Today’s project was replacing our entrance door hinges. We needed to do this so that the door to our trailer would open and close, reliably. Which are really the only two things a door needs to do. If a door won’t open it’s not actually a door. It’s just a different kind of wall. And a door that won’t close is just a hole in a wall.
Our trailer came with some advanced-technology hinges that use friction to prevent the door from slamming shut when you want it to stay open. Friction seems like an odd thing to design into a hinge, but who am I to argue with the top minds in the RV industry.
After four years of summer baking and winter freezing in the high desert of Northern Nevada our fancy friction hinges had become less hingey and more frictiony. This change had occurred so gradually that we barely noticed it. Sometimes the door would require more effort to open or close. Occasionally it would require a bit of a shove to get the door to close completely and the latch to work as designed. Sometimes the latch wouldn’t latch. And sometimes it would get stuck when we tried to open the door.
Mostly we just chalked this up to the trailer bending and twisting ever so slightly as a product of trying to level it on uneven ground.
And once in a while a random screw would fall out of the latch mechanism. Or the door wouldn’t quite fit perfectly leaving one corner standing proud a fraction of an inch of the door frame.
Eventually this gradual deterioration in the door’s performance became its normal operation. We began to worry about getting locked out of our trailer, or trapped inside.
So we started researching the problem, and possible solutions. It turns out this is a common problem with the advanced-technology friction entry door hinges. So common that the original manufacturer sells replacement hinges, with or without the advanced-technology friction. And provides detailed instructions on how to remove and replace a vital component of our trailer that was built in at the factory and never designed to be replaced.
It took most of a day, and some figuring a few things out, even with the detailed instructions. Also, there was the glowing-metal-falling-inside-my-boot incident. But the hinges are replaced and the door works. Just in time for happy hour.