Need help -- door won't fit into frame.

Discussion in 'General Camping Discussion Forum' started by TRACY GROMER, Jul 12, 2018.

  1. TRACY GROMER

    TRACY GROMER New Member

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    Jun 20, 2018
    Phoenix, Arizona
    I have a NTM 1982 Palomino Shetland. Super cute and in pretty good shape, but one big problem. The lift arms are fully extended, but the roof is about 1/2" too low for me to get the door in place. (Probably isn't helping that when I pull out the double bunk on the tongue end the box of the trailer spreads so that the door gaps and pops open. I read a really long thread on here explaining how the weight of the bed pushing down on the front of the box makes the wall with the door opening spread. The old ice chest box that used to be by the door has been removed and I imagine that provided some structural support that is missing now. This door spreading when the bunk is out seems to be a fairly common problem.) But the bigger problem is that the door will not go in at all because of the height. Just 1/2" higher and no problem. Don't know what to do.

    Am considering just making a mesh and canvas door covering and putting up a bag awning to keep out the rain -- I want an awning anyway. But do I need a door frame for structural support?

    Anyone had this problem? Suggestions?
     
  2. chambo

    chambo Active Member

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    Apr 27, 2015
    Southern California
    It could be that the frame is tweaked, which can happen if you put to much weight on the stabilizers. Start by taking all weight off the stabilizers and get the pup level front to back by adjusting the tongue and side to side by blocking the tires. Lower and re-raise the roof once you are certain the pup is level. Once the roof is up then put the stabs down, but only snug them.
    I think the larger issue is the box separating when you pull the bed out. That shouldn't happen and is probable making everything not fit right. I suspect that you'll continue to have this problem until you correct the separation issue.
    Good luck!
     
    kitphantom likes this.
  3. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    Albuquerque, NM
    With the external lifts, one thing to check is whether the top and bottom attachments are in the original positions. The bottom positions on our '84 Shetland were in crappy shape, and we were happy the new C & R lifts attached in new positions.
    The sagging issue is also one that should be addressed. As I think I've mentioned before, with our Shetland, the issue was that the wall attachment between the door and (only) bunk was loose. That allowed it to raise from the floor a bit, unseen, when we pulled out the bunk.
     
  4. TRACY GROMER

    TRACY GROMER New Member

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    Jun 20, 2018
    Phoenix, Arizona
    How did you fix the loose wall attachment? I notice that I can make the door frame re-align just by going to the bunk end and pushing up and in on the wall where it meets the bunk. I'm sure it's just a matter of not enough framing to hold the thing tight. I'm thinking I will jack the thing into the proper position and then secure it by framing in a new box where the original cooler chest was and see if that keeps the door-wall from spreading/gapping when the bunk is pulled out.

    But that's a separate issue from getting the door in. These lift arms appear to be in their original locations and they are in good shape and work just fine -- I opened this easily by myself this morning, and was able to use your tricks for getting the thing down by myself last week (thanks again for that -- big help). I don't think the lift arms have been moved from their original spots. Only thing I can think to do is to jack up the frame from the inside once it's all set up and see if I can get the door in that way. But I'd rather fix it so I can put the door in without jacks.
     
  5. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    Dec 26, 2009
    Albuquerque, NM
    We repaired the wall during the renovation of the camper. IIRC, my husband reattached the wall to the floor with angle pieces and maybe adhesive.
     
  6. TRACY GROMER

    TRACY GROMER New Member

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    Jun 20, 2018
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Sigh. I was hoping to not have to rip apart the whole camper. I am considering whether it might be possible to reinforce the floor/walls from underneath the trailer without ripping open all the walls, floor, etc.
     
  7. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    Mar 3, 2006
    TX
    is the door hinged at the top? Get the bottom of the door seated into the 1/2 door and then push at the top lifting the roof, latch door in place.
     
  8. TRACY GROMER

    TRACY GROMER New Member

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    Jun 20, 2018
    Phoenix, Arizona
    No, it is not attached at the top -- cannot get it to attach at the top, because it is 1/2" taller than the door frame. Would have to jack up the roof in order to get it in place, which is what I'm going to try next, but that is not something I can do while camping.
     
  9. jumpoff

    jumpoff I'm in a camping state of mind

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    Nov 3, 2015
    North East Florida
    I had a Coleman once like that. What I did was just put my palms on the ceiling at manually lift it a half inch more. It worked every time.
     
  10. TRACY GROMER

    TRACY GROMER New Member

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    Jun 20, 2018
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Have tried that. Wish it worked, but it does not.
     
  11. TRACY GROMER

    TRACY GROMER New Member

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    Jun 20, 2018
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Okay. I decided the problem was the removal of the original "ice box" between the door and the front end with the big bunk. This was obviously removed for additional floor space and was a BIG mistake. This thing was built on a sheet of OSB, which, in my opinion, is not much better than a sponge. So I decided to recreate the ice chest/storage box with an eye to making it structural. Took me a while (and I'm still not done -- have to create a lid and put a skin on it and paint it, etc.), but you can dance on that bad boy for days -- it's going nowhere. And, although I have not yet unclamped it, I can now get the door in the frame -- it was a full 1/2 - 1" away from that before. So HOORAY!!!

    Here's the fix for anyone having a problem with the door frame spreading and the door popping open after you pull out the bunk or get into the bunk at night:

    1. Buy a large ratcheting strap -- mine is 30ft and cost $20 at Home Depot. Close the door and put the strap all around the trailer at the top of the trailer box. Ratchet it tight until the door closes properly. See the bright green strap in the photo. Closed about a 1+ inch gap in the door frame. upload_2018-7-17_12-56-48.png
    Close up of the mechanism.
    upload_2018-7-17_12-58-17.png

    2. If you need extra support, and I think I did, you might consider adding a strip under the exterior frame. My OSB base had some damage under the door frame -- looks like the aluminum flashing got bent and allowed water in. And I wanted more support for the walls/frame around the door, so I installed a 1x2 because it fit perfectly. Once I get it painted and caulked in, no one will ever notice it. Hard wood would have been better, but pine is what I had, so that's what I used.

    upload_2018-7-17_13-1-43.png

    3. Re-build that box. Mine isn't pretty, because I was using salvaged lumber of random types and sizes -- using what I had and trying to recycle. I may paint the framing, just so it looks better. I also used some metal supports and as many angle braces as I could fit in there -- I want this to work and I don't want to do it again later. That baby is solid. I've got some leftover 3/16" cedar board that I'm going to use for skin. Will make a lift-open top and will at least have extra storage, so I won't miss the floor space as much.

    upload_2018-7-17_13-6-41.png

    4. Fingers crossed. I have not yet unclamped the strap, but the door, which previously had ZERO hope of going into the frame will now fit in the frame. And that was the goal. If this had not worked, I would probably be selling this trailer. So, I hope that this stays in shape when the strap is removed -- saved the entire trailer for me if it does. And I hope that this post will help someone else with the same problem. Happy camping!!!
     

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