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Old 11-18-2018, 12:01 AM   #1
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Red face Swinging basement doors

First of all I want to make clear I love my new 2018 Vista 32YE, my 4th motorhome in 35yrs. The point of this post is to warn newbies of potential disaster with the Winnebago swinging basement door design.

My second motorhome was a new 87 Itasta 27' Suncruiser, before slides came out, but the first basement model from Winnebago. Great rig. The basement had doors that swung up and they clipped up with a little latch, worked great.

My next RV was a 1999 Fleetwood 33' Pace Arrow, no slides. This unit also had swing up basement doors with gas struts to hold them up. Worked great.

Both units never posed a threat to mistakes concerning basement doors. When the doors are opened up, it's obvious to shut them. If a door was down, but not fully latched, this also didn't pose much of a risk, especially the Pace Arrow with struts. There's no way a door would open by itself if it was mistakenly unlatched, because the strut keeps it shut even when not latched (this made me lazy).

When I bought my Vista 32YE I noticed the basement doors were different, they swing open to the side. My wife says, Oh that's so much better than swinging up. I had no opinion at that time, except for there were no struts that had to be replaced. Note: I recently replaced 6 worn out struts after 19yrs on the Pace Arrow ($15/ea) , so I can sell the RV. Some of the struts were getting weak and wouldn't hold up the door by itself.

OK, so here's the problem. On my first trip from my home to the Winnebago dealer with my 32YE for "fixits", I secure the RV for travel and close all of the basement doors (so I thought). The 50amp cord got stowed away (man that cord is a tough one to roll up in that compartment) and the dump compartment door is secured (so I thought).

As I'm about to exit my neighborhood I noticed in my mirror that one of my right basement doors is swinging wide open. I thought to myself, that's strange, I checked all the doors to insure they were closed, but then realized I didn't lock them. Apparently I didn't check them good enough by PULLING on the door. I stopped the rig and closed the basement door, then continued my journey to the RV dealer. I'm on the I-5 fwy in LA, about 20mi from home, the traffic is very slow, and a truck next to me honks. I open my window and he yells "Hey, your side door is open!". I'm thinking really? I'm looking on both sides in my rear view mirrors and I see no evidence of an open door. So I stop anyway to check, and sure enough the DUMP compartment door is ajar. That's two mistakes in one trip! The dump compartment shocked me, realizing if the cord or dump hose fell out it could be huge repair bill. I was lucky, nothing fell out.

So my message to newbies, don't be lazy like me and drive around with your basement doors unlocked. LOCK ALL DOORS every time you travel, and yank on the door after you lock it to insure it's secure, fully latched.

I actually prefer doors that swing up, to make things more obvious, and they won't open up by themselves when swung down. However, with slides it's a problem. If a basement door was left open accidentally, SWUNG UP, and the slide was inadvertently retracted, it would damage the basement door. So be aware of this potential risk with basement doors on the Vista (and other rigs too).

Some doors are quite wide, they can swing out over 2 feet. Door damage is at risk if one opens inadvertently.

Note to self, lock all basement doors when moving the rig!
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Old 11-18-2018, 08:44 AM   #2
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My Vista has the same doors and I’ve done same thing once. My final check is a pull on all the cargo doors before driving off.
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Old 11-20-2018, 03:07 PM   #3
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I had the same issue soon after I took delivery of mine but luckily discovered it myself. It can be misleading and you think itís a complete closure, but itís not. You have to really compress the seal to get it closed. That check got worked into the departure routine right away.
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Old 11-20-2018, 11:25 PM   #4
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I have swinging doors. Before we move DW does a light check. She also walks the line on both sides giving a little tug on the doors. Problem solved.
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Old 11-21-2018, 06:59 AM   #5
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When I close the doors, I feel under the door at the catch to be sure that the lock pin is thru the catch plate. I do this whenever I close the door and the motor home is always ready to go. Just pulling on the door, you could still have a door that is lighty caught and a bump could cause it to open. I like the swing out doors so much more than the doors that open up.
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Old 11-21-2018, 07:10 AM   #6
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I have had the same issue with the storage compartment doors. When we first got the Vista, I made a trip to the storage facility to load things migrating from our trailer. I closed and LOCKED all the storage doors. The next day, I made another trip to storage and discovered the biggest door on the driver's side wide open. The door was still locked but sitting open. I now lock and check that the latches are all truly engaged. The other negative I have experienced with the side swing doors is that the wind can catch them and either slam them into the side of the coach or into your head as you are busy retrieving something from the compartment.
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Old 11-21-2018, 12:38 PM   #7
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This issue may be an opportunity for a company to make a baby latch for RV horizontal swinging doors. In this case it might be called in "idiot latch", Hah!

The big risk with these doors is when a door swings open unknowingly while driving, potentially hitting a pole or building and causing damage, especially if you are backing up.

I'm sure you are all familiar with baby locks for kitchen cabinets, right? To open the cabinet door the door opens only and inch, then you have to push a latch to release the door to open all the way. To mitigate the risk of door damage with a door that's ajar, this kind of latch, made specifically for RV's, could be a solution.

I may have to create something like this just for the fun of creating it.
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Old 11-21-2018, 11:25 PM   #8
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On our present MH I have discovered that I need to put my leg or shoulder against the door and give it a little shove. I then can hear it click shut. Just closing it hard does not work for me especially on my double door with slide-out tray. Again I say a final check before departure of pulling on each door to ensure it is closed.
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Old 11-25-2018, 06:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BirchyBoy View Post
My Vista has the same doors and Iíve done same thing once. My final check is a pull on all the cargo doors before driving off.

