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If you’re a human, and you live on Earth where we have this thing called “gravity”, you’ve probably noticed that as time passes, things tend to… sag. This age-induced-sagging is not, as it turns out, unique to humans – something I realized recently when I looked at Lance’s back doors. Lance – our ProMaster Class B RV – will see his fifth birthday this year, and let’s just say that his rear end was showing the effects of time and gravity. The rear doors seemed to work just fine, but on closer inspection, they were letting in a good bit of dirt, dust, draft, and sand. Check out the video to see how I went about fixing it.
So let’s have a look at where we started out. I put this picture up in another post, and it shows the problem pretty well.
The timing for dealing with this was pretty good. I had actually just built a set of double doors for the closet in my shop. So I had recently done some research on door construction, hinge placement, and how to keep doors from sagging. What seemed to be happening to Lance’s doors is sort of the same thing that happens to just about all doors. They droop over time towards the center. On Lance, I didn’t have the option to alter the hinge placement or mounting hardware, but there seemed to be plenty of adjustments on the doors to enable me to tighten things back up.
I’ve come across complaints from others – RV owners and freight drivers alike – who have gaps in their rear doors. The typical knee-jerk response to that is to start slapping up additional home-center weatherstripping wherever you see a gap. That might work, but it’s kind of a hack approach. I wanted to avoid that, and I mostly did (but not entirely). Hopefully, the video helps others tackle this problem with a minimum of extra parts. And though this video was made with a ProMaster, the rear doors on Sprinters and Transits probably have similar adjustments.
Stuff I Used
Here’s the stuff I used that you might not have readily available:
- Torx Drivers – The adjustments that I made all required a T-40 Torx bit. But if you have a ProMaster, it’s not a bad idea to get yourself a set of Torx drivers or bits. You’ll find you use them more than once. This set that I found on Amazon is inexpensive, doesn’t require a power tool to use, and should be able to get you plenty of leverage when you need it.
- Rubber Bump Stop – I honestly can’t say where the rubber bump stop I installed came from. I just found it in a drawer with a bunch of other random feet, glides, and bumpers. But if you’re missing the bump stop like I was, and you don’t want to wait and order a new one from Fiat-Chrysler, these that I found are pretty much what I installed.
- EPDM Self-Stick Weatherseal – This is not the typical “foam tape”. This stuff is rubber, and should last a lot longer than that tape would. You can find it (hit or miss) at home centers, but it’s also available on Amazon if you just want to have it show up somewhere along your travels.
- Denatured Alcohol – OK. Weird that I’d mention this, but you’d be amazed at how often it comes in handy. Need to clean up any random smutz in your rig? Denatured alcohol. Adding a Command tape accessory? Denatured alcohol. Removing magic marker from the dust collection piping you’re installing in your shop? (True story) Denatured alcohol. It’s fairly safe for paints and it evaporates in minutes. I love this stuff. You can buy it from Amazon, but honestly, just go pick it up at any hardware store.
Tips for Success
- I don’t know what the particular situation on your door might be, so take a careful survey of exactly what needs to be adjusted, and where, before you start. On Lance, we had a bike rack and a storage box on the passenger’s side door, and a ladder on the driver’s side door. These things add weight to the door, and certainly contributed to the sagging. If your doors are loaded differently, you may have a different situation back there. Understand what needs to move where before you start.
- If you have any missing or broken parts – fix those first! In my case, the missing bump stop was a huge help in correcting the rattle from the rear doors. If you have pieces that are bent, damaged, broken, etc – it’s probably a good idea to restore things to working order first, before making lots of adjustments.
- Understand that every adjustment you make back there will likely affect every other adjustment. For example, I didn’t do anything directly to correct the droop and the widening triangle gap at the bottom of the doors. But by adjusting the latch inward, I pulled the door inward. By pulling the door inward, I pulled it further up the ramps on the striker plates. By pulling the door further up those ramps, I raised the inside edges of the doors… and that seems to be what closed up the gap.
- Don’t go leaping right for the big stuff. It would have been tempting to loosen up the big hinges and try jacking the doors up in the center. But that would have been totally unnecessary and probably caused bigger problems. Think scalpel first – dynamite later.
And finally – as Stef was making her holiday rounds when I shot this – a thank you shout out to Fit RV friend Steve, who was my assistant and cameraman for this one.
So there you go – hopefully this is helpful to you, even if you don’t have the exact same problem or van that I did. Sound off in the comments below. Cheers!