Adjusting Alice’s Door

We have a leaky door problem. This is how bad the door was leaking when we got Alice. You can read more details about this video from the blog post it was originally posted too.

To fix that leak we scraped the original gasket off and then we replaced it with a new gasket and we thought we had fixed the problem.

We were wrong. The door was not sealed good enough. Over winter we didn’t see a whole lot of water leaking because we are in MN and it is freezing and snowy in winter. Water doesn’t leak much in winter and since it was snowy out, every time we opened the door to Alice and walked inside, the snow on our boots left puddles near the door so we didn’t recognize the water as a leak.

A few weeks ago the weather started to warm up, so we pulled out the hose for the first time in months to see if there was more vulkem-ing we needed to do before installing the new subfloors. When we water tested the door we realized that the door is far from leak free.

We triple checked that we put the gasket in the correct way and that is when Tim noticed that the door didn’t fit as well as it should. Tim started to research bending Airstream doors and I started shopping for Airstream doors. The sticker shock of a new door stopped my research and Tim came across this great video so we went with the cheaper, fix what is only a little broken, method.

Tim watched the video a few times through and went and grabbed a 1×4 and his mallet.

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After a few hits with mallet Tim realized that the door was moving more at the hinges than it was curving back into place.  Because of that, we had to tighten the hinges.

Here is a video to better help understand what we were up to.

In the end Tim had better luck by pushing and putting pressure on the door with his hands than with hitting the door with a mallet.

The wood 1×4 is key.  Our main leak was at the top of the door, so wedging the 1×4 near the locking mechanism allowed us to gently curve the door back into its proper frame.  After the last of the bending, we tightened up all the bolts and screws in the hinges.

Next we need to finish sealing all the door’s olympic rivets, and around the locking mechanism a bit, then we may try bending it a little more to see if we can get an even better seal.  Then it’s simply adding new insulation, re-adding the inner skin, and re-hanging the screen door, and hopefully we’ll be leak free.

Oh and we also have to figure out how to get a roller shade in there too. At this point I think it is safe to say that “simple is a relative term!

 

2 thoughts on “Adjusting Alice’s Door

  1. Brett Meyer

    I had the same issue with the door on my ’79 Sovereign. Just above the door latch the bend in the door began to separate from the frame when closed to the point where it was about 1.5 inches away from the frame at the top right corner. I tried a lot of things but what worked for me was to firmly brace the hinges on the inside by bolting through steel plate, squaring the left side of the door and then taking a wide ratchet strap virtically around the right side of the door and tightening to bend the door. I did it gradually, about 4 times to completely fix the door. It helps to put a 2×10 on edge between the inside of the door and the strap. Place the edge right at the fulcrum point where you want the door to bend back toward the frame. Gradual is key. Enjoy watching your restore. Doing my own. I’m Pygmypoacher on Airforums.

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  2. Jenny Halteman

    Thanks so much for this! We have a leaky door that will need to be fixed – probably not until next year. The last owner of our Airstream Argosy was cooking spam and a bear tried to rip the door off (or so he says!)

    Reply

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