X2 on my Sunstar. Made the mistake a couple of times, so I made me a note over the speedometer "check basement doors".
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Old 11-25-2018, 07:00 PM   #10
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I liked the look of the side opening doors when I first saw them, but still have the swing-ups. HOWEVER, they are not immune from opening while driving!! While driving on a two lane road several years ago I noticed one open in my driver side rear view mirror ... lost a couple of items that fell out. Only thing I could figure was it was not latched and air suction from a passing truck pulled it open. Since then, when closing a door I always press a leg against both sides to ensure the latches are secure.
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Old 11-25-2018, 07:20 PM   #11
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I feel or felt your pain about the power cord.

There is another thread entitled ďimprovement to your 32YEĒ (paraphrase). In it are a couple of ideas to make life easier with the cord.

Iíve been there with the doors too.

Always something!

Enjoy the YE. Very happy with mine
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Old 11-28-2018, 05:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Locke View Post
This issue may be an opportunity for a company to make a baby latch for RV horizontal swinging doors. In this case it might be called in "idiot latch", Hah!
....Stuff deleted...

I may have to create something like this just for the fun of creating it.

They are called "turn buttons"..."
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Old 11-28-2018, 06:00 PM   #13
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Yep..love the side swing doors for easy access. I have also had the swinging door syndrome even after locking all doors. I now make sure I close them hard (almost slam them shut) then lock and pull on the doors to make sure they do not open. The one I have most problems with is the door for the propane tank as it cannot be locked.
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Old 11-28-2018, 07:44 PM   #14
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On my 2015 Vista, I also have to slam the doors shut hard and then push on the edge with my knee to latch. I had a problem with one of my doors a few years ago not latching, so I took the inside latch cover off and found the latch tongue was stuck inside the mechanism so I cleaned the mechanism and sprayed some lubricant on it. Haven’t had that problem again on any of the doors after 20,000 miles.
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Old 11-28-2018, 09:38 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by kcgrant43 View Post
On my 2015 Vista, I also have to slam the doors shut hard and then push on the edge with my knee to latch. I had a problem with one of my doors a few years ago not latching, so I took the inside latch cover off and found the latch tongue was stuck inside the mechanism so I cleaned the mechanism and sprayed some lubricant on it. Haven’t had that problem again on any of the doors after 20,000 miles.
Yes, it's a good idea to clean an lube each latch mechanism annually to make them work as they are intended. If that's done then most of the time things are OK. Nudging each door with your knee, then a tug-check should suffice.

I've designed a baby lock (in my head) to try out. I'll share if the idea works. I think on the large doors that safety latches would be a good backup, if it proves to work.
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Old 12-05-2018, 05:44 PM   #16
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After our experience with swinging doors opening, and seeing that we are not alone, I have been thinking about a mitigation. I have ordered some SPDT magnetic alarm switches off Ebay to install. I haven't yet decided on the exact circuitry, but I see several options. All involve running some amount of wire from the doors to the dash, so main part of the labor is the same.


Normally Closed (NC) = switch closed for no magnet, open for magnet

Normally Open (NO)= switch open for no magnet, closed for magnet (the "normal" way an alarm switch is wired.


Option 1, a single wire loop NC loop, LED is off when all doors closed, on if one or more doors open


Option 1A a single NC loop for each side. and 2 LEDS, one loop hast the back door too.


Disadvantage to Options 1, a broken wire looks like all doors are closed.


Options 2 are the opposite if 1, an NO loop where the LED is ON for all doors closed.


Advantage: A broken wire OFF LED looks like a door is open, even if it's not.



Option 3 the Cadillac option, has 1 separate wire for each door, LED on for closed, off for open.


Option 4, the Tesla option, brings back 2 wires for each door, NO and NC, and a red/green LED for each door, red for open, green for closed.
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Old 12-05-2018, 06:41 PM   #17
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This has happened to us so many times. Thank goodness no damage yet. Now wife and I both check each door independandly by noting lock position and pulling on each door before travel.
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Old 12-05-2018, 08:01 PM   #18
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The u-shaped bolts on the body can adjusted (outward most likely) a bit so the door grabs earlier and perhaps fully.

Helped me on two doors. Doesn’t take much. One screw thread adjustment did the trick.
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Old 12-06-2018, 06:54 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SLOweather View Post
After our experience with swinging doors opening, and seeing that we are not alone, I have been thinking about a mitigation. I have ordered some SPDT magnetic alarm switches off Ebay to install. I haven't yet decided on the exact circuitry, but I see several options. All involve running some amount of wire from the doors to the dash, so main part of the labor is the same.


Normally Closed (NC) = switch closed for no magnet, open for magnet

Normally Open (NO)= switch open for no magnet, closed for magnet (the "normal" way an alarm switch is wired.


Option 1, a single wire loop NC loop, LED is off when all doors closed, on if one or more doors open


Option 1A a single NC loop for each side. and 2 LEDS, one loop hast the back door too.


Disadvantage to Options 1, a broken wire looks like all doors are closed.


Options 2 are the opposite if 1, an NO loop where the LED is ON for all doors closed.


Advantage: A broken wire OFF LED looks like a door is open, even if it's not.



Option 3 the Cadillac option, has 1 separate wire for each door, LED on for closed, off for open.


Option 4, the Tesla option, brings back 2 wires for each door, NO and NC, and a red/green LED for each door, red for open, green for closed.
Iíve been considering a similar setup for my kitchen drawers. I have baby latches on them right now.
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Old 01-26-2019, 07:07 PM   #20
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Same problem on our SUNSTAR. One of the basement doors swung open all by itself in a severe rainstorm the other night. I have been drying out the compartment ever since! I lock all compartment doors now.
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