Technical Tips #44
By Bob Lowe Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Storage Compartment Door Maintenance
The basis of Bounder's claim to fame is the basement which, when introduced, changed the way motorhomes were built. The storage compartment door hinges, seals and locks require some maintenance, yet you will not find any reference to the required procedures in your maintenance manual.
1986-1994 Bounder Door Locks
The door locks, both thumb twist style latches and key locks on the pre 1995 coaches, require regular lubrication with a premium silicone spray lubricant. The thumb locks may be either steel or aluminum construction, while the key locks are comprised of steel lock cylinders mounted in aluminum housings. Both locks will corrode as moisture penetrates around the central lock shaft making them very hard to operate. You can unscrew the latches from the central cylinder, remove the locking spring washer and gently remove the cylinder from the housing. You can also remove each housing from the door panel however I do not recommend do this if there has been a lot of corrosion. After cleaning the center shaft of the lock, lubricate it and reinstall. If there is a lot of corrosion then replacement will be necessary. The replacement locks may come with a different latch design and you will need to retain the original latch to allow the new lock to actually retain the door in the closed position. I like to reinstall the locks so that they all rotate in the same direction to lock and the opposite direction to unlock. That way I can unlock the compartment doors easily and also tell with a quick glance whether the compartments are locked or not. This lock versus unlocked position is controlled by a stop washer at the end of the inner shaft that hits the stop on the outer housing. Placing the stop washer in the appropriate position will allow the locks to rotate a specific amount and then installation of the latch appropriately will cause the latch to lock and unlock consistently with its neighbor. Adjustment of the latch is accomplished by gently bending the latches to "catch" the basement doorframe. Remove the latch and bend it to suit then reinstall on the lock.
1995 and Newer Bounder Door Locks
The locks in the newer basement doors are enclosed in the handle centered on each door. Once again, a spray of premium silicone spray in each lock will keep these locks free from corrosion and operating smoothly. The latches are operated by enclosed rods, which operate to catches on each side of the door. You can use the same silicone on these catches or try Protect-All® Dry Slide-out lubricant. Any grease-based lubricant will retain the road dust that inevitably blows around the doors, and will cause problems. Adjustment of these latches is accomplished by moving the u-shaped locking bracket toward or away from the door edge ensuring it does not interfere with the door when closed. To bring the door in against the rubber seal use the round end of a ball peen hammer and tap on the u-shaped locking bracket in the center to bend the bracket. Try to achieve a firm closing action when the door is "dropped" towards the body from about 6-8" away. Ensure each end latches firmly. To ensure consistent support of the door when open, spray silicone on the small rod of the door support and on each end where mounted to the door and the body.
Other areas to lubricate:
On the pre'95 models, the door compresses against a foam rubber seal and if that material has been maintained with silicone, it will provide a long life. However, when the foam breaks down you need to replace it, with a similar foam or a small rubber bulb seal. You may need to go to a RV dealer and ask to see some of their bulk sealing materials to find one that is small enough to fit without causing the doors to bind when closing. The 1995 and newer Bounders use an automotive type rubber seal. Use either the premium RV silicone spray or Protect-All® Slide-Out Rubber Seal foam spray lubricant. I prefer the latter and find it easy to apply, very effective and long lasting. The door hinges on the earlier models need no lubrication since they are two hollow metal assemblies linked together to form a loose fitting hinge. On the newer coaches, the doors are hung from the floor level body-side rail and retained by a plastic centering piece and two stainless metal pressure strips at each end of the door hinge. These are visible when the doors are open. Lubricate this hinge by spraying premium RV silicone spray along the hinge from end to end after opening the door. Then, open the door and hold it parallel to the ground and spray the RV Silicone from the outside on the hinge area, then let the door fully open. Leave it up while you lubricate the other doors. This process allows the high-density silicone to coat the hinge and eliminate the squeaking and squawking that let's you know that it is time to lubricate
I have found these procedures to be very effective and they will provide effective water and dust sealing, and door operation. You should note that these basement doors are not going to be dust and watertight, only resistant to water and dust penetration. Routine maintenance of your storage compartment doors will extend the life of the rubber seals and locks ensuring many years of enjoyment of your Bounder. Check out our website for information on the lubricants mentioned in this article.