by loose screws in one of the door hinges. They probably have stripped out of their holes.

There are some very knowledgeable people here, or if you search through the forums you will find the answer to your cable questions. Sorry I'm not very mechanically inclined.

I have parked my Hilo for the past two years at a wonderful trailer park and have decided to just keep it there until it has some major damage rendering it unusable.
So far everything other than the furnace is still working and there are no leaks.

Extremely surprised that a 1985 gas/electric/dc fridge is still working not to mention things like the inline water pump and original propane hot water tank.

Have fun will travel.
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