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Old 03-30-2019, 05:08 PM   #1
Winnie-Wise
 
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How to repair our Sunstar entry door?

(When the door locks start to stick, it pays to examine the entire system to see what changed...)


Our Sunstar door started sticking on this last trip. I looked the entire assembly over. This coach has an awning, so there is a gas spring that powers the door open and then stops it before it can hit the awning arm. I found that the stress of this opening process has pulled the extruded aluminum door frame away from the door. In the picture, you can see a wear line on the door made by the frame and how it is pulling away, and a slight bow in the outer frame..




Before I remove the door, investigate its construction and formulate a repair plan, has anyone else had this problem and successfully repaired it? Any ideas? Any notes on how the door is constructed? Anyone care for a mint?
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Old 03-31-2019, 02:52 AM   #2
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It appears that the two screws holding onto the door casing have stripped-out. I would proceed as follows:
  1. leave the door mounted
  2. remove the two screws on just that hinge
  3. Using J-B Weld Original Cold-Weld Steel Reinforced Epoxy, I would inject as much of that as you can into the void.
  4. replace the screws, but do not tighten at this time
  5. using two 36" bar clamps, compress the door frame back into place; one above the hinge, and one below
  6. Take-up the slack in the screws.
I'll take a mint!
Thanks.
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Old 03-31-2019, 12:26 PM   #3
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Thanks! That's along my thinking. However, I backed one of the screws out. They are Robertson/square drive 1/2" sheet metal screws, probably #8. I don't think they were biting into anything but that aluminum frame. And the loose bendyness extends up to the middle hinge.


I'll take the gas spring off and swinfg the door open farther and see what I can see inside the door body next.


Hmm... The dealer replaced that gas spring last fall when we bought the moho. I wonder if the OEM spring has a snubbing action at the end, and they replaced it with a simple spring model.
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Old 03-31-2019, 12:30 PM   #4
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The gas shock on my Minnie Winnie Class C doesn't seem to have much spring action; just damping. We were camped-out at Port Townsend nine days ago, and we were in a 50 MPH wind. I held the door each time I opened it, and I wondered if I lost grip what damage would have been done.
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Old 03-31-2019, 01:09 PM   #5
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Well, shoot... I removed the shock, the three screws for the bottom hinge, the 2 bottom frame screws and pried the frame open with a big screwdriver...








The door is a foam core sandwich with nothing else for the hinge screws to screw into but foam inside the frame.


I see 2 options:


Dismount the door, place it on the workbench, disassemble as before, and glue the entire frame flanges to the inner and outer door skins, sort of a unibody construction.


Or dismount and disassemble more, route out an inch or more of foam, and glue in a hardwood backer, and reassemble and glue as before, then use longer hinge screws..


Or, similarly, see if there is an aluminum channel or square tube of the correct dimension, and use that in place of the wood.


OK, that was 3 options...
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Old 03-31-2019, 01:10 PM   #6
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Eagle5, thanks for the note on the shock. I'll look for something similar. Is there a manufacturer or part # on yours?
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Old 03-31-2019, 01:23 PM   #7
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It certainly isn't what I expected was in there. If I were designing this from scratch, I would have the hardwood backer in there, and glue it too. I wonder how may other folks have had issues with these doors?
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Old 04-06-2019, 01:32 PM   #8
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Well, wish me good luck. I have started on the repairs. The door is off the RV and on the bench, I've released the hinge side and cut out 1 1/2" of foam from the bottom to an inch or so above the top hinge spot with a Dremel multitool. The 2 pieces of birch for the spline have been glued together, waiting on ripping and crosscutting to size.


BTW, I bet that door weighs less than 20 lbs.



I plan on squirting a bunch of Gorilla Glue in on the foam to fill any gaps, and then glue in the spline with high strength epoxy.


Pix when I'm done.
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Old 04-06-2019, 02:14 PM   #9
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Good Luck SLOweather.
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Old 04-06-2019, 06:01 PM   #10
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Thanks, Eagle5. It worked.


Here's the door on the bench ready for the project.



Edge partially removed.



Scooping out the foam. I thought a lot about this, even running it through the table saw dado or molding head. I finally used a Dremel multitool with a custom blade.cut down narrower.





Dado complete.I used the tool to release the foam from the sides, and then plunge cut it in 1" chunks and then lengthwise to release the pieces. The tool was also good at removing the silicone rubber sealant Winnebago used inside the channel.




Gluing in the spline. I ripped the glued up birch to width on the table saw. As I said previously, I flooded the foam with Gorilla Glue, and coated the sided of the spline with epoxy.




After the glue set, I drew the outer aluminum extrusion back on with pipe clamps, pilot drilled the hinge screw holes for new #10 1" washer head sheet metal screws, and added 4 more screws to hold the aluminum to the spline.



After it was rehung, I had to adjust the lock locating screws on the latch. Also, after some study, I found that, over time, the mounting ball joints for the gas spring had bent from the door slamming open. After all that was fixed, the door closes more like a car door, with a nice thunk.
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Old 04-06-2019, 06:53 PM   #11
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SLOweather, that is super-nice work! Great pictures and documentation too. I'm sure others will want to follow your guidance here.

Excellent!
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Old 04-08-2019, 08:33 AM   #12
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Great pics. Nice work, will keep that in the memory bank. Thanks
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Old 04-08-2019, 08:54 AM   #13
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Great repair work!
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Old 04-08-2019, 07:50 PM   #14
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Thanks! After a couple of days, the door works great.
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Old 12-22-2019, 09:11 PM   #15
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Thanks, Slo,
We have a 2014 26HE and have been looking at the same problem. I'm hoping to do something about it when we get back from Florida in the spring. I was thinking about using oak, but I don't know anything about wood. If it could be welded then I would be right at home.






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