RV Surplus 
 Amazon Discount Codes 
 Amazon's RV Store 
   

Notice: This page may contain advertisements. Click on the disclaimer for details.

Upgrading/repairing the door latch.

 

One of the things that has bugged me since we bought our RV is the cheap plastic door latch. It has broken twice from the wind catching the door. As well, the goons at the RV plant used too much torque and stripped three of the four screws holding the latch on the door.

Two of the screws had also fallen out (I hope no one got a flat tire from that). You simply cannot put a screw into a 1/8" thick piece of fiberglass and expect it to hold - especially when using a pneumatic drill.

I had intended to replace the latch with a stainless steel version about a year ago, but discovered the latch pair was not properly installed.

You might think that both sides of the latch should have the same dimension. This would be true if both sidewall and door were perfectly parallel when opened. However, they are not parallel, but at an angle. This causes a mis-alignment between the tab on the sidewall and slot on the door - so much so that the tab had to be bent to make contact. This bending stresses the plastic and weakens it to the point that a good breeze against the door can snap it off.

 

I want to go with a stainless door latch, and they do make a 45deg version, but unfortunately, neither angled or straight latches would fit properly.

After a bit of brain-storming, I came up with the idea to put the stanless tab into a vise and whack it a couple of times to get the correct angle.

If you are careful, you can get a nice bend in the tab without damaging it. Sometimes it helps to heat the bend point with a torch, but for the shallow bend I made, I did not have to do so.

I used a bit of BoatLife Polyurethane adhesive/calk to bond the new door latch to the RV. Hopefully I will never have to remove it, but if I do, I can use a debonding agent. Otherwise, the latch is stuck to the door for good.

 

Also, I had to relocate the latch on the door about 1/2" towards the hinge for proper fit (see drawing above). I was able to drill new holes in the door without the old ones showing. And for the thin fiberglass part of the door, I used 3/16" pop-rivets as they hold better than sheet-metal screws.

Not all metal door latches are the same. The cheap ones are zinc plated steel (rust prone), while the better (and more expensive) ones are stainless... get the stainless steel ones.

 


Repair Video.

 

 

 


Advertisement

        

 

 


Last reviewed and/or updated June 15, 2